Rethinking Torah with John Walton

A few months ago I posted about the wonderful work of Old Testament Professors John Walton and Joshua Berman on Torah. In the following interview for The Holy Post podcast Walton explains why Torah is not really law but is a different genre of ancient literature. Continue reading “Rethinking Torah with John Walton”

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The Bible and the Ancient Near East

Just as knowing something about the 18th century Enlightenment, Colonial American history, and the men who attended the Constitutional Convention will inform your historical understanding of the U.S. Constitution, knowing something about ancient Near Eastern history and culture will deepen your historical understanding of the documents that compose the Hebrew Bible. Continue reading “The Bible and the Ancient Near East”

The History behind Pilate

I am not usually a fan of documentaries about the Bible because they often have a sensationalist bent to them. However, the history 2004 documentary Pilate: The Man Who Killed Christ is avoids that by carefully examining and presenting Ponitus Pilate’s role in the crucifixion of Jesus in the context of Jewish-Roman relations in the first century AD. Among the experts it consults are prominent New Testament scholars N.T. Wright, Helen Bond and John M.G. Barclay. What I particularly love about this documentary is it offers much needed historical perspective on the crucifixion accounts in the New Testament which challenges the wrongheaded notion that Jewish people were to blame for Christ’s death. You can watch the full documentary below. Continue reading “The History behind Pilate”

How Christianity forgot its Jewish roots

Dr. Michael l. Brown, a Messianic Jew and a leading figure in Messianic Judaism in the short video below gives a quick overview of how the Church “lost” its Jewish roots. Continue reading “How Christianity forgot its Jewish roots”

Understanding how oral tradition works

A Word in Edgewise

Jesus of Nazareth lived between 6-4 BC and 30-33 AD.  When he died, he was in his mid- to late-thirties. That’s about as good as we can get.  The documents and historical sources don’t allow us any more precision.  The first Gospels written about Jesus—perhaps in this order, Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John—are not written until 30-40 years after his execution.  The period in between we call the period of oral tradition.  In this time, the stories of Jesus are told and retold, and then they are written down in the books we have today.  Now this does not mean there were not written sources during the period of oral tradition.  It means we just don’t have them.  Why? Because like most things written 2000 years ago they did not survive.  If, as some believe, the stories of Jesus are taken up in longer narratives like Mark or Matthew, going…

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12 Reasons to Trust the Gospels

Andrew Wilson briefly summarises 12 arguments from fellow New Testament scholar Peter J. Williams recent book Can We Trust The Gospels?  The reasons range from unintended coincidences to botany. Continue reading “12 Reasons to Trust the Gospels”

A Crash Course on the Ancient Near East

The series of lectures below is primarily about ancient Near Eastern myths, however a significant amount of time is spent on how the study of the ancient Near East emerged, its contemporary status as well as a broad overview of the history and cultures of the ancient Near East itself.  Continue reading “A Crash Course on the Ancient Near East”