Tag: NewTestament

Changing ideas about the death of Jesus

There’s a quiet but dramatic change going on within christianity, about our understanding of the death of Jesus. Critical non-believers often seem to be unaware of it. Many christians seem to be unaware of it too. But it is making a major difference to how christians see God, the scriptures and their faith. And Easter […]

The historical evidence for Jesus seems to be getting stronger

The Pool of Bethesda – model in the Israel Museum Picture taken by deror avi on 18th August 2006 (Wikipedia) Fifty years ago, when I was a young christian, there was a clear division in New Testament studies between scholars who defended historic christianity and more secular scholars who took an extremely critical view of […]

Update: Did Josephus write about Jesus?

The New Testament gives us a lot of information about Jesus, but there aren’t many other historical references to Jesus in the first century to support the New Testament information. Some sceptics claim this indicates Jesus was an invention or a legend. So there has always been great interest in two references in the writings […]

Are the stories of Jesus’ birth historically true?

When expert historians examine the life of Jesus as recorded in the four gospels, the stories they question most are those of his birth. (Christian scholar Craig Keener didn’t even discuss Jesus’ birth in his monumental The Historical Jesus of the Gospels.) So how critical should we be when looking at these familiar stories? How […]

Was Jesus worshiped as God by his followers after he died?

Jesus is believed by christians to have been divine, the son of God. Many christians believe he very clearly made that claim during his life, and his disciples just kept on believing it after he died. However non-believers generally believe Jesus was not divine, but rather a small time prophetic teacher and healer, but legends […]

Does the New Testament contain forgeries, or other books that shouldn’t be there?

Before we read a book, we will often want to know who wrote it and whether we can trust them to give us accurate information. It is therefore understandable that people might wonder who wrote the 27 books of the New Testament. Last post I discussed the writings of New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman. One […]

Bart Ehrman, New Testament scholar and agent provocateur

Bart Ehrman is an eminent New Testament scholar, a successful writer and a thorn in the side of conservative christians. I have been reading a few more of his books lately (those shown in the picture above), to see what makes him simultaneously so popular and unpopular. Some clear themes emerge, and I think they […]

Jesus as seen by the historians

Most of the scholars who write about Jesus would be considered to be New Testament historians. But there are other historians interested in that period. There are classical historians, who study the history of Greece and Rome. Christianity is very important for this study, because it was a major movement that eventually affected the entire […]

Jesus, modern historical scholarship, and sceptics

Evidence and conflict resolution It is no secret that believers and unbelievers argue a lot on the internet. But it is helpful to consider the nature of the disagreement. Experts on conflict resolution have identified a number of different sources of conflict, one of which is a “data conflict”, that is, a disagreement about the […]

The Messiah, Isaiah and the Sydney Opera House

I’m more or less a musical Philistine so I don’t listen to much classical music. But last weekend I went along to the Sydney Opera House to listen to a performance of Handel’s Messiah. It was an excellent afternoon.