Swinging the lead: codices are fake

Note: a follow-up comment to this post can be found here.

Last week the BBC reported on an apparent struggle by Jordan to gain return of small books with pages of lead. Robert Pigott’s article claimed

They could be the earliest Christian writing in existence, surviving almost 2,000 years in a Jordanian cave. They could, just possibly, change our understanding of how Jesus was crucified and resurrected, and how Christianity was born.

What is surprising is that the Telegraph made an even more extravagant report only today, despite it now being almost certain that these items are fake.

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2 Corinthians: Strength in weakness

I am working with Celia Kellett at BBC Radio Nottingham on an idea to present most of the books of the Bible, one a week, during 2011 as part of the celebrations of the King James Bible.The plan is to read some verses from the book, to give a one-and-a-half minute summary, to hear a human interest story which relates, and then include a short discussion making the connections.

Here are the key verses and summary for Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians to be broadcast this Sunday 3rd April from around 7.45 am:

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‘Bible’s Buried Secrets’ iii: planting ideas in Eden?

This week saw the broadcast of the third and last of the series with Francesca Stavrakopoulou supposedly exposing the real meaning of the Bible and thus over-turning centuries of tradition. My reflections on the previous two episodes can be found here and here.

In some ways this episode exhibited the same issues as the first two, though I thought the arguments much less coherent, with more evidence of jumping to unfounded conclusions without setting out

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Can women teach? part (iii)

I am in the process of writing a Grove Biblical booklet with the title ‘Women and authority: key biblical texts’ which aims to explore all the key texts in 28 (or more likely, 32) pages! Due out this month. I am aiming to cover Gen 1, 2 and 3, Luke 24, John 20,Acts 18, Romans 16, 1 Cor 111 Cor  14Eph 5 and 1 Tim 2.

Here are some final comments on 1 Tim 2.8–15. Earlier comments on this passage can be found here and here.

Creation order

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Psalms: joy and woe woven fine

I am working with Celia Kellett at BBC Radio Nottingham on an idea to present most of the books of the Bible, one a week, during 2011 as part of the celebrations of the King James Bible.The plan is to read some verses from the book, to give a one-and-a-half minute summary, to hear a human interest story which relates, and then include a short discussion making the connections.

Here are the key verses and summary for the book of Psalms, to be broadcast this Sunday 27th Mar from around 8.20 am:

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Lost and found in translation

Last night we were greeted with the tragic news that the person killed in Jerusalem by a terrorist bomb was not only a British citizen, but a Wycliffe Bible translator. Mary Gardner was there to learn Hebrew in order to improve her skills in translation work. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and colleagues at Wycliffe.

Why would someone risk their life, or at least suffer considerable personal sacrifice, for the sake of translation? The answer is that translation of the Bible is at the heart of Christian faith, for two reasons.

The first relates to the Christian faith’s unique global vision. There is no ‘Wycliffe Qur’an Translators’ or ‘Translation Committee for the Bhagavad Gita.’ This is because, from the very beginning, the followers of Jesus had a centripetal (rather than centrifugal) desire to make the good news relevant to others. The roots of this can be found in Jesus’ restlessness to move on to other villages early in his ministry in Mark 1.38, and in John 10.16 in his declaration that ‘there are sheep who are not of this

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Can women teach? part (ii)

The root of this word cannot mean ‘silence’ in the sense of not saying anything, since in it used in Acts 11.18 and Acts 21.14 immediately followed by something the people then said, and so is translated ‘quietened down’ or something similar, and signifies the people ceasing their objections. … ‘I am not permitting …’ As some have noted, the construction here is unusual, in that Paul uses a first person present tense (‘I am not permitting’) rather than either an imperative (‘they must not…’) or a third person present tense (‘it is not permitted to…’) both of which come in 1 Cor 14.34.

Can women teach? part (i)

I am in the process of writing a Grove Biblical booklet with the title ‘Women and authority: key biblical texts’ which aims to explore all the key texts in 28 pages! Due out later this month. I am aiming to cover Gen 1, 2 and 3, Luke 24, John 20,Acts 18, Romans 16, 1 Cor 111 Cor  14, Eph 5 and 1 Tim 2.

This is the introduction to the section on 1 Tim 2. Although it is general, even these observations significantly affect how we read this important text. (And do you like the picture?!)

This text often sits at the centre of the debate on what the New Testament (and in particular Paul) says about how men and women relate in ministry. At times it has been treated as a litmus test for orthodoxy in some circles, but in fact almost every aspect of the passage has been disputed, and the history of interpretation has been more varied than is often acknowledged. So, despite being a short passage, it needs a section to itself.

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Buried secrets—or hidden assumptions?

Last night was the second episode of the BBC’s The Bible’s Buried Secrets. Go here for my comments on the first programme. This one covered different areas, but for me was more disappointing.

Once again, Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou (whom I will call FS for short) set up from the outset a sharp dichotomy between religious and ‘objective’ views.

Although FS presents her conclusions as

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What did the ‘Bible’s Buried Secrets’ Unearth?

Last Wednesday saw the first of three programmes, ‘The Bible’s Buried Secrets’, in which Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou of Exeter University looked at what archaeology tells us about the Old Testament. This first episode explored whether there was evidence for King David’s ’empire.’

What did we learn?

1. Subjective Bible versus Objective History?
From the opening, Stavrakopoulou and other commentators

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Esther: for such a time as this

I am working with Celia Kellett at BBC Radio Nottingham on an idea to present most of the books of the Bible, one a week, during 2011 as part of the celebrations of the King James Bible. The plan is to read some verses from the book, to give a one-and-a-half minute summary, to hear a human interest story which relates, and then include a short discussion making the connections.

Here are the key verses and summary for the story of Esther (‘For such a time as this’), to be broadcast this Sunday 20th Mar from around 8.20 am:

Summary

How do you respond to experiencing a narrow escape from certain disaster? Perhaps the only thing to do is to look back and laugh—and this is what the book of Esther does. Another really surprising inclusion in the Bible, it is quite different from anything else we find in it.

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