Back to the Forgery of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife

Some three years ago now I discussed in several posts the newly “discovered” text called “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” (just search for “wife” and you’ll find the posts).  A new development has occurred that makes it almost certain that this text is a modern forgery, done sometime in the last 20 years.  The evidence has been uncovered by Andrew Bernhard, who was one of the first to establish other grounds for seeing the text as something quite fishy, and ...

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More Hard Issues on the Qur’an Fragments

My plan is to make this the final post for now on the issue of the Qur’an fragments discovered at the University of Birmingham.  Obviously the discussion could go on forever (it’s been going on for 1500 years and is not likely to stop any time soon).   But I’m not a scholar of the Qur’an or of Islam, and I would prefer sticking to topics that are within my realm of expertise.

I know that comment itself will prompt emails from ...

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Fundamentalist Mistakes

When, three days ago, I posted my comments about the discovery of a two-page manuscript fragment of the Qur’an that, according to new reports, can be dated (technically, the parchment on which the text is written can be dated) to the lifetime of the prophet Mohammed or to a decade or so later, I had no idea that the post would be such a big deal.   The Facebook version of the post has had nearly245,000 hits. and counting.   Who would-a ...

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More on the Discovery of Ancient Qur’an Fragments

My post on Saturday about the discovery of two pages of the Qur’an in the library of the University of Birmingham that appear to date from the time of Mohammed himself. or a decade or so later, evoked more than the usual response.   My facebook post has received nearly 260,000 hits.   I think before that my previous highest hit total was 25,000 or so.   Amazing amount of interest in this.

And so I’m going to do something I’ve never done before ...

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The Significance of an Astounding New Discovery

Those of you who follow the news have heard that a truly great manuscript discovery has been made public this week, coming out of the University of Birmingham, England.   The university has a very important collection of manuscripts, and for New Testament scholars it is famous for its Institute devoted to the study, analysis, and editing of Gospel manuscripts, an institute headed by my long-time friend and colleague David Parker, indisputably one of the top NT textual scholars in the ...

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Losing Religion in America

As many of you know, there was a major poll done recently by the Pew Research Center involving religion in America.  The results were published about three weeks ago, and the findings were striking indeed.   Among the most intriguing were that the percentage of people identifying themselves as Christian in the U.S. has declined by nearly 8% in just seven years.  That corresponds to those who consider themselves not “religiously affiliated” in any way, which, for the purposes of this ...

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Three Murders in Chapel Hill

As probably all of you know, we have experienced a heart-wrenching tragedy here in Chapel Hill, as three young, happy, and good Muslim students were murdered on Tuesday, point-blank, in their home.   The issue is tangential to the topics I normally deal with on the blog, but I did want to take time out to reflect a bit on what has happened.

On Wednesday I did something that I’ve never done before in my 30 years of university teaching.   I blew ...

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The Gospel of Judas: Discovery, Restoration, and (Non-)Disclosure

I’ve decided not to give a detailed summary of this thread each time I resume it.  To make sense of what I’m saying, you’ll need to go to the beginning a few days ago.  Short story, though:  it’s about how I came to learn about the discovery of the Gospel of Judas through a phone call from a representative of National Geographic who wanted me to be on the team that established its authenticity, back in the fall of 2004.

Before ...

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Another (Final!) Insight into that Mummy Mask and Papyrus

OK, I am at the tail end of this thread on mummy masks and the alleged discovery of a first-century fragment of Mark’s Gospel.  But I did want to provide access to an interesting article and penetrating set of questions on the issue published a week ago on CNN by my friend Candida Moss and her partner-in-all-things-editorial Joel Baden (they crank out a lot of articles on issues in biblical studies, especially as items appear in the news).  Candida is ...

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Why I’d Be Thrilled If A First-Century Manuscript Appeared

In several posts I have been emphasizing – possibly over-emphasizing – that if a first-century fragment of the Gospel of Mark does ever get published, and if it is in *fact*from the first century (which, I should stress, will be almost *impossible* to demonstrate conclusively), that it is very hard indeed to imagine that it will be any kind of game-changer, that it will tell us something different from what we already think.   The reason I have been emphasizing this ...

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