Following up on yesterday’s post, I remembered a blog post that I wrote more than a decade ago, about things that I had learned from the experience of living and teaching in Romania, which relate directly to areas that I research and teach. One of them was rumors. Looking back now I regret having given the impression that the spread of rumors was something specific to that culture or absent from my own – we have seen very clearly in recent… Read more

Daniel Wallace, Craig Evans, and others have done significant harm not only to Christian apologetics but to conservative Christian claims about the resurrection. What do I mean? As commenter Beau Quilter has pointed out, the legend/rumor of a first century fragment of the Gospel of Mark makes abundantly clear how stories can circulate and grow, and be repeated with confidence even by sources that should be credible, and yet turn out to be completely unsubstantiated. This is something that I… Read more

For those inclined to discuss whether certain laws are “biblical,” a tweet from Rev. James Martin is worth considering: It is not biblical to treat migrants and refugees like animals. It is not biblical to take children away from their parents. It is not biblical to ignore the needs of the stranger. It is not biblical to enforce unjust laws. Do not use the Bible to justify sin. — James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) June 14, 2018 If the tweet… Read more

I previously shared a quote from Robert Weston that is worth revisiting. Here is a small part of it: Doubt is the touchstone of truth; it is an acid which eats away the false. Let no one fear for the truth, that doubt may consume it; for doubt is a testing of belief. The truth stands boldly and unafraid; it is not shaken by the testing; For truth, if it be truth, arises from each testing stronger, more secure. Those… Read more

I received an invitation recently to submit a manuscript which I felt I should share, despite the warning not to do so at the bottom of the email. Sending me an unsolicited email seems to invalidate any demand in a disclaimer of the sort at the bottom. Here is the email:   Dear Dr. Mcgrath, We have learned of your published research on prayer and would like to invite you to participate in our publishing program. To learn more about… Read more

Seeing the Inside Higher Ed piece about the Twitter hashtag  #womenalsoknowhistory, which then led me to the Chronicle of Higher Education article about the website by the same name, I found myself thinking about my own field, which includes many historians as well as scholars who use historical tools as part of a more diverse palette of methods. I think that some additional hashtags such as #womenalsoknowreligion and #womenalsoknowbible are called for. There is already a website highlighting the work of… Read more

Pete Enns recently mentioned time travel in connection with a tension between stories about how David and Saul first met: It’s possible that Saul is simply a moron, like the boss who can’t seem to remember the name of the mailroom guy—but that explanation just doesn’t feel right. In chapter 17, David came out of nowhere, slayed the giant, and neither Commander Abner nor King Saul knew him, and so David introduced himself to the king. David doesn’t answer, “Uh …. Read more

Steve Wiggins wrote about encountering fundamentalist Christian billboards along the road: One of the problems with driving is that you can’t get pictures of billboards. Well, given the way people drive around here, I suspect that may not always be true. Nevertheless, I always think of billboards as trying to sell something. There’s sometimes fairly easy to shut out, but in long stretches of otherwise uninteresting road you fall into their trap. Now having grown up in western Pennsylvania, we… Read more

The Forschungsstelle für Aramäische Studien at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main and its director, Prof. Dr Dorothea Weltecke, are glad to announce the upcoming seminar “Textual Criticism and Scholarly Editing of Syriac Sources: Ongoing Projects, Current Issues and Methods in Practice”, an international workshop on ecdotical methods and approaches in textual criticism of Syriac and Garshuni texts organized by Dr Simone Isacco Maria Pratelli and funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. Venue: Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main (Germany), Campus Westend Dates: Saturday 07,… Read more

I have not been directly involved with the fragment that had been touted some years ago (and since) as part of the Gospel of Mark that purportedly dated from the first century. Its publication has been announced, and it is dated to the second to third century. Here in this post I’ll try to briefly summarize, highlight, and/or link to some of the most important blog posts and other sources of information with relevant details, for those interested in finding… Read more

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