My Bible Introduction

As predicted, I began work on my Introduction to the Bible yesterday, and it has been as intense as expected.   This is to be a fifteen-chapter introduction of the entire Bible, Jewish Scripture (= Old Testament) and New Testament, Genesis to Revelation (including Apocrypha).  What a scream….

The really difficult thing for this book – as for every book – is to make it just right for the audience.  My audience in this case is not readers at Barnes and Noble ...

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My Next Book

Several readers have suggested that this kind of post should be available on the blog for everyone, not just members.  I think they’re right!

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The next two weeks are going to be highly intense for me, and I’m a bit worried about how I will be able to fit in my “blog time.”   The reason: I will be throwing myself day and night into writing my next book.

Background Part One:  As I think I’ve mentioned on the blog before, I try ...

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Q & A with Ben Witherington: Part 10 (and last!)

Q.   In what way is the Jewish notion of a resurrection a different idea than either the fertility crop cycle idea, or what is sometimes said about pagan deities that either disappear or die?

A.   One of the reasons for thinking that the belief in Jesus’ death and resurrection is not exactly like what you can find in pagan myths about their gods is that it is solidly rooted in Jewish apocalyptic beliefs of the first century.  This should come as ...

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Helping Charity and Improving My Blog

As I have mentioned elsewhere on this blog, I have had three debates with Dinesh D’Souza, an extremely smart, articulate, and conservative fellow, on the Problem of Suffering.  The debates were not about whether there is a problem (yes there is!), but about whether the problem is, or should be, insurmountable for faith.  For many people (like me) it is insurmountable.  But I don’t think it necessarily is for everyone.  Dinesh does not think it should be for ...

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Outta here (for a couple of days)

Friends, Fans, and Others,

I am heading outta here for a few days, taking my 85-year-old mom trout fishing!   We will be in a remote part of the Missouri Ozarks, where there is no Internet connection.   I have prepared a couple of posts for when I’m away, which my trusty website and technology support, Steven Ray, will put up on the blog while I’m gone.   But I will not be able to respond to comments, until I get back at the end ...

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The Growth of Early Christianity: A Clarification

In my last post I was discussing why / how Christianity succeeded in taking over the Empire, and a number of readers have pointed out that the conversion of Constantine had something to do with it.  Yes indeed!!  Constantine had EVERYTHING to do with it.  If he/that hadn’t happened, there’s no telling what would have been.   Constantine was the real game-changer.  But my post (I wasn’t clear about this: my mistake) wasn’t dealing with the cataclysmic events of the fourth ...

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Which Charities Does The Blog Support?

QUESTION: 

With administration costs taking bites out of donated dollars I hesitate to give $s to unknown/redundant agencies which duplicate efforts and erode potential $s for receipients. Would ‘you’ identify the agencies being used by those contributing to your foundation? What % of donated dollars are spent on administrative costs per dollar received? …. I support what you are doing in the areas of poverty and want to know how wisely and through whom it is dispersed.

RESPONSE:

This is obviously a most ...

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Personal Reflections Page

I have decided to include a new category on my blog (available for members only) for personal reflections. This will give me a chance to talk about things that are happening in my life. Most of the time there will be a close, or, well, more-or-less close, tie in to the themes of the rest of the blog: the study of Christianity in Antiquity. But these comments will be more personal in nature.

At this point, I’m imagining it to have ...

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Undergraduate Courses (2): Introduction to the New Testament (Part 2)

Once students have come to see what the contents, characteristics, and emphases of each of the Gospels are, and have recognized that the Gospels cannot be taken as historically reliable accounts of what “really” happened in the life of Jesus, both because of their many discrepancies and because of historical implausibilities (as just two examples: Luke’s “census” that gets Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem; or the Triumphal Entry, where Jesus is publicly acclaimed messiah by the massive crowds and the ...

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Undergraduate Courses (1): Introduction to the New Testament (Part 1)

In my post on The Work of a Professional Scholar I gave a brief overview of the sorts of courses that I teach at UNC.  There is nothing particularly unusual about the courses I teach.  I have hundreds of friends and colleagues who teach classes on the New Testament and on Early Christianity around the country, and most of them have courses very similar to the ones I teach – so long as they are not teaching in a fundamentalist ...

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