Anti-Judaism in the Gospels

QUESTION:

It is in my understanding that it is of common scholarly opinion that the Gospel writers (at least Matthew, Luke, and John) were rather anti-Semitic in nature. Correct? How would you respond to that claim? After reading “The Origin of Satan” by Elaine Pagels, it is a subject that deeply interests me, and I would love to hear your professional opinion on the matter.

RESPONSE:

This question actually ties into some of the things I’ve been thinking about ...

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35

Why Did Scribes Add the Bloody Sweat?

I have explained why it is almost certain that Luke did not himself write the passage describing Jesus “sweating blood” in Luke 22:43-44: the passage is not found in some of our oldest and best manuscripts, it intrudes in a context that otherwise is structured as a clear chiasmus, and it presents a view of Jesus going to his death precisely at odds with what Luke has produced otherwise. Whereas Luke goes out of his way to portray Jesus ...

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Forgery. Another Deceived Deceiver (Part 2)

HERE’S THE SECOND HALF OF WHAT I STARTED TO POST YESTERDAY: THE IRONIES OF THE APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTIONS (A FOURTH CENTURY BOOK CLAIMING TO BE WRITTEN BY THE APOSTLES THREE HUNDRED YEARS EARLIER ); DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE GREEK — IT MAKES SENSE WITHOUT READING IT. MY POINT IN THIS BIT IS THE IRONY OF IT ALL.

The alleged authors – the apostles of Christ, including Paul and James — claim that the books of the New Testament were theirs: ἡμέτερα δέ, ...

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Forgery. Another Deceived Deceiver (Part 1)

ANOTHER EXCERPT FROM MY FORTHCOMING SCHOLARLY DISCUSSION OF FORGERY AND COUNTERFORGERY, WHERE IN THE INTRODUCTION I CONTINUE MY ANECDOTES OF FORGERIES THAT CONDEMN FORGERIES AND DECEIVERS WHO GET DECEIVED, THIS TIME BY LOOKING AT A CHRISTIAN EXAMPLE (SEE MY EARLIER POST ON THE DUPED HERACLIDES)

This ironic phenomenon has its rough parallels in the later Christian tradition. To begin with, we might look at a work universally recognized as pseudepigraphic, the late fourth-century Apostolic Constitutions, a so-called ...

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Autobiographical: Metzger and Me. The Seminar on the Canon

THIS RETURNS TO MY SERIES OF POSTS ON MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MY MENTOR BRUCE METZGER. EVENTUALLY, MANY POSTS FROM NOW, I’LL GET BACK TO THE ORIGINAL QUESTION: WHAT HE THOUGHT OF MY MOVE AWAY FROM THE FAITH. THAT’S WAY DOWN THE LINE.

I return to the early years of my relationship with Bruce Metzger.   That graduate seminar that I took with him, my first semester in my PhD program, was exhilarating, and in some senses life changing.   To be sure, most ...

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Why Did “Orthodox” Christianity Win: Part 2

In my previous post I talked about the “Eusebian model” for understanding the relationship of orthodoxy and heresy in earliest Christianity, and then about the counter-view set forth by Walter Bauer in his important study of 1934. What do scholars think today?

Only the most conservative scholars (fundamentalists and extremely conservative evangelical Christian scholars) still hold to a Eusebian view. For them, not only was Eusebius’s form of orthodoxy taught by Jesus (who told his disciples that he was fully God ...

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14

Why Did “Orthodox” Christianity Win?

QUESTION:

What I have been wondering lately is “why” did Christianity win out. There seemed to be much competition in the ancient world between the pagan polytheisms and monotheistic religions. Competition not only between the Jewish religion and Christian religion but within Christianity.

I would be interested in why you think the current version of Christianity won out. Was it purely a matter of cultural evolution and this form of Christianity seemed to benefit people the most, easiest to adhere to, most ...

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18

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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16

Why Did Christianity Succeed?

QUESTION:

What I have been wondering lately is “why” did Christianity win out. There seemed to be much competition in the ancient world between the pagan polytheisms and monotheistic religions. Competition not only between the Jewish religion and Christian religion but within Christianity.

I would be interested in why you think the current version of Christianity won out. Was it purely a matter of cultural evolution and this form of Christianity seemed to benefit people the most, easiest to adhere to, most ...

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Q & A with Ben Witherington: Part 3

CONTINUATION!   Ben Witherington, a conservative evangelical Christian New Testament scholar, has asked me to respond to a number of questions about my book Did Jesus Exist, especially in light of criticism I have received for it (not, for the most part, from committed Christians!).   His blog is widely read by conservative evangelicals, and he has agreed to post the questions and my answers without editing, to give his readers a sense of why I wrote the book, what I ...

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