The Key Difference Between Paul and America’s Pseudo-Christians

Another verse that I highlighted in Romans 9 in my Sunday school class this past week is Paul’s statement in 9:3: For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. There seems to me to be a huge, stark difference between what [Read More...]

God’s Ironic Hatred in Romans 9?

This past Sunday in my Sunday school class, we reached Romans 9. I was struck recently for the first time by the possibility that Paul’s use of texts in this section might be profoundly and perhaps intentionally ironic. The idea that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and that God hated Esau, have something in common – [Read More...]

The Baptism of Jesus by John in the Mandaean Book of John

I have posted a very rough draft of chapter 30 of the Mandaean Book of John, which depicts Jesus coming to John the Baptist in order to be baptized by him. You can read it by clicking through to the Mandaean Book of John blog. This is one of several chapters that I will be [Read More...]

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.  He 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...]


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