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
Wednesday, 20 March 2019 19:52

“Pagan” Knowledge of Early Christian Texts

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Scholars continue to probe whether and how early Christian texts such as those that make up the NT show knowledge and influence of “pagan” literary texts.  But far less frequently is the question asked whether literate pagans gave any attention to early Christian texts.  I...

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Friday, 15 March 2019 22:16

On “Spitballing” and Informed Inferences

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Having spent a few decades investigating early Christian usage of the codex and what all was entailed, including reading everything I could find written by other scholars about ancient books, and examining examples of rolls and codices for myself, I find it by turns amusing and a bit annoying when...

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Thursday, 14 March 2019 19:56

The “Investment” of Early Christians in Texts

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In previous posts I’ve emphasized the importance of early Christian manuscripts as material artifacts, not only copies of texts (e.g., here).  An associated matter is the effort and expense involved in the production, copying, and dissemination and usage of these texts as manuscript...

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Monday, 11 March 2019 20:06

Galen and His Codices

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In response my query to Jan Bremmer (a bibliographical phenomenon!) about a matter, he referred me to an article published some years ago now that discusses evidence of Galen’s attitude toward and use of the codex bookform:  Matthew Nicholls, “Parchment Codices in a New Text of...

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It was long thought (especially in some Protestant circles) that second-century Christianity lost track of the Pauline emphasis on “justification” by God through faith.  One of the most influential studies that established this view was by the famous Edinburgh scholar, Thomas F....

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Sunday, 10 March 2019 00:04

Books and Authors

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In my PhD studies (many years ago now), I was privileged to be supervised by Eldon J. Epp.  And one of the advantages was his meticulous concern for correct grammar.  So, e.g., I was made to note that “data” is a plural noun, requiring, thus, a plural verb.

I recall also that...

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Tuesday, 05 March 2019 22:30

Book Recommendations?

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I’m sometimes asked by “lay” readers for recommendations of books to introduce them reliably to this or that question or topic in the study of Christian Origins.  As I no longer teach undergrads, and have enough trouble trying to keep up with the specialist publications in...

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Monday, 04 March 2019 21:33

Magdala: A Galilean Town

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For anyone seriously interested in Galilee in the time of Jesus, the recently published multi-author volume edited by Richard Bauckham is a must-read:  Magdala of Galilee: A Jewish City in the Hellenistic and Roman Period (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2018; the publisher’s...

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Monday, 04 March 2019 20:16

On “Extant Evidence” and Inferences

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In my previous postings on the subject, I’ve referred to what we can infer from “extant” manuscript evidence.  One reader expressed doubts about being able to make any valid inferences, given that only a small amount of manuscript evidence remains extant.  So, I’ll...

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In reflecting further on Wasserman’s essay that I mentioned earlier here, I turned once again to Eric Turner’s discussion of the varying types of copyist practices evident in the early papyri of classical texts: E. G. Turner, Greek Papyri: An Introduction (1968; reprint, Oxford:...

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Included in a set of papers given at a NT textual criticism conference held in Birmingham (UK) is an essay by Tommy Wasserman that merits attention of all interested in the question of what the earliest manuscript evidence tells us about the textual transmission of the Gospels in the second...

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Tuesday, 26 February 2019 18:11

Knowledge based Opinion and Honest Questions

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Some comments on my posting yesterday about the recent splendid book on the pericope of the adulterous woman lead me now to comment back in a posting, rather than address them individually (which would be tedious).

This site isn’t a public bulletin board or a graffiti wall or a place for...

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Sunday, 24 February 2019 21:13

The Story of the Story of the Adulterous Woman

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The account of the woman caught in adultery and brought to Jesus is a well-known textual variant and problem.  Eventually obtaining a place in the Gospel of John (7:53—8:11) in the vast majority of manuscripts of the middle ages, it is typically judged by NT textual critics to be an...

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Monday, 18 February 2019 23:18

“Son of God” in NT Writings

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Rumaging through notes on some of my tracing of word/phrase usage in NT writings, I came across the data I’d collected on the use of “son of God” with reference to Jesus.  There is an interesting variation in the use of the expression among NT writers.

In an earlier posting (he...

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Tuesday, 12 February 2019 19:08

Two New Books by Jörg Frey

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One of the most productive NT scholars today is Professor Jörg Frey (University of Zurich), and so it is very good news to have a couple of his major works now available in English.

A major focus for Frey over many years now is the Gospel of John, and one of the new books is a revised and...

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Friday, 08 February 2019 18:21

A Reminder of the Rules

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I’d like to remind readers that this blog site has rules, clearly stated here.  Among them is the necessity to speak to the issue of a posting, and not try to hijack things for some other issue or pet theory.

Another rule is to avoid slander and other character assassinations.  So,...

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One reader of my posts seems to have difficulty in grasping what scholars refer to as “pre-existence”.  It’s a technical term, scholarly jargon/shorthand, to designate a motif or concept evident in a number of early Jewish and early Christian texts.  In particular, a...

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In a previous posting, I discussed the claim that the earliest christological belief was Jesus’ divine adoption, and found it unsupported by the evidence (here).  In this posting I consider another “christological non-starter,” the claim that earliest Jesus-followers saw the...

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My commissioned review of Paula Fredriksen’s new book, When Christians Were Jews (Yale University Press, 2018) has now appeared in the online journal, Marginalia:  Los Angeles Review of Books.  You can access the review here.

Authors: larryhurtado...

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Having spent now some forty years exploring and attempting to understand how earliest Christians understood and reverenced Jesus, it is sometimes almost amusing to see proposals presented confidently that actually have scant basis in the earliest evidence.  In this and a couple of ensuing...

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Tuesday, 22 January 2019 20:30

Was Paul “Converted”?

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In the ecclesiastical calendar, 25 January (this Friday) marks the “Conversion of St. Paul.”  Over the last several decades, however, scholars have differed over whether “conversion” is the right term to describe Paul’s change from fierce opponent of the young...

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Tuesday, 15 January 2019 18:29

“Professor,” “Dr.,” and Geography

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One of the curious features of modern academia is how academic titles are used so differently in various countries.  This isn’t really a posting on early Christianity, but I thought it might be informative (or even amusing) nevertheless.

In the North American setting, practically anyone...

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It’s always a pleasure to see one’s former PhD students making their own contributions to scholarship, and one of my most productive former students is Paul Middleton, now Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity in the University of Chester.  From his PhD thesis completed...

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In a reading a recent book review, I was introduced to a remarkable resource for all students and scholars interested in the Roman world:  ORBIS:  The Stanford Geospatial Network of the Roman World, an online resource freely available, the home page here.

ORBIS is primarily intended to...

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Monday, 07 January 2019 01:15

“Honoring the Son”: A Recent Review

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Reviewing books well requires care.  When the topic of a book is central to field of study, and when the position advocated in a book is carefully nuanced, it is important to engage it accurately.  A newly-published review of my latest book left me a bit puzzled and disappointed. ...

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