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...]

Will Time-Travelers Ruin the Passion?

  It is a scenario that some science fiction stories have explored – Gary Kilworth's “Let's Go To Golgotha!” and Michael Moorcock's “Behold The Man” come immediately to mind. Even I have a story involving time travel to first century Judaea that I would love to write. But even if you haven't read such stories, [Read More...]

Popular Highlights in the Burial of Jesus

One nice feature of Kindle ebooks, such as my own The Burial of Jesus: What Does History Have to Do with Faith?, is the fact that data can be collected about what readers highlight in the text. Amazon shares such information anonymously on the book’s page. Here are the three most popularly highlighted quotes from [Read More...]

“Be Deceitful as your Heavenly Father is Deceitful” (Things Jesus Didn’t Say)

It struck me powerfully as I replied to a comment on a recent post featuring an infographic about the age of the Earth, that there is indeed a resemblance that appears between a deity and his or her worshipers, as one might and indeed should expect. In the case of young-earth creationists, the resemblance is [Read More...]

Anush-Uthra vs. Jesus: Smackdown in Jerusalem

I just posted another draft of a chapter from the Mandaean Book of John. In this chapter, chapter 76, there are a few places where the meaning of the text is not entirely clear (do I need to mention this when it is true of pretty much every section of every Mandaic text?). But the [Read More...]

“Jesus, Take The Wheel” Day

Someone has created a Facebook event that seems to be aimed at ridding the world of those Christians who are anti-intellectual, illogical and gullible: HT Scott Bailey and Hemant Mehta What do readers think? Is this an excellent satire, a serious challenge, a joke in poor taste, a really good idea, or something else?   [Read more...]


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