The Bible Geek Podcast 15-001
Sunday, January 4th 2015, 00h00m
Is it possible that the low Christology of Mark is really a misreading? What if Mark is not writing of Jesus the man, but of the earthly travels of Paul's heavenly savior? A set of "What Would SuperJesus Do?" stories? If the first gospel were a deliberate fictionalizing of a heavenly Jesus, what would this do to the concept that a Jesus hero cult was part of the early Christian mix? With a skeptical tradition that goes back over 300 years in Western Europe, why are educated people still having such a hard time accepting something like the Christ-myth theory? Do you see a connection between the hesitancy to teach about these radical elements of the Enlightenment in high school and colleges with the hesitancy of mature intellectuals to tackle the possibility of Mythicism? If the atonement value of Christ's death is supposed to be analogous to all the pre-Jesus sacrifices to YHWH, then why didn't Jesus stay dead? What do you think about the hypothesis that the historical Paul might have been a Herodian prince, possibly even the nephew of Herod Agrippa ? Can you recommend any books or articles on the relationship between the tree of knowledge and sex? Did the Jewish people get the prohibition on BBQ pork sandwiches originally from the Egyptians? In view of the similarity of Deuteronomy's giving of the Law on the plains of Moab instead of Mount Sinai to Luke's sermon on the flat land instead of Matthew's Sermon on the Mount, is this not a strong indication that Luke knew Matthew's gospel and felt the need to change it? If Acts' depictions of Paul's conversion experiences are based on Euripedes' The Bacchae, where the god asks the King (Pentheus?) who's persecuting his followers, "why do you kick at the goads?" could Luke have chosen Saul as Paul's pre-conversion name (Paul never calls himself that in his own letters) to heighten the parallels? Instead of Dionysus asking a Greek king why he's futilely going up against a god ... Luke has his God (Jesus) asking a Jew named after a Jewish king, why he's futilely going up against God. Some say the current scholarly opinion is that there was an historical King David, based on the 1993 discovery of the Tel Dan Stele, an Aramean stone inscription from around 950 BCE containing the phrase, "the house of David." But does that prove anything?
The Bible Geek Podcast 15-002
Friday, January 9th 2015, 00h00m
Re Reuven's question concerning the rabbi who "taught the Torah to God," could it merely be hyperbole denoting that "the rabbi knew the Law so well he could even teach God a thing or two"? In the LXX, Hamaan is called a Macedonian by Xerxes in Esther 16:10. Was "Macedonian" used to replace the word 'Mede'? Might the Book of Revelation have originated among Ethiopian Jews? The Zohar uses the phrase, "Master of the worlds" which immediately reminded me of the Qur'an. Is there a connection here to the Qur'an? Your inquirer notes that Herodotus did not mention the Hebrews or Judah and wonders why. Within the Persian Empire there must have been hundreds of nations/peoples that he did not mention. Like any historian, he had to select from a mass of this and that what he will include and exclude. Does Mr. Robert Price believe the Bible is divinely inspired and inerrant? What is his theological stance? Why are there so many hostile accusations against the Jesus Seminar participants? How could Noah know how much food to bring on his voyage if he didn't know how long he was going to be on the ark? What I can't understand in the mythicist argument is why Matthew and the other gospels would put failed prophecies into Jesus' mouth if he wasn't a historical figure. Some say that goat-seething was a practice of one of the Canaanite religions, possibly a sacrificial one, and that the Israelites were explicitly forbidden from this because of its significance. Is there any evidence for this, or is it a rationalization? You've mentioned that there will be a Grand Bible Study in Heaven where the faithful will learn the hidden meanings and where all contradictions will be resolved. But will we have asbestos-paged Bibles in Hell, so we can learn where we went wrong? How much basis is there for traditional views of Heaven in the Bible? Could "Thou shalt not kill" be a commandment to be vegetarian? What is your take on apophatic, or negative, theology? You've said Matthew 16:24 was added later because it would be an absurd statement by Jesus without any prior knowledge of the inevitable crucifixion. However, couldn't one argue this was a prophetic statement?
The Bible Geek Podcast 15-003
Sunday, January 11th 2015, 00h00m
What do evangelicals mean when they speak of "blessing"? What factors make us believe that the "seven" Pauline epistles are in fact authentic? What confidence do we have that the information the Pauline letters is more factual than the clearly fictional account in Acts? Edgar Goodspeed's "The Twelve" tries to convince the reader that the gospel of Mark is just a word for word dictation of Peter's preaching by one of his translators, Mark, and it should be considered a first hand account of the ministry of Jesus. The only evidence Goodspeed uses that I can see comes from Papias. Is Goodspeed just supporting the party line in trying to secure an eye witness account in the Gospels, or is there better evidence to support it? I've read that Tarshish - true identity unknown - may simply have meant "land very very far away". In which case, I wonder if the author of Acts would've chosen this to create a contrast between Paul and Peter? If Peter is "from" the centre of the world, Jerusalem (or the very rough whereabouts) then it would be neat if Paul, his counterpart in so many ways, came from the absolute opposite place. How can a credible scholar like Bart Ehrman claim that there are an "astounding" number of historical sources attesting the existence of Jesus? Re whether or not babies would get raptured. does the Bible specify an age by which you will need to accept the "gift of eternal life" or is this just a matter of church doctrine? Suppose I take a piece of paper and write, "My name is David, I live in Texas. God spoke to me and said, 'I have chosen you as my special person. I give you all the land from the Red River to the Rio Grande. Kill all the inhabitants, take their property and virgin daughters for yourself. Anyone who does not believe this writing is opposing My will and if you don't kill them, I will'." I make copies of what I wrote, circulate it and tell people if they don't believe it, an invisible man in the sky will punish them. Isn't this what the Hebrews did? I think that the "quails" that God sent to the Proto-Hebrews in Exodus 16 were a misinterpretation of "locusts." What if the Baptist's "locusts and wild honey" referred to locusts and manna (which was described in Exodus 16:31 as tasting like honey)? In that case, might his having entered but never crossed the Jordan have been a symbolic re-enactment of the Proto-Hebrews exile in desert in Exodus? How might such an interpretation affect our understanding of ascetic jewish sects at the turn of the millennium? What are the sources for the list of books in Polycarp's canon? Do we know if it included the exact same 27-book list that was later promulgated by Athanasius and Pope Damasus? It sounds like the god of the old testament really dislikes yeast. Do you know of any possible explanation for this? I heard you say that Jesus never said he was the Messiah. What about John 4:25-26? Is the myth of Yahweh, Baal, or Marduk fighting and being consumed by the primordial dragon and then coming back to life and fighting his way out of the dragon's belly a metaphor for solar eclipse? Could you please provide a detailed summary of the reason why the Pastoral Epistles are not by Paul? Also, what reasons do apologists educe in order to support Pauline authorship of these letters? Is it surprising that none of the four canonical gospels claims an author by name since so many noncanonical texts do? Are there any non-canonical books attributed to John the Baptist? I wonder if you could discuss the concept of Metanoia. Is it fair for Christian missionaries to persuade Muslims to convert, knowing it will be a capital offense? Can you explain the fierce conflict between David Strauss and Bruno Bauer? What was the main philosophical and scholarly disagreement(s) between them? According to Frank Schaffer the early Christian church was unified enough to possess a uniform liturgy which the Eastern Orthodox communion still follows to this day, he claims evidence for this can be found the texts of early Christian historians like Polycarp. What do you make of this claim? John Dominic Crossan's The Power of Parable says Josephus cannot have written the Testimonium Flaviamun as it stands so he argues for the cut-down version of the passage that removes the "obvious" Christian interpolations. But if you remove the "he was the Christ" part, then what does the later phrase "... and the tribe of Christians, so-called after him ..." refer to? Crossan's answer is that Josephus didn't use the phrase "He was the Christ." No, the phrase he did use was "He was called the Christ." In support of this reading he calls upon the passage later in Jewish Antiquities where Josephus uses the phrase "Jesus who was called the Christ." What do you think of Crossan's reasoning? Psalm 19:11 says, "Moreover by them is thy servant warned." Warned about what? Whence came the Catholic practice of praying to Mary?
The Bible Geek Podcast 15-004
Sunday, January 18th 2015, 00h00m
What are your thoughts on the theory that the original text of the Gospel of Matthew had one Joseph as the father of Mary, who then married another man of the same name? Is there a strong case for both a Second and Third Zechariah or only a Second? Also, what do you make of the opinion of some that the second part of the book was written by a disciple of Zechariah who didn't want to take credit for what he learned from his master? In the Hermeneia commentary on Mark, Adela Collins questions whether the author of Mark was a gentile. Is this special pleading? Don't you hold that it's not that there's no evidence for a historical Jesus; it's that the evidence we have is so scant, so questionable and problematic that it doesn't meet the burden of proof? Greg Boyd argues for an early date for Acts because the Apostolic Fathers allude to it. Valid? Christians claim that the Bible is the word of God, but has it identified itself as such? What's the best grammatical or figurative interpretation that finds Mohammed mentioned in the Bible or pre-Islamic extra-biblical material? One Rabbi suggested that any servants that Noah's family brought with them on the Ark would not have been mentioned, on account of the fact they were not free men. Therefore Noah could have had dozens, hundreds or even thousands of servants along with him on the Ark. This is very similar to Islamic teaching on Noah's Ark. What are your thoughts on this? Since we know that Simon Peter's death in Rome is a much later myth, is it possible that Simon Peter's execution is based on Simon bar Giora's execution? Acts says Christians are called Christians for the first time in Antioch, understood as Antioch on the Orontes. However, what if this Antioch is actually a veiled reference by our author - Polycarp - to his fictional Paul's origins, namely his birth in Tarsus (called Antioch on the Cydnus) and thereby is admitting Paul founded Christianity, or at any rate it did not become a unique religion until Paul. Is there a connection between Matt 5:5 and the events of Revelation 21? You've mentioned that the 153 fish in John 21 is almost certainly a reference to the Pythogorean parallel story. There are lots of triangular numbers, why this one in particular? In John 1:51 we read "And he said to him, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.'" Might the writer have been envisioning the giant Jesus of the Elcasaites (Jesus was a 96 mile tall angel), in the Gospel of Peter, etc.? In Revelation 9:11 who is Abaddon the destroyer? What is it about the shifting between third-person and first-person narration in Acts? In Acts 18:18 the narrator says, "Before he sailed, Paul had his hair cut off at Cenchrae because of a vow he had taken." What was that vow?
The Bible Geek Podcast 15-005
Sunday, January 25th 2015, 00h00m
Might there have been a connection between early Christianity and the Jewish priesthood, based on various otherwise odd facts mentioned in the NT? Isaiah 11:1-9 seems to be talking about the continuing reign of the Davidic line, but aren't Jeremiah 23:5-6 and Ezekiel 37:24-28 talking about the reign of the Davidic line continuing once again after the Babylonian exile comes to an end? If so, can't they be considered "Messianic Prophecy" since they express hope for some future Davidic King? Mark Goodacre says it is likely Paul dictated all of his letters and the bit of Galatians with the large letter comment was a moment where he took the pen himself from the scribe as if to underline the gravity of his writing. Does this mitigate your criticism that it is a sign of pseudonymity? Tell me a speculative story from the mythicist point of view on how Christianity could have got started that fits what evidence we have. Was the first-century tentmaker from the city of Tarsus Paul or someone else? Are James & John based on Castor and Pollux? Is the second part of Luke 20:38, "for all live to him," a later redaction which alters the first statement? Without the addition it read that Christ is not a God of the dead, which may mean those whose name is not written in the book of life? Is there any relation with 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 where Christ is for believers and unbelievers life unto life and death unto death respectively? Is the apparent cannibalism in the Last Supper a type of reverse sacrifice? Is it unique to Christianity? Or from an older tradition?