Spiritual Agoraphobia

In my Sunday school class yesterday, we found ourselves talking about Paul’s at times universalist-sounding language in Romans, and how it relates to traditional Christian ideas about salvation, punishment and afterlife. I shared my own thought that it is hard to believe that Paul, having worked in the first part of his letter to demolish [Read More...]

Paul’s Rhetoric and Rhetorical Questions

A friend of mine has begun looking into the subject of rhetorical questions in Paul’s letters. He is interested in both the background in ancient rhetoric – might Paul have been familiar with what earlier rhetoricians had said on the subject – and in what is involved in translating such rhetorical questions when translating the [Read More...]

Mythicism Miscellanies

Here are a few posts relevant to mythicism from around the blogosphere. From Tom Verenna, two posts on “Defining Mythicism,” one of which addresses the appeal to Galatians 1 as though Paul’s words there give a clear indication one way or the other about Jesus’ historicity, while the other post emphasizes that an all-or-nothing approach [Read More...]

Mythicism and Paul’s Claims to Supernatural Revelation

Mythicists regularly claim (as one commenter on this blog recently did) regarding Paul that “Our earliest Christian source claimed to have learned nothing from the Christians who came before him. ┬áHe claimed to know what he knew by divine revelation.” Since the subject has come up once again, in the same form in which it [Read More...]

Liberal Christianity – An Affirmation

Mike Bird offered a caricature of Liberal Christianity which it would be wrong to dismiss out of hand. The trends and pitfalls that he highlights on the liberal end of the spectrum are real dangers. The churches which were so flexible and so in tune with the social norms of their time that they had [Read More...]

P. N. Harrison, The problem of the Pastoral Epistles

I just discovered that P. N. Harrison’s 1921 book The problem of the Pastoral Epistles is available for free from the Internet Archive. While plenty of more recent works treat the arguments against Pauline authorship perfectly well, they lack one thing that Harrison’s book has: charts graphing the differences between the Pastorals and other letters [Read More...]

Review of Earl Doherty’s Jesus: Neither God Nor Man chapter 9

Chapter 9 of Doherty’s book Jesus: Neither God Nor Man is a mere six pages in length. Into this small space is packed, first of all, a brief presentation of Platonism and Stoicism, focusing on transcendence and immanence and the use of concepts such as Demiurge, Logos and Wisdom to bridge the gap between the [Read More...]

Evangelical Perspectives on the New Perspective on Paul

A couple of other bloggers have had some interesting things to say about the new perspective on Paul, from an Evangelical perspective. Mike Bird is up to part 2 in a series entitled “After the New Perspective.” Tim Gombis has a post on the willingness of Evangelical opponents of the new perspective to abandon their [Read More...]

Chapter 7 of Earl Doherty’s Jesus: Neither God Nor Man

Chapter 7 of Earl Doherty’s book Jesus: Neither God Nor Man turns attention to other characters in the Gospels and events that are not mentioned about them in the epistles: Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial, for starters. Presumably the first thing to note it that the latter completely undermines Doherty’s argument. Paul refers to encounters [Read More...]

Reading Romans as about Christians and not about Christians

As I have been going through Romans once again with my Sunday school class, it has increasingly become evident to me how hard it is – and at the same time how important it is – to realize that this isn’t a Christian document. In saying that, I don’t mean that Paul’s message was not [Read More...]

The Name Above Every Name

Over at Vridar, Neil Godfrey discussed the argument (a point of agreement between mythicist Paul-Louis Couchoud and his opponent A. D. Howell-Smith) that the “name above every name” bestowed upon the central figure in Philippians 2:6-11 is the name Jesus. I concur with Godfrey that this is a matter about which it is possible to [Read More...]


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