Do Matthew and Paul Agree on the Matter Most Important to them Both?

I was going through posts from many years ago and came across this one, on an issue I’ve always thought was unusually interesting: if the writer of the Gospel of Matthew (whoever that was) and the apostle Paul had been locked in a room and not allowed to emerge until they had hammered out a consensus statement on how one attains eternal life, would they still be in there, possibly with their skeletons locked in a mutual death grip?  I ...

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How Do We Interpret the Beatitudes? Guest Post by Julius-Kei Kato

Julius-Kei Kato is a member of the blog, a PhD from Graduate Theological Union, an expert on the new Testament, and an Associate Professor in Religious Studies at King’s University College at Western University.  You can learn about him here:

Prof. Kato has written a very interesting article for the blog as a guest post, on one of the most familiar and least understood passages in the New Testament, the Beatitudes.  I can’t say that I always agree with ...

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Weren’t Jesus’ Followers Armed and Eager to Fight in the Garden of Gethsemane?

Did Jesus support a violent revolt against Rome?  The one argument that probably gets used more than any other in support of that view is that when Jesus gets arrested in the Gospels, his followers pull out their swords to fight.  What are they doing with swords?  Why are they fighting?  Since this is in all the Gospels (independently attested) and since it’s not a story that later Christians would be likely to make up (since they would want to ...

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Doesn’t Jesus’ “Cleansing of the Temple” Show He Wanted a Military Uprising?

Did Jesus support of an armed uprising against Rome?  Yesterday I re-posted some comments I had made years ago on the blog about Aslan’s popular book Zealot, which advances that thesis.  I won’t be dealing with the entire book this time around: I’m just interested at this point in dealing with this vital question itself

Now I want to show how two data that are crucial for the “zealot hypothesis” actually make better sense with this apocalyptic understanding of ...

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Did Jesus Favor Armed Rebellion Against Rome?

In response both to my thread on Judas and to my post on Barabbas from last week, a number of readers have asked or suggested that the stories about both figures may be explained on the hypothesis that Jesus was indeed a kind of insurrectionist who supported an armed rebellion against Rome.  That would explain possibly why Judas turned on him, and why he is treated equally to Barabbas, himself guilty of murder during an attempted insurrection.

I have dealt with ...

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Did the Gospel Writers Invent Barabbas? Readers’ Mailbag

One of the familiar stories from the end of the Gospels — it’s in all the Jesus movies! — comes at Jesus’ trial.  Pontius Pilate is trying to avoid executing Jesus.  As it turns out, he has an custom during the annual Passover feast (when the crowds of pilgrims in Jerusalem were enormous) of releasing one Jewish prisoner as a way to appease the crowds and keep himself in their good graces.

And so when the Jewish leaders insist on Jesus’ ...

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Yet Other Accounts Of the Death of Judas

I try not to repeat blog posts from just a couple of years ago, but in this case I can’t resist.  In the last post I talked about the two accounts of Judas Iscariot’s death in the New Testament, one in Matthew and one in Luke, and argued that even with their intriguing and important similarities, there were also striking differences, some of which, in my judgment, simply cannot be reconciled.   But we have other accounts from Christian antiquity that ...

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But How Did Judas Die?

In response to my recent thread on the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot, a number of readers have asked me about the aftermath.  OK, supposing, as I’m arguing, there really was a Judas, one of Jesus twelve disciples, who betrayed something about Jesus (his whereabouts? his claim to be the future king?) that led to his arrest and execution.  What happened next?   Did Judas really kill himself?

Many people don’t realize that Judas’s death, after he betrayed Jesus, is not ...

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But WHY Did Judas Betray Jesus?

This will be my last post in this thread on Judas Iscariot, and it deals with a question that has long been asked, often answered, and never satisfactorily: what motivated Judas to betray Jesus?  No answer has ever satisfied because there is simply no way to know.  When I say the answers are never satisfactory, and that they do not satisfy, I don’t mean that no one is satisfied.  Lots of people — including possibly you! — have ...

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What Did Judas Betray?

In an indirect but very important way, recognizing what Judas actually betrayed is central to understanding the life and death of Jesus.  It goes to the heart of his messages and explains why he was crucified.  Even so, it is a complicated matter and has not been fully thought out even by many New Testament scholars.

It is commonly supposed, of course, among lay-folk and scholars alike, that Judas indicated to the authorities where Jesus could be found apart from the ...

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