Tag: History

Understanding the Old Testament

The Old Testament is a strange book – well a collection of dozens of books actually. How can any twenty-first century person understand it? Can any thoughtful person really believe all of it? What do the experts say? These are questions I have grappled with for much of my life. I feel, finally, I have […]

Nazareth in Jesus’ day: 4 facts

The Bible says Jesus grew up in Nazareth, but until recently the evidence for this was scant and disputed by some. But now there is clear evidence of a small agricultural village or town in the first century.

Blowing in the wind

Race riots in the sixties drew a supportive response from young whites. Will it happen again? Will christians stand on the side of compassion and justice? Will it make a difference? The answer is blowing in the wind.

How accurate is the text of the New Testament?

Is the Bible we read today the same as the one originally written? Has the original text been changed beyond recognition, or do scholars have so many copies that they can reconstruct the text with a great deal of confidence?

9. Does the historical Jesus reveal God?

This page in brief …. Christians believe that Jesus showed us what God is like. If that claim is true, we have a strong reason to believe God really exists. So in this page we look at three criteria that we might use to evaluate this claim – the historical evidence for Jesus’ life and […]

The Exodus (book review)

What should we make of the story of the Exodus in the Old Testament? Two million people escape slavery in Egypt after a series of savage plagues, with God leading the way. They escape the pursuing Egyptian army by walking through the waters of the Red Sea, which God miraculously parts, then closes on the […]

Did Jesus suffer from a mental disorder?

In Mark 3, it is recorded that when Jesus’ family heard how he was attracting a great following, they thought he was “out of his mind”. These days a similar charge is sometimes made – that Jesus exhibited behaviour that suggests he suffered from a mental disorder. I’ve come across it several times, most recently […]

Going from the historical Jesus to the Jesus of faith

A reader commenting on this blog asked me some questions about Jesus and history and I thought that they were good questions worthy of a decent response. Part of John’s comment was: “So I was curious as to what your specific Christian beliefs were …. where you stand on Christ’s divinity. It’s one thing to […]

Sam Harris and fake history

Sam Harris is a leading figure in the so-called “new atheists”, an author, speaker and polemicist who strongly opposes Christianity and (even more) Islam. So he is in great demand to speak on many issues of science, ethics and religion, not just the subjects of his university degrees – philosophy and neuroscience. As a “public […]

How to read the Bible if you’re an unbeliever

I reckon too many people, christian and non-christians alike, read the Bible in the wrong way. So how should an unbeliever approach the Bible if he or she wants to read it honestly, whether to learn from it or to critique it?