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Readers’ Weekly Mailbag: January 2, 2016

It is weekly Readers’ Mailbag time again.  If you have a question you would like me to address in a future post, just comment here, or send me a private email.  Today there are three questions, on three very different topics: the goddess Sophia, the rise of non-apocalyptic Christianity, and the evidence for John the Baptist. ****************************************************************** QUESTION:  In your debate with Justin Bass, you mention the divinity of Sophia.  I googled “Sophia” and can’t quite figure this out. Could you educate us about Sophia? RESPONSE:   Ah, this will be tough to do in a short answer!  Sophia” is the Greek word for “wisdom” (we get a number of English words from it, for example “sophisticated” and “sophistry”).  In ancient religious circles, both pagan and Jewish, “Sophia” came to be thought of as not simply a divine attribute (God is “wise”) but as a kind of divine emanation (“wisdom” actually “comes from” or “derives from” God) and then as an actual divine hypostasis.  The term “hypostasis” does not have an easy English equivalent.  It refers [...]

2020-04-03T03:57:41-04:00January 2nd, 2016|Historical Jesus, Public Forum, Reader’s Questions|

Readers’ Mailbag December 4, 2015

  It is time for my weekly Readers’ Mailbag.   I can’t answer these questions by devoting long threads to them – even though they each deserve a thread; but I can give quick responses, and hope that will be enough for now.  If you have a question you would like me to address in the future, please attach it as a comment to this post.     QUESTION: It is not surprising that Jesus was an apocalyptic end-of-times messiah figure, because we have such people at least once each generation (often leading their people to disappointment if not disaster). Any thoughts on why this is such a persistent theme, even though every previous apocalypticist has been wrong?   RESPONSE:  Yes,  a lot of my students think that the end of the world will happen sometime in their own lifetimes, that we are living at the end of time, that things taking place in our world are happening in fulfillment of Scripture, that these are the last days proclaimed by the prophets.  And why wouldn’t they [...]

2020-04-03T13:05:53-04:00December 4th, 2015|Historical Jesus, Reader’s Questions|
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