More Cutting and Pasting? Paul’s Letter to the Philippians

I have been discussing instances in the New Testament where letters appear to have been cut-and-pasted together.  The key example is 2 Corinthians, but one could make the case (and many have!) that something similar is true of Philippians.  Here is how I explain it in my book The New Testament:  A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings.

 

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

The Unity of the Letter

The first two chapters of Philippians sound very much like a friendship letter written by Paul ...

Continue Reading →
30

My Long Favorite Pauline Letter: Philippians

There is one other book in the New Testament that may be a cut-and-paste job, and as it turns out, it is another one of Paul’s letters, Philippians.  Philippians was for a long time my favorite Pauline letter, back in my late teens when I was first starting to read the Bible.  It contains the first verse I ever memorized: “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (1:21); and it is the first book that, a ...

Continue Reading →
55

Is 2 Corinthians *FIVE* Letters?

In my previous post I tried to show why most critical scholars think that the letter of 2 Corinthians is actually two different letters that have been spliced together.   When I was back in graduate school, I learned – to my surprise – that there were scholars who thought that in fact 2 Corinthians was made up of five different letters, all spliced together.  At first that struck me as a bit crazy, but as I looked at the evidence ...

Continue Reading →
41

Are There Cut-and-Paste Jobs in the New Testament? The Case of 2 Corinthians

How much of the early Christian writings consist of scissors-and-paste jobs, where later editors cut up earlier writings and stitched them together into one continuous work, so that what we have now are not the originals but only the final edited version?  Are there books like that, for example, in the New Testament?  In a recent post I mentioned how the early Christian writing called the Didache is that kind of thing, with three documents artificially combined into the 16-chapter ...

Continue Reading →
30

Paul’s Exalted Self-Image: The Fulfillment of Ancient Prophecy

I am off today to Boston for a week of various professional activities.  Tomorrow morning I will be filming a documentary with an independent film maker on some aspect of the New Testament.  After that I’ll be having lunch with about a dozen members of the blog, and then dinner with three or four.   Following that, on Friday, I will be giving a talk at the Biblical Archaeology Society FEST (a gathering of interested lay folk to hear lectures by ...

Continue Reading →
134

How Women Came to Be Silenced in Early Christianity: A Blast From the Past

Time for a blast from the blog’s past.  Here is a question I get asked about a lot by my students: Why did women come to silenced, their voices muted, in the early Christian tradition — especially if, as the evidence suggests, women were even more attracted to this new faith than men in the early years? When I dealt with that issue exactly four years ago on the blog, this is what I said (it came at the end ...

Continue Reading →
49

Did Paul Think Jesus’ Body Remained in the Grave? Mailbag July 14, 2017

 

I will address two very different questions in this edition of the Readers’ Mailbag.  If you have a question you would like me to address, ask away, and I’ll add it to the list.

 

QUESTION:

I just finished reading scholar Gregory Riley’s Resurrection Reconsidered. He presents the position that people in the Greco-Roman world had a very different perception about spirits (ghosts) than we do today. Riley states that people living in the first century Roman Empire believed that dead people frequently ...

Continue Reading →
122

How Can Paul Say that Jesus Appeared to “The Twelve”?

Here is an interesting question from my Readers’ Mailbag connected to the tradition that Judas Iscariot killed himself soon after Jesus’ death, leaving only eleven disciples.  Did Paul know about this tradition?  Why does he seem to think there were still twelve disciples after the resurrection?

 

QUESTION:

What do you think about Paul saying that Jesus appeared to the “twelve” (Apostles) after his resurrection? (1 Cor. 15:5) I find this to be a big mistake; given the multiple gospel stories about Judas’s ...

Continue Reading →
111

Can (or Should) We Change the Canon of Scripture? A Blast from the Past

 

Digging around in posts from five years ago now, I came across this one –as interesting to me now as it was then!  Hope you think so too.  It’s a response to a penetrating question.

QUESTION:

Given the criteria used to determine what would go on to constitute the New Testament canon, how is it that Hebrews and the book of Revelation remain part of the canon? I understand that Christians came to believe that they were authored by the apostles ...

Continue Reading →
56

One Scholar’s Take on the Resurrection of Jesus: A Blast from the Past

On this Easter Sunday I thought I should say something about the resurrection.  It turns out I’ve said a lot over the years on the blog (I just checked!).  Here’s a post from about five years ago, giving not my personal views but those of another well-respected New Testament scholar who, like me (we are a rare breed), is not personally a believer.

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

One of the first books that I have re-read in thinking about how it is the ...

Continue Reading →
107
Page 4 of 19 «...23456...»