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The Conversion of Constantine and Beyond

I am now nearly finished discussing the Prospectus that I floated before several publishers this past summer for my new book The Triumph of Christianity.   My original idea, as you will see below, was to start with the earliest disciples of Jesus, right after his death, who came to think he had been raised from the dead – I’m happy to call them the “first Christians,” even though a lot of scholars object to calling anyone “Christian” until much later; ...

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Final Exam for New Testament Class (2016)

Let’s see how you do on my Final Exam!   Yesterday I gave the final for my Introduction to the New Testament class.   Here it is.   My sense is that as for every course, unless you actually take it, even if you know a good bit about the subject matter, it would be very hard to do well on the final, since, well, the final is geared specifically to the course.   But some of this is more or less “common knowledge” ...

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Why Christianity Succeeded

I have been laying out the Prospectus for my proposed book The Triumph of Christianity that I circulated to several publishers last summer, and I am now at the very heart of the matter, the explanation (as I saw it then) for why Christianity succeeded so massively in the Empire during its first three centuries.  Here is what I said:

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There were two key factors specific to Christianity that facilitated the growth of the Christian church.   These two factors ...

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My Debate with Richard Bauckham – Round 2

Here is round two (two out of two) of my debate with Richard J. Bauckham join on the radio show “Unbelievable,” a weekly program aired on UK Premier Christian Radio and hosted by Justin Brierley.  Richard was in the station’s London studio, I was on the phone.   Here we pursue other issues related to whether the Gospels of the NT represent distorted memories or if, for the most part, they can be trusted to be reliable because they are based ...

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The Death of Paul in Acts and Unrelated Topics: Readers’ Mailbag April 29, 2016

I will be dealing with three very different questions this week in my Weekly Readers’ Mailbag:  why does the book of Acts not narrate the deaths of Peter and Paul; what is the difference between the Day of Atonement and the Passover; and how I dealt with discrepancies and contradictions when I was an evangelical Christian in college.  If you have any questions for me to address, pass them along!

 

QUESTION:

If Acts was written after 75 CE why do you think ...

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The Early Growth of Christianity

I continue here the brief overview of the book that I’m now working on, The Triumph of Christianity.  To this point I have identified the problem that the book is trying to resolve (how Christianity grew from a small group of illiterate Jewish peasants from Galilee to becoming something like 10% of the entire Roman Empire within 300 years), some of the earlier attempts to solve the problem, and one of the fundamental issues involved, the movement from being a ...

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From Jewish Sect to Gentile Church

I have been discussing and excerpting the Prospectus I wrote this last summer on my book that I have tentatively titled, The Triumph of Christianity.  Here I discuss the beginning of the Christian mission, and how “Christianity” went from being a small Jewish sect to being a large number of gentile communities (with special emphasis on the work of Paul).

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  1. From Jew to Gentile: The Rise of Christianity (two chapters)

This section will discuss the very early years of the Christian movement ...

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Roman Religion as the Context for Christianity

I have started to indicate how I laid out my prospectus for my next book The Triumph of Christianity, as I developed the idea this past summer.  Remember: the prospectus was designed to get a publisher (or hopefully more than one) interested in publishing the book, and was based on, and presupposed, already a good bit of research.   The prospectus was to show what the book was to be about, why it is both interesting and important, and how it ...

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Bart Ehrman vs Richard Bauckham – Round 1

This is a debate I had on April 9, 2016  with Richard J. Bauckham, a well-known and influential British scholar who has written extensively on many of the areas of my own interest, the New Testament, the historical Jesus, and the non-canonical literature.   He is a fine scholar, and a conservative Christian, and I disagree with him on, well, so many things!

This was the first of a two-part debate that was hosted by Justin Brierley on his weekly radio show ...

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The Fear of Hell, Good Debaters, and the Name of God: Mailbag April 22, 2016

For this week’s readers’ mailbag I have chosen three unusually unrelated questions, one on whether we should be afraid of going to hell, one on how I prepare for public debates, and one on how we got the name Jehovah from the Hebrew name of God, YHWH.   This shows just how wide ranging your questions can be on this blog!   If you one you would like me to address in the future, let me know.

 

QUESTION:

What would you say to someone ...

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