The “Arch-Heretic” Marcion, Jesus, and the Jewish Law

In this thread I’ve started to talk about the relationship of Jesus to the Law of Moses.  I’m going to get to the issue by means of a circuitous route, by talking about how that relationship was understood by followers of Jesus living a hundred years after his day.  The reason for starting there is that we have a clearer idea what these followers thought than we do, say, of Jesus’ followers a decade after his death.  Those earlier followers ...

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Reading Suggestions for the New Testament: A Blast from the Past

Four years ago (June 17, 2012) I was asked about what I would suggest for serious lay folk interested in doing more in-depth reading/study of the New Testament.  Here is what I responded.  It’s a response I would stick to still today!!



I’ve enjoyed reading “Jesus Interrupted” and “Misquoting Jesus”. I am also listening to two of The Teaching Company courses you recorded – “The New Testament” and “Lost Christianities”. Here is my question: Can you suggest additional books ...

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Final Exam for New Testament Class (2016)

Let’s see how you do on my Final Exam!   Yesterday I gave the final for my Introduction to the New Testament class.   Here it is.   My sense is that as for every course, unless you actually take it, even if you know a good bit about the subject matter, it would be very hard to do well on the final, since, well, the final is geared specifically to the course.   But some of this is more or less “common knowledge” ...

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Patristic Evidence for the New Testament

Yesterday I discussed very briefly the benefits and difficulties of versional evidence for establishing the text of the New Testament.   As it turns out, it is a very big and complex issue, or rather sets of issues.   There are large and difficult books written on very small aspects of the versions.   One, still authoritative, treatment of the whole shooting match, with extensive bibliography (which is now, of course, out of date), is one of the magna opera of my mentor, ...

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Introduction to My Introduction (to the NT)

I have decided to add an “Introduction” to my textbook, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings.  I is very similar (indeed!) to the introduction that I have now in my Introduction to the entire Bible.  The whole idea is to get students to see why taking an academic course on the NT is very important.   Here is the new Introduction, in full:



Why Study the New Testament?

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A Historical Approach to the New Testament

In my previous posts I talked about how I came to be convinced to write my textbook on the New Testament, back in the early to mid 1990s.   Once I agreed to do it, the first step was to decide exactly what *kind* of Introduction to the New Testament I wanted it to be.  This was a problem, because I was pretty sure that the kind of introduction that I would like to write would not be the kind of ...

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Agreeing to Do the Textbook

In my previous post I indicated that I was not at all inclined to write a textbook on the New Testament.   In fact, before the editor at Oxford University Press asked me to do it, I had never given it a moment’s thought – except for that moment when I thought (some years before), that whatever I did with my publishing career, I did *not* want to write such a thing.  Looking back on it, I’m not sure why I ...

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My New Testament Textbook

I thought I would take a few posts to talk about what I’m working on these days – for the past month or so, with another month or so to go.  As many of you know, I spent almost the entire summer doing nothing but reading books and articles about “memory” and related topics (such as the telling of stories in oral cultures) from a variety of perspectives: cognitive psychology, neurology (very low level!), anthropology (oral cultures and how they ...

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Followup on the NT Quiz

So, about my quiz on the New Testament. Most of you who sent me answers failed miserably. I think you should buy *me* dinner…. I did this already with my other quiz, but I’ll do it again here – explaining what I try to accomplish by the various questions.


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  1. 27 books in the NT (when you think NT, you ...
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My New Testament Pop Quiz


Last semester I posted here on the blog the pop quiz I gave on the first day of the semester to my class on Jesus in Scholarship and Film.   As you may have noticed in my post yesterday, I also give a quiz to begin my New Testament class, which I started teaching yesterday.   If you were on the blog five months ago, and have a very good memory, the quiz will look very familiar.  About half the questions are ...

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