April 11, 2019

Mike Bird recently undertook the exercise of assembling Paul’s scattered references to the story of Jesus into a narrative whole, using the wording as found in his letters. The result is interesting, to say the least. Mike offers two versions of Paul’s “story of Jesus” created from a pastiche of specific excerpts from Paul’s letters. Here is one of them: The gospel concerning his Son, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, who he promised beforehand… Read more

April 10, 2019

This week on the ReligionProf podcast I was delighted to have Robert Geraci appear as a guest, speaking from where he currently is in Bangalore, about the research projects that led to him being there. Robert and I share longstanding interests in the intersection of religion, science fiction, and/or technology. When it comes to the latter, AI has been a particular focus for us both. Below you’ll find a range of links to interesting content that explores these themes, as… Read more

April 9, 2019

I am long overdue to blog about the movie Doctor Strange, which I watched quite some time ago. As someone interested in the intersection of religion and popular culture, its exploration of science and skepticism, magic and mysticism, immediately got my attention. Basically the same thing happened with Doctor Strange that happened with Batman vs. Superman – I took notes while watching the movie, and then didn’t promptly turn those notes into a blog post. And so as I did… Read more

April 8, 2019

Matt Brake wrote a wonderful post exploring a central question raised by the story Silence by Shusaku Endo, made into a film by Martin Scorsese. Matt writes: I can’t help but think that Rodrigues’ ultimate sacrifice—giving up the hopes of eternal life—for the sake of these Japanese villagers is an act of love that would speak in a powerfully Christ-like manner to all observers and to all of those who heard about it. And if this is the case, what… Read more

April 7, 2019

As I unwisely allowed myself to get dragged into a conversation on another blog with someone whose behavior led to him being banned from this one, I was struck again by the difficulty that many mythicists seem to have with distinguishing between the question of Jesus’ existence, and the question of whether certain ancient sources, and/or certain contemporary apologists, make accurate claims about that ancient figure. And so of course my thoughts turned to the bacterial flagellum. I’ve made comparisons… Read more

April 6, 2019

Inside Higher Ed featured an article on a subject that is near and dear to my heart. It is one of three “F words” that they focused on. In this case, I am referring to “fun,” and here’s what they said on the subject that is directly relevant to my interest in gamification: One of the greatest impediments to great teaching is the assumption that boredom is an indicator of rigor. Not only does this idea fail under the slightest… Read more

April 5, 2019

Details have been announced about the 2019 ΘeoCon, which this year will take place at Messiah College in Pennsylvania on September 28th. I’m including the general information about the event from the website below. But before moving on to that, let me first ask if any other academics with an interest in the intersection of pop culture and theology might have an interest in putting a panel together. If so, let me know. Otherwise, feel free to propose a standalone… Read more

April 4, 2019

I was very happy to receive a message from the pastor of my church, Rev. Mark Pittman (of Crooked Creek Baptist Church), in response to reading my book The Burial of Jesus: What Does History Have to Do With Faith?, published by Patheos Press (in ebook format, second edition). Here’s what he said: James, just finished a cover-to-cover-one- sitting-binge-reading of your The Burial of Jesus. I appreciated the early NT101 chapters as you lay the groundwork for your later conclusions. Really… Read more

April 3, 2019

My guest on the podcast this week is my Butler University colleague Dr. Deborah Saxon. She speaks with such enthusiasm about the importance of extracanonical Gospels and other such texts not merely as an academic interest, but for the church. I hope that her words are heard far and wide. One of the great things about having a blog as well as a podcast is the opportunity to embed additional content alongside the audio recording. And so to start with,… Read more

April 2, 2019

Fantastic Religions and Where to Find Them Deities, Myths and Rites in Science Fiction and Fantasy July 2-6, 2019 Velletri (Rome) Call for Papers https://networks.h-net.org/node/73374/announcements/3818379/fantastic-religions-and-where-find-them-deities-myths-and-rites The conference purports to be an occasion for an interdisciplinary discussion about the representation of religions in Fantasy and Science Fiction literary production and in any possible artistic manifestation connected to the two genres. The themes the conference intends to tackle are the following: Representation of “historical” religions. Why does an author represent them in… Read more

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