Book Review: Encountering the New Testament (Elwell and Yarbrough)

First impressions matter. Whether at a job interview, social function, or classroom, the initial picture people paint tends to color all subsequent interactions with that person. To a large degree, this is true of non-personal interactions as well, with institutions, places, and subject matter. And while a bad first impression can be overcome (often throughContinue reading “Book Review: Encountering the New Testament (Elwell and Yarbrough)”

What Day Did Jesus Die?

This post also  appears this morning at Conciliar Post. “When students are first introduced to the historical, as opposed to a devotional, study of the Bible, one of the first things they are forced to grapple with is that the biblical text, whether Old Testament or New Testament, is chock full of discrepancies, many ofContinue reading “What Day Did Jesus Die?”

Why “This” New Testament?

I am often asked some variation of “Where did we get the New Testament?” or “Why are these specific books included in the New Testament?” In conjunction with yesterday’s post on the Origins of the New Testament, today’s post seeks to address why the New Testament includes the writings which it contains. Most of usContinue reading “Why “This” New Testament?”

Origins of the New Testament

The two most common questions that I am asked are some variation of “Where did we get the New Testament?” or “Why are these specific books included in the New Testament?”1 Obviously complete answers to these questions are long, nuanced, and complex (i.e., scholarly discussions of dissertation length answer). But there are also relatively straight-forwardContinue reading “Origins of the New Testament”

Early Christianity, Method, and the Body

The academic study of the ancient world remains a field full of exciting realms of consideration. This remains especially true for historians of the early Jesus Movement and Christian Church, where numerous fields of study are in need of critical exploration, including conceptions of the human body and sexuality within early Christianity. As a meansContinue reading “Early Christianity, Method, and the Body”

ECA: The Canon Debate

This post is part of the ongoing series examining Early Christian Authority. Use of the term “canon” has long been subject to debate among those studying the formation of the New Testament. The word itself comes from the Greek kanonikos, the basic meaning of which is “of one rule.” So a canon is something thatContinue reading “ECA: The Canon Debate”

Conceptions of the Ultimate in Early Christianity

This post is part of our ongoing series concerning “Conceptions of the Ultimate”, the manner in which various world religions understand the Divine. Today’s reflection engages Paula Fredriksen’s discussion of ultimate reality in early Christianity, found in Robert Cummings Neville’s Ultimate Realities. In this reflection, I want to touch on two facets of her essay:Continue reading “Conceptions of the Ultimate in Early Christianity”

Women and the Church? Reflections from Romans

In addition to writing here, I also serve as Managing Editor at Conciliar Post, a website dedicated to faithful and serious thinking about important topics. One of the many things I enjoy about Conciliar Post are the monthly Round Table discussions, where several writers offer answers to a question about a contemporary cultural or theologicalContinue reading “Women and the Church? Reflections from Romans”

Book Review: The Didache (O’Loughlin)

“There are two ways: one is the Way of Life, the other is the Way of Death; and there is a mighty difference between these two ways.” (Didache 1.1) Thus begins the Didache, that early Christian text also called the “Teaching of the Lord Given to the Gentiles by the Twelve Apostles.” Since its rediscoveryContinue reading “Book Review: The Didache (O’Loughlin)”

Messianic Expectations of Second Temple Judaism

Since the earliest days of the Jesus Movement, Christianity has proclaimed Jesus of Nazareth as the long-awaited Messiah of the Jewish people. What exactly did this proclamation mean to those who heard it in the context of the Roman Empire and Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem? Much recent scholarship has attempted to assess the theologicalContinue reading “Messianic Expectations of Second Temple Judaism”