Maurice Casey responds to Thomas Thompson

James Tabor wrongly refers to an “all-out war among the experts” regarding the question “Did Jesus exist?” At present, the only person who can be considered an expert in New Testament in any sense, and who has disputed the existence of a historical Jesus in academic publications, is Robert M. Price. He teaches at an [Read More...]

Review of Richard C. Carrier, Proving History

I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to review Richard Carrier’s latest book, Proving History: Bayes’s Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus. I am grateful to Prometheus Books for sending me a free review copy. Carrier emphasizes from the outset that this is the first of two books, the second of [Read More...]

Approaching Scripture as Jesus Did

Morgan Guyton has an excellent post on what should be the Christian approach to Scripture, namely approaching it as Jesus himself approached it. And so he takes Jesus’ Sabbath healing, and his principle that “the Sabbath was made for human beings, and not human beings for the Sabbath” as a criterion by which to evaluate [Read More...]

Arguing for Jesus

A Facebook conversation (if one can call it that) in which I recently became embroiled reminds me of how I used to approach discussions with those who disagreed with me. It was OK to lump my opponents with the worst behavior among those who agreed with them, but any attempt to reverse that logic was [Read More...]

Biblical Faith is not Avoiding Doubt, nor is it Feeling Certain

The Bible itself raises challenges to the way conservative Christians in our time tend to understand what the Bible is, as supposedly an inerrant text that can eliminate doubt from one's life. The Bible itself tells story after story about people for whom doubt was part of their spiritual life. There is something profoundly ironic [Read More...]

Did Jesus Understand Genesis 2 Literally?

Many will point to Jesus' words about divorce, in the context of which he quotes Genesis 2, as evidence that Jesus believed Adam and Eve were literal people, and will then on that basis argue against modern biology, or claim this proves that he supported the view of marriage as involving only one man and [Read More...]

Inerrancy and Literalism: Quote of the Day (Theodore M. Vial)

Contemporary conservative Christian exegetes claim both inerrancy and literalism as hermeneutical principles, but will always sacrifice the latter to the former. The “this generation” of Mark 13:30 that will see the Son of Man’s return, for example, must be read as referring not to the generation listening to Jesus, or Mark’s original audience, but to [Read More...]

Before The Bible Was Written

On Facebook I came across this funny depiction of what the first Christians had to resort to holding up at sporting events, before they had written texts they could reference: “Me 3:16″ – Nice one, John! But as someone involved in teaching Biblical studies, I also thought this was a nice reminder of a serious [Read More...]

Class on Apocalyptic, Early Judaism, and the Context of Jesus

Above is the screen capture and audio from a class I taught as part of my course on the Bible, initially focusing on apocalyptic literature (and in particular the Book of Daniel), and moving from there to the Judaism of Jesus’ time. [Read more...]

The Life and Teaching of John the Baptist according to the Mandaean Book of John

Now that I have finished at least a still provisional but nevertheless complete translation of the chapters in the “Drasha d-Yahia” (which itself might be better rendered The Teaching of John rather than The Book of John) about the life and teaching of John the Baptist, I wanted to share links to them here. 18. Portents of [Read More...]

Was the Historical Jesus on Facebook?

A piece of news has been getting attention today, about a study of classic myths, some of which we know from archaeological evidence were based on real people or events. The study suggests that the degree to which the relationships in the story mirror real ones – including those one can observe today in social [Read More...]


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