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 https://www.facebook.com/groups/375003239611/permalink/10151699916354612/

PRESS RELEASE

THE MOST ANCIENT EXISTING SCROLL OF THE HEBREW PENTATEUCH, DISCOVERED AT THE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY ...

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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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Dead Sea Scrolls Scandal

A few years ago I was asked to give a speech at a museum in Raleigh NC in connection with an exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls that had been long in the works and had finally become a reality. I will be the first to admit, I’m not the first person you should think of to give a lecture on the Dead Sea Scrolls. It’s not my field of scholarship. But the lecture was to be one of a ...

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The Mayan Calendar, Y2K, and the Letter of Barnabas

You may have noticed that the world didn’t end two weeks ago, despite widespread anticipation. Sometimes things just don’t go as planned. It’s a strange phenomenon this expectation that the world is soon going to end; and if Christian fundamentalists and Mayan enthusiasts can’t get it right, who can?

When I was a fundamentalist back in the mid 70s, I – and all my friends – were sure that the end was going to come, with the reappearance of Jesus, before ...

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More Responses to My Newsweek Article

When the editor at Newsweek ask me if I would be willing to write an article on the birth of Jesus, I was hesitant and wrote him back asking if he was sure he really wanted me to do it. I told him that I seem to be incapable of writing anything that doesn’t stir up controversy. It must be in my blood. Still, he said that they knew about my work and were not afraid of controversy, ...

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Responses to my Newsweek Article

My Newsweek article this week has generated a lot of response.  I have no idea what kind of comments they typically get for their stories, but so far, as of now, there have been 559 on mine; and most of them are negative – to no one’s surprise – written by people (conservative evangelicals and fundamenalists for the most part, from what I can tell) who think that the Gospels are perfectly accurate in what they have to say ...

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Cover Stories on Jesus

Apologies to all for being “off” the blog for a couple of days. I’ve been in D.C. getting ready and primed for a new course that I’ll be doing with the Great Courses; it will be an audio course (no video for this one) called “The Greatest Controversies in Early Christianity,” where I deal with some hot topics, including two that I’ve been hitting here on the blog lately (Was Jesus Born in Bethlehem? And Was Jesus’ Mother a ...

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The Pope’s New Book

So, I read the Pope’s new book last night, Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives.  It wasn’t what I expected.  I don’t know why it wasn’t what I expected:  about thirty seconds solemn reflection should have told me what it would be.  But I believed the media reports and was led astray.  The press coverage stressed the things I pointed out in my post yesterday:  we don’t know what year exactly Jesus was born, since the ...

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The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: Another New Development

In earlier posts I talked about the “discovery” of the tiny credit-card sized fragment of a Coptic Gospel, with several lines of text on it, in one of which Jesus is recorded as speaking the words “my wife.” The text has been named “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.” As I mentioned in a previous blog, there are heated discussions of the fragment’s authenticity, with a large number of experts contending that it is a modern forgery. We will probably not ...

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Is the New Gospel Fragment a Modern Forgery?

The so-called “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” has been publicly available for only three days now, and already New Testament scholars and scholars of Coptic and Gnosticism are hard at work on it. Most of the effort so far has been in deciding whether it is authentic or forged. And it ain’t lookin’ good for those who think it’s authentic!

Some have pointed out that the fragment looks too neat around the edges to be believable; others have noted that ...

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