Jesus, the Supernatural, and the Historian: Guest Post 2 by James Tabor

Here is the second half of James Tabor’s guest post; for the first, see yesterday!   I think you will agree, the two parts are very stimulating.  If you want to hear more of James’s thoughts on all sorts of topics connected to the New Testament and Early Christianity, he too has a very helpful blog where he discusses all sorts of relevant topics.  Give it a look!  It’s at

James will be happy to address questions you have in ...

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Guest Post by James Tabor: The Historian and the Supernatural

I am honored to have a guest post provided for us by James D. Tabor, Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at my sibling-school UNC-Charlotte, and longtime friend.  Many of you will know James and his work, as he publishes not only for the scholarly crowd but also for broader audiences.   If you want to stir up controversy – that’s the way to go!

And James is no stranger to it, as becomes clear in this post – or rather ...

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How Were People Crucified?

I have always said that people were crucified by being nailed through their *wrists* instead of their hands.  I had heard that in college when I was maybe 18, and I’ve been saying it ever since.  And I still say it because it’s apparently true.  But I never knew how we knew.  Was it simply common sense that a nail/stake through the hand would rip out, and needed to go between two strong bones?  Or did we have some evidence?  ...

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End of the Year Final Exam!

We are near the end of the year.  What better time for a final exam?

In my classes I normally give essay exams — they are by far the best way to find out how much a student actually knows (as opposed to testing them for what they don’t know) and how well s/he can express thoughts in writing and develop an argument.

I’ve pulled out an exam that I once gave to my students in a class called Jesus in Scholarship ...

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Why Does Matthew Have the Story of the “Wise Men”?


My Bible group had a good time yesterday comparing Matthew and Luke’s accounts of the Christmas story. One question that came up was why would Matthew relate the story of the Magi?



Ah, it’s a great question and – as it turns out – an important one for understanding the Gospel of Matthew.   The story is found only in this Gospel (But this time of year, who can keep ones mind from jumping to:  “We Three Kings of Orient Are….”), and ...

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Heaven and Hell in a Nutshell: Getting into the Kernel

Here is the second and last part of my summary of the heart of my forthcoming book Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife.  It’s not an outline of the chapters, but a summing up of the key issues, flow, and the ultimate “point” of the book.  As a tip, I’ve called this little essay (in my own mind): “There Is Nothing To Fear.”



The idea of rewards and punishments eventually found its way into Judaism as ...

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Who Was Jesus?

This is a continuation of a soon-to-be-compiled longer post for broader consumption on the New Testament.  Now that I have described what the NT is, how it is structured and organized, and how it has come down to us, I get to one of the key issues: what does the New Testament tell us about the historical figure of Jesus himself?



There can be no doubt that Jesus of Nazareth has been the most influential person in the history ...

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Jesus and Sexual Immorality

I began to discuss yesterday the interesting case that NT scholar Scot McKnight advances for thnking that maybe Jesus *does* speak of same-sex relations in the Gospels.  The last (group) of his three references are the ones he thinks are the most likely instances:


Matthew 5:32

But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Matthew 15:19

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Maybe Jesus DOES Talk about “Homosexuality”?

In my recent post I pointed out that Jesus said nothing – nada! – about same sex relations in any of his surviving teachings.   One blog member pointed out a post on a different blog by New Testament scholar Scot McKnight arguing that there are there passages in the Gospels where in fact Jesus *may* have been referring to homosexuality, in condemnatory terms.  I thought, HUH?  THAT’s interesting!  I better look.  So I did.   I don’t think there’s any way ...

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Is the Bible Inspired by God? Guest Post by Evangelical Apologist Mike Licona

This particular post is free and open to the public.  If you belonged to the blog, you would get five posts a week, for about what it costs to send a letter.  And every penny goes to charity!  So why not join?

Mike Licona has burst on the scene as one of the leading spokespersons for evangelical Christianity and its theological claims, especially that Jesus was physically raised from the dead, that purely historical research can actually demonstrate that ...

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