John the Jew: The 2016 Enoch Seminar in Camaldoli, Italy

The 2016 Enoch Seminar on Johannine Christology as Jewish messianism has begun, meeting not only the same building but the same room in which the Florentine Platonic Academy was born. I am delighted to have the opportunity to participate in it, and indeed to offer one of two introductory papers trying to set the stage [Read More…]

The Scepter and the Star

I am grateful to Eerdmans for having sent me a free review copy of the second edition of John J. Collins’ book The Scepter and the Star: Messianism in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Anyone familiar with the first edition will already know that the book at the very least retains its value even [Read More…]

The Permeability of Scripture

The Bible’s edges blur into the world around it. There is no human encounter with a text that does not involve that person interpreting what they read, which in turn connects with their upbringing, their culture, their language, and many other aspects of the world around them. On the composition end, the Bible also blurs into the [Read More…]

Son of Man

I’ve been wondering for some time whether extreme skepticism of the depiction of Jesus even in our earliest sources hasn’t gone too far. A number of scholars have been bringing the pendulum back the other way. Bart Ehrman, for instance, thinks that Jesus thought himself to be the Messiah. If we remove all such views and [Read More…]

Inspired by the Flood Story

The above featurette about the making of the ark for the upcoming movie Noah has gotten me much more excited about the movie than I was before. It is not the first adaptation of the flood story to take creative license. That is, in actual fact, what the Bible’s flood story did with earlier versions. [Read More…]

Did Paul Have a Distinctive Christology? Did He Think of Jesus as a Pre-Existent Human Being?

In a recent blog post, Larry Hurtado noted Morton Smith's observation that Christology never turns up as an issue between Paul and the more conservative Jewish Christian groups that he interacted with directly and indirectly, centered in Jerusalem. And so this seems to confirm that Paul did not take a Jewish Messianic figure and turn [Read More…]

Is the Oldest Science Fiction in the Talmud?

Anthony Le Donne suggested on his blog (and in a recent conference paper) that a story in the Babylonian Talmud, in b. Menaḥoth 29b, might be the first science fiction story. In it, Moses time travels to Rabbi Akiba’s time. But is time travel enough to make a story science fiction? I’ve long pondered this topic, namely [Read More…]