Easter Sunday School

Yesterday’s sermon at my church focused on the ending (or lack thereof) of Mark’s Gospel. The pastor compared Mark to a “choose your own adventure” story, particularly when it comes to the ending. In my Sunday school class, we discussed this as well as another possibility, namely that the original ending of Mark’s Gospel could [Read More...]

Celebrating Easter with the Doubting Disciples

The tradition of viewing Easter as the end of disbelief can be traced back to the New Testament itself, to the Gospel of John, where Thomas, being absent when Jesus appeared to the other disciples, expresses skepticism, only to be confronted by the physical risen Jesus himself. The message of these stories, readers of this [Read More...]

Dead and Buried

John Shuck has kindly offered a short review of my book, The Burial of Jesus, over on his blog. What more appropriate day could there be for this than today? [Read more...]

When Jesus Said “I Am Divine” And Turned Out To Be An Elephant

Here’s Bart Ehrman’s return to the Colbert Report (HT Ben Witherington): The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c Bart Ehrman colbertnation.com Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor NASA Name Contest [Read more...]

Self-Critical Faith

The unexamined faith is not worth having. Religion has had many critics from without, and still does. But one characteristic feature of the Biblical tradition is that it is full of critics from within, those who examine their own tradition and challenge themselves first, and then their contemporaries, to rethink it and to live it [Read More...]

4QInstruction and Sethian Gnosticism

In a book I’m reading I encountered a quote from a highly fragmentary text from Qumran that is usually known as 4QInstruction. The fragment 4Q417 includes the words “for engraved are the ordinances of God, about all the [iniquities of the] sons of Seth, and a book of memorial is written before him”. [The picture [Read More...]

Krister Stendahl on Religious Pluralism

The Pluralism Sunday blog has the text of a lecture the late Krister Stendahl gave on the subject of Christianity and religious pluralism. He deals with the standard texts that seem to support exclusivism in a thoughtful and pastoral manner. Stendahl is famous among New Testament scholars, but for those who may not be familiar [Read More...]

Quote of the Day (Eric Reitan)

“[T]he doctrine of biblical inerrancy has the effect of inspiring its adherents to pay more attention to a text than to the neighbors they are called upon to love. Sometimes it even inspires them to plug up their ears with Bible verses, so that they can no longer hear the anguished cries of neighbors whose [Read More...]

Maundy Thursday

The service our pastor arranged for Maundy Thursday was powerful and profound. He got members of the congregation to recite (and in some cases they performed) monologues reflecting various participants in the events leading up to the crucifixion: Judas, the high priest’s servant, Claudia Procula and Herod. It was interspersed with readings and hymns, we [Read More...]

Judged by the Smoke Monster

In the most recent episode of LOST, as in other earlier ones, we saw the “smoke monster” make someone confront their past, with the aim of bringing about repentance and a change in them. In my recent visits to Triablogue, it has been somewhat like encountering the smoke monster. I was met over there by [Read More...]

Miracles and the Golden Rule: A Christian Approach to History

One doesn’t have to be committed in advance to history’s inability to deal with miracles in order to begin to realize that one cannot claim that Christianity is grounded purely in history while other traditions are at best shrouded in myth. One simply has to apply the most basic Christian principle to one’s investigation of [Read More...]

Easter Ehrman

The subject of historical study and methodological naturalism has come up in a recent bloggersation, and since Easter is approaching, I thought I’d share a particularly poignant passage relevant to this issue that I came across in a recent book: Why was the tomb supposedly empty? I say supposedly because, frankly, I don’t know that [Read More...]

Lessons in (and from) a One-Room Schoolhouse

I’m happy I was able to join my son on a field trip to 1892, to spend the day at a one-room schoolhouse. It was delightful, but it reminded me of a trip I took when I lived in the UK to a similar historical preservation experience. At the Beamish open-air museum, we saw tiny [Read More...]

A Parable and a Testimony

There was once a rich man, who was very generous. This man who had two sons. The eldest son had seen his father sometimes forced to do without, even though his land was fruitful and his business prosperous, because he had given away all he had at that moment to those in need. When his [Read More...]