Review of Bart Ehrman, Jesus Before the Gospels

My review of Bart Ehrman’s recent book, Jesus Before the Gospels, has appeared in Review of Biblical Literature. I have shared the review on Academia.edu for those who may not subscribe to RBL. Here is an excerpt: Early in the book Ehrman justly emphasizes the relative neglect of recent work on the psychology of memory by New [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…]

Test Your Memory of the Memory Conference

Chris Keith and Steve Walton drew attention to the videos that have been made available of the papers read at the conference about memory and Jesus at St. Mary’s University. I’m delighted these have been made available, since I wanted to attend the conference but was unable to. But what I’d really like is for [Read More…]

The Gist of Jesus

It has been interesting teaching my course on the historical Jesus again. Even in the few years that have passed since the last time I taught it, the strong shift in the academy away from an older approach to the subject has been very noticeable. Much of this is due to the impact of the work [Read More…]

Review of Eric Eve, Behind the Gospels

Behind the Gospels: Understanding the Oral Tradition: Understanding the Oral Tradition. Eve’s book is probably one of the most important books related to the historical Jesus and the Gospels to be published in recent years, since it brings together and evaluates the full range of New Testament scholars who have offered proposals in recent years related [Read More…]

Memory and the Reception of Jesus in Early Christianity

St. Mary’s University is planning a conference for June 2016 on “Memory and the Reception of Jesus in Early Christianity.” There are no further details at this point. The information was shared by John Daniels, who blogs at Cultural Jesus. It looks like it will overlap with the Enoch Seminar event focused on John’s Christology, scheduled for [Read More…]

Myth and Memory

On his blog Genealogy of Religion, Cris Campbell talks about reading Colin Calloway’s book One Vast Winter Count: The Native American West before Lewis and Clark. The crux of the post can be summed up by quoting Campbell: I have no doubt that indigenous oral traditions are remarkable repositories of deep history and ancient knowledge. They are [Read More…]

Jesus’ Thinking and Theology

While they may have genuinely thought they were being skeptical and critical, from our later vantage point, it seems that those who felt that we cannot say anything about Jesus’ own statements and views, but only those of the later church, were rather giving expression to their reverence for Jesus as a figure who still [Read More…]

Remembering Without Recording

Judy Redman has posted a reply to my own post about memory and orality yesterday. Judy writes: I agree that having composed something doesn’t mean that you will remember it word for word. I do think, however, that when a person has composed a story to illustrate a particular point, s/he is much more likely [Read More…]

Verbatim Memory, Orality, and the Historical Jesus

Judy Redman has been offering a wonderful series on memory and the historical Jesus. In the most recent post, part 4, Judy wrote the following about verbatim memory: In addition, having been quite pessimistic about our ability to prove the authenticity of any Jesus tradition or to have the actual words of Jesus, both here [Read More…]