Who Do My Opponents Say That I Am?

A new book will be appearing early in 2008 entitled Who Do My Opponents Say That I Am?: An Investigation of the Accusations Against Jesus (T&T; Clark). This is an exercise in what has been called “Christology from the side”, using outsiders’ and opponents’ views as a way of investigating the historical figure of Jesus. [Read More...]

Christianity Without Resurrection?

Today in my Sunday school class (discussing John 11), I went off on a tangent to explain the background of Jewish and early Christian thinking about the resurrection. I always consider this important, since for most contemporary Christians, the afterlife is about ‘going to heaven when I die’ and not ‘rising again on the last [Read More...]

Being Good Without God

Bertrand Russell talks about morality as a motivation some people have for adhering to and promoting religious belief. It is a point made more recently by Richard Dawkins. There is certainly some room for criticism of the Christian tradition on this point. Although Matthew’s moral universalization of the Golden Rule as the basis for divine [Read More...]

Evidence and Faith: The Creationist Paradox

There is a fundamental tension in young-earth creationism. It is claimed that there is evidence for not only creation but a young earth that anyone with an open mind will be persuaded by. Many other theologians and preachers, however, have found themselves speaking of a need for faith in order to perceive God’s hand, whether [Read More...]

Why I Am A Christian

Today the philosophy club at Butler University held a lunchtime discussion of Bertrand Russell’s famous essay, “Why I Am Not A Christian“. One criticism of the essay that I offered in the discussion is that it offers a no more sophisticated or academic a treatment of stories in the New Testament than fundamentalists would. The [Read More...]

The God Gene

On my recent trip I took along Dean Hamer’s book The God Gene: How Faith Is Hardwired into Our Genes. Since he apologizes for the title as not of his choosing, I will not comment on it, except to say that it was a factor that led me to not read the book sooner. I [Read More...]

Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Religion, Science and Art

Today was the last day of a conference I was attending entitled TRANSDICIPLINARY APPROACHES OF THE DIALOGUE BETWEEN SCIENCE, ART AND RELIGION IN THE EUROPE OF TOMORROW. For me, in many respects the highlight of the conference was learning that there are actually fans of science fiction in Romania. Apparently I just hadn’t encountered any [Read More...]

The Expanding Universe

Recently, I experienced a moment in which I didn’t simply know theoretically that I am a complex combination of subatomic particles and mostly empty space. I felt it. And as I thought about this further, I wondered whether, if one could view a life form such as a human being at the subatomic level, one [Read More...]

St. Augustine’s Confessions…Stolen!

My colleague in the history department who told me about this thought it could serve nicely as the introduction to a novel or movie. It is true, and so the author/filmmaker could rightly claim “This story is based on real events.” Every copy of St. Augustine’s Confessions (but not his other works) that was in [Read More...]

The Gospel of James the Lesser

No, this post isn’t about a newly-discovered extracanonical text. It is good news regarding yours truly (using ‘the lesser’ to distinguish myself from my doctoral supervisor, James Dunn). My second book has been accepted for publication by the University of Illinois Press! The title is The Only True God, and it will look at Christology [Read More...]

Lifestyle Choice

In our day and age many Christians, including very prominent ones, have chosen a lifestyle that is fundamentally at odds with their claim to be Christians. This is a lifestyle choice I am talking about – it is not something genetic, something innate, something inevitable. It is a sin that is so abominable that it [Read More...]

The Earliest Christian Artifacts

My review of Larry Hurtado’s latest book, The Earliest Christian Artifacts: Manuscripts and Christian Origins, has just been published in the online Review of Biblical Literature. The book makes a major important point, and does so well, namely that the actual manuscripts of early Christian literature, their physical features and characteristics, are largely unknown to [Read More...]

Invasion Myths and DNA

It is not only in relation to the origins of the Israelites that DNA evidence has the potential to solve longstanding mysteries about the origins of a people group. Since the colonial era, when light-skinned Europeans took control of India, it has seemed plausible to many European scholars to interpret the Vedas as reflecting the [Read More...]

Missed Meeting (SNTS 2007, Sibiu, Romania)

SNTS (usually referred to as the ‘Society for New Testament Studies’ by English speakers, although it is technically the STUDIORUM NOVI TESTAMENTI SOCIETAS) apparently held its annual meeting this year in Sibiu, Romania, which is my wife’s home town. It would have been nice to go, but for that to have happened, I would have [Read More...]