Why Christians Needed an Old Testament: Pagan Attacks on the Faith

In my discussion why Christians claimed the Jewish Bible for themselves (and argued it no longer belonged to Jews), I’ve been focusing strictly on the relationship of Jews and Christians, for obvious reasons.  But as it turns out, there is more to it than that.   Here is an issue that is hardly ever talked about in the scholarship on the rise of anti-Judaism in early Christianity, let alone among lay people wondering about why mainstream Christianity became opposed to Jews ...

Continue Reading →
17

The Jewish Bible in the Gentile Churches

I continue here with my thoughts about how Christians came to claim the Jewish Bible for themselves, and to argue that it no longer belonged to Jews.   I’ve already pointed out that the Jewish followers of Jesus (Many? Most? All?)  (I suspect the answer is “Most”), within a short time after his death (months?  a year?) began wonder why other Jews did not accept Jesus as the messiah.  After all, they themselves “knew” he had been raised from the dead.  ...

Continue Reading →
56

How “Jews” Became “Children of the Devil” in the New Testament

I have just started getting into the meat of the book proposal I have written for myself about The Battle for the Bible, on how it is that Christians claimed that the Hebrew Scriptures belonged to them rather than the Jews, and how this is what ultimately led to Christian opposition to Judaism and the Jews who practiced it.    As the argument unfolds, I hope it will make increasing sense!  Here’s the next bit, dealing with how the process began.

 

Continue Reading →

65

Should the Old Testament Even Be in the Bible?

A week or so ago I started to describe how I’m thinking of one of my future books, that I’m tentatively calling The Battle for the Bible.  The book (if I write it) will be about how Christians got the Old Testament and saw the Old Testament as *their* book rather than the Jews’, who had misinterpreted it and given up (without their knowledge) any claim to it.  My argument is that this dispute is what ultimately led to the ...

Continue Reading →
85

Is the Old Testament a Christian Book?

Yesterday I started describing a trade book that I’m thinking about writing, tentatively called (in my head) “The Battle for the Bible.”    Here is the next part of my self-reflections:

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

A major part of my book will deal with one of the great puzzles in the history of religion:  Why does the Christian Bible even have an Old Testament?   And how did the early Christians, most of them gentiles, manage – in their own minds — to wrest it ...

Continue Reading →
52

Why Do Christians Have an Old Testament? Another Trade Book.

This blog post is available to anyone in the universe, free of charge.  I provide five posts a week on the blog, but to have access to the others, you need to be a blog member.  Joining is easy and inexpensive.  I charge a fee in order to raise money for charity, giving every penny to help those who are poor, homeless, and in need.  So why not join and get full-access?  You’ll get lots for your money ...

Continue Reading →
89

Homosexuality in the Bible (and the Christian Church)

Here is a pressing question I was asked about a month ago, involving homosexuality and the Christian church.  Since the question was asked, as you know (if you follow the news!), the Methodist Church has made its decision.

I decided to ask a real expert to deal with the question, my friend Jeff Siker, PhD in New Testament who has just retired from a 30+ year career teaching biblical studies at Loyola Marymount, and who has edited two books that address ...

Continue Reading →
64

Yet Other Apocryphal Books

OK, this will be my last post for now on the apocrypha.  Here is the final (and particularly intriguing) book accepted in the Roman Catholic church, and a few others accepted in Orthodox Christian circles.

 

2 Maccabees

The book known as 2 Maccabees is another account of the history of the Maccabean Revolt. Its author did not have 1 Maccabees as a source but was writing independently of it. His interest is principally with the events that transpired under the ...

Continue Reading →
16

More Apocrypha: A Letter of Jeremiah, (Fascinating) Additions to Daniel, and 1 Maccabees

Here is another installment on my discussion of the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical books.  The first of the three I discuss here is not well known, but the second and third are historically quite significant.

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

The Letter of Jeremiah

This is one of the shortest books of Apocrypha—it is only one chapter long, and in the Latin tradition of the Roman Catholic Church it is included as the final chapter of the book of Baruch. The book is allegedly written by the prophet Jeremiah, sent ...

Continue Reading →
16

More Books of the Apocrypha: Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach, and Baruch

In this post I continue discussing the books of the Apocrypha, accepted as part of Scripture by Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches.  These are important books, historically and culturally – but hardly known among Protestant readers.   Here are three more!  Descriptions are taken from my introduction to the Bible.

 

The Wisdom of Solomon

The Wisdom of Solomon is a book of positive wisdom (recall Proverbs), which claims to be written by the great king of the United Monarchy. In fact it was ...

Continue Reading →
31
Page 1 of 14 12345...»