Renovations

Hello all. I am pleased and saddened to announce my retirement from the bloggernacle (at least until I get more time and motivation). I have been doing this for roughly one and a half years now and I have found it an enlightening and edifying experience, mostly. I have learned a lot here and I hope that I have given something back. The thing that makes it hardest to go is the knowledge that I am likely leaving mid-conversation. I… Read more

Rehabilitating Our Judas: Ms. Tchacos Nussberger

Today’s NYT has a story about how GJudas finally came to light. The eye-catcher is this: I think I was chosen by Judas to rehabilitate him,” Ms. Tchacos Nussberger, 65, is quoted as saying in one of the society’s books, “The Lost Gospel,” by Herbert Krosney. Mr. Krosney is also an independent television producer who brought the gospel project to National Geographic. But the heart of the articles is really about the legal and ethical issues involved in acquiring, handling,… Read more

Historical Jesus: Dr. Tabor and Jesus bar Pantera

You can tell the season by the books released. Yes, it’s Easter and ’tis the season for books on the historical Jesus. This particular example comes from James Tabor, a historian and member of the Religious Studies Department at the University of North Carolina. His theory is two baptizing messiahs, John in the Jordan and Jesus in the Suba cave (yes, the same Suba cave featured about three or four posts below this one). I did five posts on the… Read more

Gospel of Judas: The Beginning of a Sensible Response

Over at the Volkh Conspiracy, Dave Kopel has a piece up characterizing the media response to the presentation of the Coptic Gospel of Judas: This Friday’s coverage of the so-called “Gospel of Judas” in much of the U.S. media was appallingly stupid. The Judas gospel is interesting in its own right, but the notion that it disproves, or casts into doubt, the traditional orthodox understanding of the betrayal of Jesus is preposterous. I must say I agree. What silliness. I… Read more

Jesus Walked on Ice

This article applies a subject called paleolimnology, the study of “freshwater, brackish, salt water environments in the ancient world” to the question of how Jesus may have [appeared to] walk on water. The folks behind it are serious scholars. I collect these pieces, without prejudice to the science or lack thereof, as evidence of the massive influence that the NT record of Jesus maintains even now. Original website here. (more…) Read more

Guest Post: On the Wings of a Dove?

J. Watkins is a long-time commenter on the site and someone off whom I often bounce ideas in the Ancient Studies room of the BYU Library. He defines himself in the following terms: “I’m Justin Watkins. I’m from Cardston, Alberta and I’m an undergraduate senior at BYU studying ancient near eastern studies. My focus is in the NT but I’d like to study the LXX for my graduate work. I also love studying Church history as a hobby. I’ve been… Read more

Historical Mormon Smackdown: Academic influence Edition!

Hello and welcome back. I have been thinking a lot about the influence of LDS academics on the landscape of our church. They do have influence, but is it enough or the right variety? What is the role of the LDS academic? Well, what better way to begin this than with a web-poll. To that end, I was wondering if you feel that, since we’ve had LDS academics of one stripe or another since the 50’s, if they have had… Read more

Cave of John the Baptist

This story relates progress in the excavation of Suba Cave, located about 15 miles west of Jerusalem. The link to the Baptist is controversial, resting mainly on some drawings on the walls and some evidence of baptisms. The real news is that this cave was a happenin’ place in the 7th century BCE, making it a feature of Isaiah’s era. The original website is here. I totally recommend you click that link for the pictures. To my non-archeologist’s eye, the… Read more

King David’s Double Anointing

King David is one of the most dynamic and enigmatic of all the figures of the Bible (Halpern, 3-13). He was favored of God, but utilized whatever means he could to secure the throne, including murder and treason. Yet it is through his unorthodoxy that God works out common good for Israel. One piece of the text of the books of Samuel which I found intriguing are David’s two anointings: one at Hebron by the house of Judah, and the… Read more

And the winner is…

The Restoration of the Priesthood has beaten the Book of Mormon in a poll of the most influential forces in today’s Mormonism. The final vote was 18-13. I would like to thank everyone who participated. So, does this tell us anything interesting? Also, any suggestions for the return of Historical Mormon Smackdown next week? Read more

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