Jesus’ Final Hours

I was asked to summarize my views on the events from Jesus’ arrest onwards. It was originally going to be a phone conversation but that didn’t work out, and so I thought that if I was going to write about this, I should do it on the blog as well. I will be leaving for [Read More…]

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Take Up Your Yoke and Follow

Historians should not entertain the possibility that Jesus predicted in advance exactly how he was going to die, foreseeing that it would be by crucifixion. And so too historians cannot view Jesus as having called his followers to take up their crosses behind him. But there is a third option between accepting the Gospels’ depiction, [Read More…]

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Philippians 2 and the Historical Jesus

It has been interesting to revisit the death of Jesus in my historical Jesus class this year. I’ve passed through phases of naive credulity and extreme skepticism with respect to the Gospels and other early Christian sources, and am now trying to find a place of balance between the two. On the one hand, there [Read More…]

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Original Jesus Fish Discovered

In news that would be surprising if it were about any other “archaeologist” than Simcha Jacobovici, it has just been revealed that Jacobovici has unveiled yet another historic find – he has also uncovered the original Jesus fish, also made from crucifixion nails. Bob Cargill provided the photographic evidence below. Bob seems to believe that these also served [Read More…]

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Don’t Miss the Moment

Yesterday I had the chance to meet face to face with Tim “Spike” Davis, whose cartoons I’ve often shared on this blog as well as on other social media. I took the opportunity to get a photo together: We chatted about all kinds of things, but one of them was about recognizing the importance of what [Read More…]

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Josephus and the Burial of the Crucified

I had a wonderful conversation recently, which lasted for hours and only ended because of concern about severe weather. It was with Matt Kovacs and Arick Mittler, formerly of Miami Valley Skeptics, now working on another project. We talked about a number of points which I cover in my book The Burial of Jesus, but [Read More…]

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We Don’t Know the Whole Story

Maybe instead of or to supplement “What Would Jesus Do?” an updated way of making decisions would be, “If my words were inserted in speech bubbles into the story of Jesus, who would be speaking them?” Of vaguely related interest, see Jim Davila’s blog post on the question of whether Jesus was black. [Read more…]

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Problems With Penal Substitution

DISAMBIGUATION: This blog post is not about penile substitution – for information on that topic, go here. Penal substitution is a phrase used to describe a particular view of the atonement, which says that Jesus took the place of the guilty in bearing God’s judgment due to them. Mike Bird (responding to William Walker) and Andrew Perriman (responding [Read More…]

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The Burial of Jesus

I wrote the book The Burial of Jesus: What Does History Have to Do with Faith? to mediate historical approaches to the Bible and to Jesus to a Christian audience, and to wrestle with the stories of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection myself, while paying attention to the neglected middle – the traditions about Jesus’ [Read More…]

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A Pre-Christian Dying Messiah?

Ryan Covington has posted on his blog about a subject we also discussed here, namely the question of whether there was a pre-Christian concept of a Davidic Messiah who, rather than ascending the throne and restoring the Davidic dynasty, is executed before he can do so. Ryan points to some of the well-known proposed counter-examples: [Read More…]

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Which Came First? Thoughts about Jesus and the Binding of Isaac

I’ve been reading a wonderful book about the Isaac story, James Goodman’s But Where Is the Lamb?: Imagining the Story of Abraham and Isaac. It is a history of interpretation, but written in an unconventional manner – as though the author of the Akedah story were surveying what future readers would say and do in response [Read More…]

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