Would It Matter If It HAD BEEN a First-century Copy of Mark? A Surprising Answer in the Readers’ Mailbag


I received a lot of comments on my post about the academic fraud connected with an Oxford manuscript scholar, the Museum of the Bible, and certain enthusiastic evangelical Christians who are ironically willing to lie or distort the truth in order to prove their understanding of the truth.  One question I received several times: suppose the manuscript that started the whole thing off, the alleged “first-century copy of Mark” — which turns out to be a tiny scrap that is ...

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Did Judas Really Betray Jesus? Readers’ Mailbag

My post a few days ago about whether Paul knew that Jesus had been betrayed by Judas Iscariot — in which I concluded there really was no solid evidence one way or the other — generated several follow-up questions.  Many of them simply asked: well, did it really happen?   Here is an example, and my response.


I may be showing my ignorance here but could it be that Paul doesn’t know/write about Judas’ betrayal because it never happened? Yes, ...

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Getting a PhD in New Testament Studies

I was breezing through ancient blog posts this morning and came across this one from exactly eight years ago. It involves a question I get a lot (got it last week!), from people interested in doing graduate work in the field of New Testament or early Christianity. What is it like and what does it take? Here is what I said back then, which is pretty much what I would still say today!


I sometimes get asked what it ...

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Readers Mailbag: Does Isaiah 53 Predict the Death and Resurrection of Jesus?

I would like to get back into the practice of devoting one post a week to answering questions raised by blog members.  I have a fairly long list of good questions I haven’t been able to get to, so why not just go through them week by week?  If you have any pressing questions that are particularly intriguing or perplexing for you about the NT or early Christianity or any related topic, let me know as a comment on a ...

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How Manuscripts Matter for Knowing What an Author Wrote

In this thread I am addressing the question several readers have asked me about: if I think that the Christ poem of Philippians 2:6-10 is not something Paul himself wrote (as I have argued; see for example https://ehrmanblog.org/how-ancient-is-the-idea-of-christs-incarnation/), but has been quoted by him from some other text, why not just think a scribe inserted it into Philippians?  That is, maybe it wasn’t in the letter in the first place; why not thing a scribe stuck it in after ...

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Intimate Relationships: Nonbelievers and Believers

Over the past couple of months I’ve received maybe seven or eight emails from readers – some on the blog and others not – about marriage (two in the past 24 hours).  Not about what the New Testament says about marriage, but about what these emailers should do with *their* marriage.     Each of these was married to someone who was a faithful, committed, religiously conservative Christian of one kind or another (evangelical, Catholic, Mormon), but the emailer had, a while ...

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Buddhist Interview Questions on Suffering

Here is the final bit of my interview with the South Korean Buddhist editors The Monthly YangWoo Magazine 3/2020.  Not surprisingly they were particularly interested in my views of why there is suffering in the world.  As you know, that is a central component of Buddhist thought.   I know many people who find Buddhist approaches highly satisfying; many others who simply do not think that way.

My own writings about suffering – especially my book God’s Problem — have all been ...

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More Buddhist Questions on the Bible

I continue now with the interview I did with the Buddhist editors of the Korean magazine: The Monthly YangWoo Magazine 3/2020.   They had some interesting questions, as outsiders to Christianity but who see Christian churches, pastors, and believers in their environment, and they wanted my opinion as someone who knows the Christian world but is not longer committed to it.   This will be the second of three posts.


Q5. We feel that some of the paragraphs in the Bible are correct ...

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Interview with Buddhists on the New Testament

I was recently asked to do an interview with a magazine in South Korea, produced by (and for, I assume) Buddhists interested in other religious traditions.  As you may know, Christianity also has a significant footprint in Korea; even back in the late 70s I had Korean classmates studying for ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary.

The editor asked me a range of questions, and I provided relatively short answers, on a range of interesting and important topics.  The interview was published ...

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Jesus Kissing Mary Magdalene: A Bizarre Scene in the Gospel of Philip

A number of readers responded to my post about whether Jesus and Mary Magdalene were intimate by pointing out that the non-canonical Gospel of Philip sure does seem to *say* they were!   So, what do I have to say about that?

I’ve dealt with the issue on the blog before, but a lot of you were just a twinkle in our eye at the time, so here I’ll deal with it again.   I have a reasonably full discussion of the relevant ...

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