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Fundamentalist Mistakes

When, three days ago, I posted my comments about the discovery of a two-page manuscript fragment of the Qur’an that, according to new reports, can be dated (technically, the parchment on which the text is written can be dated) to the lifetime of the prophet Mohammed or to a decade or so later, I had no idea that the post would be such a big deal.   The Facebook version of the post has had nearly245,000 hits. and counting.   Who would-a ...

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Google Cambridge Lecture on Forged

On April 7, 2011, I visited the Google Cambridge l in Cambridge, MA to discuss my book Forged. In my talk I explain how ancient writers sometimes falsely claimed to be a famous person in order to encourage people to read their books.   This practice of “literary forgery” was relatively common in the ancient world, but it was also widely condemned.  In my book I focus on instances of this practice in early Christianity — some of them ...

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A Milestone on the Blog

I am happy to announce a milestone in the life of the blog.

As everyone who has been on the blog for any length of time has heard me say ad nauseum, the principal reason I started the blog, and continue to do it, is not – is decidedly not – because I feel constantly driven to post my views about the intellectual matters that are important to me:  the historical Jesus, the writings of Paul, the formation of the New ...

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NC Bookwatch: Lost Christianities

While I’m on the issue of early Christian diversity, I thought it might be useful to post a video that I did over ten years ago now on my first book written to address that theme, Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew” .  On August 29, 2004, I was invited to appear on North Carolina Bookwatch, hosted by D.G. Martin. [Episode: 239]. In the discussion I talked about early (alternative) forms of Christianity and about ...

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Guest Post – Brent Nongbri on Manuscript Discoveries

Today we have a guest post – another one from Brent Nongbri, who, if you remember, did his PhD in New Testament at Yale and is currently an Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Fellow in the Department of Ancient History at MacQuarie University in Sydney Australia.  He is one of the leading researchers on ancient manuscripts in the world, and among his other many fine virtues, is a member of the blog.

You may recall that I raised the question a ...

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Kickstarting a Debate

I periodically get asked to have a public debate with a mythicist on the question of their real concern:  Did Jesus Exist?   I have regularly declined these offers, for a variety of reasons:

The question is not really a matter of dispute among experts, even though mythicists as a rule would like it to be and sometimes even insist it is. But the reality is this:  if you were to look at the program of the annual meeting of (the many ...

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The Dead Sea Scrolls

In my previous several posts I discussed the discovery and contents of the Nag Hammadi Library.  A lot of people on the blog know about all that, since it is a major topic of discussion among scholars of early Christianity.  But the reality is that among the general populace, no one really knows about it.  People may have heard about the “Gnostic Gospels,” but they don’t realize that there is such a *thing* as the Nag Hammadi Library (or, obviously, ...

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Mark Goodacre: Questioning the Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Library

A few days ago I posted about the Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Library, giving the remarkable story that scholars — for as long as I myself have been a scholar — have been telling about how it happened.  I also mentioned that my New Testament colleague at Duke, Mark Goodacre – who is on this blog and who has an important blog of his own, as well as the most important website on the New Testament on the entire ...

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What I Saw at St. Catherine’s Monastery

In my last post I began to relate an anecdote about a traveling adventure I had several years ago, when giving lectures for a UNC trip to Egypt and Jordan with a stop at the famed St. Catherine’s monastery in the southern part of the Sinai peninsula, the place where Tischendorf had discovered the biblical manuscript codex Sinaiticus in the mid 19th century, and where a fire at the monastery in the 1970s had uncovered a hidden room found to ...

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