Early Doubts about the Pastorals

In my discussion of the role of women in the early church, I discussed the fact that women are ordered to be silent in 1 Timothy, one of the Pastoral epistles, but that this view should not be attributed to Paul himself because, despite the fact that 1 Timothy *claims* to have been written by Paul, it almost certainly was not — that is, its author was lying about his identity. A lot (a *whole* lot) of modern-day scholars and ...

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A Third Forgery in the Name of Peter

As I mentioned in the two previous posts, in my talk at Unity Village the other night, I introduced my discussion of whether there could be forgeries in the New Testament by introducing three forgeries from *outside* the New Testament; the first was the Gospel of Peter with its giant Jesus and walking-talking cross at the resurrection and the second was the letter of Peter to James in which he attacks “the man who is my enemy,” a transparent reference ...

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Forgery and the Gospel of Peter

So in my talk on forgery last night, I introduced the question of whether there could be forgeries inside the New Testament by talking about forgeries that definitely exist *outside* the New Testament; and to do that I began by speaking of three books that Peter, the disciple of Jesus, allegedly wrote.   My definition of forgery is a fairly technical one.  When I speak about forgery I’m not talking about books whose contents have been made up or fabricated, ...

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Dead Sea Scrolls Scandal

A few years ago I was asked to give a speech at a museum in Raleigh NC in connection with an exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls that had been long in the works and had finally become a reality. I will be the first to admit, I’m not the first person you should think of to give a lecture on the Dead Sea Scrolls. It’s not my field of scholarship. But the lecture was to be one of a ...

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A Common Criticism (of me!)

QUESTION:

I want to ask your thoughts on something quickly because I think it points out one of the concerns I have with what you write and say.

It seems that you have a willingness to take different positions (or maybe emphasize different positions is the right way to say it) depending on where you are and what you’re advocating. In your interview with the Infidel Guy and other places, you talk about how ancient writings were dictated all the time. ...

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The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: Another New Development

In earlier posts I talked about the “discovery” of the tiny credit-card sized fragment of a Coptic Gospel, with several lines of text on it, in one of which Jesus is recorded as speaking the words “my wife.” The text has been named “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.” As I mentioned in a previous blog, there are heated discussions of the fragment’s authenticity, with a large number of experts contending that it is a modern forgery. We will probably not ...

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Is the New Gospel Fragment a Modern Forgery?

The so-called “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” has been publicly available for only three days now, and already New Testament scholars and scholars of Coptic and Gnosticism are hard at work on it. Most of the effort so far has been in deciding whether it is authentic or forged. And it ain’t lookin’ good for those who think it’s authentic!

Some have pointed out that the fragment looks too neat around the edges to be believable; others have noted that ...

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Peter as Literate? Part 2

THIS IS A CONTINUATION OF MY POST FROM YESTERDAY ON WHETHER PETER COULD HAVE WRITTEN 1 PETER, BASED ON THE QUESTION OF HIS POSSIBLE LITERACY. READ THE FIRST POST FIRST, OR THIS ONE WON’T MAKE AS MUCH SENSE!

In pursuing this line of inquiry, we might ask what we can know about Peter as a person, prior to his becoming a disciple of Jesus. The answer is that we do not know much at all. The Gospels are consistent only in ...

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Peter as Literate?

IN RESPONSE TO MY POSTS ON SECRETARIES AND THE BOOK OF 1 PETER, SEVERAL PEOPLE HAVE RAISED THE QUESTION OF WHETHER PETER WAS HIMSELF LITERATE (ABLE TO READ, OR MORE SIGNIFICANTLY, TO WRITE). THIS IS THE FIRST PART OF WHAT I SAY IN MY BOOK FORGERY AND COUNTERFORGERY; THE SECOND PART WILL BE IN THE NEXT POST.

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In his now-classic study of ancient literacy, William Harris gave compelling reasons for thinking that at the best of times in antiquity ...

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Ancient Secretaries (Part 2)

THIS IS A CONTINUATION OF MY PREVIOUS POST ON SECRETARIES IN THE ANCIENT WORLD, DRAWN FROM MY FORTHCOMING BOOK FORGERY AND COUNTERFORGERY. IN THE EARLIER POST I TALKED ABOUT THE USE OF SECRETARIES IN TAKING DICTATION AND DOING LIGHT COPY-EDITING, BASED ON THE FINDINGS OF THE FULL STUDY OF RANDALL RICHARDS. THE DISCUSSION IS RELEVANT TO THE WRITINGS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: COULD 1 PETER, OR EPHESIANS, OR ANY OF THE OTHER PSEUDEPIGRAPHICAL WRITINGS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT ...

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