Just Published! Meet Paul Again for the First Time: Jewish Apostle of Pagan Redemption

I am happy to announce the publication of my latest book, Meet Paul Again for the First Time: Jewish Apostle of Pagan Redemption (Wipf and Stock, 2021). This book offers a new way to read and understand the self-styled “apostle to the Gentiles,” not as a hopeless sinner, not as an apostate Jew, not as …

Continue reading Just Published! Meet Paul Again for the First Time: Jewish Apostle of Pagan Redemption

Elements from the Christmas Nativity Display: What Gospel Does That Come From?

At this time of year throughout Christendom churches and homes (no longer, it appears, governmental institutions, at least in the U.S.) recreate for display the scene of Jesus’s birth. Actually, they depict not the birth itself but a moment in time afterward. How long afterward? That is a question that cannot be satisfactorily answered. The …

Continue reading Elements from the Christmas Nativity Display: What Gospel Does That Come From?

‘Tis the Season (for Miraculous Birth Stories)!

Most people are familiar with the basic elements of the stories of Jesus’s miraculous conception and birth as recounted in the New Testament gospels of Matthew and Luke. Though there are numerous differences between the two stories (a fact not often recognized or acknowledged – see my posts Are the Nativity Stories of Jesus Based …

Continue reading ‘Tis the Season (for Miraculous Birth Stories)!

Did Baby Jesus Go to Egypt?

As many readers know, there are two stories of Jesus’s birth and childhood in the New Testament. They are told in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke but the stories are quite different. Beyond the core themes shared by both authors (Mary becomes pregnant but not by Joseph; Jesus is born in Bethlehem) the stories …

Continue reading Did Baby Jesus Go to Egypt?

The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

In Bethlehem, somewhat off the path beaten by most tourists, lies the Church of the Nativity, so called for the tradition that it was here in the manger-cave below that Jesus was born. The tradition is quite old and led the emperor Constantine to erect a basilica here in the early 4th century. Crusaders rebuilt and …

Continue reading The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

Was Jesus Born on December 25?

The Christmas season often leads to many questions about the historicity of events surrounding the birth of Jesus. In this post, I would like to survey the historical evidence for the celebration of Christmas and the establishment of its date which did not necessarily happen at the same time. It may be surprising to learn …

Continue reading Was Jesus Born on December 25?

Was Jesus Born on January 6?

Some ancient Christians thought so. In fact, other dates were considered as well. A heretical Christian group (known as the Alogi) located in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) apparently dated Jesus’s birth on (what would for us be) either June 20 or May 21 (depending on the reading) in the year 9 CE. An unrelated group …

Continue reading Was Jesus Born on January 6?