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A Major Forgery in the Hebrew Bible? Platinum Guest Post by Dennis Folds

I am pleased to publish this insightful and intriguing Platinum guest post by Dennis Folds, for all you fellow Platinum members.  Many of you are interested in Christian pseudepigrapha (= forgeries), especially those in the New Testament.  But what about the Old Testament?  Now *here* is a bold thesis!  Read it and remark! Remember: you too can submit a Platinum guest post.  It does not have to be sophisticated, learned, or novel.  Just write something you'd like to share with all of us, on anything at all connected to the blog and send it to me! ******************** Jeremiah Versus the Deuteronomist Forger   Dennis J. Folds, Ph.D. Given the interest in potential forgeries of NT books and other early Christian writings, I’d like to describe what may have been the most consequential forgery in the history of our Judeo-Christian faith:  the “discovery” of the long-lost book of the law of Moses, which purportedly contained the original covenant between YHWH and the Hebrews. The discovery is described in 2 Kings 22, during the renovation of the [...]

2022-08-08T12:55:40-04:00August 8th, 2022|Forgery in Antiquity, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament|

Why Do Some Smart People Just Not Think?

I was recently contacted by a conservative Christian theologian who was interested in doing a public back and forth with me, not necessarily a debate but an exchange of ideas on the issue of theodicy – how to explain evil in a world over which God is sovereign. What puzzled me was his explanation for suggesting the event.  He said he had followed my work for years and had read my books, but was surprised recently to find out that the reason I no longer believed in God not “for historical reasons” but because of the problem of suffering. I have to say, I found this comment to be completely mystifying.  I still do. Not for the rather obvious reason that, contrary to what he said, he clearly had *not* been following me for many years or read my books.  A constant theme of my work (blog, books, interviews) is that I became an agnostic because of the problem of suffering.  One of my books, God’s Problem, is devoted specifically to the issue, and it [...]

2022-07-25T17:31:24-04:00August 7th, 2022|Bart's Critics, Reflections and Ruminations|

Reading Genesis—Are You Lost in Translation? Anniversary Guest Post by James Tabor

Several scholar-friends and colleagues graciously have written guest posts for the blog to celebrate our tenth anniversary.  I am posting one a week and we will gather all of them together down the line to make them available as a group.  This week's contribution comes from James Tabor, retired Professor of Christian Origins and Bible from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (a scholar many of you will know) who has written a large number of popular books, along with serious scholarship, and most recently his own fresh translation of the book of Genesis. This post is especially interesting: James deals with problems of translating the Hebrew Bible that I bet you don't even realize are problems. ****************************** What is the best-known verse in the Bible—one that millions could quote immediately by heart? Christians might say John 3:16—after all, one even sees placards and signs reading “John 3:16” at sporting stadiums! But I think the very first verse of the Bible—Genesis 1:1—most likely would win the universal familiarity content: In the beginning God created the [...]

2022-08-08T10:06:43-04:00August 6th, 2022|Public Forum|

A Writing of Peter that *Barely* Got Into the New Testament

  In my previous posts I’ve talked about writings that claimed to be written by Peter, the closest disciple to Jesus – a Gospel, and Apocalypse, and an Epistle . These are not the only Petrine writings floating around in the early church.  Among other things, we have two other (different) apocalypses, one of them unusually fascinating that was discovered only in 1945 (a Gnostic writing). None of these was actually written by Peter, and I don’t think there’s a biblical scholar on the planet who seriously thinks it was.  It appears that writing books in the name of Peter was something of a cottage industry in early Christianity. That should give us pause.  There are two books that also claim to be written by Peter that actually are in the New Testament.  If we know that such pseudepigrapha were floating around, on what grounds should we think these two were authentic? Of all the books of the NT that have been thought to be forged – written by an author falsely claiming to be [...]

2022-07-25T17:09:11-04:00August 4th, 2022|Public Forum|

A Letter from Peter to James … Against Paul!

I have been discussing my thoughts about a future book on the canon of the New Testament for a broad reading audience, a book that explains why we got our 27 books, why other books didn’t get in, who made the decisions, on what grounds, and when.  To introduce some of these issues I’ve already discussed two books that claimed to be written by the apostle Peter (but weren’t), the Apocalypse and the Gospel of Peter.  Neither of them made it into the NT, obviously, but both were thought by some Christian leaders to be bona fide texts of Scripture. That may be true for the third example I’ll be giving here (of a book allegedly written by Peter), but in this case it is difficult to know if anyone took it as inspired Scripture.  Whether they did or not, it never really had much of a chance to make it in.  Even so, it’s a fascinating book whose author almost certainly wanted it to be granted apostolic and canonical authority.  It is a letter [...]

2022-07-25T17:03:45-04:00August 3rd, 2022|Public Forum|

Why Do I “Trash” the Gospels??

Every now and then I get emails from people who are, well, not exactly fans.  They have heard that I've said this that or the other thing, and have no interest at all in reading anything I've written, but genuinely want to know:  Why are you trashing the Gospels? It’s a fair question, and deserves a fair answer.  I dealt with it years ago on the blog; this is what I said then. ****************************** The short story is that I’m not *trying* to trash the Gospels.   In my view, what I’m doing is showing what the Gospels really are and what they really are not.   And that is not a matter of trashing them.  It’s a matter of revealing their true character, rather than foisting a false character on them. I'd agree, of course, that by arguing that the Gospels are not historically accurate I am contesting and challenging views of the Gospels that many Christians unreflectively have (and that some Christian scholars reflectively have).  But urging a different understanding of the Gospels is not [...]

2022-07-18T15:18:45-04:00August 2nd, 2022|Bart's Critics, Canonical Gospels|

Anyone in/around Asheville NC in August?

BE Bloggers! I'm going to be in the Asheville NC area (Waynesville, actually) August 9-28 or so.  I'm out there a good bit, but not usually for this amount of time.  If any of you are in the area, let me know: if there are a few of you, maybe we could work out a blog dinner.   It would be for blog members only; each person would pay for him/herself; and we would spend an evening engaged in interesting discourse! Let me know -- not here but on my private email -- and we'll see what, if anything, can happen!  [email protected]     

2022-08-02T11:12:42-04:00August 1st, 2022|Public Forum|

Reminder about My Gospels Course This Weekend

This is a reminder (or a minder, if you missed it the first time) that I will be doing an eight-lecture online course this coming weekend, four lectures on on Saturday and four on Sunday, with Q&A following each, on the four canonical Gospels. Here was the original announcement from a couple of weeks ago. ******************************   I am pleased to announce that I will be doing another online course, the second in the series: How Scholars Read the Bible.  The first, if you recall, was a six-lecture course on Genesis.  This one will be an eight-lecture course called:  The Unknown Gospels:  Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. As with all the courses I do online, this one will NOT be in connection with the blog per se – it is part of my separate venture (Bart Ehrman Professional Services) that you can find at my personal website   I am announcing it here on the blog because I know some of blog members will be interested (and some would be rather aggravated if I [...]

2022-08-02T11:10:07-04:00August 1st, 2022|Public Forum|
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