The Testimonia Flaviana at the Midwest SBL

I made it to just a tiny bit of the Midwest Society of Biblical Literature conference this year in February. I was scheduled to participate in a panel review of Urban von Wahlde’s book, Gnosticism, Docetism, and the Judaisms of the First Century, my contribution to which I shared here on the day I also shared it [Read More…]

The Brilliance of Mythicism

I’ve sometimes heard people deride young-earth creationists, mythicists, and various others as “stupid.” But that is grossly unfair. Whether someone is wrong need not and often does not correlate with their intelligence or lack thereof. Indeed, it can require astounding mental acumen to find ways to defend one’s viewpoint against impressive counter-evidence. For an extreme illustration [Read More…]

The Josephus Problem

The above video was drawn to my attention by a friend. It is nice to know that there are people for whom the “Josephus problem” is not something related to the Testamonium Flavianum or the mention of James the brother of Jesus, but something with real world practical implications. Can you guess what the “Josephus [Read More…]

Bible Odyssey T-Shirt

  I brought along my Bible Odyssey “I Love Josephus” t-shirt on my trip to the Holy Land, thinking it would be perfect to wear to Masada (and of course also to Qumran, as seen in the photo above). I was pleased that several people noticed the shirt and were struck by it enough to [Read More…]

Josephus and the Burial of the Crucified

I had a wonderful conversation recently, which lasted for hours and only ended because of concern about severe weather. It was with Matt Kovacs and Arick Mittler, formerly of Miami Valley Skeptics, now working on another project. We talked about a number of points which I cover in my book The Burial of Jesus, but [Read More…]

A Sign of Maturity

“It is a sign of maturity when we stop trying to make everyone into clones of ourselves (whether they be our students, children, or employees) and begin to appreciate them for who they are. We are invariably rewarded when we make the effort to encounter another person in his or her integrity.” – Steve Mason [Read More…]

Mandaeans: Mysteries and Misunderstandings

The Mandaeans and related topics have gotten mentions in the blogosphere and elsewhere online recently, and so I thought I would round up some of those instances: Brian LePort has been teaching about John the Baptist, and in the process, has been diving into the Mandaean sources. Tony Burke noted, as did I, the Mandaeans [Read More…]

The Bible’s Cutting Room Floor

I’m delighted that St. Martin’s Press sent me an advance reading copy of Joel M. Hoffman’s book The Bible’s Cutting Room Floor: The Holy Scriptures Missing From Your Bible. The book is due out September 2nd, and will be of interest to many readers of this blog. It can be pre-ordered on Amazon in both [Read More…]

Jesus the Exception?

While I was traveling recently, lots more appeared in the blogosphere related to the historical Jesus in general, and Bart Ehrman’s book on Christology in particular. Larry Hurtado had a review of the latter published. Jonathan Burke blogged about whether Jesus existed. Cassandra Farrin discussed Jesus’ unique voiceprint. Bart Ehrman has had a series of [Read More…]

Abortion and the Bible

It is common for people to think that the Bible contains clear teaching about abortion. This state of affairs goes back at least as far as Flavius Josephus in the first century. He wrote in Contra Apion II, 202: “The law, moreover, enjoins us to bring up all our offspring, and forbids women to cause abortion [Read More…]