Did a “Pope” Write the First-Century Book of 1 Clement?

I return her to the book of 1 Clement, probably unknown to many people on the blog, but an important work written at about the time of some of some of the writings of the New Testament – or so I’ll b arguing in the post after this.  First I need to say something about the author.  Why is it attributed to someone named Clement?   Could this really have been written by a first-century pope (i.e., the Bishop of the ...

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Are Christians Intolerant?

It’s a big question whether Christianity on the whole should be seen as “tolerant”– that is, does it accept the validity of other faith traditions or not?   My sense is that some Christians do, many don’t, and most probably don’t think about it much.   It is a particularly interesting question to ask with respect to Christianity in the *ancient* world.

The reason is that when Christians were being persecuted in the second, third, and early fourth centuries, their leaders / writers ...

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When Christianity Became the “Official” Religion of Rome

I have been discussing when Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire.  It was not under Constantine, or even one of his sons who succeeded him on the throne.  It was only at the end of the fourth century, during the reign of Theodosius.  Here is what I say in my book about that new situation some seven decades after the conversion of Constantine.

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When Julian was killed in a poorly-conceived and even more poorly-executed battle with the Persians ...

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Making Rome Pagan Again

After Constantine converted to Christianity, every Roman emperor, for all time, was Christian – with one brief exception: his nephew Julian, most frequently referred to as Julian the Apostate, who ruled for nineteen months in 361-63 CE.   This short reign was highly significant: Julian tried to turn the empire back to the ways and worship of paganism.  He is called “the Apostate” because he started out as Christian but then opted to worship the traditional gods of Rome.  And he ...

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The Beginning of the End of Paganism

I have decided to pursue further the question of how, in the fourth century, Christianity took over the Roman imperial government (at the highest levels) leading to the proscription of pagan practices.   For that I will rely on a couple of extracts from my book,  The Triumph of Christianity, over a few posts.   Here is the continuation of the story after the death of Constantine.

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Constantine’s father Constantius became Caesar of the West in 293 CE and then senior ...

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Ehrman & Licona: Are the Gospels Historically Reliable? Part 2

Here is Part 2 of my debate with Mike Licona on whether the Gospels are historically reliable.  You won’t necessarily have to have seen Part 1 to make sense of this one; a lot of it involves penetrating questions from the audience (trying to trip us up!) which one or the other of us addressed.   Enjoy!

Part 2: Please adjust gear icon for 720p High-Definition:

 

REMEMBER: if you were a member of the blog, you ...

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Ehrman & Licona: Are the Gospels Historically Reliable? Part 1

A month ago, on February 21 I had a public debate with Mike Licona at the Bailey Performance Center at Kennesaw State University on the topic: Are the Gospels Historically Reliable? Ratio Christi and KSU History Club hosted the event. Moderator was Dr. Brian Swain, a historian of Mediterranean antiquity on the faculty there.

You can probably guess the two sides we took in the debate.  The crowd was largely on his side, which made for a very interesting evening.  As ...

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Why Women Came to be Silenced

Given what I’ve said before about women in the ancient world, in early Christianity, and in the churches of Paul, I can now explain why women who had originally played a significant role in the early Christian movement came to be silenced, especially in the churches of Paul (as seen, for example, in the Pastoral epistles).  Here is how I discuss the matter in my college-level textbook on the New Testament.

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Our theoretical discussion of the ideology of gender ...

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36

Is the Didache One Document or Three?

I have been discussing the interesting and important early Christian document called the Didache.  Yesterday I gave a translation of its first part, the “two ways” or the “two paths” section.  After that the topic and tone of the book changes, as it starts to talk about how Christian baptism and eucharist should be celebrated.  It ends on a completely different note, with a one-chapter description of the coming apocalypse.  Scholars have asked whether the book as we now ...

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The Ethical Teachings of the Didache

We have been talking about the Didache on the blog, and it occurred to me that it might be useful to post part of its text, so readers can see what we’re talking about.  The book has several discrete parts: it begins with a discussion of the “two ways” – one that leads to life and one to death.  This is a set of ethical instructions for Christians.  As you’ll see, the author appears to have taken materials from ...

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