May 16, 2017

  About a week ago, an acquaintance of mine on Facebook—himself formerly active in several prominent Charismatic Christian circles—made a post that presented some highly suggestive evidence that a popular Christian minister and “prophet” within the Charismatic community, Shawn Bolz, is, for lack of a better word, a fraud. Now, to many of those in the skeptic community, the style of preaching and (supposed) prophecy that Shawn Bolz delivers will be familiar. He offers messages of encouragement to his audience, which he claims actually… Read more

April 15, 2017

  This week, leading up to Easter Sunday, I’ve been working on comprehensive post that lays out the current academic and critical status quaestionis on the issue of the resurrection of Jesus. In the meantime though, there was an interesting incident that happened on the Christianity subreddit on Reddit (which I’ll refer to as “/r/Christianity” from here on): one that I think has a broader relevance that ties in nicely with this line of research. It started a couple of days ago,… Read more

March 17, 2017

  It’s become somewhat of a modern journalistic tradition for several articles to come out around St. Patrick’s Day that attempt to shed light on the various legends that have emerged over the centuries concerning the well-known patron saint of Ireland, who’s lent his name (and perhaps also, according to certain folk traditions, his penchant for drink) to the holiday. A particular point of fascination has been the origins of the legend of Patrick’s having driven all the snakes out of Ireland—surely one of the most… Read more

March 16, 2017

Or How Exactly is Progressive Christianity Not “Working”? Thoughts on Allison Lynch’s “Here’s Why Progressive Christianity Just Doesn’t Work”   For months now, I’ve sat in front of the keyboard and tried to churn out a reasonably succinct piece—one that outlines exactly where I think various views and approaches that fly under the broad rubric “progressive Christianity” go wrong, or where the entire enterprise does. It never worked. Any time I started, an hour would go by, and then two, and I’d be left with what… Read more

March 8, 2017

  The past few years, I’ve gone from studying early Christianity and the Bible from a purely historical standpoint, to becoming deeply invested in the broader philosophical and theological stakes here—in short, from “what did the early Christians believe?” to “and is it true?” Now, to be sure, I’ve never been a believer, for as long as I’ve had the capacity to even imagine that Christianity might not be true. But in more recent times, I’ve come to a radically different view of what… Read more

January 4, 2017

Or Women in the Apostle Paul’s Anthropology: the Image of God, Once Removed?   I once told Nehama [Leibowitz] that the Abravanel does not believe that woman was created in the image of God. At first she said, ‘No!’ and I said, ‘Yes.’ Then she said, ‘Show me.’ When I did, she whispered, ‘Don’t tell anyone!’ (Yaakov Fogelman, quoted in Yael Unterman, Nehama Leibowitz: Teacher and Bible Scholar, 297)     I would suggest that the Declaration [Inter Insigniores] was most prudent in quickly… Read more

December 28, 2016

  Over the past several years, I’ve gotten the impression that many people believe the idea of Biblical inerrancy—that the Bible is totally free from error, whether in its ethical teachings, its historical claims, or perhaps even its claims about the natural world more generally¹—to be a particularly Protestant notion, or a particularly fundamentalist or even American Protestant notion, associated with Southern Baptism and other types of so-called evangelical Christianity. We could certainly venture a few educated guesses as to why this is. Perhaps first and foremost,… Read more

December 27, 2016

Or “‘The world was gloomy before I won’: Trump and Messianism between Conspiracy and Parody”   Over the past couple of days, the blogosphere and other social media has been abuzz in response to the Republican National Committee’s 2016 Christmas message, written by Chairman Reince Priebus. The message—in which both author and audience are clearly assumed to share the same Christian identity—begins Over two millennia ago, a new hope was born into the world, a Savior who would offer the promise of salvation to all mankind. Just… Read more

December 8, 2016

  I spend a lot of time talking religion and theology in pretty literate, mostly progressive Christian communities online. Despite a chunk of the typical postings being totally outside my wheelhouse (prayer requests and such), they’re among the few places to discuss the history of Christianity with any regularity. I say mostly progressive because these communities are pretty big, and invariably attract a lot of other voices besides just progressive ones. Maybe it all evens out to where it’d be more accurate to say that, taken as a whole, these communities… Read more

December 1, 2016

  I started writing this just as a summary and analysis of an interesting (and potentially greatly important) new article on the Biblical flood published in the journal Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft: Idan Dershowitz’ “Man of the Land: Unearthing the Original Noah.” However, at one point I kinda realized that Dershowitz’ article is part of a bigger history and narrative here—one worth telling more fully. So I’m going to split this up into at least two parts, with this first part just exploring… Read more

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