Visiting the Monastery at Mount Sinai: A Blast From the Past

A long-time reader has asked that I re-post one of her favorite bits from the blog archives, about my trip a few years ago to Saint Catherine’s monastery at Mount Sinai.  It was indeed an amazing trip with an interesting tale connected to it, involving one of the greatest biblical manuscript discoveries of the 19th century (or, actually, of all time).  This will take two posts.

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In my previous post I talked about Constantin von Tischendorf and his discovery ...

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Student Excuses: A Blast From the Past

After I posted the story of the mother who called me about her daughter’s failing my class (and then not), a reader of the blog asked me to repeat a post from years ago, of the best excuse I’ve ever received from a student for missing an exam.   I dug around and found it.  It begins with my apologies for not getting to my Mailbag as much as I should, as it grows longer and longer.  The apologies still apply!  ...

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The Strangest Moment of My Teaching Career

Here is an interesting question that I sometimes get asked, which brought to mind one of the strangest things that has ever happened to me in my now 34 years of teaching at the university level.

 

QUESTION:

As you teach your students the material, how do you handle those students with an evangelical or fundamentalist background that refuse to accept your findings?

 

RESPONSE:

This is a great question, and I was all set to answer it directly, when it suddenly brought to mind a ...

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Are Contradictions the Real Point?

In my last couple of posts I’ve talked about internal contradictions in Luke-Acts and John.  I’ve had several readers tell me that they already “got the point” and so they don’t see any reason for me to keep harping on it: there are contradictions so you don’t think the Bible is inerrant.  OK OK OK, got the point!

As it turns out, that’s not really the point.

To be sure, it is *one* of the points.  But it’s not actually the main ...

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Internal Discrepancies in the Gospel of John

Yesterday I answered a question about whether some of the discrepancies in Luke-Acts are due to the author having used a variety of sources that had different views.  The blog member who asked the question also wanted to know if this happened in other books from antiquity.  Just sticking with the Bible, the answer is: Yes indeed!    Here is what I say about the same issue with respect to the Gospel of John, in my textbook on the New Testament.

 

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Why Does Luke Appear to Contradict Himself?

A question has come from a reader, based on my recent post dealing with the apparent contradiction between Luke and Acts on the timing of Jesus’ ascension.   Do contradictions often result from authors editing several documents together and inserting them side by side in their work?  If different source documents have different views, that would create contradictions in the final product which embodies their amalgamation, no?  Here’s the question.

 

QUESTION:

I continue to be struck by how often Bible authors, since there ...

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Sources for the Hebrew Bible: A Blast from the Past

I was fishing around for something different to post today, and came across this Q & A from exactly six years ago.  I get asked the question a lot, and I would answer it the same way even now, despised my advancing age…

 

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QUESTION:

Do you have a suggestion for a book concerning the OT’s construction? I believe in the History of God (by K. Armstrong) she mentioned that there were about five distinct writers for the OT. Is this ...

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Does Luke Flat Out Contradict Himself?

Sometimes readers ask questions that have answers they probably would not suspect in a million years.  My guess is that this is true of the following interesting query about a contradiction between the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts (written by the same author) about the ascension of Jesus.

 

QUESTION:

Talking of authors who contradict themselves any idea why Luke has Jesus ascending on the day of his resurrection but Acts places it 40 days later!? This seems like quite ...

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Does the Book of Acts Portray the *Teachings* of Paul Accurately?

This is my second post on the portrayal of Paul in the book of Acts.  In the one previous I tried to show, briefly, how the account of Paul’s activities in Luke’s narrative do not gel well with what he says in his own letters.  Here I address the question that was originally raised: his teachings.  Do the things Paul says in Acts coincide with what he himself indicates?   I won’t give a detailed discuss, but just look at one ...

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Does the Book of Acts Accurately Portray the Life and Teachings of Paul?

A fundamental question has recently come to me, which involves one of the central issues in the study of the life and teachings of Paul.  As most members of the blog may know, there are thirteen books in the NT that claim to be written by Paul, six of which are widely thought not actually to be by him.  But that means, on the positive side, that we almost certainly have seven letters actually written by Paul, so that if ...

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