Verbatim Memory, Orality, and the Historical Jesus

Judy Redman has been offering a wonderful series on memory and the historical Jesus. In the most recent post, part 4, Judy wrote the following about verbatim memory: In addition, having been quite pessimistic about our ability to prove the authenticity of any Jesus tradition or to have the actual words of Jesus, both here [Read More...]

Marry Like an Egyptian

Someone on Facebook mentioned, as part of an argument against same-sex marriage, a passage in Maimonides saying that the ancient Egyptians would marry a man to a man and a woman to a woman. To me, this seemed to provide still more support for an argument in the precise opposite direction. Maimonides was in fact [Read More...]

Richard Carrier Illustrates Historical Jesus Methodology

While one might or might not see fit to dispute Richard Carrier’s specific conclusions in his recent post, “The Dying Messiah Redux,” I think that the most important thing to note is the approach to history that it illustrates. Carrier argues that, because certain views expressed in Jewish literature from several centuries after the rise [Read More...]

To Galilee by way of Armageddon

I was excited when I saw that the route to Tiberias, and to Afula where I would be meeting Eldad Keynan who kindly agreed to show me around the Galilee, was by way of Megiddo, even though not all services stop there. The bus took me straight through the plain of Megiddo. It seems more [Read More...]

Review of Holger Michael Zellentin, Rabbinic Parodies of Jewish and Christian Literature

I’m grateful to Mohr Siebeck for having sent me a free review copy of Holger Michael Zellentin’s new book, Rabbinic Parodies of Jewish & Christian Literature (Texts & Studies in Ancient Judaism, 139). Anyone who studies ancient religious literature is bound to have come across stories which seem amusing and/or satirical. But determining when stories [Read More...]

Good vs. Evil, Indignation vs. Indigestion

Imagine three situations that come up in real life: 1) You are made aware in the local news that lives were lost in a fire that could have been prevented if a recent safety inspection had been as thorough as it ought to have been. 2) You read on a blog about human trafficking in [Read More...]


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