How Do We Know What “Most Scholars” Think?

I have received a particularly interesting question that has led to a bit of back and forth between me and a person on the blog.  This person pointed out that in my writings I often indicate that a view that I have (e.g., that the Gospel of John was not written by John the son of Zebedee; that the book of Ephesians was not really written by Paul even though the author claims to be Paul; or that the Gospels ...

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Leading up to the King James Translation

The King James Version (KJV) is right hailed as one of the great classics – arguably *the* great classic – of English literature.  But most people have no idea where it came from and how it came into existence.  And so I am going to take a side-path (OK, a tangent) in my thread to devote a few posts to the KJV, also known as the Authorized Version (AV).

To start with, contrary to what a lot of people think, the ...

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Where Did the King James Bible Come From?

What were the King James Bible translators actually translating?  You may not have known it from the previous two posts – but that is what I have been getting at, when talking about the first published edition of the Greek New Testament by Erasmus, and the subsequent editions.    The King James is deservedly considered of the greatest classics ever produced in the English language.  There can be no doubt about its enormous influence on English literature and the English language ...

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The First Greek New Testament

In this thread on Bible translation, I have been talking about what it is translators of the New Testament actually translate.  In order to answer the question, I have had to explain how we started to get printed editions of the Greek New Testament, including the first to come off the printing press, the Complutensian Polyglot (discussed in yesterday’s post).  Today I take the discussion a step further, to talk about the first published (not the first printed!) Greek New ...

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The Oldest Printed Versions of the Greek New Testament

I have started to explain what it is translators of the New Testament actually translate.  They do not translate just one manuscript or another; they translate what they take to be the “original” text as it has been reconstructed by textual specialists (some of whom are the translators themselves).  These reconstructions can be found in printed editions of the Greek New Testament.

To make sense of what the translators actually have in front of them when they are translating, I need ...

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Different Ways of Describing the Theology of the New Testament

To return to the current thread: I’ve been discussing why most scholars are not equipped, trained, or inclined to write books for a general audience, and that took me, naturally, to the field of scholarship in which I myself was principally trained, biblical studies.  My ultimate point is going be a somewhat ironic one, that precisely because my particular interests were in one of the most highly technical, obtuse, mind-numbingly detailed aspects of New Testament studies, this (strangely) made it ...

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Another Approach to New Testament Theology

There is another aspect of the study of New Testament theology to what I discussed in yesterday’s post.   That post was focused on how one “does theology” with the New Testament – that is, how one uses the New Testament texts in such a way as to inform, critique, call into question, authorize, and dialogue with the important intellectual and practical aspects of life as a Christian, both individually and in community.  That is the sort of thing theologians do ...

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Studying New Testament Theology

This thread has turned into an explanation of why most New Testament scholars – that is, professional researchers and teachers with a PhD in the field – are not well situated to write books for a general audience.   My reflections on that question – once I get around to it – are probably not what one would expect.  At least they seem ironic to me.  But before going there (in a later post), I should stress that what is true ...

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Being Trained To Interpret Texts

In some rather surprising and ironic ways, I think my training in a particularly obscure and technical aspect of New Testament studies made me *more* qualified to write books for a general audience than most of my colleagues and peers.   Almost everyone I knew in my graduate program was interested almost exclusively in two areas of academic research: exegesis and New Testament theology.   I was interested in something that most of them did not care about in the least: textual ...

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Who Could Read and Write? A Blast from the Past.

It’s been fun for me to look over posts on the blog from years ago.  Here is one of relevance to some of my recent comments on the book of Revelation, for two reasons.

One involves literacy: who could read and write?  Could John the son of Zebedee?

The other involves “secredaries.”   Since my Revelation posts, a couple of people have asked me if it’s possible that the author used a “secretary” for the book (that is: since John the son of ...

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