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Adoptionistic Christologies

For some posts now I have been talking about “docetic” Christologies in the early church – views of Christ that said he was so much divine that he was not really a human – and about how these influenced proto-orthodox scribes who changed their texts of scripture in order to show that, by contrast, Christ really was a flesh and blood human being.   I would now like to shift to the other end of the theological spectrum to discuss Christological ...

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Problems with Patristic Evidence

Sorry not to have posted for a couple of days. I am out of the country and did not have the wifi connection that I was told I’d have. I confess, it was nice being incommunicado! But I’m back, for the duration I should think.

And to return to the topic of original conversation on this thread – before getting sidelined with all that discussion of Luke 3:22 — the importance, but problems, with patristic evidence (that is, citations of the ...

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The God Christ and the Jews

I should probably at some point provide a sketch of how my book How Jesus Became God will be structured and organized (I don’t *think* I’ve done that yet; I need to look).  In any event, in the second to last chapter  I show how by the fourth century there was a broad consensus that Jesus was God in a very concrete sense: he was co-eternal with God the Father (there never was a time before which he ...

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The Mayan Calendar, Y2K, and the Letter of Barnabas

You may have noticed that the world didn’t end two weeks ago, despite widespread anticipation. Sometimes things just don’t go as planned. It’s a strange phenomenon this expectation that the world is soon going to end; and if Christian fundamentalists and Mayan enthusiasts can’t get it right, who can?

When I was a fundamentalist back in the mid 70s, I – and all my friends – were sure that the end was going to come, with the reappearance of Jesus, before ...

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How to Date Documents, including Barnabas

QUESTION:

In a comment on my recent post on the letter of Barnabas, where I indicated that “it is almost certainly to be dated to the 130s CE (for reasons I could explain if anyone really wants to know….)” – one reader asked:

I, for one, would be quite interested in the how these various works are dated. Seems like it would be of utmost importance seeing as the date of composition all but decides the question of authorship. Even if it ...

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Why Was Barnabas Attributed to Barnabas: Part 2

In my last post but one, in starting to talk about why the anonymous Letter to Barnabas was attributed by early Christians to Barnabas, best known as a one of the closest companions of Paul, I talked mainly about the mid-second century philosopher/theologian-eventually-branded-arch-heretic Marcion. You may have wondered why. In this post I’ll tell you why.

VERY brief review. Recall, the letter of Barnabas is stridently anti-Jewish, claiming that the Jews never were the people of God because they had ...

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Why Was The Letter of Barnabas Attributed to Barnabas?

QUESTION:

So why was the Letter of Barnabas thought to have been written by Barnabas?

 

BACKGROUND:

This question was asked in reference to my discussion of “Gematria” in the Letter of Barnabas. For fuller background, if you’re interested, you should refer to this post: “Another Instance of Gematria (For Members)” (the search function on the blog is very good, btw; it is in the upper right hand corner of your screen).

In that post I note that the “Letter of Barnabas” was not actually ...

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Melito and arly Christian Anti-Judaism

I AM IN THE PROCESS OF MAKING THE PENULTIMATE EDITS ON MY MY BIBLE INTRODUCTION.  TODAY I HAD TO REVIEW AN EXCURSUS ON EARLY JEWISH-CHRISTIAN RELATIONS IN WHICH I DISCUSS THE RISE OF ANTI-JUDAISM IN THE EARLY CHURCH, IN CLUDING THIS BIT ON MELITO OF SARDIS.  I THOUGHT IT MIGHT BE WORTH POSTING HERE.

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Melito was a bishop of the city of Sardis in Asia Mino in the mid to late second century.  Today he is best known for a sermon ...

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Modern Interest in the Apostolic Fathers

An interest in the “church Fathers” emerged in Western Europe among humanists of the Renaissance, many of whom saw in the golden age of patristics their own forebears — cultured scholars imbued with the classics of Western Civilization, concerned with deep religious and philosophical problems. No wonder, then, that the humanists focused their attention on the writings of the “great” Fathers of the church such as Chrysostom, Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, the Cappadocians, and the like, while showing virtually no interest ...

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The Collection: Apostolic Fathers

About a week or so ago I talked about translating the Apostolic Fathers for the Loeb Classical Library. Some people have asked me to say more about the Apostolic Fathers. It may be useful to devote a couple of posts to this collection: when were these authors first gathered together? Who decides which books should be included in the corpus? On what grounds? Etc. For much of this I draw from the Introduction in my edition.

The term “apostolic father” first ...

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