Is the NT mostly forged?

Attacks on the reliability of the NT have moved in recent years from focussing on the question of historical reliability to the question of how the NT documents were written, handled and included in what was to become ‘Scripture.’ This is because of the continuing discovery of earlier and diverse manuscripts, and the related discipline of textual criticism.

Chief amongst the antagonists has been Bart Ehrman, about whom I wrote here in connection with the BBC’s ‘Beauty of Books‘ which began with a critique of Codex Siniaticus.

Last month, Ehrman’s latest work Forged was published, claiming that the majority of books in the NT were actually written by people other than the ones later attributed to them. Renowned scholar Ben Witherington has written a detailed eight-part critique of Ehrman’s book; links to all parts can be found here at the last one and I include the links at the bottom of the page here. They are really worth reading if you have the time, since they offer a great education in the facts of early Christian writing, and assumptions in the wider first-century world. But I cite his

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Hosea: shocking prophecy

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 prophet Hosea to be broadcast this Sunday 10th April from around 8.20 am:

Verses: Hosea 1.2–3 and 11.1–4, 8
When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the

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Summary: the Bible on women and authority

I have just finished writing a Grove Biblical booklet on ‘Women and authority: key biblical texts’ which aims to explore all the key texts in 32 pages, due out in the next week or so. I am aiming to cover Gen 1, 2 and 3, Luke 24, John 20, Acts 18, Romans 161 Cor 111 Cor  14Eph 5 and 1 Tim 2.

Having wrestled with these texts for the last two years, this is my considered summary:

1. The creation accounts offer no evidence of hierarchy in male-female relationships as part of the original created

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How should we vote about women bishops?

On Monday I attended a really helpful meeting in anticipation of the Diocesan Synod vote on the motion from General Synod proposing a way forward on women bishops. This essentially proposes a ‘middle way’ between simply going ahead, and making a legally structured provision for those disagreeing. It proposes to put in place delegated (rather than transferred) episcopal oversight, accessed by a Letter of Request from a PCC, with a Code of Practice ensuring that the provision is adequate. (Having just written this, I realise how complex the whole thing is, and baffling to those who have not been following closely.)

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What did Paul think of women’s ministry?

I am in the process of finishing 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 in the next week or so. 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 my comments on Romans 16, which is important since we see here Paul offering direct comment on and evaluation of the ministry of women he knew.

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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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