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Which James in Galatians? Platinum Guest Post by Gregory Hartzler-Miller

I'm pleased to publish this guest post by Platinum member Gregory Hartzler-Miller. It is dealing with a tricky issue with broad implications. Is there more than one James active in the early Jerusalem church? Which one is Paul concerned about? Check it out and see! ***************************** Which Mary? Which James? 8 theses for distinguishing two Jameses in Galatians based on clues from Mark By Gregory Hartzler-Miller, MATS "Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses (Μαρία ἡ Ἰωσῆτος) saw where his body was placed. When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the James (Μαρία ἡ τοῦ Ἰακώβου), and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body" (Mk 15:47-16:1). “Mary the mother of Joses” and “Mary the mother of the James” are two different women. Granted, in the larger context of Mark, it is stated that Mary of Joses has another son named James. As a result, scholars tend to assume these two Mary’s are the same. Against this tendency, I will present an alternative. The evidence will [...]

2022-07-04T14:59:04-04:00July 2nd, 2022|Paul and His Letters|

Onan the Barbarian: How an obscure Bible character affected reproductive rights. Platinum Guest post by Douglas Wadeson MD

I'm pleased to post this intriguing contribution by your fellow Platinum member and Medical-Doctor- Not-Afraid-to-Talk-About-Onanism-In-a-Public-Forum Doug Wadeson.  Hey, it saves *me* the inconvenience of having to post on it! Seriously, it's a very interesting discussion.  Doug will be happy to address your questions and comments. I hope you too will consider submitting a post!  If you're interested, let me know. ****************************** As background, there was an ancient custom that if a man died without children then his brother was expected to marry the widow and have children with her so that the brother’s family line would not die out.  This was incorporated into the Jewish law: read Deuteronomy 25:5-10.  I particularly like the part where the widow gets to spit in the face of her brother-in-law if he refuses.  It is also interesting that it does not say what to do if the widow does not want to marry her brother-in-law: I suppose she had no choice, since the intent was to continue her late husband’s family line and her opinion didn’t matter (she’s just [...]

Time Again: Vote on your favorite Platinum Post

Dear Platinum members, That time again — an opportunity for you to vote on one of our Platinum guest posts, to see which one will be posted on the blog at large.  Take a look — they’re all terrific.   To vote, just send a quick note to Diane at [email protected]  Your deadline:  this Saturday, June 18, midnight your time. And remember — you’re always welcome to submit a post yourself.  Anything connected to the blog that strikes your fancy that you’d like others to read about?  Any ideas/thoughts you’d like to have disseminated and discussed?  Here’s your chance.  Just zap me a note. March 14, 2022 How Luke Rewrote Matthew’s Nativity Story Platinum Dennis J. Folds April 29, 2022 The Plausibility of the Fourth Gospel: The Chronology of Jesus’s Ministry. Dennis J. Folds May 20, 2022 Early Christianity and War. Dan Kohanski May 31, 2022 Who Buried Moses? Lou Suarez    

2022-06-14T17:20:21-04:00June 14th, 2022|Public Forum|

Who Buried Moses? Platinum Guest Post by Lou Suarez

Now *this* is a topic you probably haven't thought much about -- but it's really interesting.  And puzzling!  Platinum member Lou Suarez has written an intriguing assessment of a real conundrum in the Hebrew Bible that, as it turns out, proved significant in the Jewish tradition.  It has to do with the death and burial of Moses.  Read on! (And remember: you too can post for your fellow Platinums.  Your post does not have to be high-level scholarship: if you've got something you'd like to talk about, draft something up and get your thoughts out there to a very generous reading public!) ****************************** In Deuteronomy 34, YHVH tells Moses that, even though he has led YHVH's people out of enslavement in Egypt and through the wilderness to the edge of the Promised Land, he will not be allowed to cross over the Jordan River and take part in the Israelite conquest of Canaan. YHVH permits Moses to see, from the top of Mount Nebo, "the land of which [he] swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and [...]

2022-06-03T13:03:54-04:00May 31st, 2022|Hebrew Bible/Old Testament|

Apologies to Gold/Platinum Members!

I need to apologize for being late on the Gold Q&A this month.  I've been in Italy the past two weeks giving lectures for a tour group; I had hoped to be able to squeeze in a recording of the Q&A while there, but the trip had me running from dawn to dark. I've just arrived back stateside now and, as we speak, am in catch-up mode.  I have the Questions for the Q&A, and now just need to record Answers.  But given re-entry obligations, it probably will not be till next week (May Q&A in June!).  And about then we'll be soliciting new questions for June. So sorry 'bout this!  On the upside, at least with the blog, a day is not as a thousand years.... Bart

2022-05-31T12:30:21-04:00May 30th, 2022|Public Forum|

Early Christianity and War. Platinum Guest Post by Daniel Kohanski

I am pleased to publish a new guest post by Platinum member Dan Kohanski, for all you Platinums.  Here Dan treats a perennially important topic: how ancient people (including biblical authors) understood the legitimacy of war, particularly in light of their specific historical and cultural contexts.   Dan will be happy to address questions and comments. Remember: you, too, can submit a Platinum post.  It can be anything of any relevance to the blog.  Have an idea?  Send it along! ******************************             The history of how religions approach war is evidence that theology is a product of reaction to events rather than the application of eternal and unchanging laws. Look at the ancient Israelites, who lived in a period of endemic local wars, in which one petty kingdom after another (including those of the Israelites) made frequent attacks on their neighbors for territorial and monetary gain. Canaan was also the land bridge between Egypt and the empires of Mesopotamia. When those giants went to war, lesser nations such as Israel and Judah often became collateral damage. [...]

2022-05-15T15:22:05-04:00May 20th, 2022|Public Forum|

May Q&A

Dear Gold Members, These monthly Gold Q&A's have been a lot of fun to do.  Time for another one!  Have a question?  Ask it!  Anything related to the blog! To enter your question on to the list: send it to Diane at [email protected] DEADLINE for your question. Monday May 16, midnight (whenever midnight is where you live).   I will try to get it recorded a soon after that, with a goal of releasing it that following weekend. Questions that are relatively short (a sentence or two) are more likely to be chosen; and feel free to ask a zinger! I'm looking forward to it!   Bart  

2022-05-12T14:53:21-04:00May 12th, 2022|Public Forum|

 The Plausibility of the Fourth Gospel: The Sayings of Jesus. Guest Post by Dennis Folds

Here is the second of a two-part Platinum-guest-post by Dennis Folds, who makes the controversial argument that *John* is the more accurate Gospel and that it is *Mark* who has changed the historical facts.  This time he focuses on the teachings of Jesus and, relatedly, the reasons for his condemnation to execution.  Interesting stuff.  Let us know what you think! And feel free to write a post or two in response!  Or write a post on anything else related to what we do on the blog.  Your input is welcome! ****************************** In Part 1 of this two-part post, I described the vast differences between the gospels of John and Mark in the chronology of events of Jesus’s ministry.  Matthew and Luke follow Mark’s chronology, and these three (the Synoptic Gospels) are thought to be more accurate. I argued that the narrative in John is more credible, as it spread the action over two-plus years, had Jesus going back and forth to Jerusalem for major religious festivals, and had a growing conflict with the religious authorities.  [...]

2022-05-10T10:11:32-04:00May 6th, 2022|Canonical Gospels, Historical Jesus|

The Plausibility of the Fourth Gospel: The Chronology of Jesus’s Ministry. Platinum Guest Post by Dennis Folds

I'm pleased to publish this guest post by Dennis Folds, dealing with one of the most important issues in the study of the Gospels: how do we know which (if any) is the most, and the least, accurate?  Usually it is argued that John is the latest, most theological, and least reliable account.  But is it?  Dennis takes on the question.  See what you think!  Then let him know!  He'll be dealing with comments. And remember: you too can submit a post.   It does NOT have to be highly academic and "expert" -- at all.  Why not post something just saying what you think about a topic?  Let me know! ****************************** The fourth gospel – John – is quite different than the other three in its narration of the events of Jesus’s ministry, and in its rendering of what Jesus taught. The other three tell the same basic story; that’s why they are called the Synoptic Gospels. The differences between the Synoptics and John are so stark that since antiquity John has been thought to [...]

2022-05-09T18:33:55-04:00April 29th, 2022|Canonical Gospels, Historical Jesus|

Vote on your favorite Platinum Post!

Dear Platinum members, That time again -- an opportunity for you to vote on one of our Platinum guest posts, to see which one will be posted on the blog at large.  Take a look -- they're all terrific.   To vote, just send a quick note to Diane at [email protected] And remember -- you're always welcome to submit a post yourself.  Anything connected to the blog that strikes your fancy that you'd like others to read about?  Any ideas/thoughts you'd like to have disseminated and discussed?  Here's your chance.  Just zap me a note. But for now:  here are the current options! January 23, 2022 Are the Gospels Too Early To Have Legends About Jesus?  Bob Seidensticker February 4, 2022 Are the Teachings of Jesus Realistic? Douglas Wadeson February 7, 2022 The “Common Era”: Invented to Stop Speculations About the End of the World. Daniel Kohanski February 25, 2022 What If Damascus Was In Arabia? Solving a Dilemma in the Life of Paul. Gregory Hartzler-Miller    

2022-03-21T16:18:35-04:00March 21st, 2022|Platinums|

Gold Q & A: March 2022!

Dear Gold Members, It is time for our monthly Gold Q&A.  Have a question?  Ask it!  Anything related to the blog! To enter your question on to the list: send it to Diane at [email protected] DEADLINE:  You've got a week to come up with something.  Deadine will be Midnight March 23;   We have the recorded session out to you by March 30, if all goes to plan! Send some zingers.  I'm looking forward to it!   Bart  

2022-03-16T12:47:40-04:00March 16th, 2022|Public Forum|

Platinum Webinar! March 8. Why Is the Apocalypse of Peter Not in the New Testament?

It's time for another Platinum webinar; as you know, this is a four-time a year event, for Platinum Members only.  I'm devoting this one to a question that almost none of you will have asked yourselves -- one of those questions you don't realize is amazingly interesting until you realize the issues!   Why is the Apocalypse of Peter Not in the New Testament? You may not know -- or possibly you do: the Apocalypse of Peter almost DID get in (instead of, or along with, the Apocalypse of John).  It was far more popular in the early centuries than, for example, the book of 2 Peter which *did* make it in.   But then its support died out in the fourth or fifth century. But why? It claimed to be by Peter; it was well known; it was orthodox; it was declared canonical by church leaders; and it contains an incredible narrative: it is our first instance of a Christian guided tour of heaven and hell!  So what happened to it? Come and find out.  I [...]

What If Damascus Was In Arabia? Solving a Dilemma in the Life of Paul. Platinum Guest Post by Gregory Hartzler-Miller

One of the unusually puzzling comments Paul makes about his life comes in Galatians where he says that right after he had his vision of Christ and converted he went to "Arabia" and spent three years there. For many years I thought he meant he was out meditating in the desert someplace. Then I came to think he was off in the Nabatean kingdom someplace, possibly missionizing -- maybe in Petra, e.g.? I still think that pretty much. But here's a solution I've never thought of! In this Platinum guest post, Gregory Hartzler-Miller makes an unusually intriguing suggestion. What do you think? ****************************** According to Gal 1:17, immediately after his conversion Paul “departed to Arabia.” Speculations about where specifically he may have gone to in Arabia and what he may have done there have traditionally been informed by an obscure mention of “Arabia” in Gal 4:25. Unfortunately for this line of inquiry, Stephen C. Carlson (The Text of Galatians) has found this to be a non-Pauline interpolation which originated as a marginal note: τὸ γὰρ [...]

2022-02-28T12:57:14-05:00February 25th, 2022|Paul and His Letters|

February Gold Q&A: Ask your Questions!

Dear Gold Members, It is time for our monthly Gold Q&A.  Have a question?  Ask it!  Anything related to the blog! To enter your question on to the list: send it to Diane at [email protected] DEADLINE for your question. Midnight EST this Friday, Feb. 25.  I will make the recording that weekend, and it will be available, if all goes to plan, on Monday, Feb. 28. I'm looking forward to it!   Bart  

2022-02-22T18:23:12-05:00February 22nd, 2022|Public Forum, Reader’s Questions|

The “Common Era”: Invented to Stop Speculations About the End of the World. Platinum Guest Post by Daniel Kohanski

I'm pleased to publish this Platinum guest post by Dan Kohanski.  I think I can *guarantee* that most of you will not have heard this information before!  And it's really interesting, the kind of thing you might wonder about but not know who to ask. Dan will be happy to respond to your comments and questions. Do you have anything you want to post about?  You don't have to do massive research or be a scholar in the field -- just have in interest in expressing your views, getting them out there, getting some feedback from kindly-disposed readers, your fellow Platinums!   If you're interested, just let me know!  For now, Here's Dan:   *******************************   The first Christians were driven by the expectation of the immediate end of the world as it then existed. It was going to happen right now, or tomorrow, certainly within a few days, definitely within their generation, surely within their own lifetime. The disciples preached that Jesus had gone to heaven to get the kingdom moving, as it were, and [...]

2022-02-07T10:13:11-05:00February 7th, 2022|Public Forum|

Vote for your favorite Platinum Guest Post!

Dear Platinum members, It's time to vote on another Platinum guest post, to determine which will be posted on the blog at large.  Take a look -- they're all terrific.   To vote, just send a quick note to Diane at [email protected] And remember -- you're always welcome to submit a post yourself.  Anything connected to the blog that strikes your fancy that you'd like others to read about?  Any ideas/thoughts you'd like to have disseminated and discussed?  Here's your chance.  Just zap me a note. But for now:  here are the current options! August 18, 2021 Jesus as a Healer: First, Do No Harm Douglas Wadeson October 21, 2021 Must Jesus Divide Families? Douglas Wadeson December 7, 2021 What We KNOW about Jesus. Dan Kohanski December 28, 2021 On Misreading The Gospels Joel Scheller

2022-01-31T11:23:08-05:00January 31st, 2022|Public Forum|

Are the Gospels Too Early To Have Legends About Jesus? Platinum Guest Post by Bob Seidensticker

Here is an interesting and important post by Platinum member Bob Seidensticker for the rest of you Platinums.  In it he deals with a fundamental issue.  Some Christian apologists who otherwise are smart people have made the odd claim that "legends" about Jesus could not have sprung up in the forty years between his life and the first Gospel accounts.  There just wasn't enough time: forty years ain't enough!  In one instance, apologist William Lane Craig claims that this view was put forward by a famous historian of ancient Rome, Sherwin-White.  Is that true?  Read and find out! Remember: you too can prepare a Platinum post.  Just write up something connected with the blog, make it about 1000-1200 words, and send it to me; I'll put it in queue. But for now, read and enjoy Bob's post!  And if you have comments for him, bring 'em on!   Oral Tradition and the Game of Telephone: A. N. Sherwin-White’s Famous Quote The time from the death of Jesus to the writing of the first gospel was [...]

2022-01-24T01:59:58-05:00January 23rd, 2022|Historical Jesus|

Gold Q&A for January!

Dear Gold Members, It's a new year!  And time for another Gold Q&A, our monthly audio for Gold members only.  As always, you provide written questions, I try to answer them; the audio recording will be released to Gold members only.  Have a question to ask?  Anything connected with the blog, directly or remotely?  Go for it. I will be recording the next Q&A on Saturday Jan 22 to be released  Wednesday Jan 26.  Send your question(s) to our blog COO, Diane Pittman, at [email protected]   The deadline is  noon EST, Friday December 21. The best questions are only a sentence or two long at most.   Send a zinger! Bart

2022-01-13T11:33:29-05:00January 11th, 2022|Public Forum|

Did Abraham Actually Do It? Did He Sacrifice His Son Isaac? Platinum Guest Post by Douglas Wadeson

Do you like controversy?  Well HERE'S some controversy for you.  Maybe Abraham actually went through with it and slew his son.  What?  Read on.  Here's a scintillating guest post by Platinum member Doug Wadeson.  I'm sure he'll answer your questions.  I'm sure if I were you I'd have some! Remember: you too can submit a guest post as a Platinum member, for other Platinum members.  And it has the potential of going out to the whole blog.  You don't need to be a scholar of the Bible or an expert on early Christianity to do it.  It can be on anything of relevance to the blog.  Give it a shot, send it to me; I'm happy to give you feedback if you'd like. For now, here's Doug's post. ******************************* Most Jews and Christians are familiar with the story of Abraham taking his son Isaac and almost sacrificing him to God on Mount Moriah.[1] It is called "the Binding" or “Akedah.” The usual understanding is that God was testing Abraham’s faith, but that He stepped in [...]

2022-01-06T11:52:34-05:00January 5th, 2022|Hebrew Bible/Old Testament|

Recording of Platinum Webinar: Six Versions of the Advent of Jesus

Dear Platinum members, A number of you were able to come to our quarterly Platinum webinar a few days ago; and a number weren't!   Whether there or not, you can see it here.   I thought it was an unusually interesting topic, that I've never lectured on before: six different understandings from early Christianity of how Jesus came into the world .  Enjoy! https://youtu.be/80q3Z5AYz4k

2021-12-21T09:50:55-05:00December 21st, 2021|Public Forum|
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