But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

Larry Hurtado - Apologetic Report

Another video in the series sponsored by our Centre for the Study of Christian Origins has just been posted here.  In this one, I talk about the “social consequences” of adherence to early Christianity.

Authors: larryhurtado...

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Thursday, 24 May 2018 19:07

Paul, Stephen Fowl, and Trinitarian Doctrine

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The contributions to the multi-author volume that I noted yesterday here include a thoughtful essay by Stephen Fowl (who, in my experience, writes only thoughtful work):  “Paul and the Trinity” (pp. 151-61).

He first notes that, although in Paul we have a “christological...

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My note about the newly published items included in vol 83 of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri reminded me that to date, over 100 years after the excavations there, the vast hoard of papyri shipped to Britain by Grenfell & Hunt (in hundreds of metal boxes) remains stored and unpublished.  This...

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Wednesday, 23 May 2018 23:14

Historical Roots of “Trinitarian” Theology

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I’m pleased to have a contribution included in a recently-published multi-author volume: The Bible and Early Trinitarian Theology, eds. Christopher A. Beeley and Mark E. Weedman (Catholic University of America Press, 2018; the publisher’s online catalogue entry here).

The book arose...

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It appears that the much-touted “first-century” fragment of the Gospel of Mark has, at last, been published, inThe Oxyrhynchus Papyri, Volume LXXXIII (Graeco-Roman Memoirs) (Egypt Exploration Society, 2018).  I haven’t had access to the volume yet, nor have many others. ...

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Monday, 21 May 2018 18:57

When did “Gospel” First = a Book?

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My recent postings about the NT Gospels elicited a reminder of an essay by James Kelhoffer:  “‘How Soon a Book’ Revisited: EUAGGELION As a Reference to ‘Gospel’ Materials in the First Half of the Second Century,” Zeitschrift für die...

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Sunday, 20 May 2018 18:53

The Gospels: Some Reading Suggestions

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In light of the kind of comments and questions that have come in over the past week or two in response to my recent postings about the Gospels, I think that a few reading suggestions are in order.  It is rather tiresome to have individuals making confident claims about this or that, which only...

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Wednesday, 09 May 2018 19:34

Gospels and Names

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My posting about “anonymous gospels” certainly has elicited interest.  I’ll try here to emphasize some points and hopefully clarify some matters.

First, the main observation in my previous posting was that none of the authors (and they were authors) of the NT Gospels included...

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Monday, 07 May 2018 20:16

Anonymous Gospels

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Although early in their circulation the NT Gospels were ascribed to the familiar four figures (probably sometime early 2nd century), they actually originated as anonymous, which deserves more notice than scholars have typically given to the matter.  Noting that many OT books and several NT...

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IN response to a request of a subscriber, I’ve now uploaded the pre-publication form of my essay that was published as  “What Do the Earliest Christian Manuscripts Tell Us About Their Readers?,” in The World of Jesus and the Early Church: Identity and Interpretation...

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Thursday, 03 May 2018 01:51

Workshop on Numismatics and the NT

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I cross-post a summary of what must have been a highly stimulating workshop on the contributions of Roman-era numismatics to NT lexicography:  here.

I was particularly interested in the discussion of the connotation of the reference to Jesus’ disciples as his “friends” in John...

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Tuesday, 01 May 2018 20:00

“Material Culture” of Early Christianity

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A recent multi-author volume commendably addresses the physical/material evidence of early Christianity:  Alan H. Cadwallader, ed., Stones, Bones and the Sacred: Essays on Material Culture and Religion in Honor of Dennis E. Smith (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2016).  Given the focus of the...

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Monday, 30 April 2018 19:17

Another “Destroyer” Review

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Having complained about what I regard a misleading review of my book, Destroyer of the gods, in a previous posting, there’s a commendably accurate review just published:  here.

The crucial difference is that this reviewer actually gets what the book is about–certain features of...

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Wednesday, 25 April 2018 00:10

On Responsible Reviewing of Books

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Surely, the fundamental responsibility of a book-reviewer is to convey the main point of a book.  Critique?  Fair game.  But critique should be directed accurately.  A recent review of my book, Destroyer of the gods:  Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman...

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Brent Nongbri issued a response (here) to my posting (here) about Justin Martyr and the Gospels, but his response seems to me more assertion than based in evidence.  I have to say, thus, that I don’t find that Larsen’s claims are supported, in particular that Justin didn’t...

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Monday, 16 April 2018 21:57

More on Rethinking the Paradigm

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In an earlier posting (here), I asked whether we need to rethink the now-standard paradigm/model for the textual transmission of the Gospels.  In the interest of explaining further why I ask the question, I’ve now uploaded the pre-publication form of my essay that concludes the recent...

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Friday, 13 April 2018 19:30

A Reference Work on Biblical “Background”

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The Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical and Post-Biblical Antiquity, eds. Edwin M. Yamauchi and Marvin R. Wilson (Hendrickson, 2017) deserves attention from anyone seeking a handy resource on a multitude of topics on the historical context of the biblical writings.  The work originated...

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Thursday, 12 April 2018 19:58

Textual “Mentalities” in the Ancient World

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The question has arisen in recent discussion whether in the ancient Roman world there was the concept of, and concern for, an accurate or fixed text of literary works.  Observations by the great Eric G. Turner in his splendid book, Greek Papyri:  An Introduction (Oxford...

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Wednesday, 11 April 2018 20:54

The Kingdom of God is “Within your reach”

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It’s amazing how slowly the work of papyrologists influences the work of other scholars.  Here’s an example.  In Luke 17:20-21, Pharisees ask Jesus when the kingdom of God will come, and Jesus responds exhorting that it doesn’t come “with observation” (a term...

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Tuesday, 10 April 2018 19:23

Justin and Manuscripts

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Nearly 1,200 years separate Justin Martyr from the earliest manuscript of his works (Parisinus graecus 450, completed 11 September 1364, the only manuscript of independent value for Justin).  I mention this as a small footnote to my posting yesterday about Justin and his references to,...

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Tuesday, 10 April 2018 00:22

Justin Martyr and the Gospels

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In a response to my blog-post about early textual transmission of the Gospels, Brent Nongbri points to Justin Martyr in support of the idea that in the early 2nd century we can’t really think of the texts of the Gospels as we know them (or perhaps can’t be sure that these texts were in...

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Sunday, 08 April 2018 19:29

Women in the Jesus-Movement

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Last night in the UK, Channel 4 aired a TV documentary on the evidence of women’s involvement in the ministry of Jesus and the earliest Jesus-movement, featuring Professor Helen Bond (New College, Edinburgh) and Professor Joan Taylor (Kings College London), available here.  On the whole,...

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Saturday, 07 April 2018 03:22

Which New Paradigm?

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In a recent blog posting, Brent Nongbri takes issue with my postings advocating a new paradigm in the study of earliest textual transmission of Christian texts such as the Gospels:  here.  Brent promises further postings, which I’ll look forward to with interest.  But,...

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For several years, scholars and students have puzzled over the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM) developed in the Muenster Institute for New Testament Textual Research.  There is now a clear and helpful guide:  Tommy Wasserman and Peter J. Gury, A New Approach to Textual...

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Tuesday, 03 April 2018 21:20

Fred Wisse on Early Textual Transmission

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In a previous posting I asked if we need a revised/new paradigm for portraying the earliest transmission of NT writings (here).  In support of this, I’ve also drawn attention to the newly-published monograph by Lonnie Bell here, which provides a close analysis of the earliest papyri of...

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