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Preview: The Bible Geek Show

The Bible Geek Show

Dr. Robert M. Price answers questions submitted to him at This Podcast was created using

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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-002

Sat, 16 Jan 2016 12:00:00 -0500

Dr. Richard Carrier says the very first Christians were probably Jewish-Christians who doubled as literate Rabbis. Is there any evidence to corroborate this? What is the main evidence leading most scholars believe the New Testament was originally written in Ancient Greek, not Aramaic. Why have scholars retreated from Baur's restriction of genuine Pauline Epistles to Romans, Galatians, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians? Why was The Shepherd of Hermas not included in the New Testament? Is it likely that Matthew used more of Q than Luke did? Are there any hints of possible Q material in Matthew that wasn't used by Luke? Do you think Strauss's arguments against the rationalists in The Life of Jesus Critically Examined are relevant at all today? And would his book be much different had he known of the Two document hypothesis? Would you please recommend a book/author to read for info on Isaiah? How on Earth were Noah and his family able to pass on the information about the history prior to the Flood? Does the 117th Letter of Pliny offer any real information about Jesus? And might it be a forgery anyway? Where does biblical mythology deal with the rainbow? You've defended several translations from the Jehovah's Witness New World Translation. If they have the truth, why don't you join? Re: Philip K. Dick & Reza Aslan. Re: the relationship between Christianity and Science Fiction.

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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-001

Fri, 08 Jan 2016 12:00:00 -0500

Is the account of the martyrdom of James the Just historical or a conflation of three different versions? Millions of birds starve to death every year, so how do apologists deal with Matthew 6:26? How best to deal with ventriloquists who allege that the Bible predicted things discovered by science only millennia later? What is the real dividing line between the religious believer and those who look at existential questions through a secular prism? The Delay of the Parousia motif in Lovecraft and the NT.

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-062

Sun, 20 Dec 2015 12:00:00 -0500

How would Christianity (and the world) be different if Jesus and the Book itself were EXPLICITLY the revealed messenger/word of god, a la Islam? Conversely, how would Islam (and the world) be different if it wasn't explicit? In John 20:17 Jesus tells Mary Magdalene, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father." Does this denote Docetism? Don't the raisings from the dead of Lazarus and others make Jesus's resurrection a bit anticlimactic? Is there anything to the claim that these were merely operating-table resuscitations and not resurrections? Since Matthew used significantly more of Mark than Luke did, do you think it's safe to assert the same re: Q? Is some of the "M" material also Q material? If Psalm 16:10 is not about some person whose body doesn't decompose, to what is it referring? Might the healing of blind Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46-52 really refer to a spiritual awakening? Might the apocalyptic predictions of the Bible be timeless predictions of an everlasting opposition between good and evil?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-061

Tue, 15 Dec 2015 12:00:00 -0500

How does the Jewish notion of Messiah ben Joseph and Messiah ben David influence the New Testament? Is the presence of Joshua as one of the scouts in Numbers 13 a later editorial redaction? What's the deal with Caleb's ancestry? He is called both a representative of the tribe of Judah, but it often mentions that he is a Kenizzite. What does it mean by saying that Caleb "hath another spirit in him"? Fascinating stuff from Dr. Barton on Moses' burning bush and the Garden of Eden! Ditto on the Parable of the Dishonest Steward and the "leaven of the Pharisees." Was the Bible written "to convert the masses"? Is it proper to refer to the Christian community of any nation as "The Church"? Is El Elyon a Caananite god that eventually morphed into the Hebrew god? Did Yahweh/God sit down to dinner with Abraham in Genesis 18? Are modern Christians right in interpreting such "God as human" Old Testament sightings as Jesus?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-060

Tue, 01 Dec 2015 12:00:00 -0500

Is the Angel of Death used for reasons similar to the Angel of Yahweh: an appearance of a God too holy to appear on stage himself? What is your theory as to how or why religion developed at all? What is the purpose of Mark's Transfiguration story? Is it possible to discern any potential "pre-Markan" agendas for this one story? Does the familiar system of Bible citation (BOOK, CHAPTER, VERSE) distort the meaning of the text? In Mark 14:51 who is the young man who flees away naked? Is John's gospel more concerned with John the Baptist's movement than the synoptic are? Isn't the temptation narrative most compatible with an adoptionist Christology? What do we know about the Gnostic Cerinthus? Is the scene with the youth who fled naked in Mark derived from Joseph fleeing from Potipher's wife?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-059

Mon, 23 Nov 2015 12:00:00 -0500

Why do Matthew and Luke change Markâ??s picture of Joseph of Arimathea? Why does Jesus assume you would be slapped on the right cheek first seeing that most people are right-handed and would therefore slap the left cheek? How can so many people believe the Bible to be the inspired book of God? If, as Bart Ehrman says, Luke can be read as an adoptionist, does that mean Polycarp was an adoptionist? What do we know about the Ebionites? What do you think Mark believed regarding Jesus' resurrection? What are the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus? Why do many of the surviving ancient histories seem to have gaps in them around the time that Jesus supposedly walked the Earth?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-058

Sat, 14 Nov 2015 12:00:00 -0500

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-057

Wed, 04 Nov 2015 12:00:00 -0500

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 wa[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-056

Sat, 31 Oct 2015 12:00:00 -0400

A special Halloween treat! The Geek reads his story "The Righteous Rise", originally recorded as part of the 1/29/2013 episode.

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-055

Wed, 28 Oct 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-054

Sat, 24 Oct 2015 12:00:00 -0400

Given that demons are supposed to be fallen angels, can we assume that unfallen angels would have the same ability to possess people? I'm wondering if any of the pre-Christian cults made such an effort at "historicizing" their divine figures as the developing Christians did. Parallels between Mark & 1 Maccabees suggesting Mark used it as a source. What in the world does Mark 9:49-50 mean, what with salt and fire and all that? What of Frank Zindler's theory that the Therapeutae of Egypt are evidence that "Christianity" was already in development during Philo's lifetime, and that Jesus was likely a later addition to a pre-existing branch of Jewish mystery religion? Whence the notion that the proverbial "eye of a needle" was a gate through which a camel could not pass without stripping off everything but the essentials? In Genesis 15:7-12, 17-21, how did Abraham arrange the animals? And is the ceremony some Sumerian divination practice? You mentioned in an article that Joseph Smith was willing to die for his made up religion, but wasn't he killed trying to escape out the window from assassins? So, is this a bad example? If Christ may not have lived at all: what happened at Year Zero? When was the C.E. dating system adopted?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-053

Wed, 21 Oct 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-052

Wed, 14 Oct 2015 12:00:00 -0400

Why did the author of Mark write his/her gospel? And why did he give Peter a starring role when he clearly didn't like Petrine Christianity? Every time something in the New Testament gets connected to ancient Greece or Buddhism I can't help but wonder is there anything pure and original in the teachings of Jesus? Bertrand Russell said that Christianity owns a lot to Orphism. Is that true? Was Polycarp of Smyrna really one of the students of the Apostle John? What do you think the relationship of the Dead Sea Scrolls is to the New Testament? What reasons are there to think that the Q Source existed, or that it didn't? Could the Gospel of Thomas be the Q source? If not, how are the Gospel of Thomas and the Q source related? Luke and Acts are thought to have the same author due to similar syntax. What is the case for this?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-051

Sun, 27 Sep 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-050

Fri, 25 Sep 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-049

Mon, 21 Sep 2015 12:00:00 -0400

Why do Jehovah's Witnesses depict Jesus with short hair parted on the right? Is there any biblical basis to the notion that "Hades" is a pre-Hell and that "Gehenna" is the final destination of sinners? Doesn't "The Exorcist" novel/movie evidence a creative evolution of the demon possession concept? Is the statement that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are already alive with God inconsistent with the notion of waiting till the resurrection? What do you think of Teilhard de Chardin? How did Satan become identified with Lucifer, leader of the rebellious angels? Didn't Rome steal earlier, "pagan" rituals and secrets, censor them and gain control over the masses? And how can Gentile Christians claim to be followers of a Jewish messiah who was sent to others, not them?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-048

Sun, 20 Sep 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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).

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-047

Thu, 03 Sep 2015 12:00:00 -0400

David Trobisch replies. More info on the Lemba and the Falasha. If John the Baptist is held in such high esteem by Christians today, why assume ancient Christians would have found his baptism of Jesus an embarrassment? I noticed that your translation of John 1:1 reads 'was a God'. Would you please offer an apologia of your alleged 'frightful mistranslation'? Is there anything outside the Bible to indicate the existence of some sort of Paul, or should we be as agnostic about his existence as about everything else reported in the New Testament? Is the story of Cain and Abel a justification for aggression by the sheep-herding writers against their farming neighbors?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-046

Sat, 29 Aug 2015 12:00:00 -0400

By moving the Transfiguration to come after the 1st Passion Prediction (8:31), the redactor altered Mark's Gospel from clearly adoptionist to merely having adoptionist overtones, and screwed up the literary quality of the story. Were certain gospels, etc., excluded from the canon because they contained inconvenient statements that later church authorities were keen to gloss over? Any thoughts about the "family of Jesus" stuff, which I know of primarily from reading Mack and Eisenman? Could you please explain what the "rape of Dinah" story meant at that time? It occurs to me the "four facts" that Habermas, Licona, and Craig say prove the resurrection can be explained by something I've never seen the HLC crew challenged with: hoax. Have you, or other scholars, explored the possibility that the founding executive of Christianity was an insincere opportunist, along the lines of Lucian's Alexander, or Joseph Smith, or L. Ron Hubbard? Might the statement concerning John that "the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is" (Mt. 11:11) be Marcionite in origin? How would we recognize an original autograph manuscript of a NT book if we did find it? Is it fair to say that you are a full mythicist, while Bart Ehrman is a majority 75% or 90% mythicist? Why would someone trying to write a history intentionally do artsy things that expose it as literature? Are we to understand that the gospels were not intended to be history?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-045

Fri, 28 Aug 2015 12:00:00 -0400

Glimpses of David Oliver Smith's work on chiasm and interpolation in Mark's gospel. Why does God appear to Moses in the form of a burning bush, not the pillar of fire? In the opening passage of the Gospel of John, why is "logos" universally translated as "word"? Does Genesis 5:24 suggest an early Israelite belief in some sort of heavenly afterlife, available only to some, and distinct from Sheol, the usual afterlife destination? What is implied when Moses, et al, are said to be "gathered to their people" when they die? What parts if any of the old testament were written by nomadic herders? How confident are scholars that Yahweh is the most accurate pronunciation since the word was not spoken except by the high priest once a year in the temple? What are differences that you know of between the Jewish and Samaritan Pentateuchs? When did they diverge from each other? And how does the timing of this divergence influence the idea how and when the Jewish Pentateuch was finalized? How do Biblicists make sense of the disgusting text Malachi 2:3? The saying, "God helps those who help themselves" isn't in the Bible, but is any such concept to be found? Why, in the Transfiguration in Mark's Gospel, does the narrator tells the reader that after 6 days Jesus takes Peter, James and John up the mountain? â?¦ After what?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-044

Thu, 27 Aug 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-043

Wed, 26 Aug 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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"?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-042

Tue, 18 Aug 2015 12:00:00 -0400

How could the atonement (and the scapegoat ritual underlying it) be understood as something other than an immoral passing of the proverbial buck? Wouldn't a satirical and disrespectful description of a faith system work well with regard to debating men like William Lane Craig? What novels would you recommend that deal with a critical take on the bible? Why was Adam specifically sentenced to dig, not to hunt or fish, or gather mushrooms and berries? Does Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" reflect a Christian Atheist trend of the time? Zech 2:10 - 3:8 features speaking parts for Satan, Jehovah, and some angel, but who is saying what? Why aren't more scholars jumping on the mythicist bandwagon? How does salt lose its savor? Why does every gospel include a John the Baptist story near the beginning? Was John so widely known and respected at the time that his testimony would convince readers all around the Mediterranean to believe in Jesus? Does the story about John sending his disciple to Jesus to ask "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?" (Matthew 11 and Luke 7) mean that John no longer had faith in Jesus?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-041

Sat, 15 Aug 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-040

Fri, 14 Aug 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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.

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-039

Mon, 10 Aug 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-038

Thu, 06 Aug 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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.

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-037

Wed, 05 Aug 2015 12:00:00 -0400

The Nephilim and their offspring make their brief guest appearance in Gen 6:4. "They were the heroes of old, men of renown". The immediately following verse delivers a sudden condemnation of the evil of men, followed by Yahwe resolving to wipe all life from the face of the earth. Have two unrelated stories been stitched together here - or are we missing something? What do you think of Gregory Riley's theories in The River of God? Could you recommend books on Zoroastrian influence on Judaism and Christianity? Is Bart Ehrman correct that pagan religions had no concept of scripture or holy books? Why do some scholars refuse to accept that there were pagan influences on Judaism and Christianity? Where does the idea of exclusivity in Christianity and Islam come from? How can one show that Marcion's theology not only influenced but also became a bedrock of Christianity?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-036

Sun, 26 Jul 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-035

Sat, 18 Jul 2015 12:00:00 -0400

Did Joshua's troops violate the Sabbath by carrying trumpets around Jericho, or aren't such rabbinical restrictions anachronistic? Now everyone is emphasizing the Jewish nature of the gospels, how Jesus is the product of Jewish, rather than Greek culture. How much of this is scholars seeing what they want to see? How solid are the arguments, made by Jane Schaberg and others, that Jesus was illegitimate? Where in the Bible does the idea of 'ensoulment' arise? Which source do you think presents a more "accurate" picture of John the Baptist - the Synoptics or Josephus? In Matthew 27:32 why does tradition advocate that the antecedent of "his" in the "his cross" phrase refers back to Jesus and not the last nominative that appeared in the sentence, the man named Simon? Could the business about Simon the Cyrenian bearing Jesus' cross be a reference to anything but picking up a physical cross, such as Simon Peter (the Cyrenian) perhaps taking over the ministry? An apologetical mistranslation in the NASB. Some say that the Parable of the Ten Minas in Luke 19 is meant to be read as satire. Huh? Doesn't the story in 2 Kings 3 say that Israel was routed by the wrath of the Moabite god? Can you suggest some critical introductions to the Koran?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-034

Fri, 17 Jul 2015 12:00:00 -0400

Is it true that in the ancient world there two behavior codes, one moral, one ritual, and that to unify morality and religion was a Hebrew innovation? What would have been the social survival value of exclusively religious rules? Might the passage from 2 Kings 2:23-24 about Elisha and the she-bears have intended to teach us to be careful about possible damage done by careless words? In the story of the loaves and fishes, was Jesus simply setting an example about sharing? Why is it a miracle? Does the Bible really teach that God is infinite? If he were, wouldn't we have Pantheism? What is the purpose of the story in Daniel of Nebuchadnezzar's time as a feral beast-man? Explaining how we know how the ancients pronounced words. Doesn't the story of the Sheep and the Goats teach salvation by works of mercy? Have you changed your views as to whether the Sermon on the Mount was influenced by Buddhism? Is there is a case to be made that the Cynics were influenced by Buddhist missionaries? Were the teachings of Jesus created to correct the obvious flaws in the Old Testament God?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-033

Fri, 10 Jul 2015 12:00:00 -0400

How has scholarship on Galilee impacted studies of the Historical Jesus? What do you make of N.T. Wright's 'criteria of double dissimilarity and similarity'? Please recommend some books on Hell. What are some good responses to Christians who don't accept Higher Criticism? What do you think of John Allegro's book "The Sacred Mushroom And The Cross"? Why do Jewish scholars seem more open to Moses being a myth than Christian scholars are to the Christ myth theory? A recent incident occurred with relevance to historicity, oral traditions, faith and formations of legends. Might there have originally been one Mary that then got split into many different characters, like you posit for many of the 12? Where is the line between a historical Jesus and a fictive Jesus to be drawn? How minimalistic can you get and still have something called a "historical" Jesus? What is the latest possible date for Mark and the other NT books?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-032

Sun, 05 Jul 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-031

Wed, 01 Jul 2015 12:00:00 -0400

Another Bible Geek Show special: Dr. Price reads "The Austerity Gospel of Gordon Fee," a paper written for a Johnnie Coleman colloquium.

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-030

Tue, 30 Jun 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-029

Sun, 28 Jun 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-028

Thu, 25 Jun 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-027

Tue, 16 Jun 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-026

Thu, 11 Jun 2015 12:00:00 -0400

Please recommend a few books on Hellenistic culture and influence in Judea/Palestine. In Mathew 3:9 John the Baptist is lambasting those poor old Pharisees and Sadducees again. But I really don't understand his meaning. "Do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our ancestor'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham." What does Matthew 24:28 mean? If the bible doesn't mention abortion, what on earth is Numbers 5:11-31 about? In my view, what Ezekiel described in Eze 28:13-15 and Eze 1:13-14 were not stars but plasma discontinuities. The Roman Catholic Church claims that Peter was the first pope. How true is this? Did Peter even exist? Is the Petrine Doctrine an interpolation? How or why do you reject Pascal's wager? Couldn't there be a Quadrinity? What about 5 members of the Godhead? Or a million? How does Proteus Peregrines fit in to the Paul-Simon puzzle? Might the Ophites have been a survival of the worship of Leviathan? Is it possible that the story of the Exodus is a memory of the Hyksos being expelled from Egypt? Is it possible that there was some sort of Enosh-Enoch-Moses-Noah ur-patriarch? According to William Lane Craig, there is an increase in conservative scholarship. Is this true? How reliable is conservative scholarship? Is it all or mostly ax-grinding? Comments on Let the Reader Understand by Robert M. Fowler and Thomas L. Thompson's The Mythic Past.

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-025

Wed, 10 Jun 2015 12:00:00 -0400

Robert M. Price reads his essay "Lotus and the Logos".

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-024

Thu, 04 Jun 2015 12:00:00 -0400

A Buddhist key to the puzzle of the fourfold gospel canon. Please contrast the story of the Widow's Mite with that of Ananias & Sapphira. Was Theophilus in the Lukan prologue Theophilus, bishop of Antioch during year 169-183 AD? Who do you think is the EARLIEST likely historical Old Testament and New Testament characters? What's with the "Mark of Cain?" What is the biblical basis for this idea that we're all rotten, stinkin' sinners who deserve to be tortured for eternity, and who are saved from receiving our just deserts only by God's grace? What is the historical lineage of this "humans are evil crap" meme? Does "hate" in Luke 14:26 really just mean "love less"? Was Yahweh originally a volcano god? If Jesus was affixed to a post, hands nailed above his head, would it change our idea of how Jesus was thought to be executed and the wounds he would have suffered? How do Christians explain the concept of "fully God and fully man" nature of Christ?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-023

Thu, 28 May 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-022

Wed, 27 May 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-021

Tue, 26 May 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-020

Mon, 25 May 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-019

Sun, 24 May 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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?"

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-018

Sat, 23 May 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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?"

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-017

Fri, 22 May 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-016

Wed, 13 May 2015 12:00:00 -0400

Who exactly were Cephas, James and John, mentioned in Galatians 2? Why is the story of the loaves and fishes considered a miracle? The disciples were not the only ones who had some food, but not enough to feed everyone. Jesus got everyone to share some of what they had, and it turns out there was more than enough for everyone. 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? A new theory of an historical Jesus should attempt to find Jesus in a wider than traditional historical range. Rene Salm found that Nazareth was inhabited before Jesus was supposedly born, after he supposedly died, but not when he was supposedly alive. And some traditions place Jesus at about 100 BC. Why not start here? Why shouldn't Christian parents refrain from raising their children as Christians? Let them have their own conversion experiences. What are your thoughts are about Papias of Hierapolis? Did he really get first-hand testimony from Jesus' apostles?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-015

Sun, 10 May 2015 12:00:00 -0400

Why does Reza Aslan, in his book Zealot, give no hint of the debt his work owes to S. G. F. Brandon? Does the Bible actually command a victim to marry her rapist? Is it possible to reconcile the idea that I gleaned from reading The Great Angel: that Jesus was viewed as some kind of manifestation of Yahweh, with the Jesus myth's incorporation of elements from Ishtar/Tammuz, Isis/Osiris and the Osiris mystery religion? Is possible after all to determine the gender of the author of a given New Testament document? Josephus speaks of a James and John, sons of Susa, who are led by a man named Jesus. Is it possible that 'Susa' is a corrupted form of the name 'Zeus'? t do you think of Francis Schaeffer's contention that the Triune God is the only answer for the philosophical problem of unity in diversity? Is Galatians chapter 2 talking about the same message being preached to two different audiences, or is it two different messages?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-014

Tue, 05 May 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-013

Fri, 24 Apr 2015 12:00:00 -0400

Did the author of Acts have a copy of the Pauline and deutero-Pauline epistles in hand and use the (scant) biographical information in them to help him craft stories in his pseudo historical narrative so Acts would match the already extant letters? When I mentioned reading Wellhausen, my professor suggested his opinions, while correct on the sources of the OT, were in other areas considered generally anti-Semitic? Any basis for this? Do you consider terrorism an ancient phenomenon, and specifically one with biblical precedent? With Jesus taking the role of Sophia, what is the need for the Holy Spirit, and why does it become part of the Godhead? Shouldn't apologists drop the argument that, since Jews had no notion of a resurrection of a dead man before the Eschaton, only an actual case of it could have eventuated in belief in Jesus' resurrection? After all, Mark tells us that Jesus' contemporaries believed him to be John the Baptizer raised from the dead, so I guess they could conceive of it happening after all! Is the NT debate over faith vs works anachronistic for the period 40-60 AD? What do you think of apologists destroying mummy masks to hunt for gospel fragments? What books in the bible do we have a clear idea regarding their authorship?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-012

Sun, 12 Apr 2015 12:00:00 -0400

How substantial is the evidence for "James the Just"? We are told when Elkanah and Samuel are introduced that Elkanah (and therefore Samuel) are from Ephraim. Later in Chronicles, he has become a Levite. Did the author of Chronicles invent his Levite pedigree to co-opt him for the Levites? Is it reasonable to think Chronicles is preserving an earlier version of the Daniel character than we have now in the Book of Daniel? Why were the Genesis Patriarchs and Matriarchs so urgent that their children not marry Hittites? What do you think of Ken Schei's thesis that the Ebionites were the original Christians, but Paul succeeded in destroying their religion and usurping authority to lead the followers of Jesus? Did Jesus, as portrayed in the Gospels, think the Kingdom of God was imminent? Was he wrong about this? If He thought the end of the world was at hand, why would he bother preaching liberation for the poor? Aren't many if not all the miracle stories about Jesus besting some older or contemporary God? What do you make of the story of a first-century "copy" of Mark found in an Egyptian papyrus burial mask?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-011

Wed, 08 Apr 2015 12:00:00 -0400

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-010

Sat, 04 Apr 2015 12:00:00 -0400

If there are sufficient references in the Gnostic literature to a mythical conception of Jesus (as opposed to an historical conception) at what stage would it make sense to think of the Gnostic authors of antiquity as the very first mythicists? What is the reason for ascribing the Magnificat to Elizabeth instead of Mary? In the Eden story, couldn't the snake ("Levi" = "serpent") be telling Adam to chose between being ruled by a King (Yahweh's vicar) or High Priests? Why would God create the woman helper from Adam's side and thus impart the natural desire for sex if he didn't want procreation? Why would he be angry at the two for acting on a natural desire that He himself created? Also, what mother and father did Adam leave? Why no Pauline Epistles to Alexandria , Athens, or Tarsus? If Mohammad was originally, within the pages of the Qur'an, a historical warrior-prophet, why does his name only appear there four times? What do you think of the suggestion that the narrative of Dinah, Shechem, Simeon, and Levi should be divided between a story about a rape and another about a betrothal? Isn't the argument for Q dependent on the timing of the writing of Matthew and Luke's gospels? If they were both using Mark as a source and written in close temporal proximity, then the Q source is more likely.

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-009

Fri, 27 Mar 2015 12:00:00 -0400

What is the official the Roman Catholic teaching concerning the salvation of members of other religions? Can you explain this Quranic passage (Al-Ahzaab 33:40? "Muhammad is the father of no man among you. He is the Apostle of God and the Seal of the Prophets. Surely God has knowledge of all things." Could the Jewish esoteric text Sefer Yetzirah be as old as the Hebrew Bible? Is it possible that the Book of Ruth was written as a response to Ezra-Nehemiah's opposition to mixed marriages? Is there any connection between the names of Queen of Sheba and Bathsheba? Did David choose Jerusalem to try to unite the Northern and the Southern tribes? It seems as if the Book of Genesis follows the metaphysical thought of the Greek philosopher Thales who held that water was the single universal substance. How common was Hydro-Monism among the Ancients?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-008

Sat, 28 Feb 2015 12:00:00 -0500

Why there is a discrepancy of 243 years between Bishop Ussher's age for the earth and that given in the Jewish calendar? Do any of the extant apocryphal gospels use Mark and/or Q as source materials the way the canonical synoptics do? What is the significance of dividing "between the sheep and goats"? Could you address some of the apologetics given for God "hardening Pharaoh's heart"? Do you think the doctrine of "soul sleep" is biblical? When the 10 sons of Jacob make their appeal to Joseph, 42:16 clearly has Joseph instructing to send just *one* from the brothers back to Cannan to fetch Benjamin in order to prove they are indeed in Egypt to purchase grain and not spies. After 3 days of lockup for all 10 brothers, this suddenly turns into sending all the brothers back *except* one (Simeon). Any idea what gives? Is it possible the Simeonites are the descendants of the Hyksos? Were the Amalekites literal brethren to Israel? Why would Laban name his daughters little "lamb" and "cow"? In what ways, specifically, did Josiah's reform "corrupt" the religion of the first temple?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-007

Thu, 19 Feb 2015 12:00:00 -0500

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-006

Thu, 05 Feb 2015 12:00:00 -0500

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-005

Sun, 25 Jan 2015 12:00:00 -0500

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-004

Sun, 18 Jan 2015 12:00:00 -0500

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[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-003

Sun, 11 Jan 2015 12:00:00 -0500

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 int[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-002

Fri, 09 Jan 2015 12:00:00 -0500

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-001

Sun, 04 Jan 2015 12:00:00 -0500

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?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-067

Sun, 28 Dec 2014 12:00:00 -0500

How could a Hasidic sect say their rabbi taught Torah to God? "The sun of righteousness with healing in her wings" = the goddess Shahar. Are there parallels between either Zen and Christianity or Taoism and Christianity? Can you share your thoughts on the origin, structure and purpose of the Abraham story in Gen 12-22? What do think about Liberation Theology, and the idea that the Gospel is literarlly good news for the poor, the oppressed, and the marginalized of this world? Could Jesus really have been concerned about liberating the poor if he thought the end of the world was imminent and the Kingdom was at hand? Since Genesis 3:22 says that Adam must be removed from the Garden before he eats of the tree of life and gains eternal life, he can't have been created immortal and then lost it. Adam sinned against God and had to be punished, but that punishment was not the addition of death to his nature, it was removal from the garden and loss of access to the tree of life. Right? What happened to all the stuff - grain, money, meat, wine, etc. - that was offered to YHWH before the temple was destroyed? Isn't the name Bartimaeus clear proof that Mark was Greek and well-educated? For he is clearly supposed to be Plato's Timaeus. The name, a fusion of Aramaic and Greek is not likely a historical name, and is an invention by Mark, right? Rufinus of Aquileia refers to the Didache as the "Judgment of Peter. How could he tie the work to Peter? And what is the "judgement"? James 1:1 addresses "the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad." Does this not suggest that the Romans had already destroyed Jewish sovereignty for the last two tribes (Judah and Benjamin) thus confessing the work is not written by James the brother of the Lord, but another James writing later? How can the commandment against making images be squared with all the Temple statuary? What is the current scholarship about the historicity of the first temple? Do we actually have any description of the temple that could be used in the construction of an actual replica? Do we have any description of the garments of a Temple priest? Do you know of any churches that tried to revive the Temple and move their practices towards judaism that much? In his book In Search of Ancient Israel, Philip R. Davies asserts that talk of a Deuteronomistic History is meaningle[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-066

Sat, 27 Dec 2014 12:00:00 -0500

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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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-065

Tue, 23 Dec 2014 12:00:00 -0500

Special Yuletide edition of the Bible Geek podcast. "An Intertextual Visit from Saint Nick," by Clement C. Moore and Edgar Allan Poe and comments on two Jesus birth narratives.

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-064

Wed, 17 Dec 2014 12:00:00 -0500

Caring about religious beliefs of others and atheist evangelism. Who is Shamgar, son of Anathr? Was he perhaps a Hittite oppressor in the days of the Judges? Could he have been the father of Sisera? What is the location of Tarshish? Concerning Visha Kanya and the Book of Judith. Visha Kanya were young women reportedly used as assassins, often against powerful enemies, during the Mauryan Empire (321-185 BCE). Was there an Indian influence on the Book of Judith. Do you think that Jesus failed to act in accordance with the golden rule by not telling of the existence of the New World and thereby denying the pleasures of chocolate to the Old World for a further 1500 years? In other words, if he were God, how could he be ignorant of the rest of the world? Rabbi Skobac mentioned a Christian theory that Jews who did not accept Jesus were no longer God's chosen people, even no longer Jews at all! What is the logic behind such a claim? Does the parallel of Odin being sacrificed to himself on a tree "for the sons of men" require Christian influence? Could this be synchronicity? In Killing History, why did you say "the Gospels are not unlike the Warren Commission Report. Can you trust them?" Didn't all the Bible authors know they were, in a word, lying? Some say Jesus never really committed blasphemy (therefore the stories are unreliable), while others highlight the idea that Jesus' punishment was actually just and reasonable under the Jewish law (thereby indicting the morality of the Jewish law-giver). What do you think? Have you arrived at a comfortable position on the OT? Where did you end up re minimalism? Rev. 19:16 says: "And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." (?KJV). The Toledoth Jeschu has Jesus copy down the wonder-working Name of God and hide the slip of paper in a cut on his "thigh." I wondered if both of these stories refer to circumcision, a wound to the penis which carries the name of Yahweh, or at least in the Revelation version, a sign of Yahweh's covenant "written" on the penis as the circumcision scar. Since mental illness has been an undiagnosed part of humanity since the beginning, what do you think it's impact has been on the formation of the Abrahamic faiths? Ac[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-063

Thu, 11 Dec 2014 12:00:00 -0500

What is it that God gets out of all this bowing and scraping? Jews eat only unleavened bread (matzo) during Passover season, so could Jesus have said to his Jewish followers on the Seder night that "This bread is my body"? If Simon Magus is Paul and Simon was called 'great,' then could the name 'Paul' ('little') be a direct pun on his former non-Christian epithet? Can you share any stories of your interacting with a Jehovah's Witness at your door? R. H. Charles insists that David could not have been a polytheist, so the teraphim in his home must have been images of Yahweh? Is this just harmonizing? If I understand evangelical theology correctly, the good news is the fact that humans now have a way to avoid being tormented in hell for eternity. Does the New Testament make this claim? Is it possible that the redactor of Genesis 32 has put verse 2 in as a commentary on verse 7, or as some sort of foreshadowing? What do you make of Jesus-Dumuzi parallels? What are your personal thoughts on Lena Einhorn's paper from SBL: "The Egyptian Prophet"? And why do you think that more scholarly attention has not been given to her hypothesis? William Dever presents the convincing case that the original Old Testament was a tool designed by the ruling elite of Jerusalem to codify, develop, and maintain their power base. Could the same case be made for the New Testament? Wouldn't Margaret Barker's work back up the idea of a crucified Son of God before the creation of the world--as held by many Gnostics? I was told that when Christ died on the cross he descended to hell and spent the period of time between his death and resurrection writhing there. Is this the opinion of most scholars, and is there enough biblical evidence in your opinion to support it? How spurious was the identification of the recently destroyed Younis Shrinei as the resting place of Jonah? What are the historical claims of the Salafi movement in terms of getting back to the original practices of the earliest Muslims? Robert Eisenman seems to dismiss the notion that Paul is a tentmaker as mentioned in Acts. Is this a mere literary device to make Paul seem a humble guy simply "passin' on the Word," or does "Tentmaker" carry a larger connotation? In 1 C[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-062

Thu, 04 Dec 2014 12:00:00 -0500

Concerning Islam as "the most successful of the Christian heresies," does this originate with the 8th century writer John of Damascus? What message would the audience get from hearing the text of Revelation, except a story where their enemy has a bad end? It can't be prophecy because Nero ("616" or "666") was long gone, so what's the point? What is your take on the definition of "faith"? Is Peter Boghossian's definition of faith as "pretending to know things you don't know" a caricature? What do you make of the Sibylline Oracles? What was their value to the early Christians? Do they shed any light on the Christ Myth Theory or on the relationship between Christianity and the Pagan religions? You say that the bible does not address abortion but isn't that what Num. 5:21 is all about? What is with all the figures of speech in the Bible? Is there any religion other than Christianity that relies so heavily on emotional music? You once discussed early depictions of Jesus as a young man or youth, and this had something to do with him being associated with sun gods. Can you clarify this relationship? Are there any resources that comprehensively cover pagan parallels to Christ? Which associations do you think are the strongest?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-061

Tue, 02 Dec 2014 12:00:00 -0500

What can you tell us about the Cainites? What do you make of the Talmudists' theory that Joshua 20 originally was part of Deuteronomy? Clearchus reported a dialogue with Aristotle, where the philosopher states that the Hebrews were descendants of the Indian philosophers. What are your thoughts on this? If Jesus is a second Elijah, who is the corresponding Elisha? You said you thought it would be the church on whom a double portion of the spirit is poured at Pentecost. Jesus clearly expects his disciples to think of John the Baptist as Elijah. It is only natural to think of Jesus as Elisha with a double portion of the spirit. Why would someone see in the gospels an equating of Jesus with Elijah? What is your opinion of Elaine Pagels' book "Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation"? When talking about Christ being buried in the tomb, Bart Ehrman recently admitted he had always taken it for granted and only recently researched Roman post-crucifixion burial practices. Does this undermine his credibility? Why does the Bible offer so little in the way of useful advice on the subject of medicine from herbs to provide pain relief? How much do we know about the origin Islam's black stone? Was stone worship a common practice with our pagan ancestors? Might there have been many black stones floating around? You say the Mandeans, Muslims and the Gospel of John have some Gnostic influence. Are there other modern sects with Gnostic influences? If we don't think 'Paul' or whoever he was wrote any of the epistles ascribed to him, does this not require an example of a genuine 'Pauline' epistle to which the others do not conform? What are the criteria for pseudepigrapha? What about the theory that the historical Paul may have actually been Sergius Paulus (as named in Acts) who was probably one of Herod's nephews? By which book of the OT was the concept of Monolatrism completely forgotten? When Paul references that he had a "revelation from the scriptures" do you think he could be referencing any non-canonical scriptures? Would the New Testament make more or less sense for the Christ myth theory if we had no gospels and why? Do you bel[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-060

Mon, 24 Nov 2014 12:00:00 -0500

Why is pagan god worship among Yahweh's people so uncommon today compared to antiquity? "The parenthesis" seems to be a critical component in dispensational theology, but I don't hear much about it. Is it scriptural? Is it plausible? Doesn't the word "ektroma" in 1 Corinthians 15:8 refer to abortion of miscarriage, not to "one untimely born"? Can't the popular notion of the Rapture claim the support of 1 Thess 4:17 and Matt 24:40-42? Could Lilith have originally been Enosh's wife - later added as Adam's wife? According to the Mandaeans the word "nasirutha" means priestly craft. Is it possible that Jesus of Nazareth, like Mary of Magdala originally referred to the person's trade and not a specific city in the Galilee? Is it possible that the Didache circulated alongside Matthew, hence Justin Martyr's confusion over the Gospel being the "Memoirs (teachings?) of the Apostles" and the connection between the Didache and Acts? Do the more primitive beliefs of the Ebionites imply no historical Jesus?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-059

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 12:00:00 -0500

If humans can have free will in heaven but always choose the good, why didn't God make us that way to start with? Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith says that in Luke 23:43, Jesus did not promise the repentant thief admission to "paradise" but only to the (purgatorial) "world of spirits." Does the Greek word allow for that? Given the deep divisions in the Church of England these days (conservatives, liberals, and evangelicals), one sometimes wonders if the whole thing will break apart in spectacular fashion. Do you think it will? Regarding the imputation of sin to Adam and Eve when they hadn't yet any knowledge of good and evil, might the first bite have been innocent, though imparting moral knowledge, which told them it would be sinful to keep eating, but they did anyway? What are the top 5 books that were serious contenders but ultimately did not make it into the canon? What are the top 5 books that made it into the canon by the skin of their teeth? Khalil Ibn Ahmad (d. 786â??787 CE) wrote: "The Sabians believe they belong to the prophet Noah, they read the Psalms, and their religion looks like Christianity." Were these remnant communities of Noahides/Theophobias? What do you make of the apparent confusion between Noah and Hermes in these early Islamic writings? The birth year range for Irenaeus is either 115-125CE or 130-142CE. What if, Irenaeus is actually the historical Polycarp, inventing his master Polycarp, his martyrdom and his connection to Papias and the Apostle John in order to boost his own authority? Might it be that Ham had sex with Noah's wife (who was not the mother of his three sons), with Canaan as the result, like the Moabites and Ammonites? If all scripture is "God-breathed" wouldn't that refer to its being breathed out, not breathed in? Thus instead of speaking of the "inspiration" of the Bible, would not we be more accurate to refer to its "expiration"? In view of Bart Ehrman's recent dismissal of the burial story as fiction, do you think he's headed for mythicism? What's the "Queen Jane Bible"? Might Galatians 4:4-5 (Jesus was "born of a woman") refer, as the phras[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-058

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 12:00:00 -0500

Share any fun Halloween traditions? Is it likely that many biblical "revelations" & "prophecies" were real or pretended interpretations of brontologia (thunderclap oracles)? I have often heard it said that there is no mention of Hell in the Old Testament. What about Daniel 12:2 and Ecclesiastes 12:13? Can you recommend any good books about the sermons and writings among 19th century protestant and evangelical preachers? What was it about 19th century American Christianity that led to so many new religious movements? Is N.T. Wright worth reading? Does it make any sense to make the distinction that Muslims do not worship the same god as Jews & Christians, but do pray to the same god? Assuming their historicity, can we infer that prophets, such as Jeremiah, Moses, Paul, & Abraham who "communicated" with god, were merely undiagnosed schizophrenics? Rather than willful deception? In Genesis 3:22, God kicks Adam and Eve out of the garden so that they can't eat from the Tree of Life and live forever. Isn't it implied that Adam and Eve would have lived forever before they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? What was the point of the Tree of Life if they would have lived forever anyway? Did Adam and Eve have to keep eating from the Tree of Life to stay alive before they were exiled? Does the Geek have any teaching philosophy aimed at inculcating intellectual honesty and independent, critical thought? What do you think of John Hick's form of religious pluralism? What is the Geek's favorite flavor of pizza? Can someone give me a comprehensive minimalist timeline--maybe with some sources?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-057

Thu, 16 Oct 2014 12:00:00 -0400

The Ethiopian canon divides the book of Proverbs into two parts, 1â??24 and 25â??31. Is it an ancient Jewish division or something later scribes came up with? Could we view the Gospels as products of rival Antiochs? Luke wrote in Antioch near the Sea and Matthew wrote in Edessa (also called Antioch). Is there any connection between the number of Surahs in the Qur'an (114) and the number of sayings in the Gospel of Thomas (also 114)? What is so significant about James the brother of Jesus? Is there actual archaeological evidence that Quirinius had an earlier tenure as Roman governor in Palestine? Do you believe the Gospel writers simply believed in annihilation or eternal torture? Did they view Gehenna merely as a garbage dump or a symbol for a literal hell? From some of the stuff I've heard about The Golgotha Chainsaw Massacre (aka Gibson's The Passion of the Christ), a lot of stuff in the movie was based not biblical sources, but on the visions of a nun, which gave a much higher detailed version of the passions. Was I hearing right, and what can you tell us about this version of the death of Christ? An apologist said, "Most scholars today have no difficulty with the fact that the canon of scriptures was formed by the end of the first century. Everybody knew what the Bible was. There were a few disputes, a few discussions over certain books, but the church fathers and the very early Christians had no problem over the vast majority of the New Testament. The Old Testament, of course, was already decided." Do you agree that Christians had the Bible canon, both Old and New Testaments, pretty much settled by the end of the first century? Second, even if you disagree, would you grant this fellow's assertion that "most scholars" share his opinion? Does Isaiah really mention satyrs? Would you give a thumbnail biography and explain the significance of Marcion and Polycarp?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-056

Sat, 04 Oct 2014 12:00:00 -0400

Can you provide a Bible timeline that addresses the time periods when each piece was put together, and when the Bible as a whole would have been accepted by the modern religion(s) of that time? Who tattooed the testicles of Jesus in Rev. 19:16? Why is Paul so keen that men in the Corinthian church should pray or prophesy with heads uncovered (1 Cor. 11:4)? Why didn't Paul include his mates on the way to Damascus amongst his witnesses in 1Cor15? If it was so darn urgent to spread the gospel all over the world, why didn't Jesus, a carpenter after all, build a boat and embark on missionary voyages to the Western hemisphere?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-055 (Google Hangout)

Tue, 30 Sep 2014 12:00:00 -0400

Was John the Baptist historical? Robert Eissler's theories on both the fish god Oannes (Dagon) and a historical John, but a generation earlier than Jesus. Does John's presence in Josephus support his historicity? More evidence that the genealogies of Matthew and Luke are fundamentally irreconcilable. Strauss' The Life of Jesus Critically Examined seems to have dealt with and "flattened" every apologist argument in support of historicity long before modern apologetics. Dr. Price reads an excerpt from his forthcoming Blaming Jesus for Jehovah book on Matthew's nativity story. Modern rationist theories concerning the star of Bethlehem. Colin Wilson on Lovecraft. Discussion on Price's Antarktos Cycle anthology containing a sequel by Wilson to Lovecraft's Mountains of Madness. Lamentations about the lack of European scholarship never translated into English. The Human Bible New Testament is nearing print publication. The audio recording of The Case Against the Case for Christ was recently completed and should soon go into the editing process. Why do scholars quote material in multiple languages but never provide an English translation, even in predominantly English books? Story collaboration between Peter H. Cannon and Price called "The Curate of Temphill," another anthology which contains Price's "The Seven Thunders," etc. The sealing up of the seven thunders and brontology in Revelation in relation to other apocrypha and "heresies" such as Nicolaitans. How John's gospel functions as a "corrective" to the synoptics and betrays a knowledge of these earlier gospels. John the Baptist as the incarnate Logos. Why did the gospel of John portray Jesus as being guilty of blasphemy in the eyes of the Judean crowds? Philo's philosophy in John's gospel. Does Satan ever attempt to prevent the birth of Jesus in any apocryphal gospel? Some similar and somewhat parallel motifs exist in a Sufi saying and in the birth of Zoroaster. A look at "pseudo-Matthew" (AKA The Infancy Gospel of Matthew). Jehovah's W[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-054 (Google Hangout)

Tue, 23 Sep 2014 12:00:00 -0400

Information on the possibility of Dr. Price doing one-on-one online courses via Google + for a fee. Can Dr. Price describe his Higher Critical tutorial course curriculum and format? Has Dr. Price read Richard Carrier's latest book, On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt (answer: not yet). What are the main distinctions between Marcionites and Gnostics? Is Gnosticism pre-Christian, and furthermore distinctive from its later Christian manifestations? What examples from all the biblical manuscripts known today unequivocally illustrate a history of actual redaction and/or interpolations, and are there changes known now that were not previously anticipated or even recognized by textual critics? Source criticism in relation to the Septuagint and the Dead Sea Scrolls. What about the idea that gods have a physical seat of power and their authority wanes as you get farther and farther from that location? Questions on the Zeitgeist movie, Mithra vs. Mithras, rising and dying gods and astrotheology. Dr. Price's equation of "the Emergent Church" with the rediscovery of Liberal Protestantism. Dr. Price's opinions on Reza Aslan's book Zealot and its relation to SGF Brandon's earlier works (book review by him available only in print for American Rationalist magazine). Lena Einhorn's "time shift" hypothesis. Did Valentinian Gnostics use the Julian calendar or the Jewish calendar? Barbara Thiering on Qumran and Nag Hammadi calendar lore. What does the contents of the Nag Hammadi library reveal about those who deposited it? Deuteronomy 28:23 vs Leviticus 29:19: any significance to the inversion of the sky metaphors in each passage? Otto Eissfeldt's works on the Documentary Hypothesis. Do the two birds in Genesis 3 reflect two sub-sources of the J (Yahwist) source? How does this part of the Noah story related to the Epic of Gilgamesh? Joel S. Baden's theory on doublets and triplets in the Pentateuch. The Life of Jesus in the Light of Higher Criticism by[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-053

Mon, 22 Sep 2014 12:00:00 -0400

Herodotus' "Histories" does not mention of the Hebrews, Abraham, Judah, Moses or Yahweh. Did Herodotus think no Jews is good news? Were the ancient Hebrews simply not of a number to be noticed on the "world scene?" Furthermore, is Yahweh Zeus, who according to Herodotus, came from Egypt? Which of the audio versions do you recommend for someone going through the entire New Testament for the first time? Is Pliny's letter a forgery as Detering says? Were John the writer of Revelation and John the apostle different? Did the writer of Revelation know the Gospels at all? Does Rev 2:7's "Garden of God" hearken back to Genesis and the Garden of Eden? Was "Whoever has ears to hear...â?? a common phrase in ancient apocalyptic? In Revelation, is "Balaam" a reference to Baal? Or a warning about the teachings of Paul or Gnosticism? Rev 3:14 ("This is the message from the Amen, the faithful and true witness"): in the Gnostic Book of Baruch "Amen" is one of the Angels. Is Amen an Angel anywhere else in the bible? Who are the 24 elders of Rev 4:4? When the angel blows the fifth trumpet and the locusts come down and are not allowed to harm anybody with of seal of God, does this hearken back to the Passover story? Is Apollyon in Rev 9:11 the Greek god Apollo making a cameo? Does John 14:26 indicate that there were no written notes of Jesus teachings, for otherwise Jesus would have told them to consult their diary rather than wait for a miraculous reminder? If Jesus was able to fly up in the sky like Acts 1:9 suggests, why didn't he fly over to America and Australia to immediately tell them the good news of his resurrection but was instead content to leave it for over 1492 years until the Europeans started to tell them the Bible stories?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-052

Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:00:00 -0400

The Pastorals use the phrase "God our Savior." Shouldn't it be "Jesus Christ our Savior"? In the Pre-Nicene NT, for 1 Timothy 1:4 your footnote to the "myths and endless genealogies" bit says this is about apostolic descent and credentials. Not Gnostic myths and the genealogies of the Archons? 1 Timothy 1:20 says someone is "turned over to Satan". What does this mean? How do Catholics reconcile the celibate clergy with 1 Timothy 3:2? 1 Timothy 6:14-16 imply no one "has ever seen or can see Jesus Christ"? And what about "who alone has immortality"? 2 Timothy 2:18 says, "some have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened". How could people say "the resurrection has already happened" when there were obviously still dead people in the ground? In 2 Timothy 4:11 ("Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry") is the Ecclesiastical Redactor trying to beef up the canonical status of the gospels of Luke and Mark by mentioning their names? What are your thoughts on the Lord's Prayer? Is there any early heresy that hasn't been reinvented in the past few centuries? If there isn't, does that suggest that the various sedimentary layers in the New Testament are fairly easily seen even by a layman? Like any good lapsed Catholic I intend to repent on my deathbed but until then may your God go with you. According to a midrash, Hagar was an Egyptian princess, the daughter of Pharaoh, and joined Abraham and Sarah after witnessing God save Sarah from the hands of the Egyptian King. Given this, did Pharaoh give Hagar to Abraham as a gift to ensure that Abraham's God didn't kill Pharaoh? Who is Luqman from Sura 34? The Cave of Letters, the second Sukkot letter, a request for the four kinds (palm branches, citron, myrtle and willow), says, "The letter is written in Greek as we have no one who knows Hebrew [or Aramaic]." Were there Hellenized Je[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-051

Wed, 17 Sep 2014 12:00:00 -0400

Re the Baha'i/Babi split, do you see the Azalis as comparable to Kharijites or perhaps closer to those Mormons who followed the Smith family as opposed to Brigham Young? Why might Augustine have been unsure whether aborted fetuses will be resurrected as fully-grown human beings at the time of the Second Coming? What is the relationship of the Black Stone of Mecca and the Black Stone of Emesa (modern day war-torn Homs in Syria)? And between the worship of the Sun god Elagabalus and the Moon god Al-ilah? Can you please comment on William Wrede's defense of the Pauline authorship of the epistles? Laodiceans/Ephesians in the Pre-Nicene NT reads: "Accordingly, renounce lying and speak the truth, each one of you to your neighbor, because we are body parts of one another. What if the hand were on fire and it should lie to the heart, saying, "I do not hurt"? Soon you should lack the hand!" Is this extra sentence about the burning, lying hand part of another manuscript tradition which was omitted from the NRSV? Or were you just in a fast-n-loose/Living Bible type mood that day? Around Luke 17:30, we read the familiar passage in which Jesus tells us that when the Son of Man comes, two will be in bed (and two will be grinding) and one will be taken while the other is left. Then in verse 37 someone asks Jesus, "Where, Lord?" I expected Jesus to reply that the ones taken from their beds would be taken to a heavenly realm, but he says, "Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather." Where and what is this 'corpse', who are the vultures, and in what way is Jesus responding to the question posed him? Re Jesus being "worshiped": The Greek word "proskyneo" simply means to show "reverence" to, or to "express respect". Right? In your experience, what happens to the amazing friendships one finds among church congregations when someone simply stops believing? In The Miracle of Forgiveness, Spe[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-050

Sat, 13 Sep 2014 12:00:00 -0400

Helmut Koester suggests that Luke's "Great Omission" (his lack of Mark 6:45-8:26) is an interpolation. Is this implied by the fact that the word "Jesus" does not appear between Mark 6:30 and 8:27? All references to Jesus in this section are by pronoun. Aren't you inconsistent? You are not sure if there was a historical Jesus, but you are very sure that Darwin's style of evolution is a concrete fact. Could you give an example of how deconstruction can be applied to biblical criticism? In "Deconstructing Jesus" is your use of "deconstruction" in the title merely figurative or are you actually using deconstruction as a critical method? Is "Preaching Deconstruction" transcriptions of actual sermons - or lectures? You reject the entirety of the Testimonium Flavianum. But apparently there is a shorter, Arabic version that lacks some of the "Christian" elements, and scholars say this attest a shorter version actually written by Josephus. Does it? Are there any apologists that you think can be trusted? Or are all of these people just professional liars? Could El Elyon have been the sun and Yahweh the moon? In the book of Hebrews there are several quotes from, and allusions to, the OT - all without attribution. Why? And who the heck wrote this thing anyway? What is your viewpoint on the New Testament's sexual ethic? Numbers 22 seems to assume that God will do whatever Balaam says, as if God must curse his own people if the prophet tells him to. He can't just ignore Balaam. This seems to turn the concept of a prophet on its head from anything else in the OT where the prophets serve only to pass on the words of God. And it seems to have quite a low view of God. What can account for this story with its radically non-Jewish theology?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-049

Wed, 03 Sep 2014 12:00:00 -0400

Ibn Kathir relates that Ezra was resurrected by God many years after his death. Only an old blind woman could remember him, so he prayed to God for her to be cured of blindness, a prayer fulfilled. Ezra's identity is then accepted by the people and he embarks on a task to find the last remaining Torah (as Nebuchadnezzar had burnt all other copies), finding it in disrepair he decided to rewrite the Torah from memory. After this miracle, Jews began calling him the Son of God. What do you make of this story? Did Kathir make it up or is he basing it on a lost work? What are your thoughts on the tradition in the Acts of Timothy that John the Evangelist was the one who assigned the names of the Gospels and created the four Gospels as a set. The text also says that they were written in different languages, is it possible he refers to non-Greek scripture we no longer have? Commenting on Caliph Uthman's attempts to unify the text of the Qur'an into a single "correct" version, Bukhari says Uthman ordered that the new perfect Qur'an be written in the Quraishi dialect of Arabic. Since Mohammad only spoke Quraishi Arabic, is this not an admission on the part of early Muslims that the Qur'an isn't directly from Heaven, and instead subject to human translation? What is the Holy Spirit? Is it a separate entity from the spirit of God in the OT? How can anyone question Yahweh's approval of human sacrifice when he required a human to be sacrificed to forgive the sins of the world? Isn't Christianity a classic Hegelian Dialectic? It creates the problem of sin, generates opposition to the problem and then provides the solution. Two passages in the NT that nail the coffin shut on the historicity of the gospels are Mt. 21:5/Zech.9:9 where the writer misunderstands the Hebrew idiom and has Jesus riding two donkeys like a rodeo clown, and John 3:5, [...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-048 (Google Hangout)

Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:00:00 -0400

Live Google + Hangout recorded Tuesday, August 26, 2014, with Dr. Robert M. Price answering questions on: Docetism in the New Testament, or is it merely Stoicism? How much Christian doctrine is based on only one passage in the scriptures? Docetism in non-canonical gospels and non-orthodox communities. Various questions on the gospel of Thomas and its relation to Gnosticism. Did Yahweh originate in Ugarit? Parallels between Christ and Mithras: true or false, or somewhere in between? Who provides the historical basis for the existence of Simon Magus? Is there hard evidence linking John the Baptist to the Qumran sectarians? Question concerning the influences of Qumran on the New Testament directly. That might account for the current trend of disaffection from the churches? What authors should be consulted to get a good grounding in both liberal and conservative Catholic theology? Is it possible that Adam and Eve could be said to have died spiritually, instead of literally, in the day they disobeyed? Information about the book-in-progress: Holy Fable. What does the Bible Geek make of Josephus' geography of the garden of Eden? Letters of Pliny the Younger to Trajan: forgeries? Has Bart Ehrman become more radical in his theorizing? Information about a possible Bart Ehrman Interrupted book. Dr. Price's insights on the Messianic Secret in relation to the Christ-Myth theory. Was Ehrman's Did Jesus Exist? book merely a rehearsal for his latest How Jesus Became God book? Dr. Price is asked to prognosticate about what to expect in a "post-Christian" era. Did Constantine write the New Testament? What influence did Athanasius have on the content of the canon? Are there 5-10 essential books every Bible Geek should read? What criteria do source critics use on the Pentateuch to assign such atomistic pieces of the m[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-047

Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:00:00 -0400

What is the historical evidence for the various early Christian leaders named in the Bible, and can you talk about which were most likely actual people? If any of the disciples were real people - as James seems to be, from what I know - how do you believe they came to be made the disciples of a fictional character, Jesus? In History and the Gospel C.H. Dodd argues that the New Testament writers did not draw on the whole body of messianic predictions available to them from the Old Testament, which implies there was a real Jesus who had done some things and not others. What dictated the New Testament writers' choice of prophecies? Are there Old Testament messianic prophecies that Jesus is not said to have fulfilled, and if so why were these not applied to Jesus? In "The Historical Bejeezus" you lay out the case for a prior version of the Passion that involved a narrow escape from death, rather than a death and resurrection. But if the earliest form of Christianity involved a heavenly Christ who died and rose from the dead in the heavens, then why would the earliest historicization of his crucifixion involve an escape from death, rather than a death and resurrection? Apologists argue that the martyrdom of Jesus' disciples and other early "eye-witnesses" validates their spectacular claims, as though this is an indisputable historical fact. This seems like using a dogma to justify another dogma. Do you think that the early martyrdoms were a part of the larger Christian mytheme? What's the evidence that these martyrdoms ever even took place, and what indications do we have (if any) that they're more likely to be legend than history? Gerd Theissen writes "The image of the Pharisees as persecutors of Christians is to be located historically in the 40s and early 50s; the same goes[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-046

Fri, 08 Aug 2014 12:00:00 -0400

If Aaron saw God on the mountain with Moses, how could he think God looked like a calf when he fashioned that image? Isn't it likely the image represented Apis and Hathor, bovine gods of Egypt? And does the Bible say humans can see God and survive or not? You often talk about how Luke and other gospel writers got it wrong. How do we know that these gospel traditions are just plain wrong? Is there a good sourcebook for this? What's the deal with all the strange instances of circumcision in the Bible? Luke seems very insistent that Jesus is the new Elijah. Does the author envision a new Elisha as well? What do you think is the correct chronology of the biblical books? Gehenna (the Valley of Hinnom) just a metaphor for an actual literal hell? Or is it a garbage dump for disposing of sinners' corpses? Do you think "Study Bibles" are useful? Do they interject too many theological assumptions into the text? Which might you recommend? How are commentaries used? What is your favorite? Do you know of any readily accessible books which address the connection between Zoroastrianism and Judaism? In your future book "Moses und Minimalism" is it your contention that the Old Testament / Tanakh is on the same level of historicity as The Book of Mormon i.e., no historical merit? Was JRR Tolkien's created mythology influenced by Semitic polytheism? How can we talk about inerrancy if there is so much diversity between texts?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-045

Fri, 18 Jul 2014 12:00:00 -0400

What do you make of ISIS member Abu Turab Al Mugaddasi saying that they would destroy the Kaaba in Mecca: "If Allah wills, we will kill those who worship stones in Mecca and destroy the Kaaba. People go to Mecca to touch the stones, not for Allah." 2 Corinthians 1:3 begins "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ...." It seems that "God the Father" is both the God of, and the Father of, Jesus Christ. If the father and son are part of the same God-trinity, would the father really be the God of the son? It certainly seems the author did not consider God the Father and Jesus Christ to be equals. What's with all the bragging by the "humble" Paul in 2 Corinthians? And why does he first write as if the man who journeyed to the third heaven was someone else? Jews speak of the unbroken chain, of father-to-son, dating back to Sinai, but we know that there was at least one bottle-neck at the time of Ezra. Are you aware of other examples where the story/knowledge/Torah was lost, and then reintroduced? Might the display of divine retribution at Mount Vesuvius have "put the fear of (the Israelite) God" into some Gnostic Christians to rethink their theology and claim Jehovah as the Father of Jesus and the Jewish Scriptures as their own, thus giving birth to Catholic Christianity? I sometimes wonder if, when Paul refers to James as "the brother of the Lord," that the phrase "brother of the Lord" is a nickname, like with Simon the Zealot (see Luke 6:15) or Sons of Thunder (see Mark 3:17). An early tradition of the Jesus movement is preserved in Mark where Mark has Jesus say "Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother (Mark 3:35)." Maybe in Paul, James has the title or nickname "The brother of t[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-044

Tue, 15 Jul 2014 12:00:00 -0400

Luke's gospel does not expressly include the flogging/whipping/scourging as part of the Passion, though Pilate in dialogue with the crowd twice recommends that he punish or chastise Jesus and release Him. Why? I heard that the Song of Solomon uses explicit Hebrew words for human anatomy (e.g., apple is actually the world for penis in Hebrew). Is it true that it is translated into virtually unrecognizable euphemisms for what was written explicitly in the earliest sources? On Bernard Batto's claim that the translation of Yam Suf as the 'Sea of Reeds' is not correct and that it does actually mean what we call the Red Sea today, or even as Yam Sof (End Sea as Israelites saw the Red Sea as the end of the world). Presumably when first written the Torah would have been written in the original paleo-Hebrew but was later changed to the Aramaic one that we use today. Even according to most conservative Jewish scholars admit this was changed by Ezra. Does this comport with the notion of a very late origin? Phillip Harland pointed out that in Mark 8:27-30 Jesus asks his disciples who they think he is and Peter responds "You are the Christ," whereupon Jesus tells them to be silent about it. Then he responds to Peter: "Get behind me Satan!" Up to that passage in Mark, the only beings that recognized Jesus were possessing spirits. Does this imply that the author intended to depict Peter as Satan-possessed? Can any parallels be drawn between the initial succession conflict within Islam (Abu Bakr and Ali bin Abu Talib) and that of Christianity (Paul and Peter)? What issues were being polemically symbolized in Peter's three denials of Jesus? Why three? Tacitus mentions in passing only that the Christians were[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-043

Fri, 11 Jul 2014 12:00:00 -0400

Extravagant, blind fan worship of Michael Jackson vs. the hypothetical swift deification of an historical Jesus. On the Isar community, a Christian group which claims descent from the Samaritan Diaspora. Josippon (also called Pseudo-Josephus), written in biblical Hebrew, and its relationship to other pseudoepigrapha and fprgeries. On the Book of Jubilees being highly regarded by both the Hasmoneans the Qumran community and implications on authorship and dating. Does Mark 6.14 erroneously calling Herod Antipas "king" imply late dating and non-eyewitness authorship? Geek's opinion on the authenticity of the "Moabite Stone." Isn't it foolish to discourage the involvement of Christian amateurs in the processing of ancient papyri that languish in unopened crates? In Acts 2 and 4 it seems like the Christians in Jerusalem were practicing a kind of communal property and redistribution. Was this temporary? Was it just in Jerusalem? Are the passages in question are historical do they serve some kind of ideological function? Is it possible that the writers of the Bible (e.g. Rev. 11:7-98) never were in Egypt but wrote "Egypt" so whichever captives they were subject to would not consider the writings revolutionary propaganda? Are there further examples of euphemisms deployed to disguise a location, country or people so we who hath ears can hear and interpret who is truly meant (other than "666")? On Eusebius' mention of a text called the Memoranda that claims Jesus was crucified in 21 CE and implications for Jesus' historicity. Josephus places the death of John the Baptist in 36 CE vs. Gospels placing it before the crucifixion of Jesus with John either a forerunner of Jesus or[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-042

Thu, 03 Jul 2014 12:00:00 -0400

What do you think of the theory that, since the name "Cain" meant blacksmith, the Mark of Cain story was an explanation for the already existing taboos around blacksmiths? Didn't "thy Kingdom come" originally refer to restoring the Jewish state, not the next world? Wasn't the parable of the "Good Samaritan" really about bad priests ignoring the needy? Under Roman occupation, weren't the temple priests flunkies of Rome? Was "give what is Caesar's to Caesar, and to God what is God's" a call to end Roman rule and return the land to the Jews? When Jewish authorities kicked out the Hellenized Christians, didnâ??t they inadvertently help to spread Christianity among Gentiles? After Rome destroyed Jerusalem and banned Judaism, didn't many Christians repudiate their faith's Jewish roots and begin seeking Roman converts? Hebrews 11:26 says Moses "esteemed the reproach of Christ?"� What did Moses know of Christ? Who are "those of Caesarâ??s household" in Philippians 4:22? Does Revelation 12 reflect the nativities of Horus and Zeus? Could "Amen" be a reference to the Egyptian deity Amen? God was mad when Adam and Eve "discovered" they were naked, yet seemed to relent and allow them to have clothes. Why has nudity become sinful in so many cultures? Suppose you found yourself transported back in time to the dawn of humanity. The people there were willing to believe whatever you told them. What would you tell them? Would you attempt to construct a myth that provided morality, etc.? What are some of your favorite Bible conspiracies and why? Does the Islamic "Satan", aka Iblis, relate more to the original conception of Satan in the Jewish s[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-041

Wed, 02 Jul 2014 12:00:00 -0400

What are your thoughts on the view of James Tabor that Mary of Clopas is in fact Mary the mother of Jesus, having remarried Clopas after Joseph's death? What do you make of the view that Jonah like Elijah never died? What is the point of the hadith in which Muhammad answers the three questions to which only a prophet may answer, thus prompting Rabbi Abdullah bin Salam? Might Mark 14:51 be based on the LXX version of Daniel 12:7, the young man serving as a sign of the End? It seems that if God requires this blood sacrifice and extraordinary agony either His forgiveness is constrained by unknown outside forces or He is simply unspeakably cruel and willful. Can you explain what the most convincing Christian response to this concern is? Atheists love to point to fertility myths of dying and rising gods as the antecedents of the Christ story, but are there any stories of redemption or salvation of humans driven by the death of a resurrected god, or is that Christianity's big innovation? After the death of Jesus, we are told offhandedly in the Apostles' Creed that "he descended into hell." Why? Where do we get the idea that we should pray with hands together and eyes shut? I am just coming to terms with the Christ myth theory, when I learn that there is even less historical evidence for Paul. Is there an equivalent "Paul myth theory"? Does John chapter 17 reflect a series of redactions? Some of the chapter reads more like a liturgical summary of Jesus' life or maybe an early creed? Also, does this chapter seem to include verses that could have an orthodox and a Gnostic "reading"? Archaeological evidence supports Chri[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-040

Tue, 01 Jul 2014 12:00:00 -0400

Peter Jackson's Targum of Tolkien. I recently ran across a pretty straight-forward Christian interpretation of Daniel using a Gregorian calendar that begins with Artaxerxes' decree in 458. 490 weeks later is 33 AD. Do you think Daniel may have been used by the gospel writers to establish a basic timeline for when their messiah might have to have lived and died? Or, if there was a historical Jesus, could he have known about Daniel's prophecies and then determined that he should be put to death around such and such time to meet what the scriptures supposedly said? Were there a lot of messianic expectations around the time of Jesus? Could this have been due to the re-dating of Daniel (once people realized that the end didn't happen after Maccabean times!) and other scriptures? Is Ussher's chronological very influential on Young Earth Creationists? Did early Christians care about the age of the earth or did such concern come later? Is any evidence of an 'evolution' of the Ten Commandments story or of the Mosaic Law itself? Could you explain how we know that the Little Apocalypse is an interpolation into Mark and why this is evidence for a post 70 date? In Proverbs 8:22-31, Wisdom is described as pre-existent and present before the creation, just like Jesus in John's gospel. In Proverbs 9:1-6, Wisdom wants us to partake in a kind of Eucharist of bread and wine in which we will "live" and "walk in the way of insight." In Greek "wisdom" becomes "Sophia". Isn't this a prominent concept in Gnosticism? Could these passages in Proverbs be the source behind both the Eucharist and the concept of t[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-039

Wed, 25 Jun 2014 12:00:00 -0400

If there is any evidence of the creed of 1 Corinthians 15 (verses 3-11) being cited/quoted by writers of antiquity of an early date? Some instances of translation fudging in the New World Translation. Jeffrey Butz says Schweitzer's theory of Jesus' false apocalyptic prediction was rejected by everyone, even Bultmann. Is this correct? When did Paul ever make the claim that such letters he was writing were "scripture"? Was Mary (the mother of Jesus) from the house of David? If not, that would disqualify Jesus from being the Messiah automatically, would it not? What if the very concept of the Holy Spirit as the third person of the Trinity originated from a misunderstanding of the phrase "Holy Spirit" as a circumlocution for "God"? Why did Origen, in the 3rd century, think that Paul 'praised' Luke and that Luke's gospel pre-dated the letters of Paul? Luke's nativity seems to have Jesus as Son of God already at birth, but the Acts speeches are adoptionistic. Surely the same author did not write both?

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-038

Tue, 24 Jun 2014 12:00:00 -0400

Is the name Habakkuk Akkadian? Also, in the Additions to Daniel, Habakkuk is ordered to make stew for Daniel, and is then beamed over to Babylon and back by the Angel Scotty. If it were possible for angels to beam people back and forth, why wasn't this done at any point in the past Biblical literature? One of your interlocutors raised the topic of a recent archeological find that might substantiate the historicity of the Buddha. I fear this correspondent might be conflating two different news items about Buddhist archeology. One concerns a new archeological find while the other concerns a new analysis of an old find. I lean towards a mythical Jesus but have trouble with the timing of when he was supposed to have lived and died. Why the 30s AD? What is the 22nd Psalm intended to be about? I've read one Christian site that said it is alluded to five times in the crucifixion narrative, though specifics weren't given. At Liberty University nearly all the divinity students are embracing a form of Calvinism, specifically the brand of Calvinism promoted by John Piper. What do you make of this trend? Before the second century AD the Romans practiced cremation, however during the second century A.D., burial started to become the more popular funeral rite, did this practice emerge from "trendy" beliefs imported from the eastern regions of the empire like Egypt or even Judea? Genesis 21:8-20 -- a story about Ishmael but never mentions his name! He is called son, boy and child. Why is that? Paul says "the unbelieving husband has been sanctifi[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-037

Sun, 22 Jun 2014 12:00:00 -0400

Comparing a poll of NT scholars to a poll of historians regarding Jesus' existence. Relationship between the fields of history and New Testament studies? Can Revelation 22:8-9, be reasonably read to mean that the angel claims to have once been a man? Is 1 Corinthians 2 Gnostic or Marcionite? Are justification and sanctification being used differently between chapter 1 and 6? Is chapter 6 a later interpolation intended to redefine justification and sanctification in terms more palatable to orthodox Christians? Is 1 Corinthians 15:16-17 an interpolation and a response to criticism that there wasn't enough time for an interpolation. How did Jesus earn the title "The Prince of Peace" when he clearly says he does not intend to bring peace? Re the phrase "among those born of woman.", was there some early skepticism about the historicity of John the Baptist too? Is Matthew 11:11 a leftover remnant from the John the Baptist cult that got past the censors? How does the hypothesis linking the Little Apocalypse with the Bar Kochba rebellion fit with the New Testament stories about some of the fathers (apostles) not yet having fallen asleep? Is there anything in the Bible that's theologically consistent and universally agreed upon and if so what? A listener from Connecticut describes their faith journey. Could the story of "God" (Esau) damaging Jacob's thigh(?) be a retelling of the waxing and waning of the moon? Would translating "Jesus" as "Yahve Savior" and "God" as "El Elyon" make the New Testament more reasonab[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-036

Sat, 21 Jun 2014 12:00:00 -0400

Should atheists scruple to say "Goodbye" since the etymology is "God be with ye"? I first heard of the Christ Myth Theory in a song lyric by Whitehouse which stated "don't you know that Jesus Christ never existed?" Shortly after I was reading the novel The Master and Margarita by Mikail Bulgakov, and there it was in the first couple of pages, laying out the whole case against the historicity of Jesus Christ. Are there many more examples of the Christ Myth Theory in popular culture? 1 Corinthians 15:4 says that Christ "was buried." In the Markan account Jesus is not buried in the earth, but rather placed "in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock." Do these perhaps not mean the same thing? I have heard many references to the so-called "unforgivable" sin, but would the use of the term "unforgivable" necessarily imply everlasting damnation? Many evangelical Universalists I have read still believe in Hell, but believe that a person can make his/her way through the redemptive "fires" of Hell and eventually into salvation. So, in the theology of the gospels, can a person pay the price for a sin but eventually attain salvation? John of Damascus' list of NT books has the standard twenty-seven books, but adds The Canons of the Holy Apostles by Clement. Due to the location of the book in at the end of the list imply John was placing the canons as an appendix to the New Testament, not a part of it? If The Crucifixion really happened and if Mary the mother of Jesus was a witness, Mary[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-035

Fri, 20 Jun 2014 12:00:00 -0400

How many angels can do the Watusi on the point of a needle? Josephus tells us that Herod the Great tried to loot the tomb of David, but discovered that it was empty (someone else had already looted the tomb). Is there any connection to Jesus' empty tomb? Perhaps the inventor of that part of the narrative thought the tomb should be empty like David's? Did Judah Kyriakos (also known as Judas of Jerusalem) â?? the last Jewish Christian bishop of Jerusalem, and allegedly the great-grandson of Jude the brother of Jesus â?? really exist? If so, how did he manage to claim descent from Jesus' brother? The Hebrew name Menahem means comforter, so I am wondering if the original comforter (paraklete) was meant to be either the son of Jude (brother of Jesus) named Menahem, or perhaps Menahem the grandson of Judas of Galilee. How did the Hebrew Yehoshua morph into the Latin Jesus. Apelles got his information through a woman called Philumena, a channeler of Paul in the second century. Are we looking at a psychic hotline in the second century? What was their influence in early Christianity like? In The Jesus Mysteries, Freke and Gandy make the case that the earliest Christians were Gnostics and that Gnosticism is really just the Jewish version of the Mystery Religions centered on Jesus as the god-man. Do you agree? Is Buddhism just the Indian version of the Mystery Religions centered on Siddhartha Gautama? Why do you think Orthodox Christianity eventually distance[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-034

Thu, 19 Jun 2014 12:00:00 -0400

Why does the initially important Barnabas suddenly disappear from the narrative of Acts? What are the differences and the relations, if any, between the Essenes, the Zealots, the Gnostics, and the Mystery Religions? You've said that historically Jews didn't see the Adam and Eve story as the beginning of sin but of death. Could you expound on that? Are the views of Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman (The Bible Unearthed), namely that the patriarchs didn't exist, the exodus and conquest never happened, and that the Pentateuch through the Deuteronomistic history are the product of the 7th century BCE, shared by most archaeologists? Does the OT actually presents the concept of a flat earth or are phrases like "laying the earths foundations" just metaphors? And is the firmament in Gen 1 necessarily a hard dome? In your opinion, who has a better scriptural argument, dispensationalists or Calvinists/Catholics? Why does Methuselah get the honor of being the oldest of the pre-Flood patriarchs at 969 years? Besides Lamech, what significance is there to the ages of the other major OT characters? In the Septuagint version of Zechariah 6:11-12, the crown of kingship is placed upon "Jesus," Philo of Alexandria interprets the prophecy as bespeaking the firstborn of God, the Logos (On the Confusion of Tongues, Book 14:62, 63). Is Richard Carrier right that this is definitive proof that there was a pre-Christian belief in a first born so[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-033 (repeat of show #97 from Oct. 2007)

Sun, 15 Jun 2014 12:00:00 -0400

*** THIS IS AN ENCORE PRESENTATION FROM OCTOBER 2007 (SHOW #97) *** 00:00:20: Technical difficulties 00:01:40: "I am" statements, incarnation and gnosticism in Bhagavad Gita. 00:10:28: Where does the Bible claim that it is the only Holy Book/Word of God? 00:22:53: Is "Budhism without beliefs" a genuine thing or a Western invention? 00:27:40: Request that Geek write an annotated Bible. 00:31:03: On spelling of the name of Biblical scholar "Mircea Eliade". 00:31:52: Did some members of the Corinthian community believe in Christ but not in his crucifixion? 00:35:27: Cerinthian Gnosticism and opposition to it in the Gospel of John. 00:55:38: On Gospel accounts as alleged "eyewitness testimony". 01:01:34: Lists of the 12 apostles and their historicity? 01:14:05: Is 1 Corinthians 6:16 really about marriage or about prostitution? 01:15:48: Is Odin hanging from Yggdrasil related to Jesus being crucified? 01:18:43: Disinterest in details of Jesus' life vs. supposedly faithful transmission of Jesus stories. 01:24:34: Announcement of Polyschizmatic Reprobate's Hour episode on "Paperback Apocalypse". 01:26:02: How do believers account for lack of archaeological evidence of Israelite captivity in Egypt? 01:27:22: If it is proven that 2 Peter is a 2nd century document would that disprove full preterism? 01:41:47: Is Jesus supposed to be new Joshua? 01:43:51: Was Daniel written in Aramaic or Hebrew? 01:45:38:[...]

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-032

Wed, 28 May 2014 12:00:00 -0400

00:00:50: I've heard speaking in tongues described as speaking in such a manner that what was said was heard by everyone in their native language. If this is accurate, why did it change to mean speaking inspired gibberish that had to be translated? 00:08:22: I find it hilarious that Dr. Craig goes on and on about the evils of moral relativism, and then he uses every single one of the "Techniques of Neutralization" that criminals use to psychologically overcome their cognitive dissonance when they commit a crime they know is wrong. 00:15:15: Are there extant Roman records of the crucifixion of Jesus? 00:17:12: Could you speak briefly on other religions or cults more or less contemporaneous with early Christianity and how they may have influenced Judaism? 00:28:26: Where does the fear of satanic cabals come from? Have satanic, occult, or evil cults ever existed? Is this just something religions brew up to create an "us" and to demonize "them"? 00:35:12: Do you think Mark 13:32 meant to preclude the possibility that the Father might later reveal "the day or hour" to someone in advance? 00:42:26: Who or what was Lillith? 00:48:40: What was the â??mark' of Cain? 00:52:01: Can you offer a brief overview of the work of Bultmann and his "de-mythologizing" program? 01:11:22: Personal questions about Price's financial and professional life. 01:17:35: 1 Corinthians 15:54-55. The [...]

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