April 22, 2019

It can sometimes seem that Christian and non-Christian perspectives, religious and secular perspectives, academic and devotional perspectives, can find little common ground. Progressive Christian are committed to building bridges and at least listening to other perspectives, while also articulating our own stance with confidence and conviction. There is no one “progressive Christian perspective” on Easter or resurrection. But here is one progressive Christian perspective, in the form of an excerpt from a blog post Jim Burklo wrote: Jesus’ fan club… Read more

April 21, 2019

The key question of Easter is not one that historians can answer. Did God vindicate Jesus beyond death? But that doesn’t mean historical research is irrelevant to everything to do with Easter. As one example, Phillip Jenkins blogged about the ending of the Gospel of Mark, drawing much the same conclusion as I do about connections between a lost ending, the Gospel of Peter, and chapter 21 of the Gospel of John. See my book The Burial of Jesus for my views… Read more

April 20, 2019

When I shared yesterday’s blog post on Facebook, I added some words, which I want to also share here, to provide further opportunity for discussion and input from blog readers. I already had the post scheduled for yesterday, based on conversation about the Gospel of John in my Sunday school class last weekend. There is no way to talk about the imagery in the Gospel of John, the timing of the crucifixion, and other related matters without talking about Passover. And… Read more

April 19, 2019

Working through the Gospel of John in my Sunday school class, we conveniently reached the passion narrative close to Holy Week. Of course, we’ll still be talking about these texts for weeks to come, and so it is not as though there’s a precise alignment. But there is still something nice about having this sort of convergence occur. We considered what appears to be John’s creative change to the timing of Jesus’ last supper and crucifixion, making the final meal… Read more

April 18, 2019

As someone who is always on the lookout for neologisms that combine two words in punny fashion, it took me a moment to register that the word “anointment” is just an already-existing everyday word, and one that I already knew somewhere in the back of my mind, although I don’t use it often and so it took me a moment. But even so, it is probably the best word to use when talking about Jesus being anointed with ointment. It… Read more

April 17, 2019

Anthony Le Donne returned to the ReligionProf podcast to talk about his multivolume book project, Gods of Thrones, about religion on the television show Game of Thrones as well as the underlying novels. Anthony also recorded a Homebrewed Christianity podcast episode on this topic: Anthony Le Donne: Learning Religion in the Game of Thrones Jana Riess also blogged about religion on Game of Thrones. Anthony and I also talk quite a bit about canon in this episode of the podcast, and… Read more

April 16, 2019

Students regularly submit assignments in which the name Pilate is spelled Pilot. That shows they haven’t done reading or something worse. But puns along these lines are a different story. I found myself asking my Sunday school class to think about how they envisage the Gospel authors composing their accounts of Jesus before Pilate. Where did they get their information? Why are they different? It is worth digging into such details and the processes that might have led to the… Read more

April 15, 2019

There is a double entendre in Mark 11:3 and its parallels, in phrasing that remains fairly consistent across the Gospels, perhaps for that reason. The Greek text says  Ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ χρείαν ἔχει, which is usually translated in one of the two possible ways that it could be, “The Lord has need of it.” But the reader of the text in English may miss the other possible meaning of the Greek text. The word that means “of it” comes after… Read more

April 14, 2019

It would have been easy for someone interested in the Mandaeans and related topics to miss that an article about “the truffle-hunters of Baghdad” would give them a significant mention. Here’s the relevant section of the article by Chloe Cornish (which is worth reading in its entirety): I find another trace of ancient Baghdad by its great river. Turning an aubergine over a gas flame with his fingers, Anmar Ayib, a 30-year-old Mandaean sheikh, prepares a late lunch. Time is… Read more

April 13, 2019

Call for Abstracts Black Panther and Philosophy Edited by Edwardo Pérez and Timothy E. Brown The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series Call for Abstracts: Black Panther and Philosophy Abstracts and subsequent essays should be philosophically substantial but accessible, written to engage the intelligent lay reader. Contributors of accepted essays will receive an honorarium. While this volume will feature the signature blend of philosophy and popular culture (and humor) the series is known for, it will also explore Black Panther as… Read more

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