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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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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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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‘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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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.