The Bible Geek Show

Oct 02 2020 6.1k

Dr. Robert M. Price answers questions submitted to him at [email protected]

The Bible Geek Podcast 20-011
Aug 20 2020
Do you SUPPOSE that "Mark", which lends itself so readily to being a stage play...actually BEGAN as such? Mark is unique in that it never SAYS "angel". And we are never told who this boy is. Could it be that the "boy in white" is actually STAGE DIRECTION that by a quirk of fate found its way into the long term "record"? In that the acting instructions read "scene opens: angel (depicted by beautiful boy in white) is sitting on the right side...blah, blah, blah". The audience would have KNOWN the boy in white was SUPPOSED to be an angel, it would be culturally obvious, and so it need not have been spelled out to the crowd. But somehow, this play, with all its stage direction was edited into a "novel" and SOMEHOW this translation was simply included by MISTAKE? Is there a subtle stressing within the Bible that Lunar connotations (Abraham, Jacob, Elisha) might be better or more favorable than Solar (Isaac, Esau, Elijah)? If so, any theories as to why? Has any scholarly work been done to discover the origins of various biblical stories in more ancient traditions? In Hebrews 1:1-2 most translations employ "world" or "universe" here. The actual word is aionas, or ages. Everywhere else, even in other parts of Hebrews, aionas is translated as ages. it's translated at age. Why? According to the average Christian's knowledge, most everything, if not all, has been taken care of once Jesus ascends to Heaven. I can't for the life of me figure out why God would then need Paul. From the Christian perspective, why was Paul even necessary? OK, why didn't JC stay dead? What say you, Bible Geek, a dead JC would have quite an effect on Christianity but what kind of an effect?

The Bible Geek Podcast 20-010
Aug 03 2020
Do the Pseudo-Clementines anticipate Pascal’s Wager? Do you find that in Catholicism the Eucharist and the rosary take on more importance than the Bible? Why do we call the coming return of Jesus to judge the living and the dead the Second Coming? Why not count his birth #1, his resurrection as # 2, his return from harrowing Hell as # 3, and the Parousia as # 4? Might the story in John 1:41-50ff be thinly veiling “Simon” (Magus) and Dositheus (equivalent in meaning to “Nathaniel”), whom the Pseudo-Clementines number among disciples of the Baptist? What if when the basic gospel was "discovered" in the Jewish Scriptures through pesher readings, perhaps some of the readers figured that it was something that had actually happened right under everyone's noses, but that nobody had noticed due to the secrecy of the mission. Under this assumption, Mark's Messianic Secret makes a lot of sense. It serves not just to explain why the readers never heard of it, but why nobody at all had. Margaret Barker proposed (quite convincingly, to me) that First Temple Royal Cult beliefs survived the Deuteronomic Reform and had a strong influence on Christianity. Part of her idea is that Wisdom was supplanted by The Law that was introduced by the Deuteronomists. Wouldn't this mean that the keepers of the Old Time Religion would have a distaste for the Law? Would they have obeyed the Law begrudgingly, while secretly being "Keepers" (nasar) of the old ways? Is there a viable alternative to modalism and tritheism that explains the Trinity? What are the major arguments for and against Lukan authorship of Acts? Pliny tells Trajan that Christians congregate on fixed dates before sunrise and sing hymns to Christ as if to a god. So did early Christians worship the sun as a manifestation of Christ? Should higher criticism of the bible be taught in schools as an elective subject? Does the bible in fact say that the Earth is flat?

The Bible Geek Podcast 20-005
Apr 02 2020
Do you think the “young man” who flees the Garden of Gethsemane in Mark 14:51-52, leaving his sheet in the clutches of Jesus’ enemies might be a symbol for the casting off of the body of flesh and the emergence of the spiritual/resurrection body, having escaped the clutches of the Archons? In Raymond Brown's Anchor Bible volume "An Introduction to the New Testament," Brown dismisses the troubling episode of Jesus telling his disciples that he speaks in parables so that the public won't understand. (Mk 4:11-12), claiming it displays the biblical tendency to regard disappointing results as foreordained by God. But how is that any better? Do you think it’s completely out of the question there was a Hebrew original of the Greek version of Daniel? What’s the deal with the Western text tradition? Do we know why it exists, or what gave rise to it? Hello, Dr. Price, from Luther. I’ve got another pair of questions for you today. Both require us to wear our historicity hats. Paul and James seemingly were the two primary figures in primitive Christianity. Yet since early Christian history, the primary dichotomy or internal competition was assigned to Paul and Peter, as one gets from a casual read of Acts. How or why do you think the Peter of history became one of the Big Two, especially considering Paul explicitly and Acts implicitly has him as more a waffling flunky than a leader? What do you think was Paul’s actual belief about his religious concepts compared to those of the Jamesian church?

The Bible Geek Podcast 20-001
Jan 10 2020
Pagan Greek trinities? On his first visit to Jerusalem, Paul "tried to associate with the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple." (Acts 9:26) Fitzmyer's commentary says these were just Jerusalem Christians as opposed to the Twelve. Does that sound right to you? Or, is it more like the term "apostle" in this sense? Acts 9:29 says "[Paul] also used to speak and debate with the Hellenists, but they kept trying to kill him." Fitzmyer says in this case “Hellenists” can't mean Jewish Christians, but rather just Jews. But isn't Acts pretty consistent in using "Hellenists" to describe Jewish Christians, like Stephen & the Gang who get recruited to go wait tables? If so ... KILL HIM? How could Paul lack the authority to draw the Corinthians, whom he evangelized, away from missionaries of James and have such a struggle in this community, yet, when he went to Rome in the account in Acts he could summon the Jewish leadership to him and they would listen to him? Can you say something about “liberation theology”, the idea that the gospel is literally good news to the poor. And, why did this theology take off in Latin America? Might Jesus’ Gethsemane prayer about the cup passing from him originally have belonged to the Last Supper context? And then might it reflect the story of Joseph dining with his brothers with reference to Joseph’s cup of divination? If so, may we infer that Jesus was using such a cup and passed it among his disciples, each of whom addressed the cup asking “Is it I, Lord (i.e., God)?” Jesus then looks into it and sees that Judas’ question got the “yes.” In light of the Lot story where he has sex with his daughter, begetting the no-good Ammonites and Moabites, obviouslydisapproving of incest, how could Abraham speak of his marrying his half sister? Wasn’t the Temple of Solomon borrowed from the Egyptian story of the temple at Karnak built by Amenhoteop III? Both stories have a Hiram of Tyre, and many of the children of David and Solomon have very similar names when compared to those of Amenhotep III. What do you think of the bible authors rewriting Egyptian history as their own jewish history ?

The Bible Geek Podcast 19-029
Dec 17 2019
Re: the Bible’s stance on alcohol, what about Jesus' own drinking as in Matt. 11:18-19? Are you familiar with Norman Golb and his book, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls, and if so, what do you think? Does Mark’s negative depiction of Jesus’ disciples and relatives reflect enmity between Jewish and Gentile/Pauline factions? Why does the author of “The Second Treatise of the Great Seth” speak so mockingly of the heroes of the OT? . Brandon suggests we need not worry that passages or whole epistles by Paul were censored since some pretty disturbing material still appears in the Pauline Corpus. Think so? If I understand you correctly, we agree that Simon Magus is at the root of this belief system advanced by the “works of Paul” (stuff about the law and a judging, punishing God are out). So Simon’s philosophy and writings would be considered source material. Is there any uncontaminated remnant of this belief system? What do you think of the idea that there was no historical "Nazareth" until someone pointed at a place and told the patron saint of credulity, the Empress Helena (Mother of Constantine), "Yeah, this is Nazareth."? You once said you rejected the notion in Atwill’s Caesar’s Messiah that the Romans had a part in creating the gospels and that they were engaged in a sort of esoteric satire which resulted in Christians unwittingly worshiping Titus instead of Jesus. I was wondering why you think this is such an incredible theory, isn't this precisely what happened in your case? Sure sounds like the jokes on you!

The Bible Geek Podcast 19-027
Nov 20 2019
I noticed that Ἰεροσόλυμα (Ierosolyma) was used in Galatians 1:17-18 and 2:1, while in other places Paul seemed to favor Ἰερουσαλὴμ (Ierousalēm), in particular Galatians 4:25-26; Romans 15:19; 15:25-26; and 1 Corinthians 16:3. If there is not a grammatical difference between how they are used, I was wondering what might explain the difference in usage. Jewish tradition describes Solomon working magic with a ring bearing the Star of David . The same symbol occurs in modern occultism, e.g., Crowler. Is there a connection? Might Matthew’s “magoi” in his Nativity story have originally been “Parsees,” denoting Pharisees? Why does Acts seem to show James humiliating Paul? Could you list a couple of earlier scholars--let's say at least mid-20th century or earlier--whose work you think is essential and really holds up despite any more recent scholarship, and also maybe a couple to avoid because their work doesn't? What would you say is the best example of bible prophecy, shows the least amount of foul play? You expressed your changing views on the possibility that Romans would have had reason to invent some version of the Jesus story / Christianity. Romans propagating a nonviolent religion for their troublesome Jewish subjects makes sense to me, but my question is historical: can you think of examples of what seems almost like a state-imposed religion, especially in centuries close to the birth of Christianity? In SGF Brandon's "Fall of Jerusalem and the Christian Church" he seems to hold that Mark cold not have fabricated Jewish involvement in Jesus’ death on the grounds that it would contradict most people’s beliefs! What gives? Martin Luther seems to distinguish between the “guilt” and “penalty” of sin. What does he mean?

The Bible Geek Podcast 19-022
Aug 28 2019
Producer's Note: There are some audio artifacts in this episode, my apologies. What would have been motivating early church fathers to twist the identity of Simon Magus into a fictional Paul of Tarsus or vice versa? To what extent do you believe that there was a real Paul who had such a valuable reputation that producing such forgeries would be worth the time and effort? Which early church father would you be comfortable saying is the real mccoy? Do you generally like the Anchor Bible commentaries, and are there any particular volumes you'd recommend? The Washington Post recently had a front-page story about Brazilian gang members whose lives are threatened by rival gangs ("One Way Out: Pastors in Brazil Converting Gang Members on YouTube"). A certain popular televangelist, Rev. Arnaldo Barros, offers to publish their conversion to Christianity on social media, in which they confess their sins and renounce their gang affiliation and activity. The converts gain immunity from retribution by rival gangs and their own. What kind of antecedents are there, Biblical or otherwise, for this practice? Given the lack or archeological evidence of the exodus from Egypt, is it possible that later Hebrews created the "bondage in Egypt" story to obfuscate their origins as Hapirus,a class of rebels and slaves? Luke 22:29 has Jesus tell the Twelve "I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." However, the Twelve at that point included Judas. So did Jesus make a mistake, or did he actually intend for the traitor Judas to retain his throne despite handing him over? Is there a connection between Lazarus’ raising from the dead (John 11:38-44), the theory that Lazarus is the beloved disciple in John (based on John 11:3) and the tradition (addressed in John 21:20-23) that the beloved disciple would not die, or not die before the Parousia?

The Bible Geek Podcast 19-020
Jul 25 2019
1 Samuel 5:9, in Jerome’s Latin Vulgate, features a strange half verse following the description of the Philistines of Gath being smitten with hemorrhoids: “And while they were carrying [the Ark of the Covenant] about, the hand of the Lord came upon every city with an exceeding great slaughter: and he smote the men of every city, both small and great, and they had hemorrhoids in their secret parts. And the Gethites consulted together, and made themselves seats of skins.” Where could Jerome have found such a reading? Why do Protestant and Catholics celebrate Easter a week earlier than Orthodox and Coptic Christians? When is the earliest known celebration of Easter? If I was going to pick one edition of the New Testament to read, which one would you recommend? Maybe one with informative footnotes to set things in context. I'm wondering how connected Yahweh and Jesus are to their physical bodies. I'm wondering if the spirit of Jesus is henceforth permanently connected to his body. By what means does Jesus connect with humans on earth from that point on because his body is in heaven? Does Dr. Robert Eisenman think that Jesus Christ did not exist as a historical figure? Does Dr. Robert Eisenman think that New Testament is historically unreliable? What was the point of including the story of the magi visiting Jesus at his birth? If Matthew is the most Jewish gospel, what do a bunch of Persians have to do with the birth of the Messiah?

The Bible Geek Podcast 19-019
Jul 21 2019
I remember once hearing that even though they don’t believe in cremation, Catholics burn what they believe to be the leftover body and blood of Christ on a weekly bases, effectively cremating Jesus over and over again. How do Catholics make sense of burning the body of Jesus in bread form? I was told that a great many Christian sub sects all believe in what was laid out in the Nicene Creed and therefore despite their differences are "close enough" when it comes rapture time, and that the Vatican agreed. My Catholic friends have since told me otherwise. Which is true? Do you see any hints in the Bible suggesting that Israelite religion originated in Totemism? There are two mutually inconsistent tales of the nativity of Jesus, one placing him in Bethlehem, the other in Nazareth. If Jesus were a fiction, why didn't they come up with a standard nativity story? I would like to know what you think most likely was the original story of the passion in the canonical Gospels. Was Jesus just another dying and rising god? Was it an escape from death and direct abduction to heaven like Hercules, Romulus, Empedocles, etc. not to mention some old testament figures who escaped death? Or a Simonian myth in which Jesus performs a magic switch by turning himself into Simon of Cyrene's likeness and thus he ends up crucified instead of Jesus? What do you make of the recent meeting between the Mormon President and the Pope? Why do you suspect the Gospel of Judas is a modern forgery? When Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven won’t come with signs but will be sudden could he be referring to the moment of an un expected death? What do you think of Joan Taylor’s idea that the Essenes were great doctors a well as cronies of Herod?

The Bible Geek Podcast 19-015
May 28 2019
Do you think the Bible teaches a literal burning hell, or is it more a metaphor like outer darkness? Matthew reads this way in this NIV, "From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it." Does this refer to the rapid expansion of the gospel faith or to the persecution of its preachers? Matt 10:23 says, “truly I say to you, you will by no means complete the circuit of the cities of Israel until the Son of man arrives.” Does this mean that the preaching work will not be completed before Jesus comes back to judge everyone? If so, it seems unfair to those who didn’t get the chance to hear it. You’ve explained that the bible is a patchwork of various authors writing in different times, different styles, and for various purposes using the same characters, or variations on similar themes. This is just like the reboots, retcons, and contradictions in superhero comics, right Proverbs 3:5, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." (KJV) seems to me to be a rather ingenious bit of priestcraft, as on the surface, it admonishes believers not to think things through for themselves, so by inference, they ought to leave that to the ecclesiastical authorities. Think so? What is going on with the connections in the gospels between Jonah, John the Baptist, Oannes, and Peter—and the waters? Can you remind me, what is the historical context and meaning of the prohibitions listed in Acts 15:19-20? MythVision Podcast video:

The Bible Geek Podcast 19-014
May 01 2019
What does the Geek think? Is Canaan the victim of some mixed up sources, a hidden castration story, or some other possibility that I’m missing? We see a historical pattern of vilification of a wartime enemy, the vanquishing of that enemy, and the subsequent romanticization, extolment, and assimilation of the subdued culture by the victor. Don’t we also find it in the Bible? Would you please comment on how shifting attitudes toward Jews and Jewish culture are reflected in the new testament, its development, and early Christian history? How and why does the new testament both vilify and extol Jews? A listener asked about Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”. Your interpretation of bar-wielding angels inspired me to a slightly different interpretation. A skolops can be any pointed thing from a splinter to a thorn to a pike to a palisade log. In between those extremes, it could also be a spear. We have Paul, speaking of journeying to the Heavens, Satan afflicting him, asking Kyrios (“Lord”) thrice that it might pass from him, and Kyrios refusing to lift the burden. That sounds to me a little like a condensed version of the Garden of Gethsemane with the Longinus spearing from John. Is it possible that John and Paul took this concept from a common (now lost) motif of the suffering servant? How can you reconcile the work of Robert Eisenman, Charles Cutler Torrey and the mythicism movement? Can you list any books, chapters, or portions of the New and Old Testament that are likely borrowings from texts from older civilizations?

The Bible Geek Podcast 19-010
Mar 11 2019
In Luke baby Jesus is presented at the Temple 40 days after Jesus's birth.How do apologists handle this contradiction, as compared to the events described in Matthew (the flight to Egypt)? After all, the holy family could not both flee to Egypt and present at the Temple 40 days later. Does the author of John identifies himself in John 21:24? The idea of a dying Messiah appears to have gained popularity during the 2nd century A.D. particularly since the death of Simeon Bar Kokhba. Therefore, why is it impossible that the idea a dying Messiah actually came in earlier than the 2nd centuary A.D, say, 50 years earlier with the new cult of Christianity? I know that the supposed OT "prophecies" were never intended to be about Jesus or the Messiah at all. But, as you can easily use them in a Messianic way (like Early Christians did), why can’t they have made the entire thing up? Is it possible that the entire Jospehus passage on Jesus was a interpolation by Christian scribes, and could the same be true of Tacitus? Isn’t “Do you believe in God?” a loaded question? Better to say “do you believe in any gods?” Exactly what kinds of “morals” are actually set out in the Bible (stoning to death, massacres, collecting heaps of foreskins as a dowry, and so on)? Aren’t those who say “but without heaven and hell what’s to stop you from (raping and pillaging and murdering) implying that’s what they’d be busy doing if they didn’t believe? Have you read Asimov’s Guide to the Bible and what do you think of it? What non-canon books do you think are most interesting/worth reading? What would you suggest as the simplest and most potent way to explain why one doesn’t believe there was a historical Jesus? What would be perhaps the top 3 “must read” for people interested in Higher Criticism? In Matthew 8:5-13, the story of healing the centurion's leprous servant, how does the centurion show the faith that apparently amazes Jesus so that he says "I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith"? All he did was ask for healing. And what was the content of that faith? Not faith in the Pauline gospel certainly! What does Jesus mean by "follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead"?

The Bible Geek Podcast 19-007
Feb 02 2019
Is Mark 9:42-50 necessarily talking about a heavenly afterlife?. What on earth does this mean? "Everyone will be salted with fire.” In the feeding of the 5,000 and the 4,000, do the numbers of loaves at the beginning and afterward mean anything, especially as relates to disciples and their relative success or importance? Recently, it occurred to me that the apocryphal gospel of Peter has some strangely close parallels with the Sumerian myth of Inanna in the underworld. I have a question about Matthew 5:25-26. Matthew 5:21-32 are basically saying, "not only can you not do X, you shouldn't even THINK about X!" But all of a sudden verses 25 and 26 sound more like a first-century version of "hey, resolve your issues quickly or the doggone court system will bleed you dry." Unlike what precedes and follows, there doesn't seem to be anything especially moral about it, and it doesn't follow the format of "avoid [sin], yes, but also avoid [minor version of sin]”. Is it an interpolated proverb? Would the hypothetical gospel sources Mark, Q, L, M, etc., count as independent sources for a historical Jesus? Why didn't Jerusalem play a bigger role in the growth of Christianity? When did the idea of a canonical Bible occur to people? Did such an idea exist prior to the Septuagint? Or was it thought of more as an evolving collection? Bruce Metzger speculates that, if a new Pauline letter were to be discovered, the church would have to determine if it added anything to what our familiar Pauline epistles teach. If so, it might be added to the canon. But by this criterion, should we drop any familiar Pauline writings that are redundant? And if a new one did add something important, wouldn’t it be rejected, its novelty considered heresy? Is there a way to reconcile the spiritual resurrection of Jesus in 1 Corinthians 15 with the fleshly resurrection in Luke 24?

The Bible Geek Podcast 19-006
Jan 31 2019
Supposedly, today among western scholars, there's agreement that we know more about the historicity of Jesus than we do about the historicity of Mohamed. What does Dr. Price think about that? Luke 23:43 (NIV): “Jesus answered him, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise," but the New World Translation has: “Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in Paradise.” The position of the coma changes the meaning. Yet, there was no punctuation when the gospels were written. Which is the correct translation? You’ve downplayed the research of Karen King who said there was no such thing as Gnosticism. Have you changed your opinion? Doesn’t the notion of a fiery Hell come from the reference to Gehenna, a physical location near Jerusalem where bodies were burned in a pit. Over time this came to refer to a pit of damnation for sinners.This along with the "devil" presiding over it seem to be fairly modern ideas which were written about much later than the original bible. In Holy Fable, Vol. 1, speaking of the plagues of Egypt, "The story-tellers have thus retained some 'local color' without realizing that these were fairly common and altogether natural events. They assumed these disasters were unique, miraculous occurrences. This means that the stories were told very far away from Egypt. It’s as if someone did not know what had actually destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki and said it was Godzilla." Might the Japanese have come up with all those silly monsters to process feelings/memories of the horrors of the war while not openly attacking their conquerors? If Christianity began as a mystery religion, with adherents being told the secret once they rose high enough, who is to say Catholicism isn't STILL a mystery religion? Do we really know what bishops and cardinals say among themselves about the historicity of Jesus? I was recently asked by a co-worker what the Holy Spirit was as a member of the Trinity and I must say I do not have a good answer. Do you? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]

The Bible Geek Podcast 19-005
Jan 26 2019
Producer's Note: There is a lot of noise and buzz in this episode. I did what I could without distorting the good Doctor's voice too much, but I do apologize for the poor audio quality. Concerning Papias's comments on Mark using Peter as a source, you suggest Papias may have not been referring to canonical Mark but to "the Ebionite work The Preachings of Peter.”Are you referring to Kerygmata Petrou which was written about A.D. 200? When you mention the Infancy Gospel of Matthew, do you mean the Infancy Gospel of Matthew the same as The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew from the 7th century? Is 1 John a coherent work or a patchwork quilt of successive redaction? Just how gnostic is 1 John? Does Paul's famous teaching in Romans 5:18-19 support or contradict any of the historic theories of the Atonement? Is it the major influence on Christian soteriology?: Hebrews 5:8 says of Jesus, “he learned obedience through what he suffered.” But when I think of various NT writings, including what I recall of the rest of Hebrews itself, I don't recall anything about Jesus having "learned obedience" through his suffering. But elsewhere in the NT we get the impression that he suffered because he was obedient. What gives? You’ve compared Galatians 1:11-12, where Paul says that he learned his gospel through revelation, with 1 Corinthians 11:23, where Paul tells the Corinthians that he delivered to them what he also received. You seem to accept the view that these two passages do in fact contradict each other. But Earl Doherty and Richard Carrier read the 1 Corinthians passage in light of, and as consistent with, the line from Galatians, such that in 1 Corinthians, when Paul speaks of receiving a teaching, Doherty and Carrier argue that this reception was through revelation. Why do you think different? You said you were persuaded by John Dominic Crossan's argument about the Cross Gospel. Yet since then, you’ve made no mention of the Cross Gospel at points when doing so would have logically fit. What is your current thinking on the proposed Cross Gospel? What do most mainstream biblical scholars make of Crossan's proposal? What did you mean when you said that even if you accepted various alternative synoptic source theories, it wouldn't make much difference regarding Q? When Catholics pray that the sacrifice of Christ be made present in the Mass, are they asking that Jesus be killed again? Please explain how Zoroastrianism influenced Judaism.

The Bible Geek Podcast 19-002
Jan 12 2019
Did children really play at mourning? Do you happen to know of any references, preferably from the seven authenticated letters of Paul which can be used to support/confirm the consensus dates of 35 to 56 for Paul? Isn't there a non canonical gospel that has a transfiguration like scene that actually is a resurrection appearance? And bwhy do some think the canonical transfiguration story was originally a post resurrection appearance? I recently reread the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. I can understand how stories of the young Jesus could come about but why in the world would someone that was a Christian of any stripe go to the trouble of writing something that makes kid Jesus look like a brat? I mean this thing reminds me of the Twilight Zone "It's a Good Life". Re the NRSV, aside from the absurd inclusive language thing do you have any other problems with it? Why do mainstream scholars say that 1 Thess. was written around 50CE? I'm curious as to what the apologetics are regarding badly answered prayers. John 4:22 says the Samaritans worship what they do not know, while the Jews worship what they do know. What do we think the authors trying to say about Samaritan beliefs exactly? Is that believed to be historically accurate, or a mischaracterization of 1st/2nd-century CE Samaritanism? Can you explain exactly which components of rapture theology are identifiable in the Bible using historically appropriate hermeneutics, and which components are truly "not in the Bible"?

The Bible Geek Podcast 18-036
Dec 24 2018
What does the Geek think would happen if we really did find something new (in the recovered Library of Herculaneum) that should objectively count as scripture rather than apocrypha? How would this affect various notions of the canon? Might Jacob’s stone pillar actually be intended as a divination dolmen? Why does Saul/Paul have two (alternative) names? In which circumstances would each be used? Jews read Kaballah and Gematria-based interpretations into the Hebrew Bible and Catholics read references to Jesus Christ into some Old Testament phrases - do followers of other sacred texts - Hindu and Buddhist, for example - do the same? What happens in the case of priests who have been laicized, due to appalling criminal behaviour? As 'once a priest, always a priest' means that the ex-priest could administer the sacraments if he wanted to but has been told not to, does this also mean that the ontological change too cannot really be withdrawn, such that a child abuser is, effectively, an Alteri Christus? Might Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” have been his incredible guilt over having persecuted those who are now his brethren? Is Christianity now in the process of another reformation? Was it common for critical scholars to publish anonymously or pseudonymously? Were the risks legal, or social/reputational? When did this change? Could you list fellow theologians and historians of the New Testament and early Christianity with a degree PhD who claim that Jesus Christ is a mythical figure and that the New Testament is unreliable historically? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]

The Bible Geek Podcast 18-034
Dec 05 2018
Is there a connection between 1 Timothy 1:7 and Plutarch’s "Bruta Animalia Ratione Uti” (Book 4)? In addition, based on the theory that you have mentioned - that Paul’s struggles against the beasts of Ephesus was spiritual (I believe) rather than physical - is it possible that 1 Cor 15:32 is also playing on this juxtaposition of the natures of both beasts and men? Is Matthew 27:46-47 dependant on an earlier version in which Elijah has become the pilot of the sun chariot every day, and that once the sun darkens, Jesus is calling for it to reappear? Can you explain how or why the hypothesis of the gnostic redeemer came to be prominent, as Margaret Barker indicates it had been in the past, and how or why it became discredited? Is there some connection between Paul’s letters and John’s Gospel? Was Hamaan said to have been hanged from a tree/gallows or impaled on a stake? Could you please tell me what the approximate populations of Jerusalem and Galilea were after the first Roman war ending in approx. 70 CE and the third Roman war ending in approx 133 CE or point me to a good source for this information? I was wondering what the punishment for taking the lord's name in vain was in Jesus's time and how does than mix with the narrative structure of John's gospel? If, for example, it was something serious, wouldn't the Jews punished him long before the Romans got to their hands on him or even heard about the guy? What can you tell me about the role of Minos in the Inferno and in Christian extra-Biblical traditions? I was wondering if you could recommend any books that speak to the issue of the claim that the Catholic Church is God's Church from a free thought perspective? I'm not sure how much Celibacy plays a role in the scandal, and I'm curious to know more about the Biblical perspective on celibacy. Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]

The Bible Geek Podcast 18-031
Sep 13 2018
On whether mainstream acceptance of Mythicism would end Christianity. How is Arminianism any less deterministic than Calvinism? If God knows how all future events would come to pass, then how can human beings act contrary to God's foreknowledge? My wife is an evangelical believer and raises our kids in her faith. I don’t object, but after much internal debate, I’ve chosen to expose my kids to facts regarding other faiths in the world. My only real beef with the evangelical faith is the reliance on the threat of eternal damnation. How would you approach this? What passages in the Bible would you use to promote alternative eschatologies? Is Jerusalem the 3rd-holiest site for Islam? And is Muhammad’s ascent to heaven apocryphal or Koranic? Does the Koran promise 72 virgins or 72 raisins? If none of the four Gospels had survived but only Tatian's Gospel Harmony, would academics have been able to discover there were at least four Gospels and the Q document behind it? What methods can be used to find out if the Quran was originally several different sources? Why were four Gospels included in the New Testament? Was each aimed at refuting a particular heresy? In the Bible, what is "usury," charging excessive Interest or the charging of any interest? What is a "familiar spirits"? Please comment on the nearly pornographic Ezekiel 23:20? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]

The Bible Geek Podcast 18-030
Sep 11 2018
Some Afghani Muslims believe Ali was a prophet after Muhammad. How can they reconcile this with Muhammad being “the Seal of the Prophets”? Why wasn’t the Acts of John included in the canon? Would you have included it? Is there a consensus among modern Christian theologians regarding the need for salvation for extraterrestrial aliens? Is Heaven hotter than Hell? Was Adam an androgynous being much like Manu in the Rig Veda? Is it possible that Caiaphas blackmailed Pilate into crucifying Jesus, knowing that Pilate used funds from the Temple for building an aqueduct? Barbara Thiering argues that Jesus was the "Man of a Lie" mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls. However, Robert Eisenman contends that it was St.Paul who is given this title. Which seems more likely? The story in Matthew about a Roman centurion who asks Jesus to heal his "young servant" uses the word pais, "boy" and that this has sexual connotations. Is this an effort to make Jesus appear to be friendly to Romans and vice versa? The Mandeans are gnostics. They hold John the Baptist in high regard and Jesus in low regard. Might this indicate that John was actually gnostic, or with gnostic influence? Was there a conflict between Jesus' followers and followers of John? Might the Gospels have been scripts for screen plays? What do we know about the use of Greek words that are translated as the proper noun "Satan" in the New Testament? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]

The Bible Geek Podcast 18-028
Aug 23 2018
Whether the original Hebrew of Genesis implies the loincloths of Adam and Eve were animal hides—or the physical bodies newly clothing their spiritual bodies. Might Genesis 6:4 have originated as propaganda for the policies of Ezra and Nehemiah? Might the Greek phrase 'οἱ γίγαντες οἱ ἀπ᾽ αἰῶνος' mean the Genesis 6:1-4 Nephilim were avatars of the Gnostic Aeons? Is the supposed influence of Hinduism & Buddhism on Gnosticism and Christianity rendered unlikely by the absence of any Sanskrit texts in Egypt or Palestine? My question relates to the overall idea the New Testament gospels are Midrash. Why would a group of individuals sit down one day, grab a random name out of a hat, then start writing Midrash in Greek? Why would Paul (in Galatians) refer only to James as the Lord's brother while not so describing Cephas? It seems obvious to me that "brother" here can have only its literal, primary meaning. I'm interested in your take on how the Prosperity Gospel has developed over the decades and its relation to those American Christians who have accumulated economic and political power. Does Romans 13 mean, as many hold, that God rubber stamps the actions of any and all government? Or that he has charged them with righteous administration, implying he will replace them if they fail? Is the Catholic refusal to inform the police of crimes learned of in the confession booth based on the Bible? What do you think of Jordan Pederson’s approach to the Bible? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]

The Bible Geek Podcast 18-025
Jul 18 2018
When in Mark 5:43 Jesus tells Jairus and his wife not to tell anyone about “this,” something impossible given that they would have to pretend henceforth that she was dead in an empty grave, Mark mean s that Jesus means not to disclose the method of healing/resurrecting the girl, not to the fact that she was alive. Maybe he wanted everyone to think he was simply an effective doctor, not a miracle worker? This set of questions was inspired by a YouTube video, "If Atheists Talked About The Hulk Like Jordan Peterson Talks About The Bible." Does the Bible ever rename characters for discernible literary of theological reasons? Preacher often say the body and the flesh are not the same thing, but is there an actual Greek basis for this distinction? Is the Hulk a decent representation of the Paulinist or Marcionist "Fleshly Man"? What reason is there to posit the existence of a Signs Source underlying John? I regularly hear that many modern critical scholars are both Christians and hold certain mainstream positions regarding the suspect history of books such as the Pastorals, at least one of the Epistles of Peter, etc. Do you know whether, as Christians, they tend to accept the books as pious forgeries and still somehow inspired as scripture? If you were a somewhat conservative Christian what one book of the Bible would you consider the most problematic to your belief, the most embarrassing, the most open to attack from the outside? And why? When you write a scholarly book or paper, do you typically just write out the entirety of your argument, and add in the relevant references later? Or do you stop and start, inserting references as you go? Or some mixture of the two? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]

The Bible Geek Podcast 18-022
Jun 17 2018
Nature is horrible, and civilization allows animals such as a cows, pigs, sheep, and humans to live in comfort and safety. Why, then, the persistent mytheme of humans being the defective additions to an otherwise perfect world? Jesus never baptized anyone with water so how did this become a staple of the Christian church, especially the Baptists? What do you make of the fact that there is zero evidence that the Arab conquerors of the 7th century were Muslims? I personally am convinced that they were most likely a Syriac Christian sect, a sect that had a lot in common with the Ebionites. Do you have any suggestions on books that you could recommend on Martin Luther or the Lutherans in general? Is it fair to say that "Christianity defined itself in the context of Neo Platonism neo-platonic philosophy as a religion of truth"? Might Jesusâ?? cursing the fig tree reflect the folk custom f cursing/rebuking a barren tree in order to produce fruit the following season? Can you shed some light on the dating of the book of Daniel and what we can determine whether these are predictions of the future or reflections on the past? Is there any textual evidence anywhere that Matthew's birth narrative with the Oriental Kings paying respect to infant Jesus a subtle attempt at recognizing the Alexandrian Buddhist influence on new Christianity?  Could Christianity survive in some form if it were proved there was no historical Jesus? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]

The Bible Geek Podcast 18-019
Jun 01 2018
I was hoping you could spend a few minutes speculating on the future of American Evangelical Christianity following President Trump. Also, would you mind informing us about the differences between American Christianity and Christianity from other countries. In your translation of Mark you refer to Gethsemane as a "plot of ground" instead of a garden. Any particular reason you didn't call Gethsemane a "garden?" Granting that Matthew 24:29 is prophecy after the fact, why would the author write something he knew had not happened?  Might â??the knowledge of good and evilâ?? in Eden refer to learning what food is healthful or deadly? I've observed that Jesus Myth debates and lectures are almost always hosted by a small group of atheists. Why do they feel the need to constantly be retold things they already know about an issue that may not really be a scholarly issue? And do you feel this is really an important debate? I thought it might be a good idea to read through the New Testament in the order in which the books were written. What do you think of this approach? How well do you think a courtroom analogy of Christianity holds up? How do we know that God makes â??severalâ?? humans at once in Genesis chapter 1? Is that somehow hidden in the original Hebrew? Would citing the Infancy Gospel of Thomas as a source for an essay be as valid as say the Gospels of Mark or John? What is the best history of the King James Version of the Bible? Do you know how pages of Codex Sinaiticus came to be waste paper bin liners at the monastery at which they were discovered? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]

The Bible Geek Podcast 18-014
May 04 2018
Why we cook meat: revisited. What does the Bible tell us about singing vs. instrumental music? What do we know from other sources about first-century worship?  Any thoughts about the proof-text method of arguing and teaching, and its place in church history?  Is it wrong to believe that even with Roman roads, communication between churches would have been slow and spotty and thus uniformity of practice and creeds would be doubtful? Will the Catholic church ever stop protecting the institution and actually take action to end the child-abuse and remove the abusers?  Would you mind reviewing the evolution of the god-concept? How did he go from a genocidal humanoid to a loving, vaporous bystander? Are there any of god's actions that may be considered unequivocally good -- that is, not made possible by, or intended to fix, a problem that he himself created; and not for any secondary gain, such as increasing the number of his followers, the status of his followers, or his own personal standing among other gods or people? Whether Jesus said he would â??lift upâ?? or â??cut offâ?? vine branches that produced no fruit: revisited. Does the minority view of Jesus as the final sacrifice that now permits Gentiles to become genuine members of the family of God have a historical, albeit much different, mundane basis, that grew into something bigger, requiring a God-Man to save all humanity in order to compete with the ubiquitous similar stories in the surrounding regions?

The Bible Geek Podcast 18-012
Apr 19 2018
About Jesus' supposed 'harrowing of Hell' - the time between his death and resurrection when he supposedly traveled to Hades/Hell and freed the poor captive spirits there: why were there any spirits in Hades/Hell anyways? Christian dogma says souls go to Hades/Hell only after the Day of Judgement which won't occur for more than a thousand years after Jesus returns to Earth so there shouldn't have been any souls to harrow. In fact, as Satan and his demons supposedly have full range over Earth, why would any of them be in Hades/Hell either. Any idea how such a heretical idea became dogma? In the Ignatian Epistle to the Ephesians describing the apparition of the bright star that heralds the newly revealed secrets of Jesusâ?? birth and death, his resurrection isnâ??t mentioned. Could it be, then, that the bright star was Jesusâ?? resurrection appearance, according to an archaic tradition dating from before the Gospel resurrection narratives had taken hold? Did they imagine Jesus as a star ascending visibly in triumph for all the world to see, holding court with the angels (the sun, moon and stars) and taking his rightful place at the top of the heavens? What does the Ignatian Epistle to Smyrna Chapter 18 mean? â??He was born and was baptized that by His passion He might cleanse water?â?? Cleanse water? In your debate, what did Bart Ehrman mean with all the â??outer spaceâ?? talk in reference to the crucifixion?  Is there anything dishonest about participating in a religious group for the experience and the fellowshipâ??if you are an atheist? If Stephenâ??s martyrdom in Acts is fiction, why make a noby for the job? Why not an apostle? Why is it that Jesus an immortal being is tortured, killed and 3 days later resurrected is considered a sacrifice at all? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]

The Bible Geek Podcast 18-011
Mar 31 2018
Hereâ??s how Catholics harmonize the liturgical date of Christ's conception with the date of His birth. What should I be looking for in Deuteronomy to show that it was written last and used the first four books of the Pentateuch? Could the Ark of the Covenant could have been a drum? How did the Queen of Sheba get to be a judge of "this generation" in Matthew 12:42? Is it true that some (many? most?) relevant scholars have abandoned the categorization â??Gnosticismâ?? just because of the differences between the specifics sects? Is it feasible to think that at least some early Christians believed that Christianity is older than modern Christians believe it to be? Why did Absalom publicly have sex with his dadâ??s harem girls? What is your opinion re the Reformation and Martin Luther? I was readying Genesis 1 and 2, and I was wondering which of these stories emerged first in history. I am interested in knowing when the Samaritan Pentateuch was written. Are apologists correct in arguing that Daniel could not have been written 165 BC because the Aramaic it uses is too early a form of the language? What sort of social ramifications have arisen for Mythicists, short of legal trouble? Was Carl Jung a Christ Mythicist? How important to your own work are Arthur Drews and/or Albert Kalthoff? Your opinion of Bruno Bauer? Your thoughts about the book Zealot by Reza Aslan? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]

The Bible Geek Podcast 18-010
Mar 20 2018
The fact that the character of Aaron exists in the Bible is fairly confusing to me. If Moses had a speech impediment why not just heal him instead of roping one more guy into the whole plot? How do Christians handle the holy pregnancy? The celebratory date of the conception is in early December and the birth in the end of the same month. Was it a super quick or really long pregnancy? Â What does the word "begotten" as in "only begotten son" mean? Why do you think the doctrine of the Trinity is such a cornerstone doctrine even among Protestants and Evangelicals? It seems like it should have been a doctrine they might have wanted to jettison after breaking with the Catholic Church. Do you think the crucifixion story might have been invented as a away to console early Christians over the persecutions and martyrdoms they experienced? Watching a commentary on the Jack Chick tract "Earthman," I noticed that Chick specifically used the term "little animals" to describe God giving Adam and Eve skins to wear. Could he have been thinking of foreskins? Can you talk about the history of literal interpretation of scripture in Christianity and Judaism? Have there always been strains of it, or is it more--as I initially suspected--more of a Protestant development? What does Paul mean by â??braggingâ?? or â??boastingâ?? which he sometimes condemns, other times approves? Did the Book of Tobiut influence the NT? And might the gospels be other examples of overt edifying fictions? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]

The Bible Geek Podcast 18-009
Mar 17 2018
In your latest Bible Geek podcast, you wondered if there were cobras in the ancient Near East. Sure there were! How does Marcion factor into the Q hypothesis?  In Job 42 God rewards Job with 7 sons and 3 daughters. In verse 14 the daughters are named and in verse 15 it says "nowhere in the land were there found women as beautiful as Job's daughters and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers." Why do you suppose the author of Job showed such deference to the daughters, as it seems counter to my understanding of ancient Hebrew tradition? You've laughed at the passage that apparently gives parents the right to have their children stoned to death if they act up. (Deuteronomy 21:18-21). Is it possible that the passage actually restricts the freedom of ancient parents to treat their kids with arbitrary cruelty? In the cleansing of the Temple where Jesus chased out the money changers, what would be the punishment for such an action? Wouldnâ??t it be great for a movie to depict Jesus overturning the Temple tables single-handedly by telekinesis? There are several â??blank checkâ?? promises in the NT that any prayer will be granted. If anyone can so readily debunk the truth of these sayings, why were they included at all? Doesn't it seem counter intuitive for the church to have put itself on the line like that? [A reading of Priceâ??s essay â??The Retreat from Radical Prayer.â??] Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]

The Bible Geek Podcast 18-008
Mar 12 2018
Could you speak more to the differences between monolatry and henotheism? Could you explain the clues scholars use to date ancient texts but with modern examples? The Gospel of Philip says, "When we were Hebrews we were orphans, with only a mother, but when we became Christians we had a father and a mother."  It doesn't make much sense that a Valentinian Gnostic would regard the god of the Hebrews as female, but there it is. Or is he referring to Sophia? I want to know what your thoughts in general on Jung's work and his idea of the "spiritual problem" which the best I can make right now is that without religion there is nothing to hold back humankind's most evil and murderous tendencies. I don't see how it accounts for the evil caused by religion. An angel, from what I understand, is a messenger. For God to make two people with no intention of making any more, and walking and talking with them in his garden, he wouldn't need messengers. Milton, though, has the whole Rebellion of the Angels happen before the creation of the physical world. That's like building the Internet before computers. And why is the serpent of Eden never depicted as a cobra?. I know that Genesis 1 and 2 are two distinct creation narratives, but how did some of the contradictions slip past redactors? Do we know more about the suggested location of the Garden of Eden, or is there some kind of mythological significance to those markers named that have never been found? Is there something in the text that signals a shift from prose to poetry? Genesis 5:1 calls itself "The Book of the Generations of Adam." Do you think this means that this was a separate book (apart from Genesis) that just got compiled into a larger collection later called "Genesis"? Genesis 30:3 has Rachel saying that Jacob should sleep with her maid "that she may bear on my knees, that through her I too may have children." Does this mean what it sounds like? In Mark 5:19 Jesus tells the cured Demoniac to go back to his people and tell them about what the Lord has done. What about the Messianic Secret? And why do the locals beg Jesus to leave them? A fusion of two stories? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]

The Bible Geek Podcast 18-007
Mar 02 2018
2 Samuel 12:14 says God killed the newborn son of David & Bathsheba to punish Dave for engineering Uriahâ??s death. But Deuteronomy 14:16 declares that no one will be killed for his parentsâ?? sins! How do apologists explain this contradiction? What is the origin of Mandaeaism? What do they believe? Do they have scriptures? Did the lack of spaces between words cause much potential for confusion? How reasonable would it be to imagine Jesus, as depicted in the Gospels, as a Greek speaker? Re the wilder fringes of fundamentalism that can still be seen today: where did this stuff come from? 1 Thess., at 1:1, purports to be written by Paul, Silvanus and Timothy. Throughout the letter "we" and "us" are used as the first person. However, at 2:17-3:6 the letter starts referring to "I, Paul" and to speak of Timothy in the third person. I understand that 2:14-2:16 is thought to be an interpolation because of an apparent anachronistic reference to the destruction of the temple as punishment of the Jews for killing Jesus. Is it also thought that this longer section wherein "I, Paul" and "Timothy" are spoken of is part of the interpolation also? Ephesians 4:11 lists "apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.â?? Since apostles, by definition, were gospel preachers, doesnâ??t the (otherwise redundant) addition of â??evangelistsâ?? imply authors of written gospels? How can a believer, once he recognizes the artificiality of the symbolic names of biblical characters, not realize that such people are most likely made-up characters in a work of fiction? What does scripture actually say about homosexuality? What do you think the Catholic Church, the Protestant churches, and other faiths like Judaism, Buddhism and Islam will be like 2000 years from now? Is there any predictability about the way that religions develop over time?

The Bible Geek Podcast 18-003
Jan 30 2018
How do we verify any early church claims since the gospels and the epistles along with "Church history" all point towards being propaganda? Why didn't Jesus stone Mary Magdalene?  I know Jesus calls out the stone throwers (John 8:7), but wouldn't Jesus be without sin and therefore be able to throw the first stone? Would it be a sin in His fatherâ??s eyes not to follow the laws of the OT? I was wondering what did Judas betray in the first place? Jesus was a local celebrity, his views were pretty much out there, known to anyone who wanted to be familiar with them. What kind of inside info did Judas have? Concerning the age of Jesus at the start of his mission: Why thirty? I think the Bible has its own internal logic so Jesus's age had to be thirty for some reason right? Mt 28:19 has an explicitly trinitarian formula for baptism, which contradicts the Jesus-name formula from Acts 2:38. Might the Matthean text be an interpolation? In whose name did John the Baptist baptize? Cannot one can believe in God, and see the Bible as moot? Some say that "He cuts off every branch that does not produce fruit" in John 15:2 could be translated as "He lifts-up every branch that does not produce fruit." Is that true? Are biblical scholars really so entrenched or fearful for their jobs that they really wonâ??t even consider the idea of Jesus as a myth? What does that say about New Testament scholarship? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]

The Bible Geek Podcast 18-002
Jan 22 2018
How strongly did Platonism influence Paulâ??s understanding of the Fall? Which scholars propose a mid to late second century date for the Gospels and Pauline letters? Might Jesus have been a Samaritan or influence by them? Is it possible that Jesus and/or his followers knew about the 70 weeks prophecy in Daniel and took it as a Messianic prophecy and expected the Messiah around that time (see Luke 3:15)? What do you think of the â??family tomb of Jesus Christâ??? Of the frescoes of two fish on two ossuaries? Of the names that are engraved on the ossuaries? Could â??Holy spiritâ?? as "sacred breath" mean acetone breath produced by fasting? Neal deGrasse Tyson says that Scriptural Literalism was the only viable option for individuals before the scientific revolution. However, others claim that the Biblical Literalsim that opposes science today really came into existence in the early 1900s. What sayeth the Geek? Please talk about the development of the publishing industry in the ancient world and its relation to religion. Could you comment on the gospel writerâ??s tendency to shuffle the narrative context and chronology around certain sayings? Are the Gospel authors relying on a sayings collection like Q and creating narrative structure as they go? Do we have any idea where the New Testament notion of Armageddon comes from? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]

The Bible Geek Podcast 17-052
Nov 27 2017
Do we have any concrete sources or proof that Romans chapters 9-11 were not original? What is the point of Matthew 22:1-14, the Wedding Banquet? Isnâ??t â??Itâ??s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brownâ?? filled with biblical allusions to end-times and second coming prophecy and the Delay of the Parousia? In the Tower of Babel story God seems to lamenting the fact that humanity decided to work together and build something worth noticing! Yahweh's petty, Zeus-like nature is on full display, knocking down any attempt at advanced human civilization. What possibly could have been the intended moral of this story? When in Rev 12:4 the Dragon cast a third of the stars of the heavens down to Earth, isnâ??t this best understood as the Dragon defeating those stars / angels and casting them to Earth as defeated enemies? Might Jesusâ?? healing of the blind man with spit (Mark 8:22-26) have a more mystical meaning than generally acknowledged? Perhaps the â??men as trees, walkingâ?? might have been a spiritual vision of the blind man prior to his regaining physical eyesight? As for how long the Man and the Woman were in the Garden, you suggested that it might not have been very long. But maybe they did eat of the Tree of Life, which enabled them to live for hundreds of years afterward, outside the Garden. Maybe God had created other humans elsewhere, and that post Eden interbreeding with them eventually caused the immortality of Adam & Eveâ??s descendants to peter out?

The Bible Geek Podcast 17-048
Oct 25 2017
Does the first sentence of the Naassene Fragment refer to the creation story in Genesis? You've mentioned that Matthew tends to double the characters and events of Mark. Could this same thing be going on in Matthew's genealogy, where it says there were fourteen generations between Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile, and fourteen from the exile to Christ, double the lucky number seven so often mentioned in earlier books? Can you elaborate as to why you think biblical studies as we see it today is or is not functioning correctly and should really be taken up outside of seminaries? Robert Eisenman identifies Paul as a Herodian. He also suggests Simon Magus and Paul may be indistinguishable . How does your theory work with Eisenmans?  Would Markâ??s readers have recognized the illegalities of the Sanhedrin trial?? Why does the high priest tear his clothing when he is expressly forbidden from doing so in Leviticus 21? When the slave of the high priest loses an ear, does this disqualify him from temple service? Why was it necessary to have Judas as a betrayer of Jesus for a bounty? Do you think Mark 16:8, " they will pick up snakes with their hands", is a reflection of Paul being bit by a viper in Acts? In Matthew 27: 52-53, he doesn't tell us is what happened next. He just leaves it to the reader to draw his own conclusion. Why? Why was it necessary to have Christ ascend to Heaven in the crucifixion story? Why not stick around (more than 40 days)? Wouldn't it be easier to convert Jews to Christianity with Jesus as Exhibit 1? As Paul only knew the "gospel" from "scripture and revelation" wouldn't it follow then that the Jesus revealed to him was the magisterial Christ, and that he being so would not bother to  relate to him (Paul) matters of his earthly existence? If you could clarify what exactly Paul meant by the gospel? If only Q had survived and the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John had not survived how much would we know about the context, events and locations of the life of Jesus?

The Bible Geek Podcast 17-038
Aug 16 2017
Opening the Transfiguration episode, Mark and Matthew state that "6 days had passed" before this event while Luke states "8 days" had passed. Why the difference in the days? What, if any, is the textual evidence that some Gnostics believed Judas Iscariot was specifically commissioned by Jesus to "betray" Jesus, in order to liberate the Christ aeon from his body? What do you think of the parallels between Jesus Christ and John Conner from the terminator series? What are the main arguments/pieces of evidence that, in your view, prevent historicity from being completely thrown off the table? Can you give me some historical insight into what Blaise Pascal thought of the Wager? If you were a psychologist how could you actually prove a patient who thought he was God that he was mistaken? Does Matthew 5:17-20 leave room for the â??least in the Kingdomâ?? are still saved? Would Acts 10-11 contradict Matthew 28 if â??make disciples of all the nationsâ??refers to the nations of Israel, rather than to the gentiles? Does the NT oppose secret knowledge and esoteric interpretation or not? In short, is new testament ecumenicalism fatal to historicity? Re whether Judas's betrayal is really necessary to Gospel narrative. In days before photography, would it have been that easy to recognize a famous person on street like that? If the Persiansâ?? Jewish protégés were Zoroastrianized, how did the Sadducees get in charge of Judea? I'm hoping you can clarify something about your stance on abortion. What do you think about instances of ectopic pregnancy, rape, incest, and victims of human trafficking? Are there circumstances which you'd say it's a moral imperative to allow an abortion?

The Bible Geek Podcast 17-037
Aug 15 2017
How long did Adam & Eve live in Eden before being kicked out? Why do you think the â??personal relationship with Jesusâ?? was an invention of the German Pietists? Did the â??Tzadikâ?? concept in Judaism imly the possibility that a very holy man might qualify for adoption as Messiah? Also, would you comment generally on the meaning and use of the word â??zedekâ?? in the Old Testament? Â During the Transfiguration, why does Almighty God appear with only a single line to say? Fill us in on the Rastafarians? Is it reasonable to think that "Christianity according to Matthew" is an attempt to advocate the Galilean, rather than Judean, approach to the law? In this framework, Jesus's mission would be neither to abolish the (Judaic) law nor to fulfill it, but rather, to pare it down to its "true" (Galilean, Pentateuch-only) size, so that it could be further condensed into the gospel of Matthew, which would then form the basis of the new law for some group of Hellenized Galileans or Galilean-leaning Jews. Why are some people disturbed more by questions than by answers with which they disagree? "Bartimaeusâ?? actually means â??son of Timaeus,â?? so why does Mark tell me his name is Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, and then tell me he is the son of Timaeus? Also, why is the character named at all when no other miracle recipients are? What is the origin of the apocryphal story about Eden's Tree of Life being cut down and the wood used to make the Staff of Moses, then the Cross?

The Bible Geek Podcast 17-036
Aug 10 2017
Is it possible that Zechariah 6:9-15 implies a proto-Christian religion existed around the time Zechariah was written?� If even believing Christian scholars accept that two out of the four gospels are based on earlier gospels, how could they claim to the pulpit or their congregation that the NT is an accurate representation of Jesus's life? Since the 2 Source theory is the most accepted theory from both conservative and liberal scholars, are there any other scholars who came up with different alternate theories on how the four canonical gospels are written? Discussing Colossians 1:24, you paraphrased David Scholer thusly: "When there are loads of different interpretations of a Bible verse, itâ??s probably because the meaning is obviousâ??that is, so obvious, and offensive, that people will try to make it mean anything else." Can you can give us some other verses to illustrate the point further? In my book Unlocking the Puzzle, I proposed that the Christological difference between Paulâ??s Christ and the Messiah of the Jerusalem apostles was that Paulâ??s Christology claimed that Jesus was crucified as the suffering servant, while the Jerusalem apostles were awaiting Danielâ??s â??one like a son of manâ?? directly from God, no crucifixion necessary. Dr. Eisenman says that Islam adopted the Jamesian theology of salvation by works as opposed to Paulâ??s justification by faith. � My theory might fit in with Dr. Eisenmanâ??s when you remember that in Islamic theology Jesus was not crucified. Right? Might the temptation narrative have been originally the second half of the Baptism story as written by Adoptionists? The temptation of Jesus by Satan as a test to see if he is really the Son of God makes a lot more sense to me if it were intended to serve as proof that the adoption really â??workedâ??. 1 Corinthians� 6:19� says that the body is the "temple" of the Holy Spirit. Could this be an anachronistic interpolation done by a scribe after the fall of the Jerusalem temple in 70 AD.? In Matthew 2:3 the Magi have spoken to Herod about the newly born King of the Jews and Herod is "disturbed and all of Jerusalem with him." Why is "all of Jerusalem" added to this passage? Seems highly unlikely Jerusalem would know or care about the Magi and their message. If what you suggest regarding the imposition of "resettled" Zoroastrian "Jews" to Israel is true, wouldn't the priests of the temple cult--the Sadducees--be the Zoroastrians, while the popular laypeople--the Pharisees--be the traditional Jews? Do you agree or disagree with Bart Ehrman in locating Gnosticism as a post-Christian development rather than a prior influence upon Christianity? Am I right to interpret the gospels as saying that the power behind the things we expect from faith is the faith itself? Does the warning to keep the Transfiguration secret occur in all 3 Synoptics? Is it a device to introduce a new story concocted long aftedrward? After the Romans destroyed the Jewish temple which made the practice of everything Jewish near impossible, Jews needed a way to continue practicing their faith/culture. Was Christianity invented as a substitute? Mythicists hold that in 1 Corinthians 2:8, when Paul refers to Jesus being crucified by "the rulers of this age," these are heavenly beings in the outer/upper realms of "this world," but others defend the traditional translation implying earthly rulers. Why are the latter wrong? Can you either explain or point me to further reading on the German pietists who introduced the idea of a personal relationship with Jesus? I understand that the Gospel of Mark is also a Paulinist gospel, so is there any sign of the messianic secret concept in the Pauline epistles?

The Bible Geek Podcast 17-035
Aug 09 2017
Can you recommend an order in which to read your books? Why is the Bible THE fundamental text of Western Civilization and culture, its themes, stories, and values permeating our moral codes, our artistic expressions, and indeed our shared consciousness? The story of the modern creation of â??Saint Odysseus.â?? How credible do you find the notion that Marcion's gospel might have been a version of the Gospel of Mark? Isnâ??t the negative treatment of Peter in Mark inconsistent with the tradition that Mark got his Could you recommend a work/s dealing with the theme of 'conflict resolution' passages in the New Testament: refutations of so-called heretical ideas by having someone, typically Jesus, say something that refutes a given idea? What does it mean to say that something is 'taught in the Bible'? Is something that is extrapolated from the text, for instance trinitarianism, to be seen as 'bible sanctioned' given it does not appear explicitly in the text? Is there any link between the Nazarenes of the New Testament and the Nazirite tradition of the Old Testament? What events in the history of Christianity (or religious history in general) could have easily turned out differently, with big implications? Mark often seems to borrow OT texts, only to split them and reverse the halves. Furthermore, these passages are always associated with his â??sandwichesâ?? (the intercalation of two Jesus stories originally separate). Is Mark calling attention to his having derived the Jesus versions via Spirit-inspired esoteric reading of scripture disclosing, originally, events undergone by Jesus as he descended through the celestial spheres to earth? How long did Adam and Eve live in the Garden? Why are so many Biblical characters renamed? Â Was this the result of the ancient writers trying to fuse two characters together? And is Saul becoming Paul really a renaming, or is Paul just a Hellenization of Saul? If evangelicals are so keen on "eyewitness testimony," shouldnâ??t they accept Mormonism, since the Book of Mormon begins with "The Testimony of the Three Witnesses" and "The Testimony of the Eight Witnesses" who supposedly saw the golden plates from which Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon? Why would Mark make sure to include both â??feeding the multitudeâ?? stories seeing they are so much alike? Was there really such a huge fan base of the Feeding of the Four Thousand which would have compelled "Mark to include it?

The Bible Geek Podcast 17-032
Aug 06 2017
Are there any plausible arguments that Paul actually wrote one or more of the four Gospels? Does the NT avoid using the Hebrew name for God, using the more generic â??Godâ?? in order to cater to all god systems from all nations? Might â??Jesusâ?? have been merely a name chosen to cover all the various OT and pagan characters whose stories were borrowed and combined in the gospels? If Judas was already dead, why does 1 Corinthians 15 say Jesus appeared to â??the twelveâ??? Might â??Cephasâ?? the apostle of Jesus have been Caiaphas the high priest? Why is there an almost unanimous agreement on the early dating of the Iliad, but so much debate over that of the Bible, given they have similar spurious evidence for said early date? Could they have influenced each other at all? Might the story of King Arthur have been a Christianizing rewrite of the David story? Could Assyrian henotheistic precedence of Ashshur, and the parlance surrounding worship of him, have influenced ancient Israelite religion? Might the â??angel of the Lordâ?? be a mask for various polytheistic Israelite or other deities? I have a question about the names of the members of the Godhead in different languages. Do you believe Jesus was ever buried in a tomb? What's your opinion of Dennis R. MacDonald's Two Shipwrecked Gospels: The Logoi of Jesus and Papias' Exposition of Logia About the Lord? Has anyone put together a version of the OT as it might have been without the Deuteronomic Reform? Might the womenâ??s silence on the message of the angel at the tomb imply that no one else would have known where it was? Does the Didache actually condemn abortion? Does any other early Christian text? Some say that reading Paul as believing in only a celestial Jesus requires â??mental gymnastics.â?? Does it? The fact that Jesus was from Nazareth, while the Old Testament says the Messiah would come from Bethlehem, shows that a real Jesus was from Nazareth and everybody knew it. Does it? Because "crucifixion was especially offensive to the Jewish people,â?? no one would have told such a story as Jesusâ?? crucifixion if they werenâ??t stuck with it as a fact, right? Do you have such a wealth of knowledge of all things Biblical that you pull every fact out of your memory?

The Bible Geek Podcast 17-031
Aug 05 2017
Could you talk a bit about 1. Logical problems with Christian theology 2. The morality of Christian theology 3. How diverse Christian theology is with its liberal churches (universalism) to its exclusive churches(fundamental) and are they reconcilable? What do you think of Rob Bellâ??s idea when bad things happen, people try to control the balance, by making sacrifices to the gods. The codification of these sacrifices in Leviticus stops the bigger-and-bigger effect, and finally Jesus is there to provide a way for humans to stop their self destruction in an attempt to appease God. He goes on to argue that the only acceptable sacrifice is to give up one's time and money to help others. Do you know why the question of who the Historical Jesus really was always mirrors the person asking the question? Does 1 John 4 refer to the OT prophets when it says, "many false prophets have gone out into the world", and "Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God"? In Acts 13:2-3, Paul (Saul) and Barnabas are designated by the Spirit to go on a missionary journey. It says nothing about John Mark, who we later hear did accompany them, after which Paul refused to work with him again. Does this imply the Spirit did not choose Mark? And does John Mark stand for Marcion? Doe the passage imply an attempt to distance Marcion from his favorite apostle, Paul? Acts 12:20-23 reports that Herod was struck down by the angel of God and eaten by worms and died. Is there any reliable record about how this Herod died? Does Luke 7:28 ("I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.") imply John has no free will and has to follow a narrowly scripted fate given to him by God, and that, not having acted by free choice, John would be last in the Kingdom of God? â??Holy Mackerel:â?? was it derived from Holy Immaculate? Suppose there is, as you often jokingly suggest, a "fourth person of the Trinity." I nominate Melchizedek. I'm really interested to hear your take on the disparity between archaeological evidence for scribal activity in Jerusalem during the Persian period, vs the fact that so many scriptures are conventionally dated to that period. What are we doing in saying grace? And when we say a â??blessing,â?? just who is blessing whom, or blessing what? My question is whether or not the OT idea of the firstborn sacrifice may have plausibly played into the actual conception and reason for creating this archangel, Jesus, who would become the ultimate sacrifice. Before I commit to the effort of reading "Did Jesus Live 100 years BC?" could you please briefly outline the hypothesis, in terms of what the best evidence for and against it is? Was Yahweh circumcised? I noticed that Methuselah died in the same year that the Great Flood began. Did YHWH postpone the flood until Methuselahâ??s death, or did Methuselah actually drown in the flood? I find the idea that 'the birth of Christianity could have been a hoax to help create a better world' fascinating. Is that plausible? Might Paul (or one of the other first Christians) have derived the belief that Jesus was the first fruits of the general resurrection at the end of days, so the end times were imminent, from a hallucination of Jesus whom they inferred had risen? And, Mark could have learned this apocalyptic stuff from Paul, and simply invented the apocalyptic material in his gospel. Therefore, there is no reason to suppose, as Ehrman does, that the historical Jesus, if there was one, was an apocalyptic prophet. How about this? The first Christians invented a story of an atoning Christ, keeping the philosophy of love paramount, but substituting the temple cult with, to use Paulâ??s words, a simple and pure (2 Cor 11:3-5) faith in Christ? Do you think that the whole idea of Paulâ??s inability to physically write might have been a rationalization for all the letters from Paul coming in with different handwriting?

The Bible Geek Podcast 17-029
Aug 03 2017
With the repeated failure of predictions of a mortal, human â??warrior-king-priest Messiah,â??might early Jewish Christians, perhaps inspired by Danielâ??s Celestial â??Son-of-Man,â?? have scrapped the old concept in favor of a new-and-improved spiritual, immortal, eternal version that would come straight from Heaven? Combine Matthew 14, where Herod says "This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead" with the crucifixion scene in John where Jesus says to Mary, "Woman, behold your son." Might this not mean that the spirit of the Baptist transferred to Jesus and, upon his death, into the Beloved Disciple? I know that in theory Islam is totally opposed to idolatry, but is this really true in practice? Today I saw a video on the internet that appears to show one of the London terrorists worshiping an Isis flag. Am I misinterpreting this? Also, why do Muslims have to face toward the Black Stone when they pray. If venerating a rock is not idolatry, then what is? A purely celestial Jesus, being invulnerable to harm and following a predestined plan of action, is boring, isnâ??t he? To create a more interesting story, did they bring him down to earth as a human being? How does the dynamic of you being an atheist and still attending a church work? Trilogies seem to be the standard in books and movies so what is your opinion on whether Luke/Acts was part of a unfinished trilogy? What if Christians began with a concept of a purely celestial Jesus acting in heaven and teaching, via revelation, from there, but later Christians lost sight of this and filled in a supposedly earthly life by rewriting material from the OT. This would not be a scheming conspiratorial hoax as some Mythicists seem to imply.

The Bible Geek Podcast 17-028
Aug 02 2017
Catholic apologist Peter Kreeft says, "You can't write fiction about Jesus. The figure of the Gospels makes every attempt at imaginative fiction look silly." But donâ??t the gospels read like fiction, with their studied omission of mundane events and detailsâ??just a sequence of wise sayings and super-feats, and their utter lack of character development? Do you think the author of Matthew put an anachronism into Jesus' mouth with the phrase in Matthew 11:12? That the "from the days of John the Baptist" presupposes the later era of the evangelist himself? Mark 6:4 is usually translated as something like the King James Version, "But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house." That means that Jesus is modestly saying that he has been honored elsewhere, in contrast to his reception at home. But others render it as "A prophet is not dishonored except in his own country, among his own kin, and in his own house." In this rendering, Jesus is emphasizing the dishonor he receives at home. This does not imply that he was honored elsewhere. Which one is correct? In the wilderness, isnâ??t Satan tempting Jesus, essentially, to become equal to Godâ??which he already was? Can you recommend an online resource where I would be able to search the Septuagint for correspondences? Why do you suppose Mark has the man in white tell the women at the tomb to go and tell "his disciples and Peter." Would it have anything to do with 1 Corinthians 15:5? Why do you think Luke has two different time frames for Jesus's life after the resurrection? Luke shows one week while Acts says 40 days. In old translations of Isaiah 45:7, we have Yahweh virtually admitting to creating â??evil.â??Everywhere else in the OT, the same word is translated as "evil" or "bad". Are newer translations obfuscating the meaning of this verse by translating it as "calamity" instead of "evil"? Apologists claim the stories of women as witnesses of the empty tomb and resurrection appearances canâ??t be fabrications since testimony was not accepted from women. But might women characters have been made up since they couldnâ??t have been physically able to roll away the stone and steal the body? Isnâ??t it true that we don't have witnesses to the resurrection, we have (contradicting) stories about (likely unreliable) witnesses to the resurrection? You always talk about people using the Bible as a ventriloquist dummy. Would you say that (some) liberal judges do that with the U.S. Constitution?

The Bible Geek Podcast 17-019
May 31 2017
Could Jesus have fasted for 40 days if he did it the way Copts do today; eating after sundown? Might Markâ??s pericope â??Leaven of the Phariseesâ?? (Mark 8:13-21) be rebuking Jewish Christian readers for not accepting Pauline doctrine? How tenable is the Christian worldview with the Arts, since so much of it is predicated on the world being sinful? Someone contended that theology has not advanced at all in the last 100 years. But is that true? Please comment on the Orthodox Church. Why was Noah needed to save the human race when at least one other man, the righteous Enoch) had the credentials to stay God's wrath? And why did Enoch not die but Noah does? Was Terah was alive or dead when Abram left Haran? If it does imply he died than the math doesn't add up. Why does Abram pray only at groves of trees? Though Lot tells his family to flee the city, he himself lingers. Why? In Genesis 24:24 Rebecca answers the servant, â??I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Micah, whom she bore to Nahor.â?? Did people really introduce themselves in such a grotesquely long manner? In Gen. 31:13 how can the God of Bethel be the God of Abraham & Isaac when this same God of Bethel was with Jacob this whole time? In Gen. 35:1 God tells Jacob to go to Bethel to the God who appeared to him and make an alter. Doesn't this imply polytheism? In Gen. 39:9 how could a slave actually be greatest in the house? In Gen. 39:22-23 how does a prisoner end up being in charge of the prison essentially? In Gen. 40:8, why would they seek an interpreter of dreams in a dungeon to begin with? Is the point of the Joseph story to urge Jews to live as â??a light unto the Gentilesâ??? How come in Mark 13 Jesus does not know the time of the End but in Revelation he does?

The Bible Geek Podcast 17-018
May 21 2017
If the gospels are not trustworthy historical accounts of Jesus, what did the early church fathers think they were talking about? Ignatius is said to have been a disciple of the Apostle John; surely Ignatius would know the real truth behind the gospel narratives, and therefore not treat them as being true accounts? 1 Samuel 5:9 of the Douay-Rheims translation adds to the end of the story of the hemorrhoid plague in Gath: â??And the Gethites consulted together, and made themselves seats of skins.â?? What is the manuscript evidence for this? Was there a real point to the testing of Jesus in the desert? Re Luke 19:23-28, I have always read the line â??Bring hither, and slay them before me,â?? as meant to be spoken after the close of the parable; in other words, by Jesus in his own voice, and not Jesus as narrator. What do you think? In your opinion, who is The Beloved Disciple? I have heard that Philo of Alexandria and Paul knew one another. If so, doesn't this lend credence that Paul's Jesus is in fact the celestial Jesus to which Dr. Richard Carrier attests? What are the odds that the Paul of "The Acts of Paul and Thecla" is closer to the real Paul than the one portrayed in "Luke/Acts" Dr. Natalie Houghtby-Haddon said that many scholars think the apocalyptic aspects of Jesus probably weren't applied to him until the fall of Jerusalem in 70, and thus would not have been a part of any historical Jesus' message or ideology. Does that sound correct to you? Could you recommend a book or books that do a good job explaining the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and any other groups or subgroups: where they come from, what they believed and practiced, how influential they seemed to have been and with whom, etc.?

The Bible Geek Podcast 17-017
May 16 2017
How could a copyist, seeing a body of text in the center, and notes in the margins, possibly confuse the two and combine them in his own copy? Would such things not be clearly delineated in ancient manuscripts? What about Michael S. Heiserâ??s Reversing Hermon: Enoch, the Watchers, & the Forgotten Mission of Jesus Christ, which, e.g., argues that 1 Corinthians 11:10 means to warn prophesying women to cover themselves lest they attract the lustful leer of evil angels who might beget in them a new race of Nephilim? Do you think that at least some of the NT authors believed that Jesusâ?? death provided salvation for every creation? Was Paul seeking theological approbation from the Pillars, thus acknowledging their superiority? Is it possible that universal education (including girls!) in the 3 Rs was available to Galileans? Â Is it possible that Paul and Mohammed were working from the same source tradition that Mary, mother of Jesus, was Miriam, sister of Moses and Jesus was Joshua? Q and Thomas don't have a passion narrative, being merely lists of sayings. Does this imply that some Christians knew nothing of his death? How could Jesus have been fully human yet avoid all sinning? In your opinion which political philosophy would "Christianity" most be applicable to? I recently read "Is Lucianâ??s 'On the Death of Peregrinus' a Satire on Marcion?" by Hermann Detering and would like to hear your thoughts about Deterings speculations. Might the figure of Jesus have had such a sway on the imaginations and emotions of so many people throughout history because of his malleability, his dialectical ability to include opposites? In "The Synoptic Apocalypse (Mark 13 par): a document from the time of Bar Kochba" Hermann Detering claims that Mark 13:14-19â??s use of the phrase "when God created the world" is a refutation of the Gnostic and Marcionite belief that the Demiurge, not the most high God and the father of Christ, created the material world. What are your thoughts? Are there any instances in the NT of early Christians praying to a goddess?

The Bible Geek Podcast 17-015
May 06 2017
What do you make of William Klassenâ??s attempt to minimize the connection between the Matthean Judas story and Zechariah? If the Dead Sea Scrolls really do come from the 1st or 2nd century BCE but they are referring to John the Baptist & Jesus, doesnâ??t that imply they were earlier figures â??updatedâ?? after â??Christianityâ?? had caught on? Might â??Jesus Christâ?? have been a title or a role, not an individual? What do you think of the hypothesis that Christianity was invented by the Flavians in an effort to create a tamer, more peaceful, version of the Messiah prophecy, more friendly to Rome? Are there any attempts by Christian scholars to prove the existence of Jesus Christ by using philosophical arguments? Apologists often insist that Suetonius is speaking about Christians because even during those times up to the current modern Greek speaker, "Î?η" which is pronounced as long "e", and "Î?ι" sound the same. Is their argument valid? Might Suetonius, in his Life of Claudius, be talking about Gnostics being expelled from Rome? If John was reworking the creation story in Genesis 1 might his equivalent to the division of the waters via the firmament be Jesus calling â??Peter the son of Jonahâ?? (John 1:42), the prophet who was held in the body of a great beast in the Deep for three days before being spit out on land? Can you supply any insight into the ancientsâ?? concept of heaven? On your March 20 podcast you suggested that eliminating the ego leaves one dead for all intents and purposes. Have you considered that, since matter and energy cannot be destroyed, our atoms go on into another form after death?

The Bible Geek Podcast 17-014
Apr 28 2017
Is the depiction of Jesus in the Catacombs valid archaeological evidence for the historical Jesus? How does the absence of Nazareth in any first century contemporary writings, including Flavius Josephus relates to the late date of the gospels? If Nazareth didn't exist just yet during the time Jesus lived, why would the gospel writers pick a non-existent place to begin with? Does the place Nazareth relate to cults the Mandeans and Nazoraeans? Isnâ??t it a sign of Mythicism when Christ is called â??the firstborn of the dead,â?? contradicting all the stories of his raising Lazarus, et al., as if there were as yet no such stories? What did the NT Christians think they were being saved from? Hell? In light of Revelation 1:1, how do the Christians who believe Revelation is describing events that are happening today or will happen in the future defend their theories and dogmas? While there may be objections to drunkenness in the Proverbs, isnâ??t it the critics of the drunks who come off badly in the stories of Noah and Lot? From my understanding, after the Exile, the Hebrew religion had a major shift from a polytheistic Canaanite religion to the monotheistic Yahweh cult. Was that transition made in an effort to make the Hebrew captives more "acceptable" to their overlords? Can we also see Christianity as an effort to make Second Temple Judaism into something more acceptable to the Romans? If Jesus began as a non-Jewish myth, why such an effort to make Jesus Jewish in the gospels?

The Bible Geek Podcast 17-013
Apr 14 2017
When did the phrase "word of God" come to be associated with the Bible? Whatâ??s the deal with the King James Only movement? The Trees of Knowledge and of life were set aside for the gods. Humans were exiled from Eden and prevented from partaking. But the Serpent already has knowledge and is not condemned to die, unlike Adam & Eve. Nor is he said to have been excluded from Eden. Doesnâ??t all this imply he was one of the gods? Why were Enoch, Jubilees, etc., excluded from the Bible? Did any eastern religious ideas end up in Christianity? Is organized religion just an elaborate scam? In view of the incantational use of words printed in all caps in the Greek Magical Papyri, might Gal 6:11 denote occult purposes? Can you account for the variation in the saying about how to pray, in which there seems to have been a variation in using 'Holy Spirit' (in Marcion and early Luke) and 'Rule of God' (in Matthew and later Luke)?. Why were the important prayers â??Abba Your Name be Hallowedâ?? and â??Your Will be Doneâ?? left out in Marcion and Luke as well as the texts surrounding the prayers? Is the story of the â??hanging upâ?? of Saulâ??s male relatives in 2 Samuel 21:8-10 a neglected case of human sacrifice in the OT? By making Jesus the generated son of the Almighty, does not the Christian mythology rule out his being the Davidic Messiah? God, after all, is certainly no descendant of David. Is the â??synagogue of Satanâ?? reference in Revelation a reference to Paulinst congregations of so-called Jews? An alternative interpretation of the Absalom story.

The Bible Geek Podcast 17-012
Apr 04 2017
What of the similarity between Jesusâ?? being betrayed at super and Osirisâ?? betrayal at supper? Aren't the gospel writers tipping their hands when they proclaim that Jesus did such and such "to fulfill the scripture"? Prophecy is supposed to be predictive, not prescriptive.� You do not do a thing because it was predicted, but rather it was predicted because it is what you will do.� If we somehow could confirm that Jesus did really did get resurrected and we found that he was really the son of God, would what is written in the Old testament make any sense? Do you think the religious right if they ever do get religion and the bible back in public schools would be happy without their specific denomination's teacher teaching their child the bible/about god? � Does 1 John 3:1-2 substantiate the Mormons believe that God was once like man, and that we are on the path to God hood ourselves?� Has someone assembled a color-coded version of synoptic gospel texts to indicate which passages are midrash/parallels/citations/allusions to Hebrew scripture? It seems to me that the NT-as-OT-midrash� claim applies most aptly to the gospels, and then most clearly to the synoptics� specifically.� Do you agree? Why do we think the Judeans didn't write anything on tablets during or after exile? Why did the Marcionites adopt "Paul" as their theological founder? Also, why did the emerging 2nd century Catholocism co-opt "Paul"? � In Genesis we read that God, the creator, rested on the 'seventh day.' Why, if this being is the timeless, limitless, mysterious Creator as per Christian theology? Animal sacrifices were omnipresent in the ancient religion, in both Jewish and Hellenistic culture. But Christians changed that. To what do we owe this prohibition?

The Bible Geek Podcast 17-010
Mar 19 2017
The early Christians seemed completely absorbed with the coming of Christ, and weren't interested in taking part in rebellions against the Roman state. How does this compare to the character of Jesus in Luke, who tells his disciples to sell their cloaks to buy swords? Was Wellhausen correct that the Jubilee law originated after the Exile as a way to allow the so-called returnees to claim land in Palestine as their own, long lost, inheritance? Could you discuss the various Atonement theories and terminologies and lay out some differences? The â??Open Theismâ?? view of Greg Boyd would get fundamentalists out of some tight spots but it seems to really take Yahweh down a notch or two. What are your thoughts and do you think this view can be squared with the Bible? God in essence replaces both the High Priest (Eli) and the King (Saul) with people that arenâ??t their proper successors (Samuel and David respectively) because they have displeased Him in some way. Do you think this could be a theological plot device to set the reader up for the eventual Assyrian destruction of the Northern Kingdom and the Babylonian Exile, a way of saying, â??Yep, even though you're Godâ??s anointed, if you cheese him off in the right way youâ??re done for.â?? Am I seeing a pattern where there is none or might I be onto something here? Is your only beef with the NRSV the gender inclusive business or do you have other gripes with it? Is the Arminian reading of Romans 9; that it deals with the â??predestinationâ?? of groups, not of individuals, plausible? Isnâ??t Calvinism more or less Gnosticism? You say that prominent figures in the Old Testament were originally celestial deities later rewritten as humans, for instance, Elijah, or Samson. What would have prompted people to take these existing sun gods, or moon gods, and write them into stories as humans? How could Jesus, as God incarnate, have asked God why he had forsaken him?

The Bible Geek Podcast 17-007
Mar 06 2017
Has anybody done a study of the Luke-Acts theology of the Holy Spirit and baptism? Do you think John the Baptists leaping in the womb by the holy spirit is a indicator that infants should be baptized? Do you think the eschatology of Matthew and the book of revelation is consistent? Do they share a common source? Might Judas have ratted out Jesus in the belief he was helping ignite a messianic, apocalyptic overthrow of Rome? Is uncertainty the price of building oneâ??s own scholarly synthesis, or is it essential to it? Is Mark 12:35-37 actually denying Jesusâ?? Davidic lineage? Besides, as the royal heir, wouldnâ??t the messiah have to be the firstborn son of the firstborn son all the way back, not just somebody with Davidic DNA? You have stated your belief that the story of Jesus cursing the fig tree is an infancy story transplanted into the life of the adult Jesus. But were there infancy gospel tale already in Markâ??s day? Mark isn't above showing Jesus as a magician (fingers in ears, spittle on tongue / eyes, magic word "ephphatha," etc.) and even as an imperfect magician (seeing trees instead of people). Maybe the fig tree tale originally had him (or some other magician) casting a spell on the tree to bring forth fruit out of season, and then castigating it when his spell fails. Any thoughts on Martin Scorsese's Last Temptation of the Christ? Why hasn't there been a proper Job movie? Would you give an overview of how many different religions are promoted by the New Testament?

The Bible Geek Podcast 17-005
Feb 10 2017
Is it possible that the â??young menâ?? who grabbed hold of the fleeing â??young manâ?? in Gethemane (in Mark) were the basis of the hypothetical â??12 legions of angelsâ?? in Matthew? What are your thoughts on Danielâ??s 70 weeks prophecy that apparently was fulfilled by Jesus to the day? And if we are to imagine that Jesus actually was a historical figure could he hit have self-fulfilled this himself? Since so many denominations of Christianity claim they are saved by grace alone, how do Christians get around all the works righteous passages? How do you suppose Lutherans are able to keep Lutherâ??s treatise "On the Jews and their Lies" under wraps? When Luke says "Jesus was the first to rise from the dead" in Acts, is he talking about rising out of hell, which is what I've heard at least one apologist say, or did he actually mean the first to rise from the dead, forgetting about all of the previous folks that were raised in the OT and the people Jesus raised himself? Why is liturgy important, and also, why are there seasons to the church year, like Advent, Lent, Pentecost, and so on? I recently read your article â??Was Jesus John the Baptist Raised from the Dead?â?? How have your thoughts about this idea changed since you wrote the article? What type of reaction have you received from other critical scholars? It's my understanding that Marcion believed in the dual Gods like the Gnostics and that Jesus was sent by the "Good" God as a spiritual entity. He felt that Paul was Godâ??s chief apostle and Marcion collected Paulâ??s letters into a canon. In my opinion this is damning evidence that Marcion felt Paul believed in a spiritual Christ and not a human one, i.e. Mythicist's are right! Why do you suppose Matthew, writing for a Jewish audience, does not mention the circumcision of Jesus but Luke, writing for a Gentile audience, places it at the proper 8th day? Seems to me it would be the opposite of this. Could you talk about the Gabriel Revelation stone?

The Bible Geek Podcast 16-031
Dec 18 2016
Are Yahweh and Allah supposed to be the same deity? Might early Christians have believed Jesus and John the Baptist were both messiahs? Might James the Just and John the Baptist be identified with the brothers James and John in the gospels, the so-called â??sons of Zebedeeâ??? Do we have any non-Biblical, non-controversial examples of scribes interpolating rejoinders to the text into the texts? Is there an anachronism / error in the Parable of the Talents where one servant is told that he should have at least invested the money so that the master could have earned some interest, instead of burying it for safe keeping? I was under the impression that charging interest on a loan was not allowed in the bible. Often people cite the bible for vegetarianism and veganism, but when Jesus drove the demons into swine and thus off the cliff Matt 8:31, was Jesus in effect a butcher? Biblical scholars before the 1970s considered the Old Testament character of Moses as a historical figure. Was it a â??Professional Tabooâ?? to seriously question Mosesâ?? historicity prior to this period? Was it the same way that today it is taboo to question the historicity of Jesus? How do we know Jesus spoke Aramaic? Does Hebrews 9:27 rule out reincarnation? Someone commented: "Price takes the outdated dying-and-rising god theories of James G. Frazer seriously.â?? What do you think of his response? Wouldn't a New Testament vs. Lovecraft Mythos Annual be at least plausible? What is the difference between an apostle and a disciple? Assuming that Paul was writing about a celestial instead of a historical Jesus, what did the word "Apostle" mean to him? I'm wondering how the idea developed that the nation of Israel had been delivered out of Egypt. We know from archaeological evidence that key parts of the biblical narrative concerning Israel in Egypt never happened, but the Old Testament is full of references to deliverance from Egypt anyway.

The Bible Geek Podcast 16-026
Oct 20 2016
What are your thoughts on the Parable of the Talents, and could you offer me a more erudite, exegesis, than my Sunday school teacher gave? Are the stories of Saul and Ahijah parallel, and if so is it an intentional parallel to establish continuity in the pre-Omride rulers of the north? Or is it, as I suspect, the merging of two different legends who had similar stories told about them in a less nationalistic tribal past in the north. Care to comment on when and where you think the monotheistic idea came from? I think Jerusalem represented by Aaron and Moses were priesthoods of different gods. Moses represents a priesthood of the snake god Nahushtan/Leviathan and perhaps even a remnant of a cult of Set that remained in Canaan after the Bronze Age collapse and the withdrawal of Egypt during the 13th century BCE or so. Aaron then is the Yahwistic priest who represents the more rural Jerusalemite/Jebusite/Melchizedek priesthood that overtakes the snake cult with their bull god sometime around the end of the northern kingdom. Is that a fair interpretation of the evidence do you think? Why do mainstream critics reject the notion that the whole Jesus story is rewritten from the Old Testament? Has anyone proposed that the religious leaders had the soldiers steal the body of Jesus and destroy it to keep people from worshipping it (e.g. Lenin) or hiding it and then saying it was risen? John 21:15-17 uses two different Greek words for â??love.â?? Does Aramaic have analogous pair of terms? And if not, what does this imply about the origin of the story?

The Bible Geek Podcast 16-023
Oct 17 2016
Michael Heiser suggests the gospel story of the raising of Jairusâ?? daughter (Luke 8) is intentionally drawn from the story of the death of Jephthahâ??s daughter (Judges 11), but with a happy ending. What about it? Why didn't the early copyists and redactors fix Matthewâ??s erroneous attribution of Zechariah 11 to Jeremiah? Might Revelation be envisioning the events of the Bar Kochba Revolt? â??Church of Christâ?? (HQed in the Philippines) insist that most of the translations of Isaiah 43 are corrupted when they read, â??I will bring your offspring from the east.â?? It should, they say, read â??from the far eastâ?? (cf., the Moffatt translation) because Isaiah is talking about the Philippines. Bogus, right? Why would a scribe (Eusebius?) choose Josephus to insert a forged passage about Jesus? Why not some other historian and writer like Philo of Alexandria? Why would anyone venerate an empty tomb? Lourdes gets something like 5 million visitors every year on so-called apparitions witnessed by schoolkids! Revelation 3:10 speaks of an hour trial about to come upon the whole world.â?? Sometimes this phrase seems to denote the Roman Empire in ancient usage. Could this Revelation passage be a rhetorical polemic against the Romans? Did Jesus have brothers? It would seem so since there is an allusion to James the brother of Jesus in Galatians, thus an actual firsthand testimony. Stephen H Smith shows how Mark evidences the structure of a dramatic tragedy. Is it reasonable to suggest that perhaps Matthew (or Luke) came first and then another author came along and attempted to rewrite those gospels into a script for a tragedy/closet drama; stripping out the long sections that we call Q material, because they interrupt the narrative flow?

The Bible Geek Podcast 16-022
Oct 16 2016
What is the impact on Christianity if the Pauline doctrines were merely the product of a temporal-lobe epilepsy sufferer? What do you think of the suggestion in The Mythology of Eden by Arthur and Elena George that the forbidden knowledge was really the awareness of the chaos of the primordial waters that existed prior to creation, the order of the world that Yahweh created, and the responsibility that humans would have to participate in keeping the chaos (i.e. evil) from entering back into the orderly world (i.e. good). Looking at Luke's nativities of John and Jesus, I wonder if there's a connection between the quasi-simultaneous miraculous births of John and Jesus (Elizabeth barren, Mary a virgin) and the conception of Castor and Pollux? Is Peter denying Jesus three times another instance of making Jesus a new/better Elijah/Elisha/Moses? Isnâ??t Richard Dawkins right in claiming that "theology isn't even a subject"? How might one reconcile Lena Einhornâ??s theory with mythicism? Though Acts has Paul surviving a viper bite on Malta, prior to the fourth century there is no evidence of Christianity there, nor did any species of poisonous snakes ever inhabit the Islands! Wouldn't everyone in Heaven be terribly depressed and horrified at all times because of what they knew was happening to their loved ones who didn't check the right theological box? What do you think of Michael Heiserâ??s explanation of Exodus 4:24-26? Cain was avenged seven-fold; Tubal-cain was avenged seventyseven-fold, and Jesus forgave seven times seventy. Is there anything in the new testament that isn't "my scripture's bigger than your scripture"? Were Elijah and Elisha really two separate characters, or is it possible we're seeing a doubling as in twice-told tales of Genesis?

The Bible Geek Podcast 16-021
Oct 14 2016
Have The Christ Myth by Arthur Drews (1910) and Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions by TW Doane (1882) been superceded? Where have all the Deists gone? Do the numerous Moses-Jesus parallels imply that Moses was already viewed as a Messiah? Irenaeus in his Against Heresies (III,11.1) says, "John, the disciple of the Lord, preaches this faith, and seeks, by the proclamation of the Gospel, to remove that error which by Cerinthus had been disseminated among men..." What he is saying here is that John was written after to refute Cerinthus which is one smoking gun for the late date of John. There are scholars before and now that contend that it is the case and that John was the judaized and historicized version of Cerinthus' gospel. Are there any scholarly attempts to reconstruct the Cerinthus gospel just like scholars before and now have reconstructed Marcion's gospel of the lord which is being called as the "ur-lukas"? Can we consider the Cerinthus gospel as an "ur-john"? If 1 Corinthians 15:3-11 is not an interpolation, does it really back up the gospelsâ?? Easter stories? The listed appearances sound more like visions, while the rest of the chapter seems to understand the resurrection of Jesus as spiritual rather than physical. Is Mark 16:9-20 more Marcionite or Gnostic? Are the â??hate your familyâ?? passages in the gospels a reflection of the period when the Early Church Fathers are battling the heresies of Gnosticism? Reading the apocryphal "Life of John the Baptist" text recently, I noticed a present-tense reference to Theophilus, who identified as being in office. Is this the same Theophilus mention in Luke, eh? Is it reasonable to suggest that the Passion narratives are not meant to implicate and condemn Jews but rather to say that all humanity must be depraved if even the best of them, Jews, could be so blind to the truth? Iâ??m curious to hear what you might have to say about Lena Einhornâ??s new book, â??A Shift In Time: How Historical Documents Reveal the Surprising Truth about Jesusâ??? Are there links between the NT passages and Isaiah 65, which mentions eating unclean pigs and living in tombs? Is there a correlation between one not being able to look at the face of God and not being able to stare directly at the sun? Is the Deuteronomic prohibition of cross-dressing the product of the ancient Israelite taxonomies discussed by Mary Douglas?

The Bible Geek Podcast 16-020
Oct 10 2016
I can't recall exactly where I got this inchoate understanding of the history of the Jesus thing; I believe it was from you or Carrier. Basically, this ill-formed understanding is that people believed that Jesus had done his thing during different times in history, with references in his stories that pinned him down to different historical periods, and those dates kept getting moved up. Is that the case? Was the Jesus mythology a wholly mutable east(sic), dancing forward through history until it got pinned down by scripture to the times of Herod and Pilate? Obviously, if that were the case, those are the sorts of documents that medieval Christians wouldn't bring forward to us, making it difficult to verify, but if it's the case, how do modern Christian cognoscenti deal with it? Do you have a suggestion on reading material that addresses the claim that Jesus fulfilled hundreds of messianic prophecies? You mentioned that Dan is excluded from the tribes in their enumeration in Revelation because Jewish scribes calculated that the antichrist would come from the tribe of Dan. Could you elaborate on this? Could you please outline the "Pantera is Jesus' father" theory and describe its strengths and weaknesses? What resources do you recommend for me as I prepare to do my own NT translation? Given all the hoopla about the Eucharist being a version of Passover, why if Jesusâ?? body represented by bread and not lamb chops? What sayeth the Geek? Was God bound by some rule that only a blood sacrifice could entitle him to forgive sins? Doesnâ??t this entail the Socratic Euthyphro dilemma? Were there factions that disagreed about faith vs works as they wrote it into the Bible, or is this just a minor contradiction that was made into a big deal by later factions? Did the superstition about 666 increase dramatically after The Omen movie? What is the meaning of â??the prince of the power of the air" from Eph 2:2?

The Bible Geek Podcast 16-015
Jul 24 2016
What do you think of the theory that, since in Romans 1:3-4 Jesus is said to become Godâ??s son via resurrection, and 1 Cor 15 says Christians will share that resurrection, hence sonship, thus becoming Jesusâ?? fellow-sons, brothers, that James the brother of the Lord simply means James was a martyr awaiting resurrection? You once proposed the formation of a modern secular Lyceum. I was fascinated by the idea, and wondered if you could expound on it. Is there any possible basis to the crazy-sounding theory that the Canaanites deserved to be exterminated since they were the offspring of demons and mortal women? What do you make of John w21:1:19, in which Jesus speaks of love as "agape" and Peter uses the word "philea"? Eisenman says that Paul was a Herodian and created a version of Christianity aimed at discrediting James-Christianity. Why would he go to that trouble? Why not just argue against it? Did the judaizing/historicizing efforts of emerging Catholicism invent the concept of the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, or can this concept be traced to nearby pagan religions? Ignatius's Epistle to the Ephesians says that "as [Christ] represents the mind of the Father, so our bishops ... represent the mind of Jesus Christ." Thus the "conduct and practice" of church members should correspond with the mind of their bishop. Certainly this seems to place Christ lower in the hierarchy than the Father, doesn't it? Either that or it seems to indicate the bishops actually have insights into the mind of the Father, through Christ, in which case it seems to raise the bishops' stature. Is there any religious practice, either in an early Christianity, competing mystery school, or other religion from the time where the transmission of holy power is as described in John 20:22, through breathing it out onto the assembled devotees? Do you have any idea how the book of Luke can end so nicely and the book of Acts end like a television series does when the budget is cut without notice?

The Bible Geek Podcast 16-014 Part 2
Jun 29 2016
It seems awfully bold of Moses to step in to thwart Yahweh's punishments upon Israel. Does the author intend to elevate Moses to such a level, almost like an equal to Yahweh? Moses just can't stand by and watch Yahweh hold the whole people accountable for the transgressions of a few; isn't that literally the founding premise of Christianity? No synagogues in Galilee? What if the word simply denoted â??meetingsâ??? Might â??Mosesâ?? have been a â??sanitizedâ?? version of Ramses II? What does it mean, in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus chastises his disciples three times for sleeping. Jesus was mad because they weren't "keeping watch," and because of this they also risked "falling into temptation"? In Paul's 'authentic' letters, does he truly feel Jesus is equal to God? By â??Christâ?? does he mean â??Jewish Messiahâ?? or just a proper name? How would James the Just, if he were brother of Jesus the Galilean, become high priest, since he would be of low birth and a Galilean to boot? How can we think he has ANY relation to the Jesus of the New Testament? Do you think that the author of Acts had read the epistles? If so, why are there such blatant contradictions between his story and the epistles? Is this a viable interpretation? "And he {the man} honored Jesus. And the daemon departed from him {the boy}. And the boy was cured from that very hour." What is known about the Christians immediately following the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension? When Pharaoh's magicians pulled off their "secret arts", where did the source of the magic come from? If God outlaws idols, why did he tell Moses to build one: the Brazen Serpent? Lee Stroebel claims there is an overwhelming number of sources "proving" the Biblical story of Jesus is true. How do apologists get away with such claims? Was the Jesus mythology a wholly moveable feast, dancing forward through history until it got pinned down by scripture to the times of Herod and Pilate? How do modern Christian cognoscenti deal with it? Do we know Pliny is referring to Jesus when he says Christians sing hymns to â??Christâ??? Is there really any important difference between Christ Mythicism and the idea that a human Jesus became largely mythologized? What do you think of the often heard Christian theological idea that Jesus' mission included personally living a life fully in accordance with the (Jewish) law so (essentially) we don't have to? Was baptism any part of Jewish law or practice? How could Matthew have been a learned Jew if he failed to recognize the poetic parallelism in Zechariah 9:9? Does Mythicism depend upon a conspiracy theory?

The Bible Geek Podcast 16-013
Jun 10 2016
In Revelation one of the churches is congratulated for resisting the teachings of a false apostle, is that a veiled reference to Paul? What do you think of The Complete Jewish Bible? Does non-orthodox Messianic Judaism change anything about what you've learned or studied or what conclusions you have produced? Any thoughts on LA Marzelli, "The Watchers, and the "seed of the Nephilim"? If the Tower of Babel produced diversity in language, than what produced diversity of race (color/bone structure, etc)? What is referred to by â??the branch of the Lordâ?? in Isaiah 2? Might Psalm 71:20 be referring to resurrection at all or is it more likely they only denote that Yahweh helps the righteous when their down and brings them back up on their feet? What do you think about the theory of R.G. Price that the young man in Mark 14:52, based on Amos 2:16, forms the culmination of three Markan allusions to Amos, the others being 2:6 and 2:12? Couldnâ??t we solve a lot of source-critical puzzles if we posited that â??Qâ?? was first an expansion of Mark? Where does Paul explains how remembered oral communications from Jesus were subject to distortion, substitution, and deletion of meaning, not to mention that any concepts communicated were bound within the context of language, unlike his teaching, based on a direct, non-linguistic transmission of information directly from Jesus? Doesn't a blatantly provocative, vulgar and literal image like a crucifix lend itself to not merely state sanction, but enforcement? When did this image become common?

The Bible Geek Podcast 16-011
May 07 2016
What are some core books you would suggest to supplement a read-through of the whole Bible? Since Genesis 5 begins with the line, "This is the book of the generations of Adam," might this chapter have once been its own book? Does Genesis 5 offer a third creation story, or perhaps an alternative continuation of the second creation account that ignores the Cain and Abel story? Are there more extrabiblical stories of Seth out there, similar to the various apocrypha and apocalypses centered around Adam? I s there is any etymological connection between the Biblical character of Seth and the Egyptian god Set? Could canonical Luke be later than John? Suggestions on numerological coded messages re Mary Magdalene, Jesus, David, etc. How common is the error of thinking that "Lord of Hosts" refers to communion wafers? Can you offer any insight into Stoicism and its presence in the Bible? Might the Parable of the Shrewd Manager be Gnostic meaning that "Even if you don't have the gnosis, at least go ahead with ecclesiastical Christianity, because that's better than nothing"? What's your interpretation of the story of David and Goliath? What is the proper pronunciation of erudite/erudition? Could you expand on your theory that Hegesippus is actually just Josephus? What do you think of theories that Josephusâ??s work was reworked or even commissioned by a cabal within the Flavian household and instrumental in the creation of Christianity? Are traditions like Gnostic mystical pantheism gone from modern Christianity? Some translations of Matthew 18:22 say "seventy-seven times," others "seventy times seven." Which is more accurate translation? Could you please explain why the translators of the LXX changed the order of the Hebrew Bible and then also added more books to the canon? If Simon Magus is the basis for the "historical" Paul, does any of the material in the Pauline Epistles go back to the mid-to-late 1st century, even if it's in a garbled form? If all the Gospels are comparatively late, wouldn't we expect a great deal more "Pauline" influence even in Mark?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-010
Apr 21 2016
Where do the mythologies surrounding the Roman soldiers Longinus and Tiberius Pantera come from? The Yezidis say Satan fell but then was redeemed and restored to his place. Might we consider him a Dying and Rising God? What might the Yazidi faith have to tell us about the origins of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity? What are your thoughts about Vesuvius being a basis for Revelation 8? Why are New Years and Christmas a week apart? Is the reference to Lilith in Isaiah retrofitted to be a name, or is the translation into "screech owl" in the King James a deliberate obfuscation? On a recent Bible Geek, there was a suggestion that boiling a kid in its mother's milk could be a reference. Can you provide a recap of books of the New Testament where multiple books have, or are purported to have, the same author, and is that actually the case? Jesus makes it clear that it is not what we eat that makes us unclean but what comes out (Mark 7:18-23). Does this conflict with Leviticus 11? Does 1 Timothy 4:3? Is it possible that the Mark passage is a reflection of the Gnostic dietary laws? Matthew says Joseph of Arimathea was a disciple of Jesus. Luke says he did not consent to the vote to condemn Jesus. Do these differences imply reliance on earlier oral traditions? Can you explain the ancient belief in two messiahs and how it may be reflected in the NT? If the canonical Pauline epistles were heavily interpolated, why did Marcion seemingly not have access to the originals? Or do you think he did?

The Bible Geek Podcast 16-004
Feb 15 2016
Can Karl Popper's philosophical analysis that all induction is "deductively invalid" and strict reliance on falisification be applied to the question of the historicity of New Testament material? Is the Jehovah's Witnesses idea correct that "Jehovah" is the actual name of God, and everything else, including "Yahweh," are merely titles? Bible Geek standup comedy. What is the OT minimalist understanding of 40 years of wandering in the desert? In Luke 2:1, the shepherds hear that Bethlehem is the "city of David"; wasn't that supposed to be Jerusalem? When did people begin to refer to their canon as the "Bible," rather than "scriptures"? Can you explain the significance of R. G. Collingwood's The Idea of History, and its impact on Biblical studies? Is G. R. S. Mead's theory that Marcionites followed Chrestus, not Christos, valid? Are there any 1st century examples of literature similar to the Gospels, i.e., historical fictions about known mythical figures? When was December 25th established as Jesus' birthday? What are the differences between a theophany and an avatar? Does sorcery require a powerful magic or intention to work, or are just the words enough? Is it possible that Luke's and Matthew's nativity stories were specifically written as polemic against an early version of the Toledoth Jeschu? Thus, neither based on Christian traditions in common? Doesn't the gradual pruning of the branches of Christianity from many diverse sects to orthodoxy point more toward a mythical origin? Possible error: questioner cites R. G. Price: "The Gospel of Mark as Reaction and Allegory" ( as "The Gospel of Mark as Theological Allegory" (, found online, by Jonathan Rutherford. Why, if Jesus was not historical, did Christianity rise to such popularity? Multiple observations from the Trickster. When did the first signs of "supersessionism" of Christianity over Judaism appear and what was its history of progression? A recommendation for the Skeptic's Annotated Bible and website. Should the idea that high Christology requires a long development time, e.g., John's Gospel, also be applied to such Gnostic works as The Apocryphon of John, making such works much older in origin? Is the ICHTHUS symbol specifically Christian (acronym), not pagan, in origin? Are all religious figures euhermized historical individuals? Are the mentions of synagogues in the NT really an anachronism? Can you comment on the origin of Wisdom literature, how they became incorporated into the Tanakh, and why the chapter divisions seem so arbitrary? What is your perferred moniker? Can God be "artistically pictured" in a such a way that does not force corporeality on the viewer? Did visual arts affect the perceived historicity of Jesus for early Christianity? How does your mythicist theory differ from Richard Carrier's?

The Bible Geek Podcast 16-003
Feb 03 2016
Can you say something about the Greek words used in the NT for "spirit" and "ghost"? In the Salem Witch trials, the accused could not defend herself by saying she was nowhere the scene when someone claimed to be afflicted by her hex, because it was believed that a witch did not need to be there when it struck. Where would devout Puritans get such a notion? Are there any theories as to why the ancient Hebrews created a day of absolute rest? Have you heard anyone suggest that Abraham failed his test when God asked him to kill Isaac, because he was hoping Abe would use his free will and refuse? Is there real evidence to prove the Epistle of James is not really the work of James the Just? Might the two rival gospel genealogies reflect Mary's laiasons with two different guys named Joseph, one of the Jacob's son, the other Heli's? Has anyone ever researched how many prayers, myths, and stories took root in different cultures in antiquity? Why does everyone say John the Baptist called himself unworthy to tie Jesus' sandals? It says "untie"! Does the New Testament continue the Old Testament use of "feet" as a metaphor for that which YVHV demanded be circumcised? With such varied reporting of a trial of the most important figure in Christianity, how can it all be true? Also, does this prove that Mark's gospel was written first due the brevity of his trial narrative which then Matthew, Luke, and John embellished in their gospels? Is there any uncontaminated reminiscence of the belief system of Simon Magus? How likely is it that the Vatican does hold some of the ancient source material they worked so hard to suppress?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-058
Nov 14 2015
Revelation 1:1 seems to say that God gave the Revelation to Jesus to give to the church. Does this undermines any doctrine of Jesus' divinity, particularly the implications for his omnipotence, and oneness with the Father? Does Revelation 1:7 indicate a belief that Jesus is going to return during the lives of the people who actually executed him (Pilate, Caiaphas, etc.) or just a belief that the Jews would see him? Acts 19 says some Jewish exorcists who tried to imitate Paul's miracles were sons of a Sceva, "a Jewish High Priest." Were there numerous high priests at the same time? Is there any consistent position on eating meat offered to idols in 1 Corinthians? Might the Eden story enshrine a historical memory of the switchover from "Paleo" to agriculture? Luke 3:23 says, "So Jesus ... was the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli," Is the "(as was supposed)" supported by any of the manuscripts or is it a later addition added after Jesus had been raised to the status of the Son of God? Where do you and other scholars stand on the question of the authenticity of the James ossuary now? Are there any scholars on board with the claim that the Syriac Peshitta is the basis for Hebrew and Greek versions? With which (if any) of the Synoptic Gospels do you think "John" the evangelist was familiar? Is there anything to suggest that the Gnostics were better educated than the early "proto-orthodox" church, or were various early Christian groups literate and reading a range of materials? Philip K. Dick & Bishop Pike. How did the "good" thief know that Jesus was innocent?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-057
Nov 04 2015
In Exodus 1:8, we read about a change in Egyptian leadership from one unnamed pharaoh to another, "who knew not Joseph." So soon? Were there other pharaohs between them? Might the longevity of the Patriarchs be lingering after-effects of Adam & Eve sneaking a bite of the Tree of Life? Is it possible that Mt. Vesuvius was the inspiration for the apocalyptic material in Mark? How do you answer the anti-intellectual verses that suggest that you are suppressing the truth? Secondly, what are some of the major reasons that you reject the truth claims of the Bible and its followers? What are the similarities between Jesus and the Greco-Roman god Serapis? What do you know or suspect about where and for whom each Gospel (and, what the heck, any non-canonical gospels or other particularly interesting books that come to mind) was written? Eisenman argues that Paul attacked James in the 40s, and that this event became the model for the canonical stoning of Stephen. If this were true, how would that fit with Paul's statements in Galatians 1:18-19? Is there any parallel between the Jesus Christ of Revelation 22:16 and Lucifer the fallen angel? If Satan was such a minor figure in the Jewish religion and the Old Testament, and even at times an almost benevolent figure, how or why did he get to be such a major villain in the Christian religion? Since Satan doesn't fall from Heaven until right before J.C. is due for his Second Visit then just who in the hell are these unclean spirits/demons that pop up in the New Testament? Is there really a contradiction in Matthew 11 when John asks if Jesus is the Messiah after having already recognized Jesus when he had baptized him earlier in Matthew? Is there necessarily a contradiction between 1Cor 15:22-23 and Mark 12:18-27, the former saying that the dead will rise when Christ returns, while the latter says that at least some saints already live with God, e.g., Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Might Jesus mean simply that God remains their God and therefore will not leave them dead? Can you explain how Oneness theology and Trinitarianism originated and came to diverge? Valentinus believed in the tripartite nature of man, being made up of body, soul and spirit. Most evangelical Christians believe that the soul and spirit are interchangeable. But Paul speaks of these three separate parts of man in 1 Thessalonians 5:23. I know that Valentinus claimed to be a disciple of Theudas, one of Paul's own disciples. Do you think that Valentinus' strange anthropology is an indication that he may actually reflect Paul's theology more closely than the orthodox church? 1 Samuel 13:1, about Saul's age at his coronation, is variously translated as "one year," "was thirty years old," "was forty years old and a son of one year." What was the original intent of this verse? In his Church History Eusebius outlines his Christology. God is of two natures, Father and Son. Why no mention of the Holy Spirit and Trinity? Who divided scripture into all its chapters and verses? When was it done and how did the worldwide church all agree to adopt these divisions? Re: the possibility of Joseph moving Jesus from his tomb to the criminals' graveyard, William Lane Craig stated that according to Jewish law it was illegal for Joseph to use his family tomb as a temporary holding spot for Jesus. How would you answer this? What is your reasoning concerning the Jewish allegation that the apostles stole the body? What do you know about controversy around Genesis 4:1 implying God begat Cain? What's the most interesting development or revelation in Biblical scholarship/Biblical criticism to come out this year? Jesus and stepdad Joseph are referred to in English bibles as carpenters, but the Koine Greek term is 'tekton', which I believe has a more general meaning of a skilled craftsman or builder. Is there a Koine Greek word specifically for carpenter, which was oddly not used? Can you please provide a handy thumb-nail sketch of Macion's theology? The way some left leaning Christians speak about Christianity, it's as if the religion is about nothing but giving away everything to poor people. Are they correct? What is your opinion of the doctrine of Annihilationism? Are there any Bible Atlases that are particularly well done, or are so laughably wrong? If we don't believe what Acts tells us about Paul, what are the grounds for disbelieving that an individual by that name wrote several principle letters? He could be called Paul, Polycarp, or Paulycarp, for all it matters. Or is the point more to argue that no single person wrote any major portion of what has come down to us in the post gospel New Testament? If there was a mythical Jesus what do you think the point of the relatively short time on the cross is? And much more ...

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-055
Oct 28 2015
The possible origin of Matthew 27's resurrection of the saints in the Lotus Sutra. I hear a lot of claims of Jesus being similar or a copy of pagan gods, as well as rebuttals from others about these claims. What is your professional opinion of these claims? Is Eisenman's theory about James derived from Hyam Maccoby? Any thoughts on if there are any indisputable data we have about the historical Jesus? Possible allegorical interpretation of the miracle of loaves & fish. When Luke borrows the story of Jacob & Esau striving in the womb for use in his episode of the fetus John leaping in Elizabeth's womb at the approach of the pregnant Mary, are we meant to understand the Jesus, though younger than John, will usurp the right of the elder as Jacob did Esau? Why isn't Jesus named "Emmanuel"? I am wondering if you have ever heard of any scholar suggesting that The Acts of the Apostles was redacted from a shorter Acts of Paul, written by Marcion or Marcionites? Is there evidence for a violent Jesus? Mark's use of thematic sets of 3, 6, & 9 texts. Where did the risen Jesus get the clothes he was wearing? Should we assume that Revelation was written by a follower of Marcionite Christianity since the book talks about secret knowledge being passed on to favored disciples? What is the latest critical analysis on the author and time period of Revelations? Mad Men TV show as a parallel to the gospels' mixing of history and fiction. More on the Jesus artwork in the Jehovah's Witnesses publications. In Luke 1:32 the angel tells Mary how she will give birth to a son who will be the heir of David, even though she does not know a man. Doesn't that imply that Mary has David's blood? Is there any evidence that is anywhere near contemporary that Paul actually persecuted the Christians?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-053
Oct 21 2015
Can you discuss the zombie story in the Book of Matthew? I always thought that Acts of the Apostles didn't mention the Pauline Epistles because they were Marcionite (and Acts is anti-marcionite in nature). If you are saying that the author of Acts also wrote the Pastoral, then what reason would the author have to not mention the Pastorals within Acts? Hebrews 8:10-11 says, "I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts... And they shall not teach very man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest." Wouldn't this imply that proselytizing and preaching to the gentiles was against this covenant? "You have the right to work only, but never to its fruits. Let not the fruits of action be your motive, nor let your attachment be to inaction" (Bhagavad Gita 2:47). Is there a similar verse in the Bible? Wouldn't it have been more likely that Jesus would have been crucified on a tree? Is Noam Chomsky correct that the word "prophet" originally meant "dissident"? Might we not call one who believes Jesus existed but most of the stories are mythical a Jesus minimalist? What does it mean to say, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword"? In Lk 1:3, is Theophilus supposed to be a particular historical person? What do you know about the origin and the meaning of the belief that the world came into being "through" Christ? What translation of the Bible do you recommend for a critical reader?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-051
Sep 27 2015
Can you explain to me what's going on in Acts 8:14-16 with the Samaritans being baptized but not yet receiving the Holy Spirit? Of the various arguments presented by apologists to support the historicity and/or divinity of Jesus, which (if any) do you find the most difficult to challenge? Doesn't Gal. 2:14 mean that, just like Paul, Peter no longer observed the Law? If so, might not Peter have actually sided with Paul in opposing the Jerusalem church on this important issue? What are the "three things" that Jesus told to Thomas in Thomas saying 13? How do we interpret passages like Romans 1:3 and 1 Clement 32:2 if Jesus was thought of as a celestial being? If Jesus was not a historical person, why would there be so many failed predictions by Jesus in the gospels? The story of Noah appears twice in the OT. One of the differences that stand out is that the story in chapter 6 seems to have an inordinate amount of detail as per the size of the boat where the version in chapter 7 contains no such information. Did someone add the details to make the story seem more realistic? Is there a particular time when the covenant of works ended and the covenant of grace from Christ's death and resurrection started? Doesn't it seem that if certain sects or religions aren't left behind in a logical and rational manner, then the void created will be filled by something just as crazy? In a church play, Mary's father, upset at her pregnancy, suggests that the child's father must be "a man with stars on his eyes." Where might they have gotten this?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-050
Sep 25 2015
Juggling four theories on Simon/Peter/Cephas. In Genesis 19:14, depending on the translation, Lot's daughters are either married or about to be married. If they were in fact married and Lot's offer to the crowd consists of virgin daughters, could one draw the conclusion that the anger of the crowd stems from a feeling of Lot trying to fool them? Since he was a resident of the town the mob would probably know beforehand? What does the geek think? In Job 26:13, is the crooked serpent the constellation Draco, or is it the Milky Way? Moses marries a Midianite yet Israel fights the Midianites. What lies behind these seemingly contradictory stories? More about Philip K. Dick's gnosis! Would it be correct to say that Matthew and Luke agree on the timing of Jesus' birth but that Luke is just wrong in placing the census and reign of Quirinius at the time of his birth (Luke 2:1)? Might Marcion's gospel be the Q source? Is it possible that elements of both Simon Magus and Paul have been spun out of a single event, namely Marcion's attempt to win recognition with the early church, and that Simon Magus is the "bad" version and Paul is the comparatively "good" version? Does Genesis 15:13-16 mean that Yahweh wants to punish Egypt and the Amorites but to do this he first needs to have Abram's descendants suffer? An opponent assures me that form criticism is obsolete, and there are more modern alternative in use nowadays. What could he be referring to? Yet he thinks the Shroud of Turin is legitâ??huh? What's the deal with the common cultural concept that humans can become angels?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-048
Sep 20 2015
Do I understand your position correctly that the story in Genesis Chapter 3, about the serpent and the eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil by the man and the woman, is more about a conflict between two gods, Nehushtan and Yahweh with Nehushtan winning? The two lists of the descendants of Cain and Seth are almost identical, with similar or identical names appearing in much the same order. Is this just another example of two versions of the same story being told as if they were separate stories, as is so common in the bible? Also, could you recommend a book or books on Canaanite mythology? Differences between the Synoptic accounts of the healing of Peter's mother-in-law. So if we discard a historical Jesus, we also get to discard the Apostles, right? If God is supposed to be eternal and unchanging and outside of time, how do apologists square the circle and give him a changing, mortal, human nature that exists inside of time? What is the best order to read the OT books to get an understanding of the history of Israel it's trying to propose? Why are the crowd telling Bartimaeus to be quiet? Is it because he is calling Jesus the Son of David? Why the detail of throwing aside his cloak? Is the name a play on Plato's work Timaeus, and that Bartimaeus regains his sight when he throws away his philosopher's cloak, abandons, Platonism, and follows Jesus? John Allegro used the locations from the Copper Scroll from Qumran for several archaeological digs in the hope of finding treasure described in the scroll. While he did find the locations, in each case thieves had already made off with the loot. Given that some scholars posit that Jesus was part of the Qumran community, do you think Matthew 6:19-21 could be in response to his own sectarians? Where do you think the Marcionites would fit into Margaret Barker's Christian reconstruction? When Jesus mentions Abraham's Bosom in the story of Lazarus and the rich man, what is he (or his author) referring to? Isn't Jeremiah 20:14-18 a reference to abortion? Doesn't the Two-Source Hypothesis presuppose or imply Matthew and Luke's respective ignorance of one another since they differ most significantly in the narrative material not taken from Mark? If this is the case, doesn't this clash with the hypothesis of Polycarp as both the Ecclesiastical Redactor (or more to the point, Expander) of Ur-Lukas or Marcion's "Luke" and the compiler of a New Testament canon, as he would then have to be well aware of Matthew? I wonder if you could comment on the parable of the wedding banquet (Matthew 22:1-14).

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-044
Aug 27 2015
Why is an UNMARRIED couple traveling together as in Luke 2:4-5? What do you think of the argument that God speaking of "we" in Genesis is "the royal we"? What does that mean to have "little faith"? You suggested that Osama and Uthman are the same root name, but that doesn't seem to be true. In The Simpsons Reverend Lovejoy says the Bible does not allow us to go to the bathroom. Is there anything even remotely similar in the Bible? The Lemba should not be considered African Jews, at least not when compared to the Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jews) and the Falash Mura/Beta Abraham (Ethiopian Jews who converted within the last few centuries to Christianity). Is there any basis for the popular belief that, based on Psalm 46, Shakespeare helped translate the KJV? Is there any basis to the notion that the 12 disciples were young rabbinic school dropouts? Are there any church traditions related to the age of the disciples? What do you think is "early" for documents related to Jesus? Christians say God 1) loves mankind and cares for our eternal fate, 2) has issued rules we must follow to avoid damnation, and 3) possesses the absolute power to instantly and unambiguously convey these rules to each of us. Yet He gave His good news only to a dozen illiterate fishers and herdsmen in a remote desert tribe. We are then asked to believe He, in his compassionate power, oversaw the oral transmission, error-prone transcription, and fallible translation of contradictory gospels, leading to divergence and schism. What do you think? Is Genesis 27:5-25 a myth about a solar eclipse? The broad details of Abram going to Egypt during a plague, getting close to Pharaoh, being mixed up in some sexual impropriety, and God smiting the Egyptians with plagues (Gen. 12.10-20) is very similar to the descent of Israel to Egypt and of course the Exodus. Is it likely that this story of Abram was in time extrapolated to apply to the whole nation? What do you think of Madame Blavatsky's explanation of the rumor that Jews worshiped an ass-headed idol? King Herod asks the wise men when the star had appeared, so why doesn't Matthew tell us? Whence the notion of there being a trio of wise men? Why is Jesus called a "child" rather than a toddler once the wise men arrive? Could there have been another, older kid there? During the temptation of Jesus is Satan depicted as a villain? Whence the idea that Jesus was 30 years old? Why do none of the Egyptians seem to realize what's going on during the plagues? What are your thoughts about OT prophecies "of Jesus"? Why do Luke and Acts speak of both "the cross" and "the tree"? Just synonyms? Problems with the apologists' claim that "On that day you will surely die" means "On that day your eventual death becomes certain." Might the Nephilim of Genesis 6 have some connection with the Norse Niflheim? What do you make of Schmithals reading of 1 Cor 1:12? Is it possible that the John of Luke 1 and John the Baptist of Luke 3 are not the same Johns and that their conflation was accidental or half-accidental? Is it possible that Luke 1 was a later interpolation intended to establish the credentials of an early gospel writer named John? Is it possible that the Gospel of John was written specifically to capitalize on the reference to a prophet (not Baptist) John in Luke 1? Is it possible that Luke never meant to say that Jesus was born in a stable, since the underlying Greek word is kataluma, also used for the 'upper room' during the Last Supper?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-043
Aug 26 2015
What does it mean that Jesus compares John to a reed shaken by the wind and to a person dressed in soft robes? What if James's brother John is really John the Baptist? This would mean that John the Baptist was the Lord that Paul was referring to. This would make John the Baptist the historical Jesus. It was only at his resurrection that he was given the name Jesus or Savior (Phil. 2:9-10). What do you think? We're all familiar with nationalities being represented in the Bible by single characters, (e.g. Judas to represent Judeans as a people, but what about talking animals like the Eden snake or Balaam's ass? Or New Testament examples like the Four Heavenly Beasts? Doesn't the movie Flight Club have many elements of mystery religion initiation as well as with the anti-possessions stance of Cynicism? Suggestions about David Trobisch's theory on the Pauline letter collection. In the Prodigal Son story, what do you think is the purpose of designating the two as elder and younger? Is it possible that Matthew 19:12 was lifted directly from the Graeco-Phrygian god "Attis" who is depicted as a castrated god? Might the Markan Appendix be aimed at Hinduism? Doesn't it seem entirely reasonable for members of a faith to believe their own faith is the correct one, and that nonbelievers/non-practitioners would be wrong (and/or damned)? Which 4 heads should go on a Mount Rushmore of apologists? What's the difference between a "fundamentalist" and a "maximal conservative"?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-041
Aug 15 2015
Simon of Cyrene and the chiastic structure of Mark. What accounts for the hostility of members of different religions or even denominations of the same one? How likely do you think it is that there are still authentic yet archeologically undiscovered Biblical manuscripts? What differences would you expect from Canonical texts discovered from earlier periods than we currently have? If Matthew did not mean to present Jesus' birth as a miraculous virgin birth, how do you understand the angel's words to Joseph: "For that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit" (Mt. 1:20)? Should I tell what I know about biblical criticism in order to help prevent the kind of wreckage that religion is capable of causing? How would you explain to an evangelical Christian the scholarly quest for the historical Jesus? Were the saints that rose from the dead in Jerusalem during the crucifixion the result of the harrowing of hell? What if the Snake was originally the owner of the Garden of Eden and the one whom Adam & Eve disobeyed? Is the scarcity of the term "Christian" in the NT is a mark of the tests' very late date? More info on the origins of "knecht" and "knight." Was the Emperor Constantine definitively converted to Christianity or not? I've always heard that one enters heaven with a whole and complete body, whether it is physical or not, but doesn't Matthew 18:9 suggest that one can enter heaven with only one eye? We are willing to pull the plug on someone's life when that person is brain dead. Can't we use this same standard when judging an unborn child? If there was a Jesus, do you think he was crucified on a cross as opposed to a tree? At Caesarea Philippi, does Peter recognize the truth about Jesus or is he mistaken as usual? If the cherubs atop the Ark of the Covenant were depicted in sexual embrace, does this not imply Judaism was basically (or originally) a fertility cult? Is it reasonable to suspect that the author of Hebrews was a believer in Merkabah mysticism? Is it possible that the Essene community, expecting a Davidic Messiah to come after (the priestly Messiah), eventually created a mythical Jesus, perhaps rethinking the nature of the kingdom of God altogether?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-040
Aug 14 2015
Ephesians 1:3-14 constitutes one sentence. Is there a mnemonic trick for mentally processing these long passages the first time through? Are run-on sentences common in other Greek literature of the period? What would be The Geek's "central theme" to the bible? Was Tertullian correct in his report that the author of the Acts of Paul & Thecla was defrocked as a forger and his book debunked? Bart Ehrman says that the cult of St. Thecla was once so popular that it rivaled even with the cult of the Virgin Mary. What is the evidence for this? Is there any evidence the canonical Acts of the Apostles shared the encratite teaching found in the various Apocryphal Acts? Observations on same-sex marriage and Christianity. What are the sources about Jesus having a brother James? Is there a 'best qualification' to have in order to examine if Jesus existed? Is it best to be a Textual Critic? Apologists say that you can't test God, "God does not put on a show for you," but aren't these Bible passages in which God does this? Can we say the Noachian Flood is a metaphor for Baptism, the cleansing of sin by water? We have two incompatible genealogies for Jesus, so I suppose it's fortunate we have two Jesuses: Jesus ben Joseph and Jesus Barabbas. Why don't more mythicists point out that there is no evidence for the existence of various towns mentioned in the gospels? Analogies between the related concepts of Trinitarianism and Modalism and some elements of Quantum Field Theory.

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-039
Aug 10 2015
Did the Gnostics and the Mystery Religion initiates employ any secret way of communicating? How do apologists explain away anachronistic sayings in which Jesus is made to address or refute issues that arose in the early church? In the AMC series "Humans" I see a parallel with the creation of humans by the Archons in Gnosticism. Any relevance to actual Artificial Intelligence work? What stops apologists from going all the way and just saying the gospels came immediately after Jesus' death? Might the doctrine of perpetual virginity of Mary have been an attempt by the emerging church to prevent anyone else from one-upping their founding authority? Authority could not rest with the "brothers of the Lord" since there couldn't have been any! Is it possible that Luke felt the need to change Matthew's genealogy because of the curse given to Jeconiah that "no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling anymore in Judah" (Jer. 22:30)? If so, would this be proof that Luke was written after Matthew and was responding to it? Why did the Dead Sea Scrolls community insist on the use of the solar calendar instead of the lunar calendar used by the Pharisees and the Sadducees? In a recent episode, you were talking about prohibitions of divorce in the gospels but you indicated that while Mark and Luke appear to have no exceptions, they are not as strict as they appear. Why? How an infinite something could nonetheless have a boundary. Why do you think Luke may not have meant to tell us Jesus was the result of a miraculous conception? Natives of Madagascar practice a circumcision ritual wherein a 5 year old boy is circumcised, then a male member of the family must eat the severed foreskin ... off the end of a banana no less. Can this be a vestige of an unknown Jewish mission to Madagascar? Or may circumcision have been borrowed from Africa?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-038
Aug 06 2015
You've mentioned that Yahweh derived from Canaanite polytheism, and I wonder if you could go into further detail on the subject and provide a list of suggested readings. Do the archetypal names Adam ("man" or "mankind") and Eve ("mother of all living") mean that they were intended as mythic figures? Does Paul's language indicate he thought of Adam as an historical individual, and would that be common in first-century Judaism? What about Pharisaic Judaism is so at odds with the teachings of pseudo-Jesus? Why are fundamentalists so attached to the King James translation? Doesn't it matter that King James was gay? Is the information age going to be the death of religion (except maybe as literature)? There are 67 years between the death of Hezekiah through the reigns of Manasseh and Amon up to the time of Josiah finding the scroll of the Torah. Are we to believe that the inhabitants of Judah had completely forgotten the Torah in that 67 year period? You have said that there is no archaeological evidence to substantiate the Exodus story, but does the evidence show any movements at all in the Sinai? Might Irish monasticism have been influenced by the Desert Fathers of Egypt? What did Egypt represent for the Israelites in the Old Testament and then for the early Christians? Why did Judaism and its offshoots become dominant in the West rather than some modified form of the Egyptian religion? I was wondering if you could discuss the theology of Zoroastrianism, in particular the aspects that influenced Abrahamic faiths.

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-036
Jul 26 2015
What is a good source for understanding the polytheistic pre-Jewish religion? Did early Muslims have to syncretize or cater to multiple groups like early Christians did? Am I right in thinking that the Valentinian Gnostic Pleroma is a series of realities where concepts such as truth, peace, and justice exist in perfection and that the seeds imbued into our reality of the Pleroma are a mythological way of explaining why these concepts can only partially exist in our reality? J D G Dunn argued in defense of the historicity of the empty tomb account, saying that it is unlikely that a fabricated account would cast women as the central characters. Valid? Bart Ehrman that since book-ends of Jesus' career are apocalyptic (baptism by John at one end, followers who are apocalyptic at the other), it must be the case that Jesus himself was apocalyptic in his outlook. Do you agree? In the ancient world, salt was often not just impure but laced with dirt or deliberately cut with other things to add flavors. Sachets were made to filter the salt, and these were then dunked into water to be used to cook rather like tea bags are today. After some number of dunks, the result was a small sack of tasteless dirt, fit only to be trod into the earth. Does this lie behind the famous gospel passage of treading underfoot salt that has lost its savor? Have you heard it suggested that the story of Eden about explaining the need humans have to eat and excrete? That the snake in the story is the human alimentary canal?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-032
Jul 05 2015
Why was the Christ Myth so popular and how did it spread so quickly if it was totally untrue? If there had never been the teachings of Christ bringing a sense of the equality of souls, would we have the Declaration of Independence that brought a sense of equality before the law? Was the so-called "New Quest" for the Historical Jesus in the end colored by a sort of apologetics? In Genesis the Nephilim existed before the flood, yet it also shows them in Numbers, Deuteronomy, Amos and Joshua after the flood. How did they survive the flood? Are both groups related or did more angels go after humans girls after the flood? Are there any lost non-canonical Bible books you'd like to have known more about? I'm looking for initial chinks in the armor of biblical inerrancy that might get even the staunchest fundamentalist asking questions. Can you suggest some questions to ask them? What is the difference between saying "There is no God" and saying "God is dead"? Please discuss the idea of taking the Eucharist as an atheist. In what order might one read the Bible to reflect the development of biblical thought? Might the use of "ecclesia" or "flock" by later NT writers be an attempt to work out what is meant in remembered sayings using those terms to mean something like "sangha" in Buddhism? In view of the propaganda use of the Bible against gays and gay marriage, isn't a scientific, critical study of the Bible more urgent than ever? Which do you think is the older, the Jesus Movements or the Christ cults?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-030
Jun 30 2015
Was David an historical figure? Might he have originally been a great Psalmist later reinterpreted as a king? Might astrology have been condemned in Israel as unauthorized petitioning of guidance from angels ("stars") instead of God? Might L. Ron Hubbard's "Thetan" mythology have been derived from 1 Enoch? In the story of Jesus healing a man's withered hand (Matthew 12:9-13), might Jesus have been telling him to cast off the oppressing hand of a crippling demon? Was the story of Paul driving out a demon from the woman who followed him in Acts 16:16 structured as a kind of anti-parallel to the Gadarene demoniac of Luke? Does it suggest that there were diviners not directly associated with Christianity that were, nevertheless, accepted as inferior but still speaking by the spirit of God? Do you know anything about Watchman Nee and his present-day following? Is J.N. Darby's translation skewed by his (Dispensationalist) beliefs? What do you think of the various interpretations and translations of 1 Timothy 2:11-15? Might Mark's Messianic Secret texts (silencing the blabbermouth demons, etc.) have been derived from 1 Cor 2:7-8? What do you think of the philosophical position of igtheism, or ignosticism? Was the early Christian doctrine that sins could not be forgiven after baptism prevalent only among "orthodox" Catholics or was it more widespread? Where did it come from? Re the Supreme Court decision requiring all the states to perform and recognize gay marriages, what are your thoughts on the fears of many who don't accept gay marriage that the government will force them to act contrary to their religious beliefs? In Acts 2 and 4 it seems like the Christians in Jerusalem were practicing a kind of communal property and redistribution. What exactly is going on here? Was this only temporary? Was it only in Jerusalem?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-029
Jun 28 2015
What do you think of DM Murdock's book Did Moses Exist? The Myth of the Israelite Lawgiver, and her mythicist theories? Christine Hayes understands the story of Abraham's attempted sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis 22 as Yahweh realizing that humans who obey every command without thinking are just as bad as the ones who disobey every command. Have you heard this interpretation before? Is there a relation between "Ye are the salt of the earth" and the story of Uddalaka and his son in the Chandogya Upanishad? What do you make of the fact that both Mark's parable chapter and the Olivet Discourse are single, elaborate chiasms, whereas the rest of Mark is made of individual pericopes, each with its own chiasm? And why does Mark 4 use repeated hearing language, while chapter 13 has seeing language? Did Christianity contribute to the decline of the Roman Empire as Edward Gibbon says? Did alliance with a powerful Rome allow Orthodox Catholicism to triumph over rival Christian sects, or was it the decline of Rome that contributed to its triumph? Were the Crusades necessary because of Moslem persecution of Christians? What was the original intent of texts such as 1 Corinthians chapter 5:11-13, 2 John 9-10, Matthew 18:15-17 dealing with excommunication or "disfellowshipping"? Was Mark 9:38-41 a slight jab at Paul because he was not in the inner circle of the earliest adherents of Christianity? Has Mark 9:38-41 been interpolated? Why do you suppose the church started limiting scripture readings to short passages? Has the Christ myth theory gained any footing in the Orthodox Jewish community or even amongst followers of Reform Judaism?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-028
Jun 25 2015
Info on the "History in the Bible" podcast by Garry Stevens ( Would you agree that some atheists who want to "purge society of religion" in order to create a perfect world, as they seem to believe that (organized?) religion is the root of all evil, are more evangelical that evangelical Christians? Whether Jesus was a 100 BCE mystic or whether he never existed at all, if you don't take the Gospels as "Gospel," why did the Jesus "Movement" take place at this time in history? Can you recommend an annotated edition of the Koran? If the gospel of Mark is the fictional product of a small group of authors, doesn't that process obviate the need for a historical hero cult? What evidence other than Mark exists for a Jesus hero cult? Might the fictive glories of David and Solomon be fictionalizations of the glories of Omride Israel, borrowed by Judah after the Assyrian conquest of the north? How does anybody know how ancient words and names were supposed to be pronounced? At his trial Jesus is asked if he is the son of "the Blessed" and says he will take his seat at the right hand of "Power." Why this avoidance of the divine Name? Is there any real evidence of an underground stream of Modalist and/or Pentecostal belief between the 1st century and the 20th? 1 Corinthians 2:7-8 says the angelic rulers did not recognize Jesus for what he was, while various Markan stories show demons acknowledging him as God's Sonâ??a contradiction? Might Jonah's swallowing by a fish have originally been part of a mystery initiation re-enacting Yahweh's death and resurrection (a la Marduk, Baal, etc.)? Might the Seals on the Scroll in Revelation refer to restraining bonds on various creatures described in the book?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-027
Jun 16 2015
Might the Eden story be an etiological myth about the digestive tract? What is the actual historical context of the condemnations of homosexuality in Leviticus 18 and 20? Can the relationships between David and Jonathan, and between Ruth and Naomi, fairly be understood as homosexual in character? Should we infer from Jesus' silence about gay people that he tacitly approved of loving homosexual relationships? Rahab and her household were spared the general destruction of the city because she put a scarlet cord in her window as a signal to the Israelites. But given that her house was part of the city wall (Joshua 2:15), how come it was still there after the wall collapsed, with Rahab still alive inside? God's commands the Israelites to walk round the walls of Jericho for six days with the priest carrying trumpets in front of the ark; and then on the seventh day to do the same thing but this time blow the trumpets. Given that one of these days must have been the Sabbath, does trumpet carrying not count as work? What is your opinion of the NIV translation of the Bible? What is the history and background and who was behind this translation? How would Christianity have evolved if Marcion's theology had prevailed? In view of the obvious seams in John, how do conservative scholars justify maintaining that John was written by a single author? Do you think that the gospels were put together with the liturgical calendar in mind? Why has there not been a race to the bottom in religion? How can kindly Gods be popular? If Pascal was right then we should choose to worship Satan or Charles Manson. Is there a good read-along guide for reading the whole Bible? Perhaps reading the books in the order in which they were written? Might Dr. Christian Lindtner be correct that Q is to be identified with the Lotus Sutra? What about the theory that the Ur-Markus was the basis of the synoptics? In 1 Cor. 15, Paul first refers to some scriptures dealing with resurrection, etc. but NT scholars agree that such scriptures can hardly be found in the OT. BUT wouldn't it be a better explanation to posit the use of Buddhist scriptures where such elements are actually found? Why is the word "church" so scarce in the canonical gospels, appearing only in Matthew 16:18 and Matthew 18:17? Why did the Samaritans accept only the Pentateuch as authoritative, but not the Prophets or any other books?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-023
May 28 2015
King Ahab and Elijah question from the 5/27/15 podcast revisited. The criterion of embarrassment: might many groups within the Roman empire's social hierarchy not consider death on the cross in any way ignoble, disqualifying the criterion? Is the whole of 1 Corinthians 15 (not just 3-11) an interpolation? Don't myths necessarily develop over a long period of time, rather than appearing suddenly fully formed? What about 1 Thessalonians where "Paul" already appears to believe in an apocalyptic parousia, both a first and second coming within his own lifetime? Answering the damn phone! In Genesis, why does not God talk directly to Joseph, like the earlier patriarchs? Is the story of Noah simply a retelling of the Eden story? Is there any connection between Joseph and Daniel, given certain parallels? Why do you disagree that the "stylistic" and "vocabulary" analyses of the seven "undisputed" Pauline epistles trumps your analysis of the dating, among other, criteria for inauthenticity? Is there a relation between Gideon's biblical "300" and the Spartans? What do yourself and other biblical scholars think of Zacharia Sitchen's theories? Has Dr. Price read "The Preacher" comic book series? Regarding your rejection of the authenticity of "Secret Mark": considering both the great number of familiar Markan phrases and the chiastic structure of nearly every canonical Markan pericopes seen as stylistically characteristic of Mark; does this not seem as a further argument against the authenticity of "Secret Mark" which lacks these literary distinctives? Did the followers of Chrestos have fewer cavities? Does the Bible speak of "natural selection," or is there anything resembling modern evolutionary theory contained in it? A question about a question from the 3/27/15 podcast, concerning Quran surya 33 and the Shi'ites. Concerning the recent panel discussion of Dr. Price with Richard Carrier and David Fitzgerald, would not Goodacre's theory better explain the synoptic problem over the various two-source theories?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-022
May 27 2015
How well did Mohammad tie into the Jewish and Christian origins? Did he teach that the historical aspects of the Jewish and Christian religions were pretty well accurate up through the time he received his revelations? Are there characters in his narrative that do not appear at all in the Christian Bible? How did apologists deal with the Tower of Babel story when compared to our landing on the moon and Voyager leaving the solar system? Was the prohibition on saying the name of God, or questioning him in any way, an attempt by his prophets to keep people from looking to closely at the inconsistencies in their stories? How do the apologists deal with the different animals in America and Australia that could not have gotten on the ark? How do Creationists deal with the size of the universe and the speed of light? Do you think Westerners are wrong to deliberately provoke Islamic militants by insulting them or their faith? Wherefore the discontinuance of child sacrifices? Does the Old Testament support Matt Slick's inference about the "Old Testament God" being "the incarnate Christ?" Is Bar Kochba related, literarily, to the nativity of Jesus, i.e., the star that the Magi use as a guide? Is there any evidence Mark's gospel was written as a play, a simplistic rendering of 1st century history and Marcionite-Christianity, and that Matthew and Luke stepped up to challenge it (via different mediums)? Any comment on Bart Ehrman's dim view of the work of the Jesus Seminar? Do we get any sense anywhere in the Bible that demons can read our minds? Why is King Ahab considered a villain? The Hebrew Roots movement teaches that Paul was really teaching his converts to KEEP the Torah. Can a plain reading of Paul's epistles be interpreted like this? Could "seething a goat in its mother's milk have been part of a pagan fertility ritual of some kind or a command not to slaughter an animal before its weaned? What sort of viper bit Paul on Malta?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-021
May 26 2015
Aren't the "stones fire" in Ezek. 28:13-15 the same as the "coals of fire" in Ezek. 1? Isn't NT Christology a direct continuation of Philo? And what is his role in the evolution of the Christ Myth? Is Michael Hardin correct that the phrase "son of Damneus" isn't found in any of the original Greek texts of Josephus? If Marcionitism had become the dominant form of Christianity, and copies of the 27-book NT had been unearthed in modern times, what would we make of it? According to traditional Christianity is the Old Testament YHWH considered God the Father, Jesus, the Trinity itself? Do the Islamic State's activities reflect the teachings of the Qur'an or not? Is it possible that Saul/Paul was Marcion's father, Saul being a converted Jew, and that when he died, Marcion inherited his letters? Do the Hauptbriefe have a core/original author, with any contradictions between them to be explained as later additions and edits, or is there no core author? Song of Songs 6:4 mentions both Tirzah, the capital of Northern Israel after King Jeroboam relocated from Shechem to Tirzah, and Jerusalem. Why would the author, pretending to be King Solomon make such an obvious anachronism? Does Judges 1:19, in which God was unable to clear enemies of his people from the valley because they had chariots of iron, imply that God was not always so omnipotent? If God has to exist outside the confines of our space-time multiverse, then souls don't just spend the rest of eternity in either Heaven or Hell. The moment that they enter eternity, they exist throughout all of eternity. That means that they have been in Heaven or Hell since the beginning of the universe and throughout their lifespan as well. To your knowledge, has this issue been discussed in Christian circles?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-020
May 25 2015
How common was it in the ancient world for the first book written about someone to be 40 years after their death? How do apologists explain how Moses learned and wrote about the stories that pre-date his birth? Is there any real difference between the doctrine of predestination and its hardcore version of "double predestination" espoused by some Calvinists? Christian apologists defending the historical resurrection of Jesus often use the appearance of Jesus to Paul as evidence that the resurrection really happened. A historic appearance to Paul would have had to occur post ascension (according to the New Testament timeline). In order to argue that Paul is encountering the resurrected Jesus, wouldn't you have to assume that Jesus returned to earth after the ascension? Should we now to be expecting a 3rd coming? Has any scholarly work pointed out the 'deconstruction' of distinctions in Gospel of Thomas and the mystical experience underlying it? How often and where does the phrase 'the age' appear in the New Testament? Does it come from the Old Testament or is it unique to the New? To what does it refer? In 1 Corinthians 15:3 Paul says that Jesus was "seen by Cephas, then by the twelve." Nowhere in the gospel accounts does Jesus appear to twelve disciples. What does this say about Judas' role in the passion narrative? Does the term "Judas (not Iscariot)" suggest that a single Judas has been split into various characters, including Thomas? What is your view of the Muratorian Fragment? Is there a resource where I can get a list of "Q" material? When is the earliest extra-biblical evidence for the existence of the church? Who are the earliest Christians to be mentioned by contemporaries? Which NT characters were historical figures? Discussion of Diodorus Siculus' account of how Orpheus identified Osiris with Dionysus and its implications for mythicism, the virgin birth and the ethnicity/color of the Egyptians. If the letters of Ignatius are essentially fiction, what are your thoughts about how and why they came to be written? Why do the chronology of Mark and Luke differ on the time of day/night Jesus faced the Sanhedrin? In Revelation, are the "Jews" who belong to the "synagogue of Satan" the Paulinists? When the interpretation of a particular verse hinges on one or two words, when does the manuscript evidence kick in?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-019
May 24 2015
Why would the disciples need any Paraclete at all to lead them if Jesus was supposed to return during their lifetimes? Are there any scholars/books you feel comfortable simply rejecting based on reputation or first impressions? Why not shelve the larger question of whether Jesus is a myth and just consider the historical veracity of each gospel story or saying, case by case? Might the character Doeg the Edomite, chief herdsman to King Saul, be a reference to/allegory of the Edomites sacking the Temple and killing the Priests during the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem? The Muratorian Fragment refers to the Apocalypse of John being the predecessor of Paul. Can he mean Revelation predates the Pauline Epistles? Who is "the man" in the Apocalypse of Abraham worshipped by some, reviled by others, a Gentile who converts Gentiles to monotheism? Is it possible that the Apocalypse of Abraham was written in reaction to the fall of Jerusalem and the loss of the Temple? If so, could it be Ebionite in origin? I am interested by your biography and "evolution" and wonder what you consider yourself to be (religiously/philosophically) at this juncture? Does the criterion of embarrassment really vindicate the historicity of Jesus being baptized by John? What if the incarnation and crucifixion meant that God was atoning for his own sins in creating a sinful world? How do the Ishtar/Tammuz and Isis/Osiris myths factor into the development of proto-Christianity? Do holy mackerels worship the Lord thy Cod? Could the episode of the "wise men" who visit Jesus be Christianity's first attempt to make Jesus acceptable to "science?"

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-018
May 23 2015
Why would the disciples need any Paraclete at all to lead them if Jesus was supposed to return during their lifetimes? Are there any scholars/books you feel comfortable simply rejecting based on reputation or first impressions? Why not shelve the larger question of whether Jesus is a myth and just consider the historical veracity of each gospel story or saying, case by case? Might the character Doeg the Edomite, chief herdsman to King Saul, be a reference to/allegory of the Edomites sacking the Temple and killing the Priests during the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem? The Muratorian Fragment refers to the Apocalypse of John being the predecessor of Paul. Can he mean Revelation predates the Pauline Epistles? Who is "the man" in the Apocalypse of Abraham worshipped by some, reviled by others, a Gentile who converts Gentiles to monotheism? Is it possible that the Apocalypse of Abraham was written in reaction to the fall of Jerusalem and the loss of the Temple? If so, could it be Ebionite in origin? I am interested by your biography and "evolution" and wonder what you consider yourself to be (religiously/philosophically) at this juncture? Does the criterion of embarrassment really vindicate the historicity of Jesus being baptized by John? What if the incarnation and crucifixion meant that God was atoning for his own sins in creating a sinful world? How do the Ishtar/Tammuz and Isis/Osiris myths factor into the development of proto-Christianity? Do holy mackerels worship the Lord thy Cod? Could the episode of the "wise men" who visit Jesus be Christianity's first attempt to make Jesus acceptable to "science?"

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-017
May 22 2015
Is Paul's claim that he will "remain in Ephesus until Pentecost" (1 Cor. 16:8) a bit of Catholicizing redaction? In Acts 21:38 the RSV and other translations read "assassins," but the Greek word is actually "sicarii." Would you say this is a poor translation? What do you think of John Allegro's book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross? Have you ever read the books about Jesus traveling to India, or that Jesus was really a Hindu or a Buddhist; that Jesus was called Krishna, etc.? What was the point of including all the variant doublets in the Pentateuch? Wouldn't readers favoring one version be upset if their favorite came second in order? Would it make sense to view Babel as an anti-Jerusalem? Are the names of David's sons ironic comments on their deeds? Does Josephus mean that Pharisees believed in reincarnation or resurrection? 1 Cor. 1:19 says, "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent." (KJV). Where is this written? Does 1 Cor. 1:17 ("For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be of none effect.") mean that Paul's gospel purely experiential and that there can be no conversion through argumentation but only conversion following revelation? Does 1 Cor. 1:22 ("for the Jews require a sign and the Greeks seek after wisdom") indicate that Paul's Christ lacks historicity? That the Jews needed concrete evidence of salvation is a "stumbling block" for them since Paul's Jesus apparently was not a sign to be seen but merely something that is "preached" and that did not happen for all to see. In an interview you conducted with Thomas Altizer for Point of Inquiry some years ago, you expressed sympathy for Altizer's theology in general and in particular for his idea that God is not merely deadâ??in the rhetorical sense of not existingâ??but had literally died on the cross, never to be resurrected. What I didn't understand was how you, as a mythicist, could support the notion that God had died, when you don't believe he ever lived. If God is eternal, perfect, all-knowing, etc., isn't he paralyzed in a strait jacket of eternal actions? I would like to hear your analysis of the evangelical claims about the mark of the beast and the cashless society. Can you recommend any work that explains the historical and cultural context of each prophecy and an explanation of how modern interpretations of prophecies fail?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-014
May 05 2015
Might the Joram mentioned in 1 Samuel 8:9-10 be the same as King Jeroboam? In the LXX, Samuel and Kings are grouped together as 1-4 Kingdoms. Did the translators work from a Hebrew version that grouped these books knowing their origins? Or did the translators realize their provenance and group them? Or is it an accident they align with scholarly consensus? The Old-Latin order of the Gospels was Matthew, John, Luke, Mark. Why would Luke be placed before Mark in this order? In his Genesis commentary, Rashbam says that, on a literal reading, the day does not start in the evening, but in the morning. Likewise, he says the commandment of phylacteries in Exodus 13:9 is not to be taken literally. He observed the traditions but merely pointed out they are not literal commandments of the text. Why should this seem controversial to publishers who have censored his work? What are your thoughts on Dr. Marcus Borg and his work. Where do you place the Gospel of Peter in relation to the canonical gospels and do you think it's dependent or independent? And why does the extant text refer only to "the Lord," not "Jesus"? Is it possible that the evangelists had copies of the epistles and used material from them to construct sayings of Jesus? If so, would this count as evidence for the Christ myth theory? The author of the Epistle of Diognetus, in his second chapter, seems to suppose that Jews were monotheists yet sacrificed to idols. How could he be so ignorant about Judaism? Might this passage represent a gentile belief in a heavenly Christ before that sect had merged with a separate Jewish Jesus Movement? Would that support Burton Mack's reconstruction of the early Christian church? Might it even be a pious forgery from the high middle ages?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-011
Apr 08 2015
Moses and Minimalism will be coming out in a few weeks. Holy Fable: The Bible Undistorted by Faith is still in the works. A fundamentalist Bible teacher claimed that the Dead Sea Isaiah scroll debunks a "liberal" theory that Christians created Isa. 53 as a prediction of Jesus and inserted it into Isaiah. Huh? Regardless of the date of the authorship of Isaiah, could parts of it be Christian interpolation? Regarding the rise of the monotheistic Yahweh cult and child sacrifice, was this prohibition a deliberate attempt to turn the Israelites to the animal sacrifice cult as an alternative to killing their kids? In Jeremiah, when the sacrifices of cakes to the Queen of Heaven stopped, why did Yahweh still punish the people for idolatry? Too little, too late, like Josiah's reformation? What was the status of Asherah to El in relation to the rise of Yahwism and the Deuteronomistic reforms? Who would win: Barney or H. R. Puffinstuff? Does the existence of demons, sorcerers, etc., in the NT represent polytheism? Why did no one preserve the numerous prophetic and historical books mentioned in the OT, e.g., the Book of Gad the Seer? Does Isaiah promote actual monotheism or henotheism? Since rabbis usually were married and had kids, and Jesus is not so depicted, does this imply docetism in the gospels? Since Abraham's 300 retainers were circumcised, thus members of the covenant, mustn't they have been fathers of Israel, too? Since the Hebrew words for "God" and "nature" share the same gematria value, might we translate Genesis 1:1 as "In the beginning nature created the heavens & the earth"? What is your opinion on various theories of Isaac Asimov equating individuals in the OT with groups, tribes, nations, etc.? In Galatians 3:1, couldn't the Greek word translated "publicly portrayed" also be rendered "written before," the translators misleadingly implying Paul meant he had publicly demonstrated that Jesus' crucifixion was a fulfillment of OT prophecy? What resources are available for citation in academic undergraduate and graduate studies that might be more acceptable to university professors than, for instance, Richard Carrier?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-007
Feb 19 2015
Some Mormons seem to think Genesis 10:25 refers to a divide/split in the "covenant" line, linking Joktan to both the Jaredites and the Yucatan Peninsula. What are your thoughts on this interpretation? Do you think that the Apostle Thomas going to preach in India is a garbled historical memory that the "celibacy gospel" was imported into Christianity from Buddhism? Is there any reason to believe, as some do, that Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel painting of Adam, Eve and the Serpent at the Tree of Knowledge secretly suggests it was actually oral sex performed on Adam by Eve which was what the "knowledge of good and evil." Google claims there is no implied Biblical condemnation of suicide prior to the Pauline writings, and that it was several centuries before suicide emerged as sinful and abhorrent in Christian doctrine. Is there any particular reason for this? Burton Mack says we can infer the existence of a particular "Jesus movement" from miracle collections in Mark and John. How? Does Job 26:7 contain modern cosmology? Do you think mainline Christian denominations would benefit by presenting from the pulpit the type of information you present in your podcast? In John 2:20 is Jesus/John referring to the Zerubabbel temple of Herod's? Is it true a growing number of scholars are leaving the Q hypothesis behind, and do you see any particular weaknesses in the Q-hypothesis? Did early Christians have a more humane and slightly less nonsensical view of post-mortem judgement than we do today? Which, if any, particular doctrine concerning hell does a fair reading of the relevant texts vindicate?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-006
Feb 05 2015
In Luke 20:34-36 Jesus says the resurrected righteous do not marry because they cannot die. What has that got to do with anything? In Acts 15:22ff we read that some members of the Jerusalem church had gone to Antioch, without authorization and spreading unsettling ideas. Any ideas as to what these unnamed troublemakers were preaching? Ezekiel 8:17 list various idolatries and blasphemies. What the heck could "putting the twig to their nose" mean? The synoptics were almost certainly pulling ideas from Isaiah 53, in their Passion narratives. How then do they get verse 53:9 backwards?! "His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death" (NASB). Don't the gospel crucifixion & burial accounts flip these distinctions? A question about the Zohar I, 21b. Origen, Ambrosiaster, and Euthalius agree that Paul was quoting the Apocalypse of Elijah in 1 Cor 2:9 and Epiphanius says that Eph 5:14 borrows from this work. Interestingly, Euthalius also mentions this verse in Ephesians but says it comes from an apocryphal work of Jeremiah, not Elijah. What's your take on this? "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." How on earth does one harmonize this with the idea that the Torah can be disregarded if one is a Gentile convert to Christianity? The word 'jot' (a small flourish on a Hebrew letter) is a Hebrew term is it not? What term would have been used in the original Greek? When did the concept of eternity come about in Christianity? What was it about Christianity that made it the "winner" among all other religious beliefs in the Roman Empire? Why do we not hear about more forgeries in the world of biblical archaeology?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-005
Jan 25 2015
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?

The Bible Geek Podcast 15-004
Jan 18 2015
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 15-003
Jan 11 2015
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 15-002
Jan 09 2015
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 15-001
Jan 04 2015
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 14-066
Dec 27 2014
Is there any biblical basis for the claim that God can't be in the presence of sin? What do you know about the Washington DC Bible Museum? Is the concept of free will actually found in the bible? Is the invocation of free will as an excuse for why god permits suffering is merely an post-hoc rationalization or could there be more to it? I wonder whether modern apologetics is actually shoehorning the biblical god into a role of a quasi-deistic god, which is totally at odds with the god the ancient Hebrews believed in. Could it be that the god of contemporary Christianity has next to nothing to do with the God of the bible? Is there a point where Tillich's conception of deity as "being" is compatible with even atheism? Are Atheists making an error by championing only reason, and abandoning the Tradition of Western Christianity? Do you think Margaret Barker is right to read the feminine pronoun as important theologically to Malachi 4:2? Or is this just a descriptor of the actual sun in a feminine manner? Is there some way to identify oneself as "Christian" and yet understand the divine in terms of First Temple ideas ( a la Margaret Barker), where the lines between polytheism and monotheism become blurred, without actually applying it to a belief in a god or even in a divine realm or afterlife? In John 20:28, when Thomas exclaims "My Lord and my God" to Jesus, does this indicate that the author believed Jesus to be God? Are there good reasons for or against the possibility of "Luke" writing his books to Theophilus of Antioch?

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