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So far Diane has created 117 blog entries.

Could Moses be Thutmose, the Overseer of the Borderlands? – Platinum Post from Serene

Here's a provocative post by your fellow Platinum member, Serene: can Moses be identified with another known figure from history, the Egyptian overseer of the Borderlands, Thutmose?  Read her case and let us know what you think!   ****************************** Could Moses be Thutmose, Overseer of Foreign Lands and Frontier Lands?   “…he changed his name and called himself Moses” —  Josephus in Against Apion, quoting 3rd C BCE Egyptian historian Manetho.   Hi Platies! Thank you for the kind reception to my first post, “Jesus, the Half-Nabataean Prince.   The question I’m asking today is, “Could Santa Claus be Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra?” Ok, that one’s solved already — he is. It’s just easier to base something on something pre-existing. Like the historical basis for Moses.   Manetho claimed that Moses governed from an Egyptian city called Avaris. And archaeologists agree that the Exodus’ Land of Goshen was the area around Avaris. Well, Ancient Egypt’s records have only one Moses-like name that governed from Avaris (that I can find) —  and that’s Overseer Thutmose. [...]

2024-04-15T12:18:54-04:00April 15th, 2024|Public Forum|

April Gold Q&A: Ask Away!

Hey Gold and Platinum members, Time to jump in on the April Gold Q&A; my plan is to record it some time next weekend. If you have a question -- and I bet you do -- send it along!  To do so, do NOT reply on a comment here, but zap an email to Diane at  [email protected]. DEADLINE: Please get your question in by next Friday (04/19/2024) at midnight (whenever midnight is in your time zone). Shorter and to-the-pointer questions are more likely to be picked.  Ask accordingly.

2024-04-09T14:27:39-04:00April 12th, 2024|Public Forum|

Did People Have Time for Jesus? – a Platinum Post from Doug Wadeson, MD.

There is nothing better than a guest blog post that flat-out disagrees with me!  And here we have one.  Is it plausible that Jesus could have had large crowds gathering together to hear his preaching in rural Galilee?  I say: Not really.   Platinum blog member Doug Wadeson says: Oh yes! Here's his post.  What do you think?   ****************************** On those few occasions when I have challenged something Dr. Ehrman has said he can usually shoot me down pretty quickly based on his range and depth of knowledge.  But I am going to try again. Dr. Ehrman has suggested that one reason the stories of Jesus attracting and preaching to large crowds are unrealistic is because most people were too busy during the day eking out a living to be able to spend time listening to his sermons.  I have also heard him suggest that Jesus would have been too busy working as a laborer in Nazareth to have the time to travel to the city of Sepphoris, about 4 miles from Nazareth.  The significance [...]

2024-04-08T16:13:16-04:00April 12th, 2024|Public Forum|

Platinum Webinar for March: Ethics Without God??

Dear Platinum Members, It's time for our Quarterly Platinum Webinar.  We have scheduled it for Wednesday, March 13, 2023, at 7:30 pm. When I was a young evangelical Christian, I ran across a book called Ethics Without God.  I thought the whole idea was preposterous.  Why would there by ANY reason for being ethical if there is not God overseeing the world?  And how could we possibly have any direction for knowing how to live without divine oversight?  I held those views for a long time, and in fact when I was contemplating leaving the faith, some 30 years ago now, they haunted me.  Will I be cast to sea, with no moral compass? These last few years I've been thinking a lot about ethics: why we should behave and what right behavior might entail.  And I've been studying a wide range of answers from antiquity till today.  I've never given a webinar about this topic before.  But since it's tied up with the book I'm working on, I decided it's jolly about time!  So that's [...]

2024-03-07T14:28:41-05:00March 6th, 2024|Public Forum|

Gospel Thrillers Part III by Andrew Jacobs

In this third and final post on his new book Gospel Thrillers, Andrew Jacobs moves into where the rubber meets my (our) road: how these novels really do seem like real life when you think about Bible scholarship and the real discoveries (or discoveries *claimed* to have been made, by bona fide scholars) of new Gospels that threaten to undo everything we think about Jesus and / or the New Testament.  Intriguing stuff.  What do you think? You can get Andrew's just now published book anywhere good books are sold, including here: Gospel Thrillers: Conspiracy, Fiction, and the Vulnerable Bible: Jacobs, Andrew S.: 9781009384612: Books   ****************************** III. Gospel Thrillers come to Life   In my first blogpost I described the quirky genre of novels I call Gospel Thrillers and the way they illuminate cultural fears and desires about the Bible; I then described some of their “bombshell” secrets which, at the end most novels, turn out to be duds: readers of conspiratorial fictions more often want status quo restored than to see our [...]

2024-02-05T14:43:00-05:00February 10th, 2024|Bart's Debates, Public Forum|

Gospel Thrillers Part II by Andrew Jacobs

Gospel Thrillers!  Who woulda thought?  Many of us knew of books like this, but never realized they were a coherent (sub-)genre, and certainly never thought much about how to understand them. Here now is Andrew Jacobs second post on his new book Gospel Thrillers: Conspiracy, Fiction and the Vulnerable Bible, which you can get at your favorite book-buying spot, including here:  Gospel Thrillers: Conspiracy, Fiction, and the Vulnerable Bible: Jacobs, Andrew S.: 9781009384612: Books   ****************************** II. Inside the Gospel Thrillers   In my first post I described what Gospel Thrillers are and their role in US culture: they magnify, probe, and contain popular fears and desires about the vulnerability of the Bible by imagining a conspiracy surrounding a newly discovered first-century gospel. In this second post, I describe in more detail some of the “bombshell” secrets these novels invent and the specific fantasies and anxieties about the Bible they illuminate.   Desert Fantasies Many of the books imagine new discoveries emerging from the Middle East. Some of these are supposedly part of the [...]

2024-02-02T13:22:43-05:00February 8th, 2024|Book Discussions, Public Forum|

Gospel Thrillers Part I by Andrew Jacobs

Probably all (nearly all?) of us have read thrillers, and all of us (certainly!) have heard of Gospels.  And some of us have read "Gospel Thrillers."  But do you know what a Gospel Thriller is?  You've probably never heard the term because it was recently coined by scholar of late antiquity Andrew Jacobs, in his intriguing analysis of them (the first analysis ever done), accessible to lay people (hey, we're talkin' thrillers here) just now being published: Gospel Thrillers: Conspiracy, Fiction, and the Vulnerable Bible (Cambridge University Press).  Check it out!  Gospel Thrillers: Conspiracy, Fiction, and the Vulnerable Bible: Jacobs, Andrew S.: 9781009384612: Books I've known Andrew since he was a graduate student at Duke many-a-year ago.   He is now a Senior Research Fellow at the Center of World Religions at Harvard.  He is one of the leading figures in the study of Christianity of Late Antiquity (currently the President of the main professional society, North American Patristics Society). The book is terrific, and so I've asked Andrew to write a few blog posts [...]

2024-02-07T15:28:55-05:00February 7th, 2024|Book Discussions, Public Forum|

We Need a Blog Volunteer! Do You Have Experience With Non-profit Taxes?

A major part of the success of the blog is the corps of faithful volunteers who do a variety of tasks, some to make the blog much better and some to make it even possible.   The only perk that volunteers get, in addition to knowing they've helped advance the spread of biblical knowledge to a wider audience and raised significant funds for charity in doing so, is a monthly webinar with me on a topic of their choice.  Those are a blast.   But for the most part, volunteers volunteer because they believe in the cause and are unusually generous human beings. We need another volunteer, someone who is qualified to file our state and federal taxes. We are, as you know, a non-profit, and our long-devoted and highly-capable books-person has recently had to bow out from the position.  We need someone with experience in this kind of thing.  Anyone with experience will not find ours a tough-case.   You interested? If so, please email us at [email protected] to let us know, and tell us a bit about [...]

2024-01-28T12:26:59-05:00January 28th, 2024|Public Forum|

Atonement Doctrine – A Platinum Post by Manuel Fiadeiro

Here is an interesting reflection on the doctrine of the atonement by Platinum member Manuel Fiadeiro, for you other platinum members.  What do you think?  Do you agree with him?  Disagree?  Have an answer to his final pondering? Remember, as a Platinum member you too are allowed to make a post for other Platinums.  Do you have anything you'd like to reflect on?  Go for it! ****************************** Is it still acceptable the doctrine of atonement? The doctrine of atonement is explicitly mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3 “Christ died for our sins”. Bart, in his lectures on Paul, gives Paul’s two Models of salvation, or two views of the atonement doctrine: The Participation Model represents the belief of the Catholic Church. The Judicial Model represents the belief of the Protestant Churches. Those are distinct interpretations of “our sins”. The Participation Model was defined by Augustine. Adam and Eve brought Sin and Death into the world by disobeying God, eating the fruit of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil”. So, every human [...]

2024-01-19T11:57:53-05:00January 26th, 2024|Public Forum|

Paul, the Apostate: a Platinum Post by Manuel Fiadeiro

Was Paul responsible for the split between gentile Christians and Jews?  Did he have regular visits with Jesus after he converted?  Did he consult the Alexandrian philosopher Philo about the issue? These are some of the controversial issues raised in this this guest post by Platinum Member Manuel Fiadeiro.  Check it out.  What do you think? Blog members at the platinum level are allowed to submit posts for other Platinum members only; after several come in, we take a vote and the winner gets posted to the entire blog for all to see.  Manuel's is our current winner.  If you'd like the same opportunity, check out the Platinum membership tier and its various perks, and give it a thought! For now here's Manuel on Paul: ******************************** Circa 35 CE, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, a young man, no more than 20 years old called Saul, with scribes and Pharisees, was stoning a man belonging to a sect of a Galilean called Jesus. Saul was in Jerusalem to study with the Pharisee master Gamaliel. Few students [...]

Thoughts on Cosmology, a Platinum Post From Charles Hawkins

Like many of you, I'm fascinated by how ancient people understood the world / universe -- the "cosmos" -- and by what modern cosmologist who actually do the science say about it.  Only rarely can someone speak confidently about both topics, wildly different as they are.  So I'm pleased to publish this Platinum guest post by Charles Hawkins, which discusses cosmology in antiquity and modernity and the transition betwixt them, all in relation to the NT.  In ONE post!  I hope you enjoy it!  Charles will be happy to hear your reactions. ****************************** Understanding cosmology, that is, our view of the structure of the Earth and its place in the universe, is an essential part of understanding the writings of both the Hebrew Bible and the Christian documents of the New Testament.  More importantly, this understanding is a key (there are others) to working out how if at all these writings can be relevant to our era.  Members of this blog may well be aware of much of what follows, but I’ve thought for some [...]

2024-02-03T09:54:46-05:00January 22nd, 2024|Public Forum|

2023 In Review

The blog has done extremely well this past year, thanks to you the members and the core of people who work to keep it going.  Here on our annual last day I’d like to take look back on what has happened and talk a bit about what lies ahead. I’m particularly pleased that we have continued to meet our two goals for the blog, which drove us to start it over eleven years ago now: To provide scholarly knowledge about the historical Jesus, the New Testament, and the other Christian writings of the first three or four centuries to a broad non-scholarly audience. To raise money for charities while doing it, highly reputable, responsible, and effective organizations that deal with hunger, homelessness, disaster relief, and literacy. To start with the charity: once more we have done extremely well, having distributed (as of today) just over $480,000.  To put that into a bit of perspective, our first full year of operation, exactly ten years ago, we raised $54,000.  I’m no mathematician, but by my count that’s [...]

2024-01-08T12:31:49-05:00December 30th, 2023|Public Forum|

Bart’s Going Viral–And You Can Help!

From Diane: Hi, Bart fans--Bart is too modest to blow his own horn about this, but Academic YouTuber Dan McClellan (@maklelan) has posted a short video debunking an apologist's video trashing Bart. Dan is a master at this--watch below, and make sure to Like the video (instructions at bottom).   The original creator tried to slap back--it didn't go well for him:   You can help this video go viral by clicking on "YouTube" at the bottom of the video, then give it a like by clicking the little thumbs-up icon under the video (see below). It's got 1,000 likes as of this morning, and 10,000 views...let's join in:  

2023-12-07T22:36:28-05:00December 7th, 2023|Public Forum|

Are You Willing To Donate Blog Memberships to Those Who Can’t Afford It?

For some years now we have taken Christmas donations to provide a membership to those who would very much want one but cannot afford it.  Blog members who want to make it possible donate the fee and we put memberships on offer.  It's a nice holiday tradition. I will post on my various social media as well as on a public post here, the availability of memberships starting in a couple of days.  I will give out as many as we have.  Would you like to provide one or more people the opportunity?  I get requests *ALL* the time -- not just in response to this annual announcement (dozens then) but also throughout  the year, often a couple of times a week. Your donation can make it possible. As you know, annual memberships start at $29.95.  So let's think in terms of $30 increments.   If you'd like to donate a membership, that would be $30.  Three?  $90.   827?  $24,810.  You get the idea. This is a win-win situation.  Your donation is completely tax deductible, and [...]

2023-12-07T10:18:45-05:00December 7th, 2023|Public Forum|
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