Suffering and My Blog

For over a week now I’ve been dealing with a question concerning my views on suffering.  I could go on for days and days, weeks and weeks, about how the problem of suffering is discussed by the writers of the Bible and how I see it from my own perspective.   But it’s not the most cheerful of subjects and I need/want to move on to other things.   I’ve said enough to make my basic points, I think (if anyone wants ...

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Evaluation of Job’s Short Story

                In my previous post I laid out the “short story” of Job – the prose narrative that begins and ends the book that was, I contended, originally a free-standing story that existed independently of the poetic dialogues between Job and his friends that take up the great bulk of the book (this isn’t my idea: it’s been a standard view in scholarship for a long time).   This short story has a different ...

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Personal Response to Suffering?


I would like to know more about your personal beliefs regarding the god issue and human suffering in all of it’s forms…all forms…war, poverty, governmental responsibility in suffering, population explosion, church persecutions and tortures…everything.  I’m not just referring to your book on the history of the problem of suffering (God’s Problem) but your personal thoughts about it and how you are involved to help alleviate suffering and what you think the future of humanity is since there seems to be ...

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Personal, Executive Privilege: My Daughter and Homeschooling!

I have made an executive decision to post something completely unrelated to Christianity in Antiquity.   So please indulge me!   It’s short…

My daughter Kelly launched her new business this month – Lavender’s Blue Homeschool.  She supports families who want to homeschool with a thoughtful, holistic, and creative approach over at her website and she just released her first curriculum – the complete guide to Waldorf-inspired kindergarten at home.  If you know anyone who is interested in or is doing ...

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Teeth Will Be Provided

I have had a long thread of fairly heavy hitting posts for over a week now, dealing with whether Matthew, and his audience, were Jewish.   I still have a few things to say about related issues (such as whether, at the end of the day, Matthew and the apostle Paul would have been able to see eye-to-eye, and whether rather than being Jewish Matthew should be considered *anti*-Jewish).  But I think it’s time for a break from the hard-hitting discussions ...

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My New Course for The Teaching Company (The Great Courses)

New Teaching Company Course!

A temporary “time-out” from my posting on the Jewishness of Matthew’s Gospel.

I received the good news that my new course with the Teaching Company (now called the Great Courses) has become available today.  I am, needless to say, very pleased.   Those of you who have been reading every post for the past few months will remember me talking about the course.  It is called “The Greatest Controversies in Early Christianity.”   As with all the ...

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Outta Here

FYI:  I am heading out of town for a few days and will not be able to interact with comments on the blog during that time.  I’m taking my 86-year old mom trout fishing in the Ozarks, and will not have internet access.   I saved up a couple of posts and handed them over to my trusty computer person and internet tech, who keeps this blog running, Steven Ray — so posts should appear a while I’m incommunicado.  But ...

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Exciting Discovery of a Hebrew Bible Scroll

An exciting discovery has been made of the oldest scroll containing the Pentateuch (it is not as old as the Leningrad *codex* from around the year 1000; but it is the oldest *scroll* with the entire text – 12th century or 13th).   My thanks to my colleage Evyatar Marienburg, knowledgeable about all scholarship Jewish, for informing me about this.  For the fuller account, see



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Geza Vermes

Now that I have been posting on the Dead Sea Scrolls and the historical Jesus, I would be remiss not to mention  that one of the absolutely great scholars of modern times, one of the world experts on both the Scrolls and Jesus, died several days ago.   Geza Vermes was a formidable scholar.   Of the three major English translations of the Scrolls, it is his that I typically use and prefer.   In the 1970s he began publishing a series of ...

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