Alternative Facts: Domitian’s Persecution of Christians

Mark Wilson   •  07/24/2017 Ancient portrait of Roman emperor Domitian (r. 81–96 C.E.) As I revisited a critical biography of the Roman emperor Domitian by the scholar Brian W. Jones recently,1 I was reminded that “alternative facts” and “fake news” are not just a contemporary phenomenon. On occasion ancient writers similarly tried to spin their version …

Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not ‘a magician with a magic wand’

The theories of evolution and the Big Bang are real and God is not “a magician with a magic wand”, Pope Francis has declared. Speaking at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Pope made comments which experts said put an end to the “pseudo theories” of creationism and intelligent design that some argue were encouraged by his …

The Parables of Jesus

Jesus’ parables were among the earliest of his sayings to be collected. One collection of parables formed the basis of the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Mark. The author of the Gospel of Matthew then used this Markan material and added more parables from other sources, thus assembling in a unified speech in chapter …

Does the Gospel of Mark Reveal Jesus’ Anger or His Compassion?

  In the fifth-century C.E. Codex Bezae, an early edition of the New Testament written in Greek, the Gospel of Mark describes Jesus’ anger before healing a leper (Mark 1:41). While later scribes changed Jesus’ anger to compassion, it is likely that Codex Bezae preserves the original reading. Image: Cambridge University Library/ff.288v & 289r from …

Gospel of John Commentary: Who Wrote the Gospel of John and How Historical Is It?

The Gospels, the first four books of the New Testament, tell the story of the life of Jesus. Yet only one—the Gospel of John—claims to be an eyewitness account, the testimony of the unnamed “disciple whom Jesus loved.” (“This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and wrote these things, and we know …

What’s Missing from Codex Sinaiticus, the Oldest New Testament?

Compare differences between the King James Version and Codex Sinaiticus Two hundred years after Constantine Tischendorf’s birth, questions remain as to the conditions of his removal of Codex Sinaiticus from St. Catherine’s Monastery. Dating to the mid-fourth century C.E., Codex Sinaiticus is the oldest complete manuscript of the New Testament. In his article “Hero or …