Was Paul a Contemporary of Jesus?

In everyday parlance, a contemporary means someone who lived at the same time as another person. In conversations with mythicists, Paul is dismissed as not a contemporary of Jesus, because he did not (as far as we know) see him while he was alive. But this brings into focus one of mythicism’s many problematic aspects. Mythicists often [Read More…]

Memory, Acts, and the Letters of Paul

I sometimes wonder if I am unusual in not always remembering things that I have done and experienced at times in the past, about which others appear to have a clear recollection. I suspect that this is just the way that memory works, and that the other individual had recalled the event in the intervening [Read More…]

The Gray Candidate

I suppose I could have spiced up the title of this post even more and talked about 50 shades of grey candidate. Looking for a candidate whose reputation suggests that they are something more than human is looking for something other than the real human beings who run for office and participate in the political [Read More…]

Paul the Programmer

I found this SMBC comic funny, even though its view of Paul’s proclamation is problematic. Paul didn’t even call his message or the movement it expressed “Christianity.” And he was adamant that the gospel he proclaimed was about grafting Gentiles into the tree whose roots were the ancestors of the Jews. Yet the programming analogy still has [Read More…]

Teach a Church to Think

If you haven’t been following the Religion Bulletin series “So You’re Not a Priest? Scholars Explain What They Do to Outsiders,” you should. Here is a quote from the recent post in the series by Justin Henry: [P]erhaps my approach does resemble that of one eminent theologian, Paul the Apostle. Nicholas Wright argues that Paul’s theology [Read More…]

Jesus as Son of God

Larry Hurtado posted last month on the title “son of God” in Paul’s writings. I thought that it would make sense to schedule a post about it to coincide with the 2016 Enoch Seminar meeting on John’s Christology and Jewish Messianism. Hurtado wrote: The consistent feature in all of these references, however, is the use of the [Read More…]

A Fundamentalist Response to Paul

From Jacob Wright on Facebook comes this nice piece, imagining what a modern fundamentalist might be expected to say, if Paul said the kinds of things that he said in his time today: “APOSTLE PAUL EXPOSED!” A fundamentalist response to Paul’s preaching to the Athenians in Acts 17: In Acts 17, Paul is invited before [Read More…]

Philippians and Pharisees

I’m not sure why it never struck me before, but I just recently realized that Paul’s mention in Philippians about his being or having been a Pharisee ought to get more attention. Paul assumes that the Philippians know what a Pharisee is. Perhaps we can assume that he told them on some previous occasion. But it might also [Read More…]

Mythicism and Mysticism

Mythicism has done a pretty good job of spreading the idea that all the information Paul and others had about Jesus was gleaned from visions. That claim doesn’t fit the evidence. We certainly do have evidence that the genre of the apocalyptic vision was popular among Christians as among other Jews. But that is a literary [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…]