The Divine Pyramid

In my previous posts I have been insisting that if one wants to say that “Jesus is God” according to an early Christian text, one has to ask “in what *sense*” is he God? Now is a good time for me to lay out how I understand ancient people understood the divine realm. It was very different from the way most people today – at least the people I run across – imagine the divine realm.

As I pointed out earlier, ...

Continue Reading →
36

How Jesus Became God: More Questions

In yesterday’s post I began to explain some of the problems that I had started to have with my original way of imagining this book, How Jesus Became God  (I give the original prospectus in the three posts preceding that one).  The problem I mentioned yesterday was a big one: I came to think that the proposal did not take into account fully enough the variety of Christological expressions that one finds at the Continue Reading →

93

Pilate and Barabbas

I have received a number of interesting responses to my comments about Pontius Pilate, the Romans’ use of crucifixion, and the likelihood that, as a rule, Romans did not allow decent burials for the victims but left them to scavenging birds and animals — helpless, defenseless, and in agony. A couple of people have suggested that since Pilate had the custom of releasing a prisoner to the crowds during the Passover, this would show a basic interest in placating the ...

Continue Reading →
34

Decent Burials for Crucified Victims

In my previous post I quoted a number of ancient sources that indicated that part of the torture and humiliation of being crucified in antiquity was being left, helpless, exposed not just to the elements but to scavenging birds and other animals. These sources suggest that the normal practice was to leave the victims on the cross to be pecked and gnawed at both before and after death; in some instances there are indications that this would go on for ...

Continue Reading →
34

Crucified Bodies and Scavengers

As I have indicated in earlier posts, some years ago now, New Testament scholar John Dominic Crossan, one of the leading scholars today discussing the historical Jesus, made the argument that rather than being properly buried, Jesus’ body may have been eaten by scavenging dogs. You can see his discussion in his popular book, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography. (Crossan does not believe that Jesus was physically raised from the dead; but he does consider himself to be ...

Continue Reading →
10

The Need for Context

I AM NOW REVISING THE NEW TESTAMENT PORTION OF MY BIBLE INTRODUCTION, AND THOUGHT THAT SOME OF THE SECTIONS IN IT MAY BE OF BROADER INTEREST. AND SO I WILL POST A FEW OF (WHAT STRIKE ME AS) THE MORE INTERESTING PARTS HERE ON THE BLOG OVER THE NEXT WEEK OR SO.

THE FOLLOWING IS HOW I BEGIN THIS SECOND SECTION. BEFORE THIS PORTION ARE AN OPENING EIGHT CHAPTERS DEVOTED TO THE HEBREW BIBLE. THEN THERE IS THIS TRANSITIONAL CHAPTER, ...

Continue Reading →
18

Questions on Jesus’ Language and on the Crucifixion

QUESTIONS:

If Jesus could not speak Latin, he must have communicated with the Romans in Aramaic. Was it common for Romans, at least of a certain class, to speak Aramaic? If not, how could Jesus have communicated with, for example, Pontius Pilate? Perhaps through a translator?

Also, are there any sources I can consult regarding my question on the crucifixion? Wikipedia does not address this issue and you yourself have stated that you believe it was a small public ceremony which coincides ...

Continue Reading →
29

Ancient Secretaries (Part 1)

I have received some comments and emails about my claims about Silvanus as a secretary (or rather, NOT as a secretary) for the book of 1 Peter, and realized it would help if I could give some more detail about what we know about secretaries in the ancient world. The following is from an excursus in my forthcoming Forgery and Counterforgery; it will come in two parts, the first today and the second, hopefully, tomorrow. If you’ve read ...

Continue Reading →
9

Forgery and Deceived Deceivers

I mentioned in my previous blog that I am reading through the page proofs of my scholarly book Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics. And I suggested that I might give a few extracts to give some idea of what the book looks like. Much of the book is hard hitting scholarship that only inveterate philologists could love (or like). I can give a taste in later posts, if anyone’s interested. But ...

Continue Reading →
10

The Sons of God and the Daughters of Men

Another tidbit from my Bible Introduction.  Old news for a lot of you, I know.  But it’s fun to write this kind of thing up for college students, who have never heard of such a thing!

*************************************************************************************************************************

One of the most mysterious and even bizarre stories in Genesis happens right at the beginning of the flood narrative, where we are told that the “sons of God” looked down among the human “daughters,” saw that they were beautiful, and came down and had ...

Continue Reading →
30
Page 4 of 5 12345