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My Work Habits the Letter allegedly by Jesus’ Own Brother: Mailbag 2/12/2017

I will be addressing two quite disparate questions in this week’s Readers’ Mailbag: one about my work habits and one about the New Testament epistle of James: how do we know that the author expected his readers to think (or know) that he was actually the brother of Jesus himself?  If you have questions you’d like me to address in a future Mailbag, send them along!

 

QUESTION:

I notice you seem to get quite a bit done in a day (more than ...

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How Did Ancient Writers Use Secretaries? A Blast from the Past

Here is the second of a series of three blasts from the past — from four years ago when I was dealing with how secretaries were and, especially, were not used in the ancient world by authors when producing their work.  Did authors (such as John for the book of Revelation, or Peter for either 1 or 2 Peter) use a secretary to write their books for them?  To answer the question with something other than common sense (that is, ...

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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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The End of Time in Revelation and the Gospel of John

I have been arguing that the author of the Fourth Gospel and the author of the book of Revelation could not have been the same person, and in looking back at my posts I realize that I have left out an important point, one of the strongest arguments that we are dealing with two different people.   The theology of these two books is radically different on an issue that is completely central to both of them: their understanding of “eternal ...

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The Author of Revelation

In this post I want to explain why it is almost universally thought that the same author did not write the fourth Gospel and the book of Revelation, and then to show why the latter author was almost certainly not John the son of Zebedee, Jesus’ close disciple.  So far as I know, only fundamentalists today think that John the son of Zebedee did write the book of Revelation.   There are really only three things that speak in favor of ...

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Who Wrote the Book of Revelation and the Fourth Gospel?

Speaking of the Apocalypse (from the previous post giving that odd video):  Someone recently asked me if the same author could have written both the book of Revelation and the Gospel of John.   Interesting question!   Traditionally, both books have been identified as coming from the same person, John the son of Zebedee, the fisherman who was one of Jesus’ closest disciples.   In answering the question I would like to stress two points: first, they almost certainly were not written by ...

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Evaluating My Debate on the Book of Acts

I have now completed my posts on the debate I had with myself in front of my New Testament class on the question of whether the New Testament book of Acts is historically reliable.   If you want to see the whole debate, just read the posts in sequence: the affirmative speech arguing Acts is indeed reliable; the negative speech arguing that it is not; the negative rebuttal of what the affirmative side said; and finally the affirmative rebuttal of what ...

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Is Acts Historically Reliable? The Affirmative Rebuttal

I have been (intermittently) discussing the debate that I had with myself in front of my New Testament class on the resolution, Resolved: The Book of Acts is Historically Reliable.  So far I have indicated what the Affirmative side argued in favor of the resolution; what the Negative side argued against the resolution; and what the Negative side said in its rebuttal to the first Affirmative speech.  NOW, at last, I can indicate what the Affirmative side said in its ...

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Is Acts Reliable? The Negative Rebuttal

What follows is the “negative rebuttal” of the speech given by the “first affirmative” in its support of the resolution, “Resolved: The Book of Acts is Historically Reliable.”  If you need to refresh yourself on what the affirmative team argued, you can find it on the March 24 post, here: https://ehrmanblog.org/is-acts-historically-reliable-affirmative-argument/    In the first negative speech (yesterday’s post) the negative team argued its case, without direct reference to the affirmative side.  This, now, is the negative response to what ...

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Is the Book of Acts Historically Reliable? The Negative Case.

This post will lay out the Negative case, arguing against the resolution, Resolved: The Book of Acts if Historically Reliable.   Again, I am not necessarily agreeing or disagreeing with this argument; I’m giving it as I would in a debate.

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The New Testament book of Acts is not historically reliable.  Before showing that to be the case, I want to make two preliminary remarks, both of them related to the question of what it means for an ostensibly historical ...

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