What I Saw at St. Catherine’s Monastery at Mount Sinai

Yesterday I responded to a reader of the blog who wanted me to repeat a post from a few years ago about my visit to St. Catherine’s Monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai, the famed place where Moses allegedly received the Ten Commandments.   The full story took two posts, and here is now the second, where I explain one of the most memorable experiences of my travels.


In my last post I began to relate an anecdote about ...

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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.


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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Balancing the Scholarly and the Popular

I just flew into London on the red eye this morning.  As many of you know, my wife Sarah is a Brit, and we have lots of family here.   About fifteen years ago we bought a flat in Wimbledon, which is our base of operation when we’re here.  It’s a hoppin’ part of the universe just now, with the tournament starting.   I won’t be going this year, but our sister-in-law Gill (on the blog!), managed to get a couple of ...

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The Broader Significance(s) of Contradictions

I have been discussing the matter of contradictions in the Bible and the question of why they matter.  My overarching point is that they matter NOT simply so we can say “Aha!  There are contradictions!”  They matter for other things.

The one point I’ve made so far is that they matter for anyone who is committed to the authority of Scripture.  I need to say that I think the point I was trying to make in that post has possibly been ...

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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.



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?



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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If the Bible is Contradictory, How Can it Be Authoritative?

In my previous post I explained why the contradictions found in the Bible affect a certain understanding of the inspiration of Scripture.  The contradictions are not a point in and of themselves (OK, OK, so there are contradictions.  So what?).   There actually is a payoff.  In factd, several.  One of the payoffs is that the fundamentalist Christian claim that the Bible has no mistakes of any kind is almost certainly wrong.   But as I have said this is not the ...

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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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How I Write: The Crucial Phase

I have a very distinctive way of writing books, even though every time I write one, I think it’s the only sensible way to do it.  For years I’ve encouraged my students to do it this way when they write their dissertations, and I’ve talked to friends and colleagues about it, subtly (well, sometimes not so subtly) suggesting they do it.  And so far, after writing books for over thirty years, I’ve not convinced a single person to do it ...

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Why I Am Obsessed with Jesus: A Blast from the Past

Here’s a new idea: feel free to suggest to me that I repost one of the posts that you most like from earlier days on the blog!  That was done, unsolicited, by one of the long-time faithful followers of the blog, who wanted to see me repost a post from four years, ago, on why I continue to be obsessed with Jesus even though I am not a believer.   Here it is!


There is a relatively new online journal, ...

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