Sorting by


Some Very Strange Journeys to Heaven and Hell

This post is free for everyone, but most posts come only to blog members.  Joining the blog is easy and it gives you access to tons of material for very little expense.  All the money goes to charity.  so why not join. Last week I was in Marburg, Germany for the annual conference for the Society of New Testament Studies.  This is an international society at the top tier of NT scholars in the world, a closed society that no one can actually *join*.  You have to be nominated and voted in, and there are strict academic guidelines (in terms of qualifications and numbers of books and articles published, etc.).  I’m not saying I’m in favor of that system, but as we say these days (or at least were saying a year or so ago) it is what it is. I’ve been a member since the 1990s but actually haven’t been to one of the meetings since 1995.   But I went to this one because I was asked to read a paper and I’m really [...]

2019-08-07T03:49:25-04:00August 7th, 2019|Afterlife, Christian Apocrypha|

Why Did the Author of James Claim to be James in Particular?

This will be my last post on the epistle of James in the New Testament as “counter”-forgery, that is, as a forgery (a book written by someone falsely claiming to be a famous person) that is written against another book that is itself a forgery (written by someone claiming to be some *other* famous person).   In this case, the author is claiming to be James, the actual brother of Jesus, and he is writing to counter views of Paul – but not views Paul himself endorsed (exactly), but later developments of Paul’s views by an author (or authors) who wrote books, after Paul’s death, while *claiming* to be Paul. All a bit confusing!  But here I finish by explaining why I think this author of the epistle of James claimed to be James in particular.  Why did he choose that name?  Why not some other?   We will never know for sure, of course, but here are my thoughts about it.  (This again is taken from my book Forgery and Counterforgery; I’ve added a couple of [...]

2020-04-29T17:33:15-04:00August 6th, 2019|Catholic Epistles, Forgery in Antiquity|

Blog Dinner, Washington DC. September 6, 2019

On Friday, September 6, 2019, at 7:00 pm, I will be hosting a Blog Dinner for blog members (members only, I'm afraid) at the Bistro Bis at the George Hotel in Washington D.C.   The table is limited to eight.  I'm one of them.  That means that seven spots are available.  First come first served:  please do NOT response here on the blog, but send me a private email, at [email protected]. The occasion is the Smithsonian Associates Seminar I'm doing the next day, four lectures on "More Controversies in Early Christianity":  Here's the website. Please note: you do NOT need to be attending the seminar to attend the dinner.  The dinner is designed simply to allow us to have a chance to get to know each other and talk about matters of mutual interest. The only requirements for attendance to the dinner would be that (a) you be a blog member; (b) you pay your own way – both getting to the event and your meal itself.  Otherwise, there is no expense and no requirement. [...]

2020-04-02T14:47:37-04:00August 5th, 2019|Public Forum|

Is the Author of James Rejecting Paul Himself?

I have been talking about how the letter of James appears to refer to Paul's letters in order to contradict them (as has long been thought by scholars -- going back at least to Martin Luther).  But as it turns out, I don't think it's actually that simple.   I briefly mentioned this in an earlier post, but here is the fuller scoop.   This again is taken from my book Forgery and Counterforgery.   I should remind you what I mean by those terms, "forgery" and "counterforgery." The term "forgery" is a technical term for a book that claims to be written by a famous person who in fact did not write it.  (So "forgery" does NOT mean, in this context, something like "a made-up story."  It refers specifically to the claim by an author -- either explicit or implicit -- to be someone other than he is.)  A "counter-forgery" is a kind of forgery -- it refers to a forgery written in order to contradict the views found precisely in someone else's forgery (whether or not [...]

Scribes Who Changed Their Texts on Purpose

I've been browsing through some old posts and came upon this one from years ago, about this time.   It's an interesting topic that people on the blog frequently ask me about:  did scribes really change the texts of the NT on purpose, and how can we know?    The answers are simply: almost certainly yes and it's difficult! Here's an example I talked about back then, one of the most intriguing instances in the Gospel of Mark, where the scribes who changed the text ended up having almost NO effect on Bible translations today; most translators agree on the "original" form of the text.  But the change is really interesting, and can show the sorts of reasons scribes were doing this kind of thing. Here's the original post, slightly edited. ************************************************************* I have started giving some instances of what appear to be “intentional” changes made by scribes, as opposed to simple, accidental, slips of the pen.  Here's another instance of the phenomenon I stress that these alterations “appear” to be intentional since, technically speaking, we [...]

2020-04-02T23:29:01-04:00August 4th, 2019|Canonical Gospels, New Testament Manuscripts|

The Close Connections of James and Paul

I continue here my comparison of the wording of the book of James to the writing of Paul,  in order to establish the point that whoever wrote James, it was someone who was directly responding to the letters of Paul (because he imitates Paul’s wording while refuting his views.)  This will lead then to my argument – not yet made – that the author of James is in fact writing a “counter-forgery” – that is he is writing a forgery in order to counter later writings forged in the name of Paul.  (I know this can be confusing: but I’m not saying he’s writing directly against Paul.  He may *think* he is, but my argument is that he will be opposed to later writings claiming to be Paul; that argument will start in my next post.) Here now is the second example of the borrowing of Pauline writings: ************************************************** James 2:24 and Gal. 2:16 and Rohhhm. 3:28 James 2:24:  You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone Gal. 2:16: [...]

Go to Top