Did They Crucify the Wrong Guy? Jesus’ Identity Switch.

Yesterday I posted about the Coptic Apocalypse of Peter, which clearly differentiated between the man Jesus and the spiritual being, the Christ, who inhabited him temporarily – leaving him at his suffering and death since the divine cannot suffer and die.  That understanding of Jesus Christ is not, strictly speaking, “docetic.”  The term docetic comes from the Greek word DOKEO which means “to seem” or “to appear.”  It refers to Christologies in which Jesus was not a real flesh-and-blood human ...

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Charges and Anti-Supernatural Biases! Readers Mailbag August 6, 2017

I will be dealing with two interesting questions in this weeks’ Readers Mailbag, one involving a criticism of my work by the well-known New Testament scholar N. T. Wright, who apparently challenges me (publicly) for taking a position that, in fact, I have never taken, and the other about whether it is pure anti-supernatural bias to think that prophets like Daniel did not predict the future.

 

QUESTION:

I saw a Youtube clip with Dr N T Wright giving a short talk on ...

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What Is Gnosticism? A Blast from the Past

From time to time I get asked about Gnosticism.  What was it exactly?  I deal with the issue in a number of my books, as you may know.  Here is a summary statement that I published a couple of years ago on this date, based on my rewriting of the section on Gnosticism in my undergraduate textbook, The New Testamen: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings.

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Major Views of Various Gnostic ...

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Early Christian Docetism

I can now, at long last, start talking about the kinds of textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament that I covered in my 1993 book, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture (I did a second edition, updating the discussion with a new Afterword in 2011).   From the surviving documents of the period, there appear to have been five major competing Christologies (= understandings of who Christ was) throughout the Christian church, and I will devote a post ...

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Earliest Christian Diversity

In keeping with the current topic of the diversity of early Christianity, I thought I could say something about a book that I just read that I found to be unusually interesting and enlightening.   It is by two Italian scholars, married to each other, who teach at the Università di Bologna, Adriana Destro, an anthropologist, and Mauro Pesce, a New Testament specialist whose teaching position is in the History of Christianity.

Their book is called Il racconto e la ...

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How Diverse Was Early Christianity?

In order to get to the question of what motivated my book The Orthdox Corruption of Scripture, and to explain more fully what the book was about, I have spent three posts talking about the terms “orthodoxy” and “heresy” and why they are problematic; in doing so I have been explaining both the traditional view of the relationship of orthodoxy and heresy (as found, for example, in the writings of Eusebius) and the view set forth, in opposition, ...

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My New Summary of Gnosticism

Yesterday I mentioned on the blog that I had rewritten my description of early Christian Gnosticism for the new edition of my textbook.   Here is what the major part of that discussion now looks like.  The first part tries to give a general overview of what different groups of Gnostics had in common; the second part describes the views of one of the most prominent Gnostic Groupsl

 

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Major Views of Various Gnostic Groups

Despite the many ...

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My New Discussion of Gnosticism: Introduction

One other major change that I have made in my textbook on the New Testament is that I have completely rewritten my description of early Christian Gnosticism.   I’ll be presenting in a few posts what the section now looks like, and will explain why I made the changes.   To make sense of the new portion, I first need to give the introductory discussion (dealing with our sources of information, including the Nag Hammadi Library), which I did not change drastically ...

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Thomasine “Gnostics” and Others

In this thread of posts I have been reproducing my comments on Gnosticism from the 2nd edition of my anthology, After the New Testament, to be released in the fall. In addition to the Sethians and the Valentinians, scholars talk about the school of Thomas and about yet other Gnostic groups that are not easy to identify with any of the other three or to group together in any meaningful way. Gnosticism was a messy group of religions! ...

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The Valentinian Gnostics

In my previous post I reproduced my Introduction to the Sethian Gnostics from the new edition of my reader in early Christianity, After The New Testament, 2nd edition. One other highly important group of Christian Gnostics are known as the Valentinians. Here is what I say about them in the book

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Valentinians

Unlike the Sethian Gnostics, the Valentinians were named after an actual person, Valentinus, the founder and original leader of the group. We know about the Valentinians ...

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