How Was Jesus *Really* Born? The Proto-Gospel of James

In my last post I mentioned the Proto-Gospel of James in relation to a textual variant (in Luke) that indicates that Mary gave birth not *in* Bethlehem but *en route* there.   That made me think it would be a good time to say something about what else is in this intriguing book.  You can find my recent translation of it in the collection of non-canonical Gospels that I edited, translated, and introduced with my colleague Zlatko Plese, called The ...

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Small Differences that Make a Difference

Here is something different on the significance of textual variants for understanding the Greek New Testament.   Most of the hundreds of thousands of variations are completely insignificant in the big overall scheme of things (e.g., misspelled words and slips of the pen); others involve enormous differences that matter a lot (the story of the woman taken in adultery).  Lots of others are between the two, small differences that are interesting for how they might change the meaning of a passage ...

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Jesus Kissing Mary Magdalene: A Blast From the Past

Now for something *completely* different.  Here is a question that was asked and answered almost exactly four years ago, of ongoing intrigue!

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QUESTION:

I know that the “Gospel of Philip does not have much if any real historical veracity to it about Jesus’ life, but does the references about Jesus and Mary Magdalene being lovers and the holes in the papyrus ‘kissing’ verse (verses 32 and 55 in your “Lost Scriptures” book), help support the view that this ...

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Paul and His Female Disciple Thecla

I’m in the middle of talking about whether Paul wrote the verses now found in 1 Cor. 14:34-35, or if they were later added to his letter by an editor/scribe.  To make sense of what I have to say next about the issue I need to provide just a bit more background, specifically about a legendary figure well known in the early church, but not widely known about today outside the realm of early Christianity scholarship.  This is a one-time-household-name: ...

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Did Jesus’ Death Matter? The Intriguing View of the Coptic Apocalypse of Peter

From remembering the birth of Jesus (Christmas!), we turn for a moment to remembering his death.  I recently received this question, in response to my statement that some Christians did not think the death of Jesus mattered for salvation, and others maintained that he never actually died.

 

QUESTION:

Can you give some reference to where I can explore this idea of the Crucifixion being unimportant or not happening at all?

RESPONSE:

I will take two posts to answer this question, since they involve two ...

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A Very Strange Saying: From the Gospel of Peter?

As I pointed out yesterday, the “Gospel of Peter” that we have today, discovered in 1886, is unfortunately, only a portion – the only surviving portion – of what was once a complete Gospel. But was it a complete Gospel? Or was it only a passion Gospel (like the later Gospel of Nicodemus) that gave an account only of the trial, death, and resurrection of Jesus? That has long been debated.

I discussed one intriguing view of the matter ...

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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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Jesus’ (Young?) Mother and (Half?) Brothers? The Proto-Gospel of James

A few days ago lot of readers made comments on the question (thanks to the Roy Moore newsflashes) of whether Mary was a young girl when she got married; and now I have mentioned Jesus’ mother and brothers in Mark’s Gospels.  So let me say a few more things about them.

The earliest non-canonical source that talks about Jesus’ mother (indicating she was a teenager — not something found in the NT) and his brothers (were they really is brothers?) is ...

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Another Translation Project: The Apocryphal Gospels

In my last reposted-post I mentioned that some years after the Apostolic Fathers (after, apparently, I had forgotten all the pain involved), I took on another (very large) translation project, of wider interest to the world at large — the ancient Gospels that did not make it into the New Testament.  Here is how I have described that one, just to finish out the thought.

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 After having done the Apostolic Fathers in two volumes for the Loeb, I had ...

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My Favorite Anecdote about Jesus and the Afterlife: Teeth Will Be Provided!

I was thinking (I’m always thinking) about Jesus and the afterlife, and suddenly my favorite rather humorous anecdote occurred, which involves a real moment in (relatively) modern scholarship.  I tried to find where I had written about it in one of my books: I was sure I *had* done so, but I couldn’t find anyplace where I had.  If I haven’t, I may include it in the next one.  But I did find that I made a post of it ...

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