The Twelve Apostles Part 2: Simon Peter

We carry on with part 2 of our historical investigation of the Twelve special persons chosen by Jesus to supplement his work. This blog will focus on Simon Peter. “Simon” is the Greek form of the Semitic name Šim`ôn, one of the most common Jewish names known to us from antiquity.  It means “Yah(weh) has …

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The Twelve Apostles: Who Were They?

In this series of posts, we will explore the history of Jesus’s closest followers as recorded across numerous ancient Christian traditions. Along the way, we will find that these traditions are often confused, contradictory, or seriously lacking in details. Nevertheless, we will attempt to distill all the historical data possible and, at times, risk delving …

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Which Gospel Came First?

Getting as close to the historical Jesus as possible has been a preoccupation with biblical scholars since at least the 18th century. Many questions must be asked. For example, which of the Jesus-traditions (sayings and stories) now appearing in the New Testament and elsewhere are the oldest? Which are most likely historical? Which gospel was …

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The Human Jesus: How Much Do We Really Know About Him?

Our sources of information about Jesus are almost entirely limited to the four New Testament gospels. There are also certain non-Christian reports that help to confirm a few of the events in Jesus’s life including especially his crucifixion. Biblical historians, however, maintain that the gospels were written decades after Jesus’s death. That being the case, …

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Do You Have to be a Christian to Believe in Jesus’s Resurrection?

The resurrection is the bedrock event that launched a movement based on the belief that Jesus was and continued to be the Messiah of Israel despite his death and that he would soon return. Some suggest that, absent the resurrection event, Christianity would not have begun. The followers of Jesus would have gone their separate …

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My books reviewed and discussed in April!

This month, both of my published books have been discussed online! My first book, The Upper Room and Tomb of David: The History, Art and Archaeology of the Cenacle on Mount Zion (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2016) was discussed in the Bible History Daily webpagepublished by Biblical Archaeology Review. Mark Dospěl considers "Did Jesus’ Last Supper …

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Why Did Jesus Attack the Temple Merchants?

One of the most fascinating events in the recorded life of Jesus occurred in Jerusalem and perhaps led to his death. I am referring to his actions in the temple with regard to the animal merchants and money changers. All four gospels report some version of the story in which Jesus drives out these functionaries …

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About Me

Hello and welcome to the site! I am writing this blog to help interested readers explore the historical origins of Christianity. There are many great blog sites on the internet and I encourage you to explore them. My humble contribution focuses on issues that are of particular interest to me. Who am I? I am …

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Do Historians Deny the Miraculous?

In some of my university classes on Christian origins we discuss Jesus and the gospels. A number of my students are nonplussed to find that historians do not automatically add Jesus’s miracles to the historical data bank of all the things that Jesus likely did. “All the gospels,” they correctly claim, “present Jesus as a …

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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 …

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