Salvation through Belief?

Discussing 1 Corinthians 15 in my Sunday school class a while back, I was struck by another way of understanding what Paul is saying in v17. Many have treated it as though Paul is saying that it is essential for salvation to believe in the resurrection. But it sounds to me that he is talking [Read More...]

Gets The Last Word, The Dark Side Does Not

As I was preparing the PowerPoint for my conference paper which I read yesterday, I looked for one that featured the famous quote from Yoda on the left. I didn’t expect to find it paired with a quote from Paul’s letter to the Romans. It was interesting to see these two sets of texts brought into [Read More...]

Is the Oldest Christology also the Highest?

Ron Huggins asked an interesting question in an interesting way recently. Some view Galatians as the oldest piece of Christian literature we have. And at the very beginning of that letter, Paul contrasts human authorities with God and Jesus. And so, he asks, is this – arguably the oldest Christological statement in the New Testament [Read More...]

A Message Of Divine Origin

It is interesting to reflect on something that Paul says in his letter to the Galatians. He emphasized that his message, his gospel, is not of human origin. What is his gospel? He doesn’t tell us in so many words, and although we may be able to deduce what it is from his letters, I think [Read More...]

#YCAS2015 Fifth Panel

The morning of the second day of the York Christian Apocrypha Symposium began with Gregory Fewster discussing assumptions scholars work with regarding pseudepigraphy, and the question of what made a pseudepigraphal work “successful,” focusing in particular on 3 Corinthians. Among the assumptions we take for granted is that, for pseudepigraphy to work, the reputation of [Read More...]

Review of Ronald Charles, Paul and the Politics of Diaspora

I am grateful to Fortress Press for having sent me a gratis review copy of Ronald Charles’ book Paul and the Politics of Diaspora. Charles’ book is a revised version of his doctoral dissertation, and as surprising as it may sound, it is the first full-length monograph which approaches Paul of Tarsus, his life, thought, and [Read More...]

False Gospels

The sermon last Sunday was about Galatians 1, where Paul talks about the Galatians having turned aside to a different gospel, which is really no gospel at all. Ironically, those who are the most prone to accuse most of their contemporaries as proclaiming a “false gospel” look a lot more like Paul’s opponents than Paul [Read More...]

How a Letter Becomes a Scripture

Having finished a study of 1 Corinthians, my Sunday school class proposed as its next topic to focus on the question of how works like Paul’s letters ended up as Scripture – what the process is, and also how it changes the way we read them. Someone said it reminded them of the Schoolhouse Rock treatment of [Read More...]

No Adam, No Christ?

I was asked a question on Facebook, and thought I would share the answer I gave. Here’s the question: I was hoping for a little clarification on how one might reconcile a non literal first Adam with Paul’s gospel.  In Paul’s mind Christ is the “second Adam,” having succeeded where the “first Adam” failed. According [Read More...]

Paul was not a Conservative Christian

The quote comes from my 2011 post “Liberal Christianity – An Affirmation.” [Read more...]

Baptism for the Dead: Paul and the Mandaeans

A student who gave a presentation on the Mandaeans in my “Heresy” class used the phrase “baptism for the dead” to describe the masiqta – more frequently translated as “mass for the dead” or something similar in English. The masiqta proper, of course, is a ritual meal which takes after someone has died, and not an [Read More...]


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