Jesus in Non-Christian Sources

By Lester L. Grabbe The few references to Jesus in non-Christian sources do not tell us much, but they do attest to his existence. This and the question of whether they tell us anything about him that we do not otherwise know makes examination of these sources a fascinating exercise. Tacitus (56- c. 120 CE) …

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The Archaeology of Early Christian Manuscripts

By Brent Nongbri Talented scholars have spent countless hours poring over our most ancient copies of Christian writings with much profit, but the object of their study has mostly been the texts that the manuscripts carry and not the ancient books themselves. What can the study of the physical objects in their own right teach us? I’ve …

Was Mary Magdalene Wife of Jesus? Was Mary Magdalene a Prostitute?

When novelists and screenwriters try to insert something salacious into the life of Jesus, they focus on one woman: Mary from Magdala. Was Mary Magdalene a prostitute? Was Mary Magdalene the wife of Jesus? Birger A. Pearson addresses these popular notions in the article “From Saint to Sinner” below. As Pearson notes, there’s no substantial evidence …

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 …