Roman Religion as the Context for Christianity

I have started to indicate how I laid out my prospectus for my next book The Triumph of Christianity, as I developed the idea this past summer.  Remember: the prospectus was designed to get a publisher (or hopefully more than one) interested in publishing the book, and was based on, and presupposed, already a good bit of research.   The prospectus was to show what the book was to be about, why it is both interesting and important, and how it ...

Continue Reading →
40

Miraculous (Not Virgin) Births in Ancient Pagan Texts

In my previous post I pointed out that there do not appear to be any instances in the other religions of antiquity of a virgin birth – where a woman gives birth without having sex.   In this post I’ll lay out the more typical view of how a “son of God” came into the world.  It very much does involve sex.   Most of the post will deal with one (very funn) story in particular which is emblematic of the rest.    ...

Continue Reading →
54

Widespread Claims of Pagan Virgin Births

I have devoted several posts to the issue of Jesus’ virgin birth, as recounted in Matthew and Luke.  As I pointed out, there is no account of Jesus’ virgin birth in the Gospel of John, and it appears that the idea is actually argued *against* (implicitly) in the Gospel of Mark.   Several readers have asked me (or told me) about the parallels to the virgin birth stories in pagan texts, where a son of God, or demi-god, or, well, some ...

Continue Reading →
79

The God Augustus

Yesterday I started a thread dealing with things that I learn, discovered, or changed my mind about in the course of doing the research on How Jesus Became God. This then is the second post on the topic. In this instance I was struck with a blinding realization of something that I guess I knew for a long time, but it had never nailed me between the eyes before. Once it did, it completely changed how I decided ...

Continue Reading →
19

The Gospels as Biographies

In my last post I indicated that among the different ways to study the Gospels, one is what I call the “literary-historical” approach. This approach determines the literary genre of a writing, and then sees how that genre “worked” in its own historical context (as opposed to how a similar genre make work today). The Gospels of the NT are widely seen as examples of ancient biography. So it would help to know how biographies worked in Greek and Roman ...

Continue Reading →
37

Male Domination in Antiquity

In this thread I’ve been laying out the view that in Paul’s own churches, women were granted places of prominence, possibly because they had been prominent at times from the very beginning, going back to the ministry of Jesus. But eventually women were silenced – as evidenced in the Pastoral epistles and the interpolation of 1 Cor. 14:35-36 by a later copyist of Paul’s letter. I continue this line of thought again by referring to the discussion of my Introduction ...

Continue Reading →
4

The Divine Realm in Antiquity

Here’s a draft of another key bit from my chapter 1 of How Jesus Became God

************************************************************************************************************************

From these various examples, we can see a variety of ways that divine beings could be thought to be human and that humans could be though to be divine in the ancient world.   I scarcely need to stress again that this way of looking at things stands considerably at odds with how most people understand the relationship of the human and the divine in ...

Continue Reading →
27

Who Is Really God?

This is how my chapter 2 of How Jesus Became God starts, in the current draft.

*************************************************************************************************

When I first started my teaching career in the mid 1980s I was offered an adjunct position at Rutgers University. My teaching load was three courses a semester. The tenured faculty taught three courses as well, and were, of course, considered full time. But since I was only an adjunct, my three courses were considered part time. You just have to love university administrations: ...

Continue Reading →
62

Gods Who (Apparently) Become Human

I’m happy to say that I began writing my book How Jesus Became God today.  Here is a chunk from the first chapter.

*************************************************************************************

Christianity arose in the Roman Empire immediately after the death of Jesus around the year 30 CE.  This empire was thoroughly infused with Greek culture – so much so that the common language of the empire, the language in fact in which the entire New Testament was written – was Greek.  And so to ...

Continue Reading →
43

The Divine Pyramid

In my previous posts I have been insisting that if one wants to say that “Jesus is God” according to an early Christian text, one has to ask “in what *sense*” is he God? Now is a good time for me to lay out how I understand ancient people understood the divine realm. It was very different from the way most people today – at least the people I run across – imagine the divine realm.

As I pointed out earlier, ...

Continue Reading →
36
Page 4 of 6 «...23456