Bible

Every so often I’ve encountered people claiming that the Jewish historian Josephus (A.D. 37-c. 100) said that Jews believe in reincarnation. Sometimes this claim is made by New Agers, who want to bolster the antiquity of the idea in Judeo-Christian circles, but I’ve also seen it made by others. It has always struck me as […]

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The vast majority of Christians recognize the possibility of losing one’s salvation. This is clearly taught in multiple Bible passages. However, in the 1500s, John Calvin proposed a teaching now known as eternal security. Today this teaching takes two forms. The first version was proposed by Calvin himself. It holds that, although there are actions […]

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In its entry on the (apocryphal) Epistle of Barnabas, the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary states: Although Barnabas 4:14 appears to quote Matt 22:14, it must remain an open question whether the Barnabas circle knew written gospels. Based on Koester’s analysis (1957:125–27, 157), it appears more likely that Barnabas stood in the living oral tradition used […]

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This week at St. Anonymous the Ambiguous, there was a priest I hadn’t seen before. He was a younger priest who struck me as sincere, earnest, and orthodox, so I was favorably disposed to him. I was also grateful that he wasn’t the emotionally insecure, narcissistic priest who sometimes fills in and makes himself the […]

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People are sometimes confused by the differences in the Gospels’ infancy narratives and their resurrection narratives. Sometimes it is claimed that they contradict each other. I’ve already written about how the infancy narratives fit together. You can read that here. Now I’d like to show how the Gospels’ resurrection narratives fit together, not only with […]

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The Orchard hypothesis, which holds that Mark is a transcript of lectures that Peter gave on Matthew and Luke, is a unique solution to the Synoptic Problem. It was proposed in the late 20th century by the British scholar Dom Bernard Orchard, along with other authors, including Harold Riley, David Alan Black, and Dennis Barton. […]

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For some time I’ve been meaning to write something about how pagans frequently offered sacrifices–and other gifts–at the Jerusalem temple, but I haven’t had a chance yet. Until I have time, I’ll use this post to collect notes on the phenomenon. It’s easy for us to impose ideas on later ages on what we read […]

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The recent remake of the movie Pete’s Dragon has prompted some discussion on the Internet of whether it is ever permissible, from a Christian point of view, to depict dragons as friendly, which happens in the movie. Some, pointing to comments made by novelist Michael O’Brien in his book A Landscape with Dragons, have answered […]

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The deuterocanonical books of the Bible are those books in the Old Testament which are not found in the canon of modern, rabbinic Jews and Protestants. In Protestant circles, they are frequently referred to as “the apocrypha.” “Apocrypha” means “hidden things,” and that’s a misnomer, because these books aren’t and never have been hidden. They […]

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It’s surprising, but with a little sleuthing, we can get good estimates of when the authors of the New Testament were born. Let’s put on our detective hats and see what we can learn about Paul and his circle of New Testament authors. (Yesterday we looked at the Twelve and the brethren of Jesus.)   […]

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