Old and Ongoing Criticisms!

I was browsing through old posts from the blog and came across this one from almost exactly six years ago, about criticisms people make of my work.   They still make the same wretched criticisms!   But here I try to answer two of the most common ones I hear, based on a perceptive (and non-antagonistic) question about them.   I think the same thing today, as I’m demonstrably older and allegedly wiser.

QUESTION:

I want to ask your thoughts on something quickly because ...

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The De-apocalypticized Jesus of the Gospel of John

 

An important request I received recently!

 

QUESTION

At some point, I would like to hear more about the Gospel of John not having an apocalyptic view of Jesus.

 

RESPONSE

This question relates closely to the work I’ve been doing on the views of the afterlife in the early Christian tradition.   As I’ve pointed out on the blog many times before, John was the last canonical Gospel written, probably 60-65 years after Jesus’ death.  One of the most striking things about John’s account of Jesus ...

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Today You Will Be With Me in Paradise?

Here is an interesting question I have received closely connected with the work I’ve been doing on the different views about the afterlife – what happens to us when we die? – in the early Christian tradition.  It has to do with a key verse that has been much debated over the years, a verse found only in Luke’s Gospel, in which Jesus assures the “robber” being crucified with him, that he will that day awaken in paradise.  Or *is* ...

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The Difference Between Eschatology and Apocalypticism

QUESTION

I have recently been reading John Meier’s books and he almost always calls Jesus (and John the Baptist), eschatological prophets (once stating Jesus having a “tinge of apocalypticism” or something to that effect). And you always refer to Jesus as an “apocalyptic prophet”.   Do you make any distinction  in the terms “eschatological” and “apocalyptic”?

 

RESPONSE

Ah, it’s a good question.  These terms are an endless source of confusion for people – even scholars sometimes.  I think the problem is that different scholars ...

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My Own Translation of the New Testament?

Here’s a question I get on occasion, which I addressed fully six years ago on the blog.

QUESTION:

Do you have any plans to publish your own “best” version of the NT in English? From reading several of your books, it does seem as though you probably already have a translation sitting in a drawer somewhere. I have not been able to find scholarly reconstruction that was produced in the last three and a half decades. Most of the newer ...

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More Apocrypha: A Letter of Jeremiah, (Fascinating) Additions to Daniel, and 1 Maccabees

Here is another installment on my discussion of the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical books.  The first of the three I discuss here is not well known, but the second and third are historically quite significant.

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The Letter of Jeremiah

This is one of the shortest books of Apocrypha—it is only one chapter long, and in the Latin tradition of the Roman Catholic Church it is included as the final chapter of the book of Baruch. The book is allegedly written by the prophet Jeremiah, sent ...

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More Books of the Apocrypha: Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach, and Baruch

In this post I continue discussing the books of the Apocrypha, accepted as part of Scripture by Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches.  These are important books, historically and culturally – but hardly known among Protestant readers.   Here are three more!  Descriptions are taken from my introduction to the Bible.

 

The Wisdom of Solomon

The Wisdom of Solomon is a book of positive wisdom (recall Proverbs), which claims to be written by the great king of the United Monarchy. In fact it was ...

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Some of the Apocrypha: Tobit, Judith, and Additions to Esther

Yesterday I answered briefly a question about the Old Testament Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical books.  I’ve decided to go ahead and describe each of the ten.   This will take several posts.   These are very interesting books, well worth reading, and canonical Scripture for some parts of the Christian church.

My summaries here are taken from my Introduction to the Bible.

 

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Tobit

Tobit is a work of historical fiction—by which I mean it is a fictional tale set within a real historical context. Originally the book was ...

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What Is the Apocrypha (of the Old Testament)?

Here is a recent question I have received about the “Old Testament Apocrypha.”

 

QUESTION

Bart, I hope you won’t mind me asking a totally unrelated question: At the beginning of the Christian Era – how many books of the Hebrew Old Testament did the Greek Septuagint translation contain?

 

RESPONSE:

This is indeed an important topic, one usually overlooked completely by Protestant readers of the Bible.  Here is what I say about the apocrypha in my textbook on the Bible:

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          In addition to ...

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Mapping the Diversity of Earliest Christianity

Here is a question I received recently.

 

QUESTION:

One of my favourite pieces on the blog is your post from 13 July 2015 titled ‘Earliest Christian Diversity’ on the work of Destro and Pesce. I find it fascinating and thought-provoking whenever I re-read it. It’s like new information hidden in plain sight..  Did you ever do any follow-up research or expansion on this topic? (Sorry if you did and I missed it.)

 

RESPONSE:

I have to admit, I had forgotten ...

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