Very Funny…

I normally post only once a day, but in tracing down a Blast From the Past to give today, I ran across this little nugget that I had completely forgotten about, also from this time six years ago.  Too good to not repost!

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OK, this is completely irrelevant to anything related to the blog – especially early Christology, my current topic.   But I thought it was too funny to pass up.   A fellow who ...

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13

My Doubts about the Son of God: A Blast from the Past

Here’s a post I made six years ago, when just starting to think about what I would do in my book How Jesus Became God, where I recount a rather emotional experience of starting to doubt my faith.

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When I attended Moody Bible Institute in the mid 1970s, every student was required, every semester, to do some kind of Christian ministry work.   Like all of my fellow students I was completely untrained and unqualified to do the things I did, ...

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45

The Protestant Obsession with Origins

It was especially in the nineteenth century that scholars of religion, theology, and biblical studies became deeply obsessed with the question of “origins.”   In many ways, the roots for this interest – in these fields in particular – lay in the Protestant Reformation, and it is no accident that the major research on the question was done in predominantly Protestant countries (especially Germany; somewhat in England and, even less, in America) and by Protestant professors in these fields, scholars who ...

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39

Who Cares How It All Started?

Once I realized that so much of the scholarship on the Christian accounts of journeys to the realms of heaven and hell was focused almost exclusively on the ultimate question of where this idea of taking an actual trip to the afterlife came from – ancient Greek myths?  Jewish apocalypses? – I was deeply puzzled by it.   Why is the *origin* of an idea the most important or revealing thing about it?   Would any scholar of Victorian English dealing with ...

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28

The Passion for Origins

After I had engaged for a couple of months doing some real research and thinking seriously about my scholarly book on visions of and journeys to the realms of heaven and hell (tentatively entitled, for now, Otherworldly Journeys: Katabasis Traditions in Early Christianity), I thought I might start it all by doing a kind of history of research.   This is how scholarly books commonly used to start – especially books of German scholarship and American dissertations.  Chapter one would be ...

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26

My Next Scholarly Book: Visits to Heaven and Hell

As I have indicated on the blog before, I like to mix up the various kinds of research and writing projects that I do.  My time is not split evenly, but over the years I have written scholarly books for scholarly audiences, trade books for the wider reading public, and textbooks for college-level students.   Usually it’s one thing at a time, but as it turns out now I’m in the midst of three tasks – revising two of my textbooks ...

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22

Homosexuality and the New Testament. Guest Post by Jeff Siker.

Yesterday Jeff Siker, PhD in NT and editor of two books that discuss biblical/Christian views of homosexuality, started his summary and assessment of what the Bible has to say about same-sex relations, in light of the recent vote of the United Methodists not to welcome “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” in their churches.  In that post he dealt with the salient passages in the Old Testament; today he moves to the controversial texts of the New Testament and ends with some insightful ...

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98

University Professors and their Research

As some of you know, a couple of years ago I decided to slow down on my research and writing.  I was feeling burned out and wondering what the point was.  Do I really need to keep writing more books?  Why not read more novels, cook more, take more walks, get in more work outs, watch more football/basketball/tennis/golf, and on and on?    So I did.    It lasted about four months.

As it turns out, I am indeed doing all these other ...

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40

Why Textual Criticism Seemed to Be on Death’s Door

 

In last week’s readers’ mailbag I started to answer a question that I never finished – in fact, I never got around to the question!  Here it is again.

QUESTION:

Is there a story (post) about your move from textual criticism to other things?

RESPONSE:

In my two-part (non-)response to this question I first explained that my training in graduate school actually was not in textual criticism, but was mainly in the interpretation of the New Testament and the history of earliest Christianity.  But ...

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41

Pursuing My Passion for Textual Criticism

Yesterday I started answering the question of how I moved on from doing research principally on New Testament textual criticism to do other things, mainly involving different aspects of the literature and history of Christianity in the first three centuries CE.   I pointed out there that my training/education was actually not in textual criticism, but mainly in the exegesis (and theology) of the New Testament, and on various aspects of the history of earliest Christianity (from the historical Jesus to ...

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