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Looking Ahead to Christmas: A Blast from the Past

With the passing of Thanksgiving, Christmas season has now officially arrived (whether that brings you joy, despair, or indifference!).   Here is a post that I made exactly four years, prompted in part by my decision to publish an edition of “other” Gospels (that did not make it into the New Testament, including some that deal with the birth of Jesus.

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Right now I have the “other” Gospels on my mind.   It’s true, I often have them on my mind, since they ...

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Does a Person Need the Holy Spirit to Interpret the Bible? Is John’s Gospel Accurate? Readers Mailbag August 7, 2016

Does a person need to “have the Holy Spirit” in order to interpret the Bible?  And does the Gospel of John give a historically accurate accounting of the teachings of Jesus?  These are the two questions I will be dealing with on this week’s Readers’ Mailbag.  If you have any questions, simply ask them as a comment to any of the posts on the blog, and I’ll add them to the list.

 

QUESTION:

How do you respond to those who say “you ...

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The End of Time in Revelation and the Gospel of John

I have been arguing that the author of the Fourth Gospel and the author of the book of Revelation could not have been the same person, and in looking back at my posts I realize that I have left out an important point, one of the strongest arguments that we are dealing with two different people.   The theology of these two books is radically different on an issue that is completely central to both of them: their understanding of “eternal ...

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Did John Write the Fourth Gospel?

In my previous post I explained why the author of the book of Revelation, someone named John, was not claiming to be John the son of Zebedee and in fact probably was not John the son of Zebedee.   I also showed why this author was not the same one who produced the fourth Gospel, the Gospel of John.  Now I want to talk about the Gospel to show that it too was probably not written by John.

The first thing to ...

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Some Comments on the Gospel of John: (Based on John Spong’s Book). A Blast from the Past

A couple of people on the blog have suggested that as a feature of the blog, I periodically provide a Blast From the Past — that is, repost a blog post from a few years ago.  I think it’s a great idea.  My guess is that most people on the blog haven’t read everything from then, and if they have, if they’re like me, they won’t remember them!  So I decided to go back from three years ago today (well, ...

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Jesus’ Virgin Birth in Mark (Reader’s Mailbag February 26, 2016)

It is time for the weekly Readers’ Mailbag.  This week I will be dealing with only one question, one that I find particularly intriguing.  If you have any questions you would like me to answer, either in a comment or in the mailbag, let me know.  I can’t answer every question I get, either because I don’t know the answers (often enough!) or because I can’t get to them all.  But I take them all seriously and will do my ...

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Christ as Son of God in Mark’s Gospel

In my previous post I indicated that by the early fourth century, the debates over Christ’s divine nature had become extraordinarily sophisticated and complex (though not as sophisticated and complex as in the two centuries to follow!).  At the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE the question was over whether Christ, the God who created the world, was a subordinate divinity to God the Father, one who came into being at some point in time, or if, instead, he was ...

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Weekly Readers’ Mailbag: January 24, 2016

A day late, here is this (past) week’s Readers Mailbag.   I will be dealing with two questions this time, one on why Mark includes Aramaic words in his accounts of Jesus’ sayings and the other on where someone might find English versions of the surviving Greek manuscripts of the New Testament.  If you too have a question, simply ask it here as a comment, or send me an email, and I will add it to the list!

 

QUESTION:

Why is Mark sometimes ...

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The Myth of the First Christmas

Over the years I’ve been asked to write short articles on the meaning of Christmas for various news magazines.  Looking back at some of these articles makes me realize how many different views of the season seem to be competing with each other inside my head.  Or maybe I’ve just been in different moods!

I thought I would reproduce a couple of these articles on the blog.  The following is one I wrote a few years ago for the British journal ...

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Jesus and the Messianic Prophecies

In my previous post I started to explain why, based on the testimony of Paul, it appears that most Jews (the vast majority) rejected the Christian claim that Jesus was the messiah.  I have to say, that among my Christian students today (most of them from the South, most of them from conservative Christian backgrounds), this continues to be a real puzzle.  They genuinely can’t figure it out.

In their view, the Old Testament makes a number of predictions about the ...

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