Mark as Peter’s Scribe

QUESTION:

Why are scholars almost certain that Peter did not give the general details of Jesus’ life and ministry to his companion Mark, who faithfully recorded the details in Greek, in the style found in his gospel? I know you’ve said that someone such as Peter, aside from not knowing Greek, almost certainly wouldn’t have had the ability to build the relatively sophisticated structure of Mark’s gospel, but why couldn’t Mark have “put form” on Peter’s prosaic verbal account ...

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What Judas Betrayed

In my last post I indicated that I would write, next, on what it was, in my opinion, that Judas betrayed.   It is commonly thought, based on the NT evidence, that he indicated to the authorities where Jesus could be found apart from the crowds.   Maybe that’s right, even though, as I indicated, I do have some doubts about it.  Even if it is right, there may be more to it than that.   I think the following data are worth ...

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More on Judas

Several people misunderstood what I was trying to say in my post yesterday about Paul’s knowledge of Judas Iscariot.  It was probably my fault for not being clear enough.  I was *not*, decidedly *not*, trying to argue that the tradition that Judas betrayed Jesus was unhistorical.  Quite the contrary, for reasons I’ll explain in a second, I think this is a completely historical tradition.  I was simply asking whether Paul himself knew about it.  He may well have known about ...

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Jesus’ Rejection in Nazareth

OK, several readers have asked me why I don’t think the story of Jesus’ violent rejection in Nazareth, according to Luke 4:16-30, is historically reliable. The short version is that Luke has taken a story from Mark and expanded it significantly in light of his own literary and theological interests so that the account of the attempted assassination is not multiply attested and it does not pass the criterion of dissimilarity. It looks instead to be a story that Luke ...

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Persecutions for Calling Jesus God

QUESTION:

If the pre-‘resurrection’ Jesus and, later on, his earliest (Jewish) followers had declared Jesus to actually BE God then wouldn’t they have been kicked out of the synagogues from the start because of blasphemy? But since that did not happen (Jesus preached in synagogues and his disciples continued to go to synagogues after his ‘resurrection’ for a while) doesn’t that indicate that the earliest Christian belief did NOT contain the claim that Jesus actually was God?

RESPONSE:

This ...

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Humans Who Become Angels

Here is the final bit on angels in the Jewish tradition, from chapter 2 of How Jesus Became God. Again, this is only in draft form, and it is nowhere near a complete treatment. There are entire books written on angels from a scholarly perspective – and a couple of very significant books on Christ as an angel or angel-like being. Here I have been able only to scratch the surface. But on the upside, if you scratch a surface ...

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More on Divine and Human Angels

In chapter two of How Jesus Became God, I have some more things to say about angels who are sometimes called “God” and sometimes appear as humans (in addition to what I’ve already said about the  “Angel of the Lord”).   This is only a draft, but it should give an idea of what I have in mind.

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Other Angels as God and Human

There are numerous other examples both in the Bible and in other Jewish texts ...

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Angels as Divine

I received an inordinate number of responses to my post discussing Christ as an angel in Paul, many of them suggesting to me that I had not provided enough background to make sense of this identification (Christ as angel), in light of ancient Jewish beliefs.  So here a discussion from early in the book about that, taken from my chapter 2.   There is more to be said about angels as both divine and in human form, and I’ll say more ...

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Why The Gospels Are Anonymous

Among the interesting questions I’ve received recently is the following.   It’s on something other than How Jesus Became God!  Rather than type out a completely new answer, I’ve resorted to the discussion I set out in my book Forged, cited here, as relevant, in full.

QUESTION:

I still can’t quite grasp why the Gospels were written anonymously. What is the prevailing theory? Why did the authors not attempt to pass themselves off as disciples by stating ...

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Fuller Account of Resurrection Discrepancies

Here is the bit that follows the part of my chapter 4 where I broke off yesterday, on the Gospels as sources for what happened at the resurrection event, starting with the same sentence I ended with yesterday.

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There are other discrepancies, but this is enough.   I should stress that some of these differences can scarcely be reconciled unless you want to do a lot of imaginative interpretive gymnastics, of the kind fundamentalists love to do, when reading the texts.  ...

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