Category Archives: Biblical Studies

Crucifixion

Crucifixion

[originally posted April 2009, some edits have been made to update links. I also removed a passage concerning the discovery an image that is no longer considered authentic.]

Since we are on the eve of Good Friday, I thought I might share some information on early depictions of Christ’s crucifixion.

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Larry Hurtado on the “Jesus Wife” Papyrus

Larry Hurtado on the “Jesus Wife” Papyrus

You may be seeing headlines today on various news sources about the “Jesus Wife” manuscript. While students of ancient Christian texts from the early to Medieval period will find this fascinating, most of the headlines are sensationalistic. It’s important to note that this Coptic manuscript looks to be from the 8th century and has very little potential to have any connection to the historical Jesus.

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Jesus’ Last Journey to Jerusalem

Jesus’ Last Journey to Jerusalem

One thing that I have appreciated since getting back from my trip to Israel is a deeper understanding of the locations and journeys in the scripture.  This week I have been thinking both about Jesus’ last week in Jerusalem (celebrated next week by Christians as Holy Week) and also about his last journey from Galilee to Judea (which likely would have started a week or less earlier).

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The Noah Movie and Its Sources

The Noah Movie and Its Sources

Christianity Today has a good interview with Darren Aronofsky which provides some background on the material in the new Noah movie.  It seems that Aronofsky and Ari Handel researched a wealth of ancient, primarily Jewish, traditions and texts for material in the movie.  These traditions/texts ranged from the Book of Enoch, the Jubilees material, the Genesis Apocryphon text from Qumran and other ancient collections such, Genesis Rabbah, the Talmud, etc.  Some of these date from well before the time of Jesus and down to a period 500 years after the New Testament.

I’m not sure how much material from these texts will be used, but here’s just some of the Flood related content in three of them:

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Born of the Spirit, Part 1

Born of the Spirit, Part 1

The tribe of Jesus people my family regularly share our lives with has been working through the Gospel of John on Thursday nights.  The thing about this unique account of the life of Jesus is that no matter how many times I engage with it, it surprises me with things I’ve never noticed and with things I have.  I mean, I taught this book three times a day for an entire semester three years in a row, and it is still fresh, challenging, and life-giving!

What stands out to me in this Gospel is the mystical theme of the Spirit-led and God-revealed life.  Jesus is very clear in this Gospel that his actions are simply and humbly based on this:  “I can’t do anything on my own. I do what I see the Father doing…and He shows it to me because He loves me” (John 5:19-20 paraphrased), and, even though it isn’t explicitly stated, this revelation seems directly connected to the idea of being led by the Spirit.

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Schiffman on Purity As Separation

Schiffman on Purity As Separation

Lawrence Schiffman has posted a series of brief articles on perceptions and mis-perceptions of Jewish purity laws of Second Temple Judaism.  If you want to gain better understanding of Gospel texts dealing with clean and unclean, these posts may give you some insight from a Jewish perspective.

[UPDATE: I also see that Dr. Schiffman has another, earlier, four-part series, also dealing with ritual purity in Second Temple Judaism: Body and Soul, Purity and Impurity.]

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