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Blog Dinner in Chicago (Oct. 18): Full!

I am pleased and regret (at the same time) to say that the table for the blog dinner in Chicago for October 18 is now full.  I have a waiting list that I have started, and have notified everyone who contacted me (both those at the table and those on the waiting list.) But I’ll be doing others this coming year in a few other places!  Hopefully others can come to these.

2019-10-04T12:18:29-04:00October 4th, 2019|Public Forum|

How Did We Get *These* 27 Books in the New Testament?

I often receive questions about how we got the canon of the New Testament.   We have twenty-seven books in it.  Who decided?  On what grounds?  And when?  Here is a recent question on the matter.   QUESTION I have always wondered about the men (only men!) who decided “this one’s in . . . that one’s out!” back in 325 (was it 325?) at Trullan, Rome, Trent and where else? Nicea?   RESPONSE: The first thing to emphasize is that the most common answer one hears – an answer that seems to have become common sense among people-interested-in-such-things-at-large --  is completely wrong.   It appears that people have this answer because they read it someplace, or heard it from someone who had read it someplace, and that someplace was a place in particular: Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code!    (If you don’t know, I wrote an entire book pointing out the historical mistakes in the book.  [title: Truth and Fiction in the Da Vinci Code].  That was a particularly fun book for me to write. Some [...]

Blog Dinner, Chicago IL, Friday October 18

On Friday,  October, 2019, at 7:00 pm, I will be hosting a Blog Dinner for blog members (members only, I'm afraid) in Chicago.  Well, kind-a.  I'll be in Oak Brook to give a paper the next day, so it would need to be near there.  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  a bit  unusual for me.  There is a conservative evangelical conference focused on "apologetics" (called The "Defenders Conference") dealing with differences among the Gospels.  The other three speakers are themselves evangelical, two of them are scholars I know and have had interactions with before (Mike Licona and Craig Keener), the other I don't know (Rob Bowman), but he's apparently on expert on what he calls Christian "cults" (for example, Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses).   In any event, I'll be discussing why I think there are differences in the Gospels that cannot [...]

2019-10-02T13:04:17-04:00October 2nd, 2019|Public Forum|

How Can You Still Believe? Guest Post by Judy Siker

One of the questions I get asked the most frequently from blog members is how someone can possibly continue to be a believing Christian if they understand the enormous problems presented by the critical study of the New Testament.  I always tell them that in fact it’s not only possible – it happens all the time.  Sometimes they are incredulous, but it’s not only true, it’s so true that my friends who know everything I know about the Bible and are still believers often find the question / issue completely puzzling.  They have trouble understanding why anyone thinks it’s a problem.  As we learned from "Cool Hand Luke" (a great movie, btw, with tons of Christ-images), “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” I have asked my former student and long-time friend Rev. Dr. Judy Siker to write a couple of posts from a personal standpoint, indicating why/ how she continues to be a believer and faithful church person even though she is, at the same time, a critical scholar of the Bible. [...]

2020-04-25T12:27:49-04:00October 2nd, 2019|Public Forum, Reflections and Ruminations|

If the Old Testament is Not Accurate — Where Did Israel Come From?

Yesterday I argued that the Old Testament account found of the "Conquest of Canaan," as found in the book of Joshua, cannot be historically accurate.  This is one of those matters that matter.   As we all know full well, the dispute over the land has been going on for millennia, and continues to create trauma and disaster, war and suffering, all the time -- no matter which side you stand on.  And please, in your comments, do not make polemical political remarks that are hostile to those who disagree with your position; there are huge problems everywhere you look.... Our question here, for the purposes of this blog, right now, is not about legitimacy -- who should own what, and on what grounds? -- but history.  If Israel was not in fact a pre-existing entity that emerged out of Egypt at the Exodus and then entered the land God had promised the ancestors, wiping out the native population to take over what by divine right was theirs -- then where then did Israel come from?  [...]

2020-04-02T14:41:54-04:00October 1st, 2019|Hebrew Bible/Old Testament|
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