What About the Original *Old* Testament?

Recently several readers have asked me about the manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible; I talk a lot about the New Testament on the blog, but what about the Old Testament?  Are there problems there too?

Short answer, yes indeed.  I’d say!   Here’s how I dealt with this in a post long ago, back in the days of my youth.  Only one thing is different.  I don’t read from the Hebrew Bible every morning any more.  I’ve gotten obsessed with classical Latin!  ...

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Some Pitfalls of Writing for a General Audience

As I was pointing out, scholars in most fields often have problems with colleagues who write trade books.  It may seem weird to outsiders, but I explained one of the major reasons in the last post.  Another is related:  it is widely known that some scholars who start writing trade books never ned up doing anything else.  That is, they become popularizers of knowledge rather than producers of knowledge, putting all their efforts into reaching the masses instead of doing ...

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Why Don’t More Scholars Write Trade Books?

This post is free for all readers.  It can give you an idea of *one* kind of post you find on the blog, five days a week.  Usually the posts are actually discussing what scholars say about the New Testament or the early years of Christianity; some are more like this.  If you joined the blog you, could get all of them, each and every week, going back seven years.  And comment on them.  And hear me respond ...

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How Did We Get Chapters and Verses?

Here’s a question I get on occasion, about where the Bible’s chapters and verses came from (did the original authors write that way???).   I’ve drawn my answer from my textbook on the NT, and since the answer is so brief, I’ll attach another couple of paragraphs drawn from a nearby page in the book, dealing with another somewhat related and even more important (for many people) problem: when did scholars start to think that the differences in our manuscripts were ...

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Can We Reconstruct the Entire New Testament from Quotations of the Church Fathers?

I am making this post free to everyone, so that, if you’re not a member of the blog, you can see what you’re missing.  Every week I make five posts on everything connected to the New Testament and  Christianity of the first four centuries.  Members can read it all, for a small fee.  Every penny of the fee goes to support worthy charities. So why not join?


Recently you mentioned that your early work involved analysing patristic citations of ...

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Did Superior Health Care Lead to the Dominance of Christianity?

Interesting question from a recent member of the blog:



In the August 5/12 New Yorker, a review of a new book, “The mosquito: A Human History of our Deadliest Predator.” In this review, this sentence: “In the third century, malaria epidemics helped drive people to a small, much persecuted faith that emphasized healing and care of the sick, propelling Christianity into a world-altering religion.” I realize that medical history is not your thing. If nonetheless you’d care to comment, any warrant ...

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The Brother of Jesus and the Book of James

Finally I get to explaining reasons why the brother of Jesus, in my judgment, almost certainly did not write the book of James.   The explanation will come in two parts, or possibly three.  In this one I build on my last post, by arguing that it seems completely implausible that James *could* have written the letter.  (For those of you inclined to think he used a “secretary” to do it for him — I’ve posted on this a bunch in ...

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Did James Write James?

In two previous posts I gave an overview of the letter of James, one of the real gems hidden away in the New Testament (it takes 15 minutes to read it, max.  Try it!  Great little book.)   Now I want to devote several posts to address the question I was originally asked about it.  Was it really written by James, the brother of Jesus, as traditionally claimed?

I deal with that question at some length in my book Forgery and Counterforgery.  ...

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One of My Favorite Letters in the New Testament: The Book of James

Sometimes the questions I get from readers are short and to the point, but require long answers over a number of posts.  Here’s one of the recent ones:



Could you write a blog on the book of James and why it is considered a forgery?



I think this question deserves an entire thread of responses.  I haven’t talked much about the letter of James on the blog (at least so far as I can remember and tell!).   So why not?   It’s a ...

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Is the Qur’an More Reliable than the New Testament?

I often get asked questions about the Qur’an, and I almost always do not answer them, most because I can’t answer them.   I’m not an expert on the Qur’an, and tend to talk only about things I have done serious and sustained research on.  Otherwise I’m just spreading stuff I’ve heard, and I’m no more authoritative on that than anyone else.  So what’s the point of my talking about it?

But one question that I get frequently, especially from Muslim readers, ...

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