Dr. James Tabor Puts Two of My Books in Elite Company

Dr. James Tabor Puts Two of My Books in Elite Company March 15, 2024


My Friend Dr. James Tabor

I have been a friend of Dr. James Tabor for about 40 years. Since 1989, he has been the Professor of Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He retired in 2022. Yet he continues his work by means of his Tabor Blog, producing videos, and perhaps still doing some archaeological work in the Holy Land, which he has done much in the past. The wikipedia article about him says, “Tabor is frequently consulted by the media on these topics and has appeared on numerous television and radio programs.”

Dr. James Tabor was born and raised in Texas. Thus, he also is known for his involvement in the Branch Davidian Tragedy that took place near Waco, Texas, on April 19, 1993. These Branch Davidians, as they called themselves, were a renegade offshoot of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church denomination which is centered somewhat on biblical apocalyptic and eschatology.

The FBI surrounded the buildings of the Branch Davidian compound–with the armed pastor David Koresh and his cult members inside–and set siege. A local radio station made telephone contact with David Koresh. He told the station he would relinquish arms and come out if he was first allowed some time over the airwaves to expound his apocalyptic beliefs, warning the world about a certain text in the book of Revelation.

That’s when Dr. James Tabor and his friend, Dr. Phillip Arnold of Houston, were called in to mediate the communication with Koresh. They felt they were making some progress with Koresh. But U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno gave Koresh a deadline to surrender. He didn’t do it. So, after three days of siege the FBI charged the place with gunfire erupting from both parties. The building immediately caught fire, and most of the approximately one hundred people inside died. James Tabor and Eugene Gallagher then wrote a book about it entitled Why Waco: Cults and the Battle for Religious Freedom in America? And in 2018, Paramount Pictures produced a miniseries about it.

Did the Apostle Paul Believe Jesus Was God?

Regarding Christianity, the apostle Paul wrote 1/4 of the Bible’s New Testament. So, this week Dr. Tabor released a video that he had just made in which he considers the question of whether or not the apostle Paul says anywhere in his NT writings that Jesus is God. Both James and I believe Paul does not.

Dr. Tabor begins this video by showing the front covers of six books that he recommends regarding this subject, and he includes among them my book, The Restitution: Biblical Proof Jesus Is NOT God (570 pp.). He says of it, “Kermit spent decades studying this question and published this very substantial book that goes into these questions from a very evangelical viewpoint.” He recommends it for “really delving into the question” of whether Jesus is God. James also says for those who want lighter reading, he shows the front cover of my new, 100-page primer on this subject and recommends it, which is entitled The Gospel Corrupted: When Jesus Was Made God.

The other books that Dr. Tabor recommends in this video on this subject are written by distinguished Bible scholars, and their books generally are regarded as among the best on the subject of whether Jesus is God and/or how the church came to believe that Jesus is God. So, I was elated that James included mention of my two books among these others. These books are: Bart Ehrman, How Jesus Became God; James D. G. Dunn, Christology in the Making; Barry Wilson, How Jesus Became Christian; Paula Fredrickson, From Jesus to Christ; Maurice Casey, From Jewish Prophet to Gentile God. Ehrman, who is James’s colleague at UNC, is probably the bestselling author on such books. And Dunn was regarded by his peers and publishers as the preeminent authority in the world on Christology, and also nearly so about Paul. As for Dr. Tabor, he has written several books by the best of publishers and many journal articles.

Click below to view Dr. Tabor’s video:

Preview YouTube video Did the Apostle Paul Believe that Jesus was God?
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