June 20, 2022

Q. One of the things that recurs in your study is the fact that differences in the Gospel accounts, and in this case particularly in the passion and resurrection narratives rather than being a weakness, are actually a historical strength, because they bear witness to the fact that there were a variety of traditions, oral and written, not just one tradition that was copied by the other evangelists. Certainly, the unique stories in Matthew and Luke about the crucifixion and... Read more

June 19, 2022

6/16/1974— Father’s Day Today is Father’s Day. Have we fulfilled our duty to God, in our homes, to our neighbors as fathers?  It seems today there are sinister forces, the Devil and his imps, that have attached themselves to our society and are trying to destroy our homes and family life. We need to go back to God’s Word and learn once again how to build and run a successful home. We need to pick up the Bible and discover... Read more

June 19, 2022

Q. In regard to the triumphal entry and the ‘cleansing’ of the temple, I agree with your reading of those actions. They are deliberate and deliberately provocative. I would call them prophetic sign acts. If Jesus had disciples of zealotic tendencies, I would expect they would see these actions as signaling that Jesus was coming to take over and establish himself as king/messiah in Jerusalem. When this not only didn’t happen (see Lk. 24— ‘we had hoped (past tense) he... Read more

June 18, 2022

Q. Let’s talk for a minute about the event at Caesarea Philippi. It has always seemed to me that the proper question to ask about why Jesus took them there to reveal his identity, has to do with the fact that various pagan gods had been worshipped there, and of course there is the new temple of Augustus. I agree with Tom Wright that Jesus took them there to say ‘I am the reality of which these pagan gods are... Read more

June 17, 2022

Q. And not just any sort of ‘church’ showed up but a highly patriarchal one justified by what Jesus is attested to have said to Peter at Caesarea Philippi in Matthew (but not in Mark or Luke). Recently, in a commentary on Luke which I did with A.J. Levine for Cambridge (the first ever commentary by Jewish and Christian persons together on a Gospel) and we had a big debate about the role of women mentioned in Lk. 8.1-3— are... Read more

June 16, 2022

Q. Jesus’ choice of the particular 12 he did choose—four fishermen, one or two tax collectors, one or two former zealots of some sort seems in itself an unlikely grouping of persons, indeed a grouping of persons already at odds with one another. Would you see this as some sort of statement of ‘can’t we all just get along’ and love our neighbors even our enemies? In short, would you see this as an enacted parable of what the kingdom... Read more

June 15, 2022

We’ve already had occasion to laud the new Top Gun movie which came out last month, and so far is the best summer action movie of all those on offer.  This blog post will focus on Downton Abbey and the Professor and the Madman. The latter was doomed by Covid to not show up in the theaters in 2020-21, and so I saw it on the plane coming home from Istanbul.  It involves a true story about how the OED,... Read more

June 15, 2022

Q. Jesus’ concern for the least, the last, and the lost has sometimes been interpreted to mean that he endorsed some form of communism (in some liberation theological texts), not merely communalism. The problem with that notion is severalfold: 1) Jesus is not endorsing a governmental program of the redistribution of goods, he is calling his own disciples to follow what the OT already said about taking care of the widows, the orphans and the poor, and he believes he... Read more

June 14, 2022

Q. As for the Son of Man material I remember Charlie Moule saying that we should not equate the phrase ‘the Son of Man’ with more generic uses of the phrase ‘ben Adam’ etc. not least because the phrase is actually bar enosh, in Aramaic and does not seem to be an allusion to Adam like the phrase ‘a son of humanity’ can be. He argued that the definite article in front of the phrase was retrospective referring to ‘the... Read more

June 13, 2022

Q. As time has gone on, I have found the translation as kingdom for malkuta/baseleia less and less plausible and helpful. The English word always conveys a place, whereas often the word seems to refer to an activity, on Jesus’ lips the final divine saving activity at last breaking into human history, particularly the history of God’s people. I don’t find the term ‘reign’ which is more static as helpful as ‘saving activity’ because the term is not talking about... Read more

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