Pontius Pilate: A Sensitive Guy….

QUESTION:

Could Pilate have conceded over burial rights also? Granted this may not extend to those accused of treason, but as Pilate did permit some local customs, does this not open up sufficient space for Josephus’ claim over burial rights to be taken seriously?

 

RESPONSE:

This question arose a couple of weeks ago after I had returned briefly to an older conversation about whether Jesus would have been buried on the afternoon he was crucified.  I tried to show ...

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Paul’s Views of Women

In this week’s mailbag I take up a very interesting question about whether there are other passages in the New Testament that are found in all of our manuscripts but that appear not to have been originally written by the author.  That is, they were (possibly) passages inserted by a later editor, before any of our surviving manuscripts were made, so that they are universally attested, but probably not original.  That is what I argued for 2 Corinthians 6:14 (it’s ...

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Can Historians Be Neutral?

I received a number of responses to my post this past week on whether Jesus would have received a decent burial on the day of his crucifixion.   One of the most interesting responses was not so much about what I said or thought, but about a much broader question: how can one evaluate arguments over such controversial subjects without being entirely biased and subjective at the outset?   It’s worth talking about.  Here’s the question:

 

QUESTION:

Re: the burial of Jesus or not:  ...

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Did Romans Allow Jews to Bury Crucified Victims? Readers’ Mailbag January 1, 2018

Here on the first day of the new year, I was digging around on the blog and I found a post that I *meant* to make a couple of months ago that I never did.  Don’t remember why!  But here it is.  It is from the Readers’ Mailbag, and about a very interesting and controversial issue: would the Romans have allowed anyone to bury Jesus the afternoon on which he was crucified?  I think not, even though I’m in the ...

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Are There Cut-and-Paste Jobs in the New Testament? The Case of 2 Corinthians

How much of the early Christian writings consist of scissors-and-paste jobs, where later editors cut up earlier writings and stitched them together into one continuous work, so that what we have now are not the originals but only the final edited version?  Are there books like that, for example, in the New Testament?  In a recent post I mentioned how the early Christian writing called the Didache is that kind of thing, with three documents artificially combined into the 16-chapter ...

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Managing the Time! Readers’ Mailbag December 17, 2017

In this weeks’ Readers’ Mailbag I will be dealing with a personal question, one that I get a good bit (twice this week!).   Here is how it came to me from one blog-member

 

QUESTION:

You should once write an article on time management. Unless you sleep only 2 hours a day, I can’t imagine how you manage to publish lengthy posts, answer all comment questions every day, read lectures at the university(including all the academic responsibilities there: quizzes, exams etc.), read books/papers ...

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A $1000 Challenge to Me: Did the Author of Matthew Use Luke?

As some of you know, a member of the blog, Evan, recently offered a $1000 donation to the blog if I would respond to the claims of New Testament scholar, Alan Garrow, that in studying the Synoptic Gospels, a completely compelling case can be made that the author of Matthew knew and used the Gospel of Luke.  This is a view that almost no one in the academy holds.

After a bit of back and forth – which I give below ...

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The Pope and the Lord’s Prayer

I have received numerous queries about the Pope’s recent comments about the Lord’s Prayer.   There has been a good deal of news coverage on the topic.  Here is an article from my local paper:

http://digital.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODN/NewsandObserver/shared/ShowArticle.aspx?doc=NAO%2F2017%2F12%2F09&entity=Ar05202&sk=CF05DD44&mode=text

The issue is summed up in that article as this:

In a new television interview, Pope Francis said the common rendering of one line in the prayer – “lead us not into temptation” – was “not a good translation” from ancient texts. “Do not let ...

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The Exasperatingly Fragmentary Gospel of Peter: Readers’ Mailbag December 4, 2017

My Readers’ Mailbag is stuffed, and I need to clear out a few questions to make room for others that come in.  So I may be answering more than normal over the next couple of weeks.  Here is one that I find intriguing:

 

QUESTION

If you could choose any currently-fragmentary or otherwise lacunose document from antiquity and magically receive a reconstructed version to read, what would it be?

 

RESPONSE

Wow.   There are lots to choose from.   I would probably come up with different answers ...

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And Then There Was Q

After my post yesterday about the “priority of Mark” (the view almost universally held among scholars that Mark was the first Gospel written and that Matthew and Luke used it for many of their own stories) I received a number of queries from readers about the “Q” source.   So I better address that as well.

Matthew and Luke obviously share a number of stories with Mark, but they also share with each other a number of passages not found in Mark.  ...

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