The Eye of a Needle

The page The Christian Left shared this image on Facebook, and a couple of comments that were made on it there deserve responses. First, you will sometimes hear that the Eye of the Needle was an actual gate in Jerusalem which a camel could indeed pass through, on its knees and leaving any goods it [Read More…]

Galilee in the Late Second Temple and Mishnaic Periods Volume 1

I am grateful to Fortress Press for sending me a gratis review copy of Galilee in the Late Second Temple and Mishnaic Periods, Volume 1: Life, Culture, and Society, edited by David Fiensy and James Strange. But I am perhaps even more grateful to have had the privilege of reading the book while traveling to [Read More…]

Bayesian Jesus

For those who may not get it, the meme above is poking fun at the fact that two apologists on the fringes of academia – Richard Carrier and William Lane Craig – have both attempted to introduce Bayesian reasoning to bring rigor to the subjects that interest them. In the one case, it supposedly proves [Read More…]

The Crackpot Index

John Baez came up with a “Crackpot Index” for those who think they are geniuses with revolutionary ideas in physics. What do you say we adapt the list for the field of historical Jesus? How do you think the list below – adapted ever so slightly from Baez’s – works? What changes would you recommend? How [Read More…]

“What I Received From The Lord”

I received this question via e-mail and thought it might be useful to share it publicly together with my answer: I was listening to a YouTube video when this came up. Paul says in 1 Cor 11:23 “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you”. I never really thought about this [Read More…]

Two Big Bangs

There is a useful comparison that can be made between the cosmological “Big Bang” and the moment of origin of Christianity and the perception that a historical figure named Jesus can be found there. In both cases, there have been individuals who insisted that the conclusion coincided too well with Christian dogma to be trustworthy. [Read More…]

Jesus’ Final Hours

I was asked to summarize my views on the events from Jesus’ arrest onwards. It was originally going to be a phone conversation but that didn’t work out, and so I thought that if I was going to write about this, I should do it on the blog as well. I will be leaving for [Read More…]

Pilate Mythicism

This meme was drawn to my attention in a comment on an earlier post. It focuses too broadly on atheists in general, and it is simply incorrect about what the coins say. But its main point retains some validity nevertheless. While it may be appropriate to withhold judgment about a matter if the evidence seems [Read More…]

The Fear of Losing God (and the God of Losing Fear)

Having pushed students to wrestle with historical methods and their application to Jesus this semester, and the fact that those methods don’t allow them to demonstrate the miracles of Jesus and other things they wish they could, I allowed the last meeting of my historical Jesus class to be completely open, with no questions or perspectives [Read More…]

Jury Duty and the Historical Jesus

The first two days of this week, I was selected for jury service. This was my first time selected. I wished I could have recorded some of the ways that the lawyers explained the criteria of evidence during the voir dire, explaining that “beyond reasonable doubt” doesn’t mean “beyond all doubt” and other things that [Read More…]


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