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Was Jesus married?

In 2012, a papyrus fragment with Coptic text on it hit the headlines, primarily because it appeared to include the phrase ‘Jesus said to them: “My wife…”‘. It attracted more attention than it might otherwise have done because it was endorsed by Karen King, Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School. But in something like the biblical studies […]

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Textual variants in the gospels

In my previous post, I highlight the problems with sensationalist claims that new manuscript discoveries lead to uncertainty about central Christian teaching or understanding of Jesus. Here I have listed the major textual variants in the gospels, and added my own short comments on them. The comments here are my (reasonably informed) observations about the […]

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Hunting for the text of the New Testament

Last week I tuned into the BBC programme ‘Bible Hunters’ about a number of characters who had unearthed (sometimes literally) ancient manuscripts of the New Testament which had, apparently, radically changed our understanding of Jesus’s ministry and teaching and early Christian understandings of it. Perhaps naively, I had hoped to enjoy a stimulating exploration of […]

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What is central to Christian belief?

One of the things that has marked recent disputes in the church, both nationally and internationally, both formally and informally, is the question of what is central to Christian faith, and over what can we agree to live with difference with a clear conscience. Although this discussion can seem tiresome, it seems to me that […]

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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 […]

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