What Is the New Testament? A Broad Overview

With some very sage outside advice, I have decided to add a new feature to the blog.   Once or twice a week (at least that’s the *plan*) I will create a kind of “general introduction” post, dealing with some broad and basic matter connected with the New Testament, the Historical Jesus, the apostle Paul, the role of women in the church, persecution and martyrdom, heresy and orthodoxy, the development of theology, the Christianization of the empire, etc. etc.   Broad overviews, ...

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Video Debate with Peter Williams: Can We Trust the Gospels

This was a video debate I did last summer in London with British Biblical scholar Peter Williams.  Peter has been a friend for a long time, and is a real expert on the manuscript tradition of the New Testament.   He is also a committed evangelical Christian who does not believe there are mistakes in the Gospels.  I so disagree with that.  We had a debate about it on the Christian Radio program “Unbelievable” under their new series “The Big Conversation” ...

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The Quest for the Historical … Judas Iscariot

I occasionally (in fact, just last week) get asked if I think Judas Iscariot was a real person or a fictional character, wholly made up.  I have a definite view about that.  Real person.  Actually one of Jesus’ disciples.  And the one who betrayed him to the authorities leading to his arrest and crucifixion.

But what makes me think so?  I talked a bit about the “Quest of the Historical Judas” in a chapter of my book on the recent discovery ...

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Who Would Invent the Story of Women at the Tomb??

Who in the ancient world would ever try to *prove* the resurrection by making up a story that women, in particular, discovered Jesus’ empty tomb?   Weren’t women seen as complete unreliable witnesses?  Their testimony never even accepted in a court of law?  If someone want to prove that Jesus had been raised — and that therefore the tomb was empty — they would have invented *men* at the tomb (reliable witnesses) rather than *women* (untrustworthy).  Right?

I’ve been asked this question ...

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A New Way of Explaining Contradictions in an “Inerrant” Bible

The other recent development in conservative evangelical apologetics – so far as I can discern as an outsider – is a real move to adopt serious historical scholarship on the Bible and apply it to the defense of the reliability of Scripture.   That may seem like a paradoxical move to non-evangelicals, since it is precisely serious historical scholarship that, since the 18th century, has been the major problem when it comes to the reliability of the Scripture.  In fact, it’s ...

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Modern Evangelical Christian Apologetics

This particular post is open-access.  Anyone can read it.  I post five times a week on all sorts of topics related to the New Testament and early Christianity.  To read these posts, simply join the blog.  It doesn’t cost much, and every thin dime goes to charities helping those in need.  No one loses, everyone wins, so join!!

 

I spent yesterday at a conservative evangelical apologetics conference outside of Chicago and, as you might imagine, I was the odd ...

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But the Women Who Did *NOT* Doubt the Resurrection

In my previous post I noted something unusual about the doubting tradition in the resurrection narratives (i.e., the tradition that some of the disciples simply didn’t believe that Jesus was raised) – in addition, of course, to the fact that there is such a dominant doubting tradition! (itself a fascinating phenomenon) – which is that there is no word anywhere of the women who discover the tomb doubting, but clear indications (either by implication or by explicit statement) that some ...

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Why Would Jesus’ Disciples Doubt the Resurrection?

I was just now browsing through posts from seven years ago, and came across this one, which is related to questions I get from time to time.  It is an absolutely fundamental issue for Christian faith, but I almost *never* see anyone talk about it.  Surprising!  Here’s the interesting question and my response (back when I was starting just to do work on the resurrection stories for my book How Jesus Became God).

 

QUESTION:

Are we to understand from this that ...

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Scribes Who Changed Their Texts on Purpose

I’ve been browsing through some old posts and came upon this one from years ago, about this time.   It’s an interesting topic that people on the blog frequently ask me about:  did scribes really change the texts of the NT on purpose, and how can we know?    The answers are simply: almost certainly yes and it’s difficult!

Here’s an example I talked about back then, one of the most intriguing instances in the Gospel of Mark, where the ...

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Is History a Four-Letter Word?

Most people on the planet simply are not interested in history.   I’d say that’s true of most American high school and college students.  History classes can be dreadfully boring, especially with the wrong teacher — and it is very hard to be a good teacher of history.  In high school, I had almost no interest in my history classes.  Names, dates, things that happened that had no relevance to anything I was interested in or what I felt like doing ...

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