Christians Charged as Perverts and Criminals

I have some more posts dealing with resurrection matters; but I thought maybe I should give it a break for a day or two, since the resurrection isn’t the most interesting thing for absolutely everyone. So here’s something else for today:

At one point in my bible introduction I talk about the persecution of the early Christians (specifically as mentioned in 1 Thessalonians) and point out that deep into the second century Christians had a very bad reputation. Here, without much ...

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Paul’s View of Resurrection

QUESTIONS:

So if, as you say, Paul believed in a ‘physical resurrection of the body ( = of the corpse, right?) of Jesus’ then why did he never refer to an empty tomb or to the discovery of such an empty tomb by the apostles in his letters although that would have fitted well at occasions?

Also, and I know we have discussed these matters briefly here before, why did Paul describe the ‘risen Christ’ as a light etc in his visions? ...

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Gerd Lüdemann on the Resurrection of Jesus

One of the first books that I have re-read in thinking about how it is the man Jesus came to be thought of as God is Gerd Lüdemann’s, The Resurrection of Christ: A Historical Inquiry (2004). Lüdemann is an important and interesting scholar. He was professor of New Testament at Göttingen in Germany, and for a number of years split his time between there and Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville. He is a major figure in scholarship, and is noteworthy ...

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Possibilities for the Afterlife

IN MY BIBLE INTRODUCTION, I INTRODUCE STUDENTS TO SOME OF THE OPTIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE AFTERLIFE, IN VIEW OF PAUL’S INSISTENCE IN 1 CORINTHIANS THAT THE FUTURE WILL INVOLVE A PHYSICAL RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD FOR ETERNAL LIFE – A VIEW NOT SHARED BY MANY OF HIS READERS, BOTH THEN AND NOW!

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Some interpreters have thought that Paul and his Corinthian opponents disagreed about the resurrection because they had fundamentally different understandings about the nature of human existence, both now ...

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Ancient Secretaries (Part 1)

I have received some comments and emails about my claims about Silvanus as a secretary (or rather, NOT as a secretary) for the book of 1 Peter, and realized it would help if I could give some more detail about what we know about secretaries in the ancient world. The following is from an excursus in my forthcoming Forgery and Counterforgery; it will come in two parts, the first today and the second, hopefully, tomorrow. If you’ve read ...

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Paul in Acts: Part 3

I mentioned in my previous posts that there are discrepancies between Paul’s letters and the book of Acts in both major and minor ways, and in my last post I dealt with some differences that appear when one looks closely at the details (the issue I addressed: what does Paul do immediately upon his conversion).  There are many instances like that throughout Acts:  if you compare what Paul has to say with what Acts has to say, on the ...

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Paul in Acts: Part 2

My post on the portrayal of Paul in Acts generated a considerable response, so I thought maybe I should say a few more words about this issue in another post – or in a series of posts, if need be. Some responses have suggested that maybe “Luke” (we don’t know the author’s real name, so we may as well call him this) had sources of information available to him for the book of Acts, just as he clearly did ...

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Paul the Persecutor and the Historical Jesus

QUESTION:

You mention in your book “Did Jesus Exist?” that Paul started his persecution of Christians in the early 30s. If he was tasked with hunting down Christians by the Sanhedrin he must have had a fairly high position among the Sanhedrin (I don’t mean that he was a member). How come he didn’t witness the crucifixion or why didn’t he in some way have firsthand knowledge of the events in immediate connection with the crucifixion?

 

RESPONSE:

Ah, an interesting question.  So, it’s ...

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Q & A with Ben Witherington: Part 5

Q. Various mythicists have tried to argue that in fact there is only one source, namely Mark, that provides evidence that Jesus existed and presumably he made up the idea? Why is this not a fair representation of the evidence, and why do you think it is that various of them hardly even deal with the evidence from Paul?

A. Most mythicists claim that Paul never mentions the historical Jesus or says anything about him, but that he only speaks of ...

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