What Judas Betrayed

In my last post I indicated that I would write, next, on what it was, in my opinion, that Judas betrayed.   It is commonly thought, based on the NT evidence, that he indicated to the authorities where Jesus could be found apart from the crowds.   Maybe that’s right, even though, as I indicated, I do have some doubts about it.  Even if it is right, there may be more to it than that.   I think the following data are worth ...

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More on Judas

Several people misunderstood what I was trying to say in my post yesterday about Paul’s knowledge of Judas Iscariot.  It was probably my fault for not being clear enough.   I was *not*, decidedly *not*, trying to argue that the tradition that Judas betrayed Jesus was unhistorical.  Quite the contrary, for reasons I’ll explain in a second, I think this is a completely historical tradition.  I was simply asking whether Paul himself knew about it.  He may well have known about ...

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Paul on Judas

Several people have asked me to comment on whether Paul shows any evidence of knowing about the tradition that Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot. As a first step, it’s necessary to point out that Paul says very little indeed – surprisingly little – about the historical Jesus — that is, about what Jesus said, did, and experienced between the time of his birth and his death. (Paul obviously says a *lot* about Jesus’ death and resurrection, just not much ...

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Jesus’ Rejection in Nazareth

OK, several readers have asked me why I don’t think the story of Jesus’ violent rejection in Nazareth, according to Luke 4:16-30, is historically reliable. The short version is that Luke has taken a story from Mark and expanded it significantly in light of his own literary and theological interests so that the account of the attempted assassination is not multiply attested and it does not pass the criterion of dissimilarity. It looks instead to be a story that Luke ...

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Persecutions for Calling Jesus God


If the pre-‘resurrection’ Jesus and, later on, his earliest (Jewish) followers had declared Jesus to actually BE God then wouldn’t they have been kicked out of the synagogues from the start because of blasphemy? But since that did not happen (Jesus preached in synagogues and his disciples continued to go to synagogues after his ‘resurrection’ for a while) doesn’t that indicate that the earliest Christian belief did NOT contain the claim that Jesus actually was God?


This ...

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Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Yesterday I talked about the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls for understanding Jesus and the milieu out of which earliest Christianity grew. My basic point is that if Jesus was a Jew, then to understand him, you have to understand Jews in his world. And the Dead Sea Scrolls provide us valuable information to that end.

I am not saying that the Dead Sea Scrolls are representative of what all or even most Jews thought at the time. They clearly ...

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The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christianity

As we used to say back when I was a committed Christian, with respect to prayer: Be careful what you ask for! So I asked for questions that you would like me to address, and I have been receiving them in droves. Some of them I will be able to answer very quickly as a response to the comment itself, some I will handle in a post – or more, depending on how complicated the matter is. (If I intend ...

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Touring Jerusalem

We are in that part of our tour of Israel – getting near the end – when everything more or less melds together and you can’t remember what you did when or where.  These trips involve some serious sensory overload.

Today we did some amazing things.   First we went to the Western Wall, probably the most sacred spot for Jews in Israel.   Years ago people referred to it as the Wailing Wall, but no longer.   It is what remains of the ...

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Capernaum and the “Jesus Boat”

I am typing just now on the third floor of the Scots Hotel in Tiberias, in a room with a glorious view of the Sea of Galilee. In the distance, across are the sea, are clearly visible the Golan Heights, where we spent a day or so, having lunch yesterday just 40 miles from Damascus. All may not be quiet on the Western Front (well, in this case, the Eastern Front) but we are safe and sound, and feel more ...

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Caesarea Maritima

Many apologies to any- and everyone who has grown accustomed to me posting virtually every day on the blog. I left NC for Israel on Tuesday, flew overnight to Tel Aviv, and have been on the run ever since with scarcely a free minute to call my own. Today is … Saturday (I think), so it must be Tiberias….

I am hoping that from now on I’ll be able to squeeze in some time to do a daily post – but ...

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