Philippians and Pharisees

I’m not sure why it never struck me before, but I just recently realized that Paul’s mention in Philippians about his being or having been a Pharisee ought to get more attention. Paul assumes that the Philippians know what a Pharisee is. Perhaps we can assume that he told them on some previous occasion. But it might also [Read More…]

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Mythicism and Mysticism

Mythicism has done a pretty good job of spreading the idea that all the information Paul and others had about Jesus was gleaned from visions. That claim doesn’t fit the evidence. We certainly do have evidence that the genre of the apocalyptic vision was popular among Christians as among other Jews. But that is a literary [Read More…]

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Is the Oldest Christology also the Highest?

Ron Huggins asked an interesting question in an interesting way recently. Some view Galatians as the oldest piece of Christian literature we have. And at the very beginning of that letter, Paul contrasts human authorities with God and Jesus. And so, he asks, is this – arguably the oldest Christological statement in the New Testament [Read More…]

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#YCAS2015 Fifth Panel

The morning of the second day of the York Christian Apocrypha Symposium began with Gregory Fewster discussing assumptions scholars work with regarding pseudepigraphy, and the question of what made a pseudepigraphal work “successful,” focusing in particular on 3 Corinthians. Among the assumptions we take for granted is that, for pseudepigraphy to work, the reputation of [Read More…]

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Review of Ronald Charles, Paul and the Politics of Diaspora

I am grateful to Fortress Press for having sent me a gratis review copy of Ronald Charles’ book Paul and the Politics of Diaspora. Charles’ book is a revised version of his doctoral dissertation, and as surprising as it may sound, it is the first full-length monograph which approaches Paul of Tarsus, his life, thought, and [Read More…]

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Quick Thoughts on Paul and the Trinity

Other bloggers have been drawing attention to Wesley Hill’s book, Paul and the Trinity. And you can read some of Hill’s own response to N. T. Wright on the Eerdmans blog, Eerdword. I was recently asked what I thought of it, and didn’t have a copy, and had not read it. But since it was drawn [Read More…]

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How a Letter Becomes a Scripture

Having finished a study of 1 Corinthians, my Sunday school class proposed as its next topic to focus on the question of how works like Paul’s letters ended up as Scripture – what the process is, and also how it changes the way we read them. Someone said it reminded them of the Schoolhouse Rock treatment of [Read More…]

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No Adam, No Christ?

I was asked a question on Facebook, and thought I would share the answer I gave. Here’s the question: I was hoping for a little clarification on how one might reconcile a non literal first Adam with Paul’s gospel.  In Paul’s mind Christ is the “second Adam,” having succeeded where the “first Adam” failed. According [Read More…]

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Paul was not a Conservative Christian

The quote comes from my 2011 post “Liberal Christianity – An Affirmation.” [Read more…]

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A Polite Bribe at SBL

There was a showing of the movie Apostle Paul: A Polite Bribe at the Society of Biblical Literature conference in San Diego in November. The video above features Larry Hurtado, Ben Witherington, and Robert Orlando discussing the film after the showing. If you have never seen it, you can rent the movie digitally on Amazon. [Read more…]

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Trusting Tertullian

Tertullian claims that the Acts of Paul and Thecla were forged in his time, and that a particular individual confessed to having done so. In the past, I’ve been willing to accept Tertullian’s account. But I am beginning to think that perhaps I should treat Tertullian’s claim with a greater degree of skepticism. One reason [Read More…]

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