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Did Luke Read Galatians? Platinum Post by Guillermo Mondon

Here is a very interesting guest post by Platinum member Guillermo Mondon, staking out a position that I disagree with and making his case!  I love this kinda thing.  (I date Galatians about 20 years before Acts; but maybe it's the other way around?) What do you think?  Is it likely that the author of Acts had read Paul's letter to the Galatians? ****************************** Introduction  The series of three articles on Paul and his relation with the Jerusalem church; Was Paul Authorized to Persecute Christians? - After Paul Converted… Does the Book of Acts Contradict Paul Himself? - Did Paul Get Along with the Other Apostles?; sparked many interesting posts about Acts and Paul’s epistles. One of those posts by quadell considers the possibility of Acts being “a 2nd-century work written by someone who had access to Paul’s letters”. I personally agree with both statements about Acts but I know it is by no means something firmly established (Bart, for instance, does not agree with either statement). In particular, the idea that the author of Acts “had [...]

2023-09-29T16:27:01-04:00September 22nd, 2023|Public Forum|

Time to Vote!

Hey Platinum Members, We've had a spate of interesting Platinum guest posts, and now it's time to vote for one of them to go on the entire blog.   Here are your four options.  Wanna help decide?  Vote! To do so, just send a quick note to Diane at  [email protected]  Your deadline:  this Saturday, September 23, 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. July 10, 2023 Vespasian Miracles Ryan Fleming July 17, 2023 An Important Difference in John Ryan Fleming July 28, 2023 A Proposition That the First Greek Converts to Jesus Were a Few Ascetic Pythagorean Philosophers Omar Robb July 31, 2023 Jesus the Half-Nabataean Prince Serene

2023-09-18T13:58:24-04:00September 18th, 2023|Public Forum|

(Part I) A Discussion on Spirit, Death, Afterlife, Consciousness, and Free Will. A Platinum Post From Omar Robb

Here Platinum Guest Poster Omar Robb takes on many of the BIG QUESTIONS that many of us who wrestle with meaning struggle with, in very modern terms.  What do you think? ****************************** 1# Spirit and Death: The ancient conclusion about the existence of the spirit is sound and valid. However, I think the ancient couldn’t escape the Metaphoric Syndrome, and with this syndrome, they derived false properties for this spirit: The ancient knew about death, because they experienced it constantly. Therefore, it is expected that they will try and understand this phenomenon. The first obvious logical conclusion is that death is not life. This is actually a direct linguistic deduction: we see living people, then we see dead people, and the difference is that the dead are not alive. I assume that form this direct linguistic deduction, they concluded that “Living” requires two things: Body and Life. From this conclusion they derived that life could be regarded as an entity, and they called it Spirit, which means breath; as breathing is one of the major [...]

2023-09-18T11:25:48-04:00September 18th, 2023|Public Forum|

Paul, the Apostate: a Platinum Post by Manuel Fiadeiro

I'm pleased to present this Platinum Members guestpost by your fellow platinum member Manuel Fiadeiro, a retelling of the conversion and mission of the apostle Paul, with intriguing possibilities.  What do you make of it?  Let Manuel and the rest of us know! And remember that you too can publish a Platinum post to your fellow Plats.  Just send something along to me! ******************************** Circa 35 CE, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, a young man, no more than 20 years old called Saul, with scribes and Pharisees, was stoning a man belonging to a sect of a Galilean called Jesus. Saul was in Jerusalem to study with the Pharisee master Gamaliel. Few students could match Saul in intelligence, brilliance and knowledge. He was a devout Jew who knew the scriptures by heart, fluent in Greek and Hebrew, able to read and write, he could beat anyone in theological discourse. Saul was also an ambitious fellow. He "knew" God set him apart from his mother's womb. He wondered what God had in mind for him. [...]

2023-09-10T12:21:13-04:00September 15th, 2023|Public Forum|

The Pauline Style and a Discussion About Paul’s Motivation. A Platinum Post From Omar Robb

Here are some reflections on the homiletic style Paul uses in his letters, with some much broader implications for understanding Paul's situation and teaching by Platinum Post member Omar Robb.  Feel free to comment and provide feedback! ****************************** I need to be upfront and clearly say that this article is just a rough set of assumptions. In order for this article to jump over this level then it would require adequate linguistic and textual analyses and I am not an expert on them. So, I am just exploring here an area, and I am throwing a flashlight deep into the dark field. The outcome might be fruitful or might not. But it is always fun exploring the unknown past. Having said all that, let us start the discussion: There is something that I did notice before (as I think all did) but I couldn’t put the line under it, except lately. There is a specific common approach that most Christian Preachers follow in their preaching, and I think I am able now to describe it: [...]

2023-08-24T21:38:16-04:00September 11th, 2023|Public Forum|

Jesus, Sun Myung Moon, and Me: a Platinum Post from William Poe

  ******************************* A bit of introduction may be in order. I grew up in a conservative Southern Baptist church. My family wasn’t especially religious, but we often attended Sunday sermons and not least due to peer pressure, I was baptized when I was nine years old. As a teen, and without much resistance from my parents, I became interested in more spiritualist approaches to religion. By age fifteen, I had read all the books about Edgar Cayce, and other contemporary mystics. My readings led me to question the foundations of Christianity. I had concerns that Christians seemed unwilling to address. I continually asked, what if the first-century Jews had accepted Jesus and protected him against Roman authorities, what then. The answer was always that it wasn’t God’s will. I found that unsatisfying. As an eighteen-year-old freshman at university, I studied anthropology and, in another class, became aware of Abraham Maslow and his proposal that people strive for self-actualization. The mix of spiritualism, anthropology, and psychology contributed to my openness to proponents of the new religious [...]

2023-08-24T21:35:58-04:00September 8th, 2023|Public Forum|

September Gold Q&A–Get Those Questions in!

Whoa, is it time for another Gold Q&A already? Yep, it sure is! Send your questions to [email protected], and Diane will compile and send me the list. Short deadline this month--get your question in by Friday (9/8) midnight (whenever midnight is in your time zone). The questions are always interesting, but remember that shorter, more general-interest questions are more likely to be answered.

2023-09-06T09:37:40-04:00September 6th, 2023|Public Forum|

Mark 13:30–a New Argument for an Old Hypothesis. A Platinum Post From Omar Robb

In this Platinum Guest Post Omar Robb takes on one of the most controversial verses in the Gospels for which every interpretation is controversial and argues for an interpretation that is ... controversial.  Do you find it convincing?  Let's hear you say so!  Do you not?  Let's hear you say why!   The question: did Jesus state that his own generation would see the end of all things as we know them?  Or not? ****************************** There is a hypothesis that Mark 13:30 (this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened) is related to the destruction of the Temple. This is not a new hypothesis, and there are few articles in the internet that promote it. However, this hypothesis didn’t gain any momentum, and it is highly ignored by both Believers and Non-Believers. I assume that this hypothesis could indicate a partial fulfillment to the prophecy of Jesus, which most Believers couldn’t accept; as Jesus’ prophecies couldn’t have any failures. While many Non-Believers couldn’t also accept it; as Jesus’ prophecies couldn’t even [...]

2023-09-08T09:43:49-04:00September 4th, 2023|Public Forum|

Thoughts on Cosmology, a Platinum Post From Charles Hawkins

Like many of you, I'm fascinated by how ancient people understood the world / universe -- the "cosmos" -- and by what modern cosmologist who actually do the science say about it.  Only rarely can someone speak confidently about both topics, wildly different as they are.  So I'm pleased to publish this Platinum guest post by Charles Hawkins, which discusses cosmology in antiquity and modernity and the transition betwixt them, all in relation to the NT.  In ONE post!  I hope you enjoy it!  Charles will be happy to hear your reactions. ****************************** Understanding cosmology, that is, our view of the structure of the Earth and its place in the universe, is an essential part of understanding the writings of both the Hebrew Bible and the Christian documents of the New Testament.  More importantly, this understanding is a key (there are others) to working out how if at all these writings can be relevant to our era.  Members of this blog may well be aware of much of what follows, but I’ve thought for some [...]

2023-08-29T09:24:25-04:00September 1st, 2023|Public Forum|

Premarital Sex in The Song of Songs: A Platinum Post by Dan Kohanski

       The Bible has numerous passages that would be shocking to many readers if they read them without pious assumptions.  Of none is that more true than the Song of Songs (sometimes called the Song of Solomon).   And so I welcome this guest post by Platinum members Dan Kohanski, who takes on this erotic work and tries to say it as it is!         Remember: you too can publish a post for other Platinum members.  Why not give it a shot?  Just send something along to me, and I'm happy to look it over for you. ****************************** (This essay was inspired by Bart’s recent post, “What is (Sexually) Unnatural,” and based on research I did for my recent book, A God of Our Invention: How Religion Shaped the Western World (Apocryphile Press, 2023), specifically the chapter on sex: “God Between the Sheets.”) The Hebrew Scripture is the work of many hands: scribes, story-tellers, mythmakers and lawmakers, prophets and poets. Its parts were composed over several hundred years, and edited for [...]

2023-08-26T19:08:08-04:00August 28th, 2023|Public Forum|

Gold Q&A for August!

Dear Goldies, It's time for another Gold Q&A.  You ask the questions, I answer them.  My plan is to record the event this coming weekend; if I'm able to do it at a decent time (other things are hanging fire), I'll announce it a bit in advance so people can come and listen in if they want. For me to do that, I NEED QUESTIONS!  Got any?  Anything related to the blog is AOK.  Remember that long and involved questions are far less likely to be chosen than relatively succinct to-the-point ones (if something in the question needs explaining, I'll explain it). DO NOT ask a question in a comment to this post (well, don't ask if you want me to answer it; if you don't want an answer, ask away!).  INSTEAD, submit your question to [email protected] DEADLINE for your question submission: this Friday, August 18, midnight your time. I'm looking forward to it, as always!    

2023-08-15T11:03:11-04:00August 14th, 2023|Public Forum|

How Accurate Are Orally-Transmitted Reports? A Platinum Post From Imran M. Usmani

In this guest post, Imran Usmani challenges my views about distortions in oral traditions, basing his contrary perspective on the work of an ninth-century Muslim scholar tracing the reports in circlation about the prophet Muhammad. Take a look!  What do you think?  Do you find it convincing?  Why or why not?  Let us know!   ****************************** In his book Jesus Before the Gospels, Bart Ehrman argues that the earliest Christians possessed distorted memories of Jesus. Ehrman draws on modern psychological studies, which have shown that human memories are sometimes wholly unreliable. However, Ehrman accepts that the gist of a memory is often reliable even if the details are incorrect. Using this principle, Ehrman proceeds to critically appraise the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. In my opinion, a weakness in Ehrman’s thesis is that it does not consider the work of the Hadith collector Muhammad bin Ismail Bukhari, who died in 870 CE. Bukhari spent his life studying and verifying orally transmitted reports about the Prophet Muhammad. His methods and results are very [...]

2023-08-10T16:03:53-04:00August 14th, 2023|Public Forum|

A Proposition That Ramesses-the-Sixth (Ramesses VI) Was the Pharaoh of the Exodus by Omar Robb

Another Platinum Post from Omar Robb--as always, intriguing! ****************************** Omar Abur-Robb I did discuss this subject in some comments here in the blog, but I prefer to put it in a formal post. We are going here to argue that the non-metaphysical data related to the exodus can be fit with the history of Egypt between Ramesses-the-Third (III, died 1155BC) and Ramesses-the-Sixth (VI, died 1136BC). Also, we will argue that Israel/Yisrael is unlikely to be the name mentioned in the Stele of Merneptah. 1# We will discuss this subject from a scientific historical perspective in which we will exclude all metaphysical data. So, if we looked at the Quran and the Old Testament (OT) and just extracted the non-metaphysical data (i.e. the viable data that doesn’t contradict with science and normality) then the summary of this data can be: The Israelite were a foreign tribe in Egypt, and they were oppressed there, but managed (gradually or swiftly) to immigrate to Arabia under the leadership of a man whose name was Moses. Now ... Quran [...]

2023-08-07T10:21:18-04:00August 11th, 2023|Public Forum|

Time to Vote for 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 Diane a note at [email protected].   May 22, 2023 Was Jesus Literate or Illiterate? Omar Robb May 26, 2023 Did Jesus Believe The End Would Come Within His Lifetime? Rizwan Ahmed May 29, 2023 Was Jesus a Simplistic Person or an Extraordinary One? Omar Robb June 2, 2023 The 3rd Rail - A Critique of Jesus. Steve Clark

2023-08-01T11:38:08-04:00August 2nd, 2023|Public Forum|

Jesus the Half-Nabataean Prince, a Platinum Post by Serene

Serene has been an active member of the Platinum Corp, and here has written her first Guest Post; it's informative and, I bet, controversial!   Let Serene and the rest of us know what you think (and why)!   ****************************** Hi fellow Platies! Today, I present the case for Jesus as the son of a handmaiden and an Abrahamic divine king. This would be under the right codified in the Babylonian Talmud that gives foreign officials access to engaged Jewish virgins: "Rabba said: The baraita is referring to a period where the government said that a virgin who is married on Wednesday will submit to intercourse with the prefect [hegmon] first." And also in accordance with an Arab tradition attested to in the 7th C, and likely existing earlier, of royalty freeing a handmaid after first birth to marry.   The Why To reboot Jewish lineage. Lineage Nabataean-Edomite King Herod the Great had eliminated all of his lineage-Jewish children heirs by 4 BCE. Civil unrest ensued because as the saying goes, “representation matters”. [...]

2023-07-31T23:47:11-04:00July 31st, 2023|Public Forum|

A Proposition That the First Greek Converts to Jesus Were a Few Ascetic Pythagorean Philosophers. A Platinum Post From Omar Robb

Another deep dive into an interesting question with a new suggestion, with Platinum member Omar Robb! ****************************** In this article we will propose a solution to the following puzzle: How did Jesus teaching pass and flourish from its local limited domain (the Jewish community in Palestine) to a foreign domain (the Greek-Roman world) in less than 20 years? But we need first to discuss the Pythagorean Movement: Pythagoreanism originated in Greece from about the 6th century BC. However, I am going to argue here that Pythagoreanism didn’t really have much influence on the communities. They did have a huge influence on knowledge and wisdom through history, and the current human knowledge and wisdom can be related back to the first Pythagorean Philosophers (including Socrates and Plato), but my argument here is about the influence of these philosophers on the daily life of the masses at ancient times, and my assumption here is that they had little influence over the life of the ordinary people at that time. Now ... I don’t have a solid proof [...]

2023-07-26T08:27:11-04:00July 28th, 2023|Public Forum|

An Important Difference in John–a Platinum Post by Ryan Fleming

How different is John from the Synoptics?  You may you think you know the answer, but this thoughtful post by platinum blog member Ryan Fleming should surely make you think.  And it all leads to a rather startling question at the end.  So what do you think?   ****************************** The partial narrative in the Gospel of John has a few important differences compared to the three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). The Synoptic Gospels are not identical, but in general they have reasonable agreement regarding the chronology of events in Jesus’ ministries. If one carefully tracks the chronology in the first three gospels, and then attempts to compare them with the Gospel of John, one quickly notices the differences. However, there are several other important differences worth noting. With each difference, a list of possible explanations follow: As discussed above, a different chronology – a timeline of too many events to list here. A long period of time from the writing of the other three (several decades?) with the word-of-mouth sequence of stories naturally [...]

2023-07-27T11:29:31-04:00July 17th, 2023|Public Forum|

Vespasian Miracles. A Platinum Post by Ryan Fleming

I'm pleased to post this discussion of the miracles attributed to the emperor Vespasian, by Platinum blog member Ryan Fleming.  These miracles are not widely known outside the realm of antiquity nerds, and rarely are they much analyzed even there.   But they are significant and interesting, and here Ryan provides an intriguing assessment of them.  Enjoy!   **************************** Roman historians Tacitus (56 CE to 120 CE) in The Histories, Book IV, Section 81, and Suetonius (69 CE to 122 CE) in The Lives of the Twelve Caesars wrote of miracles Vespasian performed in the temple of Serapis in Alexandria Egypt. In one case he healed a blind man by anointing his eyes with his spit, and in another he healed a paralyzed man (withered hand or leg) by touching the hand or leg. It is tempting practice to compare these miracles with nearly identical acts attributed to Jesus in the Canonical Gospels and debate which came first, the Jesus stories or Vespasian stories: Curing blindness with spit: Mark 8:23-25, John 9:6-7 Curing blindness: Matthew 9:29-30, [...]

2023-07-10T13:29:30-04:00July 10th, 2023|Public Forum|
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