What Did the Angels Tell the Shepherds? It Depends. Mailbag Sept. 10, 2017

I will be dealing with an interesting question in this week’ Readers’ Mailbag, having to do with the translation of the New Testament from Greek into English.  It involves a problem with a familiar verse (recited every Christmas!) that has a textual problem: different manuscripts have different readings – involving a single letter! – that affect the translation.

 

QUESTION:

A lot of different hymns and liturgies and suchlike make reference to or paraphrase the Gloria, which in turn is based on Luke ...

Continue Reading →
53

Is There Evidence that Luke Originally Did Not Have the Story of Jesus Birth?

This is the second of three posts on the question of whether Bible translations should place the first two chapters of Luke’s Gospel in brackets, or assign them to a footnote.  For background: read the post from yesterday!  Again this is a Blast from the Past, a post I made back in December 2012. .

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

In my previous post, ostensibly on the genealogy of Luke, I pointed out that there are good reasons for thinking that the Gospel originally ...

Continue Reading →
26

Did Luke’s Gospel Originally Have The Birth Story? Readers Mailbag and a Blast from the Past

QUESTION:  If, in your suspicion, the original Gospel of Luke began at 3:1 and the infancy narrative found in 1:5-2:52 is a later addition, do you think that should be indicated in NT reconstructions and translations in a way similar to how Mark 16:9-20 is often bracketed?

RESPONSE:  This is a great question.  I could answer it just yes or no, but I’m afraid that wouldn’t make much sense to many readers.  The question itself seems simple but ...

Continue Reading →
30

Finding Meaning in the Bible: More Responses to my Christmas Article

In the previous post I indicated some of the initial reactions, four years ago, to my Newsweek article on the Gospel stories about Christmas.  I received yet more reaction after that old post, and so posted again, dealing this time with people who thought I was too kindly disposed to anyone who found the stories meaningful.  Here is what I said at the time.  (I still stick by it, for what it’s worth!)

 

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

When the editor at Newsweek ask ...

Continue Reading →
63

Response to my Newsweek Article on Christmas

Earlier this week I posted my Newsweek article on Christmas from four years ago, and several people have asked me what kind of reaction I received.  I made two posts about that at the time.  Here’s the first.  I find this post rather humorous now, years later, since I was obviously being wildly defensive (halfway through the response) before denying I was defensive at all (at the end)!  What funny people we can be….

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

My Newsweek article this week ...

Continue Reading →
43

Looking Ahead to Christmas: A Blast from the Past

With the passing of Thanksgiving, Christmas season has now officially arrived (whether that brings you joy, despair, or indifference!).   Here is a post that I made exactly four years, prompted in part by my decision to publish an edition of “other” Gospels (that did not make it into the New Testament, including some that deal with the birth of Jesus.

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

Right now I have the “other” Gospels on my mind.   It’s true, I often have them on my mind, since they ...

Continue Reading →
31

Really??? Stories of Jesus’ Virgin Birth

COMMENT:

When I bring up the possibility that the original Luke did not have the first two chapters which include the virgin birth narrative, Christians say to me:  “How could such a new twist to the story of Jesus have developed so soon in the first century if some of Jesus’ family, disciples, and friends were still alive to verify its accuracy?  If Jesus had truly been Joseph’s son, wouldn’t SOMEONE have said, “Hey. Wait a minute.  Jesus nor his mother ...

Continue Reading →
69

The Christmas Story: Some Basic Background

Now that I have posted a couple of my earlier published reflections on Christmas, I can make some comments in a series of posts, going into a bit more detail. This first post more or less states some of the basic information that most readers know, but that it’s worth while stressing as a kind of ground clearing exercise.

To begin with, we are extremely limited in our sources when it comes to knowing anything at all about the ...

Continue Reading →
21

The Other Gospels and the Birth of Jesus

Right now I have the “other” Gospels on my mind.   It’s true, I often have them on my mind, since they have been a focus for a good deal of my research over the past few years, and will continue to be for some years to come.  But just now, they are particularly on my mind even though the book I’m currently writing (How Jesus Became God) is about something else.

They’re on my mind for three ...

Continue Reading →
16