No, this post isn’t about a newly-discovered extracanonical text. It is good news regarding yours truly (using ‘the lesser’ to distinguish myself from my doctoral supervisor, James Dunn). My second book has been accepted for publication by the University of Illinois Press! The title is The Only True God, and it will look at Christology and monotheism in early Christianity and its Jewish context, including some studies of relevant information from Jewish works several centuries earlier and later, in an… Read more

In our day and age many Christians, including very prominent ones, have chosen a lifestyle that is fundamentally at odds with their claim to be Christians. This is a lifestyle choice I am talking about – it is not something genetic, something innate, something inevitable. It is a sin that is so abominable that it is condemned uncategorically in both Testaments. I am speaking, of course, of the tendency in particular among American Christians, and particularly among our leaders, to… Read more

My review of Larry Hurtado’s latest book, The Earliest Christian Artifacts: Manuscripts and Christian Origins, has just been published in the online Review of Biblical Literature. The book makes a major important point, and does so well, namely that the actual manuscripts of early Christian literature, their physical features and characteristics, are largely unknown to most scholars of early Christianity in anything other than a superficial way. Hurtado’s invitation to remedy this is so important that, in my review, I… Read more

It is not only in relation to the origins of the Israelites that DNA evidence has the potential to solve longstanding mysteries about the origins of a people group. Since the colonial era, when light-skinned Europeans took control of India, it has seemed plausible to many European scholars to interpret the Vedas as reflecting the culture of a people who, like their European cousins, invaded India and took control of it away from other, darker-skinned human beings. Although challenges to… Read more

SNTS (usually referred to as the ‘Society for New Testament Studies’ by English speakers, although it is technically the STUDIORUM NOVI TESTAMENTI SOCIETAS) apparently held its annual meeting this year in Sibiu, Romania, which is my wife’s home town. It would have been nice to go, but for that to have happened, I would have needed to know about it. As someone who aspires to perhaps be a member someday, I will say that SNTS needs to work on improving… Read more

There is an interesting interview of Alister McGrath by Richard Dawkins that is available on Google Video, an interview that never made it into Dawkins’ program The Root Of All Evil:Dawkins says he wants to give McGrath the opportunity to say something intelligent. McGrath does so, but it doesn’t get into the film. Dawkins even says that he acknowledges that McGrath rightly criticized him (!) for misconstruing what Christians like him mean by ‘faith’. McGrath’s explanation of what he means… Read more

I’m currently involved in a discussion on the Uncommon Descent blog, and while my post there awaits moderation, I thought I’d share it here.Since those in the natural sciences would generally not consider my field a science (except perhaps in Germany, where it is all Wissenschaft), I won’t get entangled in a debate about the definition of science. [In my religion and science class today we discussed Schafersman’s famous piece on the subject, and found it helpful but also problematic]…. Read more

It has been a while since I’ve been able to devote any serious time to my investigations into my family history. High on the list of priorities is learning Slovak and improving my Hungarian, so that I can do research on the only other theologian that I am aware of in my family’s history. Joszef Repaszky was the canon of Kosice cathedral in the 19th century and the author of quite a few books as well as a regular contributor… Read more

I’ve now had the privilege of witnessing total eclipses of both the sun and moon during optimal viewing conditions. Although solar eclipses are somewhat more spectacular, watching the earth’s shadow move across the moon was still a great experience – as was hearing our neighborhood screech owl’s reaction, and getting a better view of the Pleiades than I had before.I remember the dismay I felt hearing a Baptist preacher in Romania claim that the 1999 eclipse was a “supernatural event”,… Read more

In my next religion and science class, we’ll be discussing Steven Schafersman’s “An Introduction to Science: Scientific Thinking and the Scientific Method.” This piece, which the author has made available online, is intended to do what some science textbooks skip, namely introduce the scientific method, which Schafersman considers to be applicable to all disciplines and domains, and which he identifies as the same thing as critical thinking. There is a certain degree of tension in the piece, as he seeks… Read more

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