What is the meaning of ‘transfiguration’?

Philip Seddon writes: We are so used to speaking of ‘transfiguration’ in Christian terms that we have not realised how remarkable it is that Mark and Matthew used the Greek verb metamorphoō (in the passive: metamorphoumai) at all.  In classical Greek and Latin literature, the verb, and the noun metamorphōsis, are both slippery, ambivalent words, largely … Continue Reading

Interpreting the Beatitudes in Luke 6

The Sunday lectionary reading for the Third Sunday before Lent in Year C is Luke 6.17–26, this gospel’s version of the Beatitudes. One of the most obvious questions arising from the reading is how they relate to the Beatitudes as recorded in Matt 5.1–12. This might seem like a distraction to preaching on the passage … Continue Reading

Why do Matthew and Luke offer different birth narratives?

James Bejon writes: As Christians, most of us are familiar with harmonised versions of the NT’s birth narratives. We see them acted out each year in Nativity plays (if we subject ourselves to such things). Considered in isolation, however, the birth narratives are less familiar, and even slightly awkward. They gloss over major events. Or, … Continue Reading

The NT Birth Narratives: Suspicious Omissions or Deliberate Exclusions?

James Bejon writes: As Christians, most of us are familiar with harmonised versions of the NT’s birth narratives. We see them acted out each year in Nativity plays (if we subject ourselves to such things). Considered in isolation, however, the birth narratives are less familiar, and even slightly awkward. They gloss over major events. Or, … Continue Reading

Is Epiphany a myth of Matthew?

The Feast of the Epiphany in the church’s liturgical calendar is based on the events of Matt 2.1–12, the visit of the ‘wise men’ from the East to the infant Jesus. There are plenty of things about the story which might make us instinctively treat it as just another part of the constellation of Christmas traditions, … Continue Reading