Category Archives: historical Jesus

Was Jesus totally unkosher?

καθαρίζων πάντα τὰ βρώματα Above is the Greek for the last words of Mark 7:19.  Literally these four words mean:  purifying. all. the. food.  But translations purporting to be literal often translate this as “thus he declared all foods clean.”  … Continue reading

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VanderKam and Flint-closeness and distance

I have some more from The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls by James VanderKam and Peter Flint. The Dead Sea Scrolls display both a closeness and a distance in relation to Jesus and the New Testament. One of the … Continue reading

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The sign above the cross

In the gospels only Gentiles call Jesus king of the Jews. The Magi, Pilate, and the Roman soldiers use the term. Jews prefer King of Israel (John 19:21 below is kind of an exception, but those Jews are quoting the … Continue reading

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Why the good news he preached got Jesus killed

It is holy week and I am continuing to think about what historically led to the crucifixion. Most studies about the historical Jesus assume some things about the synoptic gospels. They assume that Mark was written first and is closer … Continue reading

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The disillusionment of the masses and Jesus’ Passion

As the Christian holy week approaches I am thinking about some of the background for the events that led to Jesus receiving the death penalty. C. H. Dodd was a twentieth century, English New Testament scholar who put a lot … Continue reading

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Herodians and the death of Jesus

Since I am between reading projects, I am going to write a few posts about the end of Jesus ministry and historical life.  For many Christians, the next two weeks are a time to reflect on the last days and … Continue reading

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A historical mistake about Jesus and ritual purity

This is a reflection about purity and Jesus. Scholars have frequently used Jesus’ attitude toward purity to explain his teaching about openness to all people. Cecelia Wassen (“The Jewishness of Jesus and Ritual Purity”, here) shows that some of these … Continue reading

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Fredriksen-Paul’s Jesus as end-time prophet

The winter vacation is over.  Missouri is still frozen.  But I escaped for a while. This is the year of our fiftieth wedding anniversary.  So we plan to break up the year with several celebrations. This may slow down my … Continue reading

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Allison-morality and the impinging of last things

Dale Allison in Night Comes points out that even in movies and novels today the last things often receive more attention than they do in mainline pulpits. He thinks we are short-changing people by not talking about last things. By … Continue reading

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Heaven as a community of freinds

On Labor Day Sunday I’m often called on to preach so that the official pastor can take time off. So it is again. But this is probably the last time I will preach for a while. The congregations that usually … Continue reading

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