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The Bible Geek Show

English, Religion, 1 season, 292 episodes, 19 hours, 44 minutes
Dr. Robert M. Price answers questions submitted to him at [email protected] This Podcast was created using
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The Bible Geek Podcast 23-018

If the sodomites did not want to rape the two angels, then why did Lot have to offer up his daughters? What is your opinion of the Testaments of the 12 Patriarchs? Is it possible that Luke couldn't narrate the death of Paul (in Acts) precisely because it was the Petrine christians that bumped him off? That would really throw a spanner in the works for his purpose of healing the divisions between the two factions, so it might have seemed prudent just to omit the whole sorry episode altogether. Did the gospel writers write other works? Do we have any other works from the time period of the gospels that might have been written by one of the 4 authors?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 23-017

God tells the serpent he will slither. The assumption is that he lost his legs. The Bible doesn't say how he got around before. So was it was a winged serpent? What gods from Greek mythology are mentioned in the Bible?  Are sports mentioned in the Bible? Are there two sets of different ten commandments? Judges 11:24: "Wilt not thou possess that which Chemosh thy God giveth thee to possess? So whomsoever the LORD our God shall drive out from before us, them will we possess." Does that mean that the Hebrews believed Chemosh to be real?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 23-016

Are there 2 competing versions of Israel crossing over the /red vSea? Does the Bible teach the Trinity? Are the 12 disciples the houses of the Zodiac? Are Levi and Matthew 2 different people? Might Noah's "bow" in the sky have been the Milky Way? Is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob a single deity or a set of 3? Are the creation stories of Genesis chapter one and chapters 2-3 different stories placed side by side? Or successive episodes of one story?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 23-015

Why should we think Bultmann's "Ecclesiastical Redactor" was Polycarp of Smyrna?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 23-014

Why do so many people describe the serpent from the Garden of Eden as the Devil? When did people begin to differentiate "religion" from "philosophy"? Why did Paul never write a thorough exposition of his beliefs/theology? Are Genesis chapter 1 and Chapters 2-3 parts of a single story? Or 2 different stories? Who changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday? When Jesus tells the Jews that their father is the Devil. is he saying that Yahweh is Satan. If I’m understanding them correctly. it has been said that Jesus’s father was not the old testament God.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 23-013

Do any scholars understand Jesus to have been a philosopher like Socrates? What do you know about Watchman Nee, Witness Lee, and "The Local Church" movement? Why does Gerd Ludemann consider "he appeared to Peter and the Twelve" and "he appeared to James and all the apostles" to have originally been rival slogans, subsequently fused together? 1 Clement makes Clement Paul's contemporary, but wouldn't that place Paul in the 90s?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 23-011

Discussion of more of Paul George's fifty-eight items of evidence that Christianity arose late in the first century and probably as a result of the first Roman Jewish war and the destruction of the Jewish temple: e.g., patristic claims that 2nd century bishops were personally acquainted with eyewitnesses of Jesus or that the Gentile Mission began only after the destruction of the Temple, etc.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 23-012

Discussion of more of Paul George's fifty-eight items of evidence that Christianity arose late in the first century and probably as a result of the first Roman Jewish war and the destruction of the Jewish temple: e.g., patristic claims that 2nd century bishops were personally acquainted with eyewitnesses of Jesus or that the Gentile Mission began only after the destruction of the Temple, etc.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 23-010

Why do the gospels refer simply "Caiaphas" instead of the full name Joseph ben Caiaphas? If we ended up with Paul's Christology then why do Christians get circumcised? Any notions among scholars that Paul might have been on drugs, schizophrenic, bipolar or something? Why did Irenaeus think Jesus died in his fifties?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 23-009

I Septuagint Daniel was translated in the 3rd century BCE, mustn't the predictions of the Hasmonean revolt of 165 have been actual predictive prophecies? If the expression "fishers of men" as used in Habakkuk and Jeremiah denotes oppressors of Israel, doesn't the use of it to mean preachers of the gospel imply an unhistorical character for the relevant synoptic passages? Why do the synoptic stories of Jesus' relatives visiting him seem to denigrate Mary? Given John 3:16, the Great Commission, etc., why should Peter have been clueless when the Holy Spirit told him to evangelize the Gentile Cornelius?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 23-008

I was reading Isaiah 43 and came across this passage concerning the return of the exiles from Babylon sounds a lot like Exodus with the safe passage through water and being saved from Egypt. What’s your view on the prophetic works being used to inspire parts of the Exodus story? You speak of why we might consider Mark written at a later date - my question is "Isn't the existence in Gospel of Mark of narrative around several delays of the Parousia mean that the gospel is initially much earlier, but then interpolated on this subject to correct previous failure? i.e., can only have previous failure if those bits were written and included much earlier? How does this impact the history of Mark’s production and its timing? (Plus I read the Nativity stories of Matthew and Luke from my work in progress, The Heresy of Paraphrase: An Interpretive Paraphrase of the Gospels.)
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The Bible Geek Podcast 23-007

Where in your own scholarship do you think you insert yourself--your personality, your religious beliefs, your ethics, your political beliefs, your worldview--most? And how do you, as a scholar, try to avoid falling prey to that common fate? Is there an early form of Christianity that, had it somehow won out over what became mainstream Catholic (and then eventually also Protestant) Christianity, you think would have better served humanity through the millennia? If so, how and why? Do you think the doubting Thomas passage in John was meant to be a polemic against the gospel of Thomas which seems to have been authored and gaining traction at the same time? Be fruitful and multiply AND Replenish the earth are two separate commands, not one joined together with a comma. In other words, God didn't command Adam and Eve to replenish the human population. Are we to assume that some unknown author in the first century/early second century put together the so-called Q sayings? And for what purpose? Did the author ascribe the sayings to some fellow named Jesus prior to the fleshing out of the Jesus character in the gospels? Is the Q theory wholly dependent on an assumption of a historical Jesus? A recent Facebook posting from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, showed a picture from their collection and gift shop book of a message written out on a potshard. This message, written in Aramaic from the 5th Century BCE includes the sentence "Let me know when you will be celebrating Pascha (Passover).” Doesn’t that imply it was a “moveable feast” reflecting agriculture rather than commemorating a historical occasion, the exodus? In the Parable of the Two Sons in Matthew, it reads: “But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go. “Which of the two obeyed his father?” They replied, “The first.” The footnote reads: "Other manuscripts read “The second.” In still other manuscripts the first son says “Yes” but does nothing, the second son says “No” but then repents and goes, and the answer to Jesus’ question is that the second son obeyed his father." What do you think is the origin and reason behind the contradicting manuscripts of this parable? What do you think is the intended meaning? I still find intriguing is Saul's
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The Bible Geek Podcast 23-006

I'm curious whether any of your opinions on Biblical or Christian history going from a more rare or fringe view toward a more mainstream or conservative one? Is it not a False Dichotomy to say that the only two possibilities are Inerrant Divine Revelation and Atheism? I'm wondering when and how the change as to understanding the nature of authority, authorship, and inspiration of the Bible came to be. If Revelation has actual grammatical mistakes, how do most Bible translations account for those? Does two power theology legitimize the trinity as somehow Jewish? Or is two power theology a distinct theological concept which is incompatible with the trinity? Is there any basis for believing Jesus is the angel of the lord?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 23-005

What exactly does Orthodox Christianity understand is happening at the crucifixion regarding the incarnation and death of the Son of God? How can a timeless being die, etc.? Why is the Last Supper/Eucharist associated with Passover and not Yom Kippur? I don't understand how there could be an original group of Christians without an individual who prompted all of the enthusiasm about him being the Messiah in the first place. In other words, how did this concept (i.e. that Jesus - who had not liberated the Jews and had been killed by the Romans - was the Messiah) become so proliferated that there were numerous (and very different) ideas about who he was without an historical figure to inspire it all? How did you apply Wrede’s “Messianic Secret” theory to Jesus Mythicism? Also, what might lead to the conclusion that Jesus was a revolutionary?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 23-004

It seems one of the main reasons Christianity was initially attractive was the promise of eternal life. And certainly, going to heaven was always the carrot I saw as a kid a couple thousand years after Christianity began. But isn't that sort of a cheap, crass, or selfish reason to believe in Jesus as savior, to believe in God, to follow the various rules as your church understands them? A reward? Do you think there will be a movement to pronounce biblical proper names closer to the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic original? If you could have your wish granted for the recovery of one lost text, what would it be? A number of traditional scholars, most notably Bart Ehrman, REALLY dislike mythicism in general, and its presence in the online world of popular biblical studies. Why such hostility? In the 1946 novel Independent People by the Icelandic writer Halldor Laxness, we read of an old woman who invokes "Jesuspeter." Have you ever heard of anything like this? In Genesis 1:28 (KJV) YHWH tells the First Couple to "be fruitful and multiply and replenish the Earth..." Huh? What exactly are they supposed to be replenishing? The planet is just a few days old and it's hardly been "plenished" in the first place!
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The Bible Geek Podcast 23-003

THE EARLY DATING AND AUTHORSHIP OF THE SYNOPTIC GOSPELS: If you find that the swoon theory is not a “far fetched” theory, why don’t you promote it more than say mythicism, docetism, etc.? Do you think in an earlier version Cain’s murder of Abel was actually a human sacrifice? On a recent episode you mentioned Elijah originally being a sun god. Is there any archeological evidence of this? I know you wonder whether Joseph of Arimathea is fictive, put in to fulfill a prophecy in Isaiah. Could it be that buried-in-a-tomb is also a plot device? On the one hand there is the "All things are all lawful unto me," there is no sin since we are not under the Law. On the other hand, Paul repeatedly recites a list of behaviors (largely sexual behaviors) that will exclude one from eternal life. My question to you, "How do you reconcile these two things?" My understanding is that James the Just is generally considered a minor disciple if not actually not a disciple at all. If that is the case, then how could he have become the head of the Church and the Twelve? Could Jesus - who was wholly human and “holy" divine - ever become ill? The “miracle” of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the story of Juan Diego has numerous parallels with Christian origins, mainly in the form of its "evidences" being thoroughly debunked. Are there other such cases? Why the emphasis on a "sister as wife"? (1 Cor. 9:5) Were other early apostles in the habit of taking unbelieving ones? Leading to the practice being frowned upon?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 23-002

What would Friedrich Nietzsche think of the comic book character Superman? I would like to know if you think the New Testament outlines a clear path to salvation. If so, what must a man do to be saved? Can you please describe what you consider to be Christianities greatest contributions to human society? What is meant by "High Christology" and "Low Christology"? Where do you think we see the earliest textual evidence for “the invention of ancient israel” as Lemche calls it? Is there anything in the bible telling us that reincarnation is part of the life cycle?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 23-001

Why is it that the officially sanctioned oracular devices such as the Ephod (Urim and Thummim) are considered acceptable means to discern truth, while those who practice other techniques might earn the death penalty for their efforts? Often the biblical writers don't condemn specific cultural practices, but will speak on their difficulties, e.g., polygamous marriage. Any other examples? Might Jesus have been a Judaized version of Zeus? Is the story of the drunken Noah cursing Canaan a biblical version of a myth of conflict between various Sumerian, Babylonian, and Persian gods?. Any thoughts on the Jesus stories and possible relationship to Apollo and Seleukos/Asclepius? Could Apollo's anchor symbol have been modified to become the first appearance of the cross symbol? Why do those whom Jesus heals and tells not to tell anyone do so anyway? And why arren't they punished? Have you read the Primary Chronicle of the Kyvian Rus? There is a later portion where one of the Kyvian monarchs decides to investigate the larger religions and makes a decision to adopt the Byzantine version of Christianity. I would appreciate some commentary on the different schools of religious thought captured within.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 22-017

I know you think that the criterion of embarrassment is not a valid argument for the historicity of Jesus since what is embarrassing for one generation or group of Christians was not the same for another. However, the following points are startling pieces of evidence where the gospel writers are embarrassed enough to revise the story or reluctantly accept it: 1. Jesus's place of birth: Implied as being in Nazareth in Mark, but changed to Davidic/Judaean Bethlehem in Matthew and Luke. 2. The revision of the baptizing of Jesus by John in Mark and Luke to make the subservience of the baptist clear in Matthew and John. 3. Matthew's claim that Jesus' fame reached "all over Syria" even though Jesus journeys mostly in the northern Galilee (with one notable visit to Phoenicia) 4. The proclamation of Jesus in Matthew that he has not come to overturn the Law (despite pretty much doing so everywhere else) but to fulfill it. 5. The amazement of the Nazareth crowd in Mark regarding how and where Jesus, the son of an artisan-peasant, got his wisdom and knowledge of the scriptures. 6. The confusion of Jesus with John the Baptist who, according to Herod, was Jesus raised from the dead (as you have commented on). It implies the baptist was the greater figure. 7. The suffering and despair of Jesus on the cross in Mark versus the fatalist triumphalism in Luke and John. 8. The piercing of Jesus' side in John to show he really did die to defend against charges he had not been on the cross long enough (12 hours being minimum even if he had been flogged). 9. The detailed resurrection appearances in John compared with the very limited accounts of them in Mark and Matthew.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 22-016

Do you think there are any passages in the "Pauline" epistles that look like they might be written by Simon Magus? What do you make of Valentinus’s claim that he was in the apostolic line of “Paul” and had secret teachings through Paul's disciple Theudas? If this is true, and Paul is Simon, can any Valentinian-like doctrine be found in any passages in Paul that might, therefore, be likely candidates for an original scrap of Simon's writing? Isn't it suspicious that a Savioe should actually be named "Savior" (Yehoshua)? Wasn't Jesus really, by "holy spirit," intending a dynamic and fresh experience of life in the present moment? I suffer from OCD (scrupulosity) and have an intense fear of going to hell for losing my belief which is totally irrational I know, but certain sensational claims by exorcists have made me wonder if it's all real after all. How can claims like this be rationalized? It seems it is impossible to hold in mind all facades of the jewel that is Jesus, when contemplating him, or having a personal relationship with him in one's mind. In their contemplation of him, are Christians really relating to one character or a cast of characters? Matthew 28:9-10 seem superfluous. Why does the risen Jesus simply repeat what the angel said only a moment before? Could it be that some of the supposed “appearances” can be explained by Jesus' early followers noticing people that reminded them of Jesus and they managed to convince themselves it really was Jesus? Because as odd as that sounds it seems to be what the two men in Lk. 24 did. I doubt that the Flavians invented Christianity. They were so pragmatic and hard-nosed that their strategy would have been simply to crush their enemies.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 22-015

Is the passage in Revelation 11:7-12 about the 2 witnesses somehow related to the Passion and Resurrection narratives of the gospels? How do you think we can discern if a text critical method produces sound (or sound enough) readings and/or artificially constrains the possible meanings of a text? In the Pistis Sophia, there are references to "five trees," from which five divine beings apparently came (with Melchizedek from the fifth). He also notes that Jesus is made to say in the Gospel of Thomas that "there are five trees in Paradise ... and one who knows them will not taste death." What are they? Doesn't there come a point where the reader interprets the story in a way that the author does not intend, but is still a valid interpretation?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 22-014

Bible Geek Holiday Special Dr. Price reads a sermon about the 1947 movie "Miracle on 34th Street" titled "He Really is Santa Claus"
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The Bible Geek Podcast 22-013

Who are Gog and Magog? It seems like angels have been largely written out of the script for fundamentalists. Is that your experience? Do you think this is a way for fundamentalists to avoid seeming Roman Catholic? What happened to the early Jewish Christians? How did your family react to your apostasy or backsliding or de-conversion or however you describe it? How could Jesus have been genuinely human if he never sinned? Tell us about Bruno Bauer. Do you know whether anyone has made a serious, well researched argument to change the BCE/CE dating scheme to something more centered in the Western/Hellenistic/Enlightenment Eras? Might the Emmaus story be based on a dream? Or the resurrection appearance of Romulus on the Alba Longa? What do you make of the references to anti-natalism in the Bible?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 22-012

Could you explain the story of Oedipus Rex as a religious figure, who had all the "signs and trappings of a deity" (Alan Dundes) I think I heard you say that the OT doesn't prophesy about a Messiah. Did I misunderstand you or did you say this? Does Matthew 19:13-15 seem to not fit between the other verses? Seems like it was added much later. How would Pilate be able to converse with Jesus? Could Jesus have known Greek? Why no updates to the Bible? Is there any proof that the Bible was ever intended to be anything but a fictional endeavor? If so, where can that be found? Deuteronomy 34:5-6 say Moses died and was buried. Some say that’s a sneaky way of saying he didn’t die but was taken up to heaven alive, so he was still available to be one of the Two Witnesses in Revelation. But is that cogent? Maybe some non-canonical scripture told it differently? You’ve mentioned some influences that took you from liberal Christianity to atheism. These were Derrida, Don Cupitt, and the 19th Century critics of the New Testament. What were some ideas these individuals shared that were significant in your transition from liberal Christianity to atheism? Do you have any references you could share concerning the nineteenth-century circuit-riding preachers and their “behaviors” when moving from town to town? What do fundamentalists make of Jude 9, where the writer alludes to an apocryphal story? Whence the belief that angels do not sing? Some speculate that the Holy Spirit was included in the Trinity in order to mirror the theology of Neoplatonism, where it speaks of a World Soul poised between the First Father and the Demiurge/Logos. Thoughts? In what book(s) do you discuss “hermeneutical ventriloquism”? What is your view on Roland Barthes’s “death of the author” position against pursuing authorial intent as it relates to the Bible? What are the most important aspects of Derrida’s poststructuralism for critical textual scholarship generally? Is there any indication in the Bible that the messiah might return as a female? Is there any indication in the Bible that the messiah could not possibly return as a female?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 22-011

Do you know if the term "beyond time and space" began to be used to describe God after Einstein's theories were proven? In the Pistis Sophia, there are references to "five trees," from which five divine beings apparently came (with Melchizedek from the fifth). And Jesus is made to say in the Gospel of Thomas that "there are five trees in Paradise ... and one who knows them will not taste death." What might they have been? Gnosticism taught that one gains salvation through knowledge, as opposed to grace, faith, works, etc. But isn’t that equally true for any Christian church that requires one to accept a particular creed? You have several times mentioned the similarities between certain gospel stories and novels from the same period. Is there a list of, or source for, said novels? In Strauss's "Life of Jesus Critically Examined it reads "Numerous rabbinical passages were cited to demonstrate, that it was consonant with Jewish notions to consider a son of pious parents to be conceived by the divine co-operation, and that he should be called the son of the Holy Spirit, without its being ever imagined that paternal participation was thereby excluded." Are you aware of these rabbinical passages? Is the story of Cain and Abel about the clash of the farmer archetype and the hunter/gatherer archetype? In Paul: A Critical Life Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, in his discussion of Acts' claim that Paul studied in Jerusalem under Gamaliel, raises John Knox's objections to the claim. What you make of Knox's points, as well as Murphy-O'Connor's comments?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 22-010

One topic: Universalism/Universal Salvation
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The Bible Geek Podcast 22-009

Birger Pearson argues for a Jewish pre-Christian origin for Gnosticism, but Bart Ehrman says that view is passé. Why do you agree with Pearson? Did some Gnostics use Son of Man as an important title as opposed to the ways Vermes said? Or am I just taking "title" too seriously, since it's on the brain because I just read Vermes? Is the doctrine of the Trinity more of a Catholic device than other faiths? What is your assessment of the hypothesis that Matthew and Luke both drew independently from Didache, at least for portions of what scholars would later call "Q" ? What sort of model of the Earth and the broader cosmos would a person construct if one had only the Bible as a description of the world? Are the Flat-Earthers right about the biblical account of Earth’s shape? Most people believe that Jesus foresaw his own death. I have been searching the internet and there doesn't seem to be any passages before Matthew 16:21–23 that would fit this narrative.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 22-008

In Geza Vermes's Jesus the Jew he says many scholars reject his understanding of Jesus as a Galilean charismatic sage like Honi or Hanina ben Dosa, as well the contention that “son of man” was not a title. Please explain. Do you have any wisdom to impart in the subject of full Holiness? Do you see any reason to believe the traditional stories of the martyrdoms of Paul and Peter? Could the Gospel of John be considered Pauline?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 22-007

Tell us about Bruno Bauer. Do you know whether anyone has made a serious, well researched argument to change the BCE/CE dating scheme to something more centered in the Western/Hellenistic/Enlightenment Eras? Might the Emmaus story be based on a dream? Or the resurrection appearance of Romulus on the Alba Longa? What do you make of the references to anti-natalism in the Bible? Is the passage in Revelation 11:7-12 about the 2 witnesses somehow related to the Passion and Resurrection narratives of the gospels?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 22-006

Mark has the crowd hail “the kingdom of our father that is coming,” while Matthew has “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.” Is it possible that Mark believed Jesus was the Messiah ben Joseph and still expected that Simon bar Kochba would appear as the Messiah ben David? And that Matthew wrote after bar Kochba was defeated and makes Jesus fulfill both roles? Don’t you realize that the Clementines were written in the 4th century, not the 2nd as your heroes F.C. Baur and Bruno Bauer thought? Why the seeming neglect of Nehemiah?? Could the writing ascribed to Mark by Papias be something other than our canonical Mark? You mentioned that Karl Marx had a death bed religious conversion. I could not find anything about that online. Did you confuse him with someone else? Pope Gregory I identified Mary Magdalene with the woman who washed Jesus's feet in Luke 7:38. Why think either was a prostitute?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 22-005

James D.G. Dunn (Unity and Diversity in the New Testament) says that the Ebionite gospel omitted Matthew’s Nativity story because they were adoptionists, implying that their Christology was secondary, not the original. But couldn’t Matthew have added it? Is there any truth to current claims that loads of Muslims are converting to Christianity after experiencing visions of Jesus? How would you critique the liberal church today? Was Philip the disciple an accountant or a math wizard? In John 6:5-7 he makes a lightning-fast calculation of the cost of enough food to feed the huge crowd. And how dare he contradict the Son of God by saying there wasn't enough food to feed the multitude? How can the word ἔλεγεν be variously translated as: “said,” “had said,” “was saying,” “had been saying,” “had already been saying,” etc? Why didn't God kill Job's wife? Was it so that Job's wife could advise him to die? In Mark 10:29,30, Jesus promises 100 mothers in this world to the one who gives up their mother to follow him. Why would someone want 100 mothers? In verse 29 Jesus mentions giving up one's father, but verse 30 omits fathers from the compensation promised in this world. Why? Mark's Jesus doesn't mention giving up one's spouses to follow him, and accordingly doesn't promise a 100-fold return in spouses. Jesus lists parents, siblings and offspring, and a couple of forms of property. This seems to parallel Job. What's the significance of omitting this class of property/family? Are we to believe that the Philistines had the architectural know-how to build a temple that would support 3,000 people on the roof (Judges 16:27)? What are some of the earliest Christian sects who disagreed with the doctrine of the trinity? What arguments did they give?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 22-004

Can you pontificate a bit on the various schools of thought on dating New Testament literature and the Apostolic Fathers? Is there a translation that you can recommend for a first time Bible reader? Was there a Paul in history; how and why did these writings get attached to his name? Has the Bible itself become an idol? What percentage of Paul’s "authentic" letters would you estimate to be first person fiction? I recently read 1 Enoch, and I have some questions about the angelic beings it features known as the Watchers. It occurred to me that, although I've long known the story of their descent to earth and their fornication with, and corruption of, us mortals, I don't think I've ever heard an explanation of where they got the name Watchers. My first thought was that watching/witnessing, and hence the ability to stand in judgement over those being observed, are functions often associated with deities. So the idea of angelic "watchers" could derive from this association. When we combine this theory with the idea of the stars as God's "heavenly host" - ie. his angel subordinates - could it be that the Watchers refer specifically to those stars which, being close to the Pole star, are always visible at night above the horizon? By never slipping out of view even during the shorter summer nights, these stars could be thought of as especially "wakeful", perpetually watching us throughout the year, and so be marked out as a special class of angel. Why do you think the name of "Watchers" got attached to the story in Genesis 6:1-4, as opposed to just calling them fallen angels, or sticking with Genesis' generic "sons of God", or some other designation? I'd like to know what you think of less popular, or perhaps more heavily editorialized volumes like the New World Translation. Do you think there are places where these convey an author's intended meaning more accurately than the mainstream, accepted versions of the Bible?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 22-003

The crucifixion story in all four gospels had to have been based on Josephus’ story of rescuing a friend from crucifixion. All four gospels were written after the Josephus “rescue”, so there is not a problem with the dates. But Paul talks about Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection before the Josephus rescue occurred. How did he know about it? Concerning Pau's vision about the "Last Supper", I had for a long time accepted the mythicist argument that this was a vision Paul received from Christ and not something that went back to the historical Jesus, or a tradition of Jesus. But didn't Christians start having visions of Jesus only AFTER his death and resurrection? How would Paul be having a vision of Jesus BEFORE he even dies and resurrects?? 1 Cor 11 says this happened on "the night he was handed over". Could you explain the original language of the Old Testament, the language of the manuscripts, and how the text has evolved? What is your understanding of why the word "jealous" is used to describe God? What is Ephesians 3:18 about? Is the object missing from the sentence? Why are there four dimensions in the Pauline hyperreality? Is Leviathan evil? If a sun god is transformed into a human hero, for example Samson, is this demythologization? And is demythologization the opposite of euhemerism?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 22-002

Why do people continue to set dates for the Rapture when they’ve all fallen through? Perhaps the Bible mentions 2 different arks of the covenant, the wings of the cherubim atop one of them forming a triangle through which sun shone, like the Eye of Horus. Do we lack various heretical texts simply because people stopped copying them? Are snakes symbols of wisdom because they appear to be merely a head/brain with a series of cabooses attached? What role did Shakespeare play in translation or with the translators of the KJV? Would Paul actually have been following the Jewish Law by persecuting the early Christians if they had had a high Christology?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 22-001

Did early Christians associate the trumpets of Rosh Hashanah, the New Year festival, with the Last Trumpet of the Rapture? What do you think about that last seventh chapter of the book: "Jesus for Sceptics" where a list of hardcore atheists is given, who under numerous and solid evidence changed their attitude and became hardcore Christians? Do you know of any (good) books about Polycarp? Assassin's Creed Valhalla, a role-playing game, portrays Gnostic doctrine as still current in the Middle Ages. Of course it is fiction, but is it plausible? What do you think of the claim that publishers are cheapening the experience of studying the Good Book by promoting “Bible consumerism?” Does grappling with the inconsistencies, inaccuracies, anachronisms, and atrocities in the Bible wound faith, or is it a good exercise? Some Jews claim that the Septuagint was destroyed in the fire of the Alexandrian library. Do you know why they claim this, despite evidence of other copies existing? Why are the Septuagint and Masoretic texts so different? Am I correct that modern Biblical scholarship hasn't been as interested in the apocryphal portions of the Old Testament? If so, why is this?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 21-020

In a Gospel about, and supposedly written by, Nicodemus why would it not state that he assisted with the burial? I was wondering what examples we have of textual reconstructions, created through the methods of textual criticism, that match subsequent discoveries of texts. What do you make of the bizarre episode in Exodus 4:24-26? Was Peter as stupid or illiterate as we are told? Do we have examples of Christians and Jews taunting Arabs for having been given no prophets, revelations, etc.? Was Joseph really a woman as some rabbis and Kabbalists suggested? Re the idea that the Paul character diverged from a Simon Magus type character into the more Petrine character found in Acts, I think of Solomon Grundy and the Hulk, or Kara (Supergirl) and Carol (Captain Marvel) Danvers, who seem to have begun as divergent characters with coincidental similarities, and then converged and diverged again over time according to the theological needs of their editors. Are there better examples of this in literature or the Bible? What do we really know about the status of women in the “New Testament times”.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 21-019

In which gnostic work can one find the myth of the sacrifice of the primal man of light, whose shattered divine sparks give life to the whole creation? What was the role of women in early Christian formation such as the Johannine gospel being written by female hands? Have you seen the documentary showing the possible basis for the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah? Wasn’t Mark in error calling Herod Antipas “Basileus” (king) instead of tetrarch? If Adam and Eve do not know what sin, death, or disobedience are, do they have any chance of survival? There is no way for them to learn about these except by trial and error. If procreation and eternal life were both available to the gods, wouldn't the gods have ended up with standing room only, even if there were only two humans? If a piece of toast says "I am the body of the grain, eat it." and an actual person says "this bread is my body, eat it." Do both statements contain equal parts metaphor and literalism? The toast is metaphorically speaking, but it literally is the body of the grain. The person is literally speaking, but the bread is metaphorically their body. Is there any tradition in ancient cultures, biblical or otherwise, where Adam attempts to procreate with every species of animal until god realizes that a woman is required? The Priestly creation story presupposes an endless expanse of water. Is it a consistent view, between the priestly creation and flood stories, that the flood reverted the world to the state that existed before creation? According to the Torah, ingesting blood is on par with murder and idolatry as an affront to God. The priests are in charge of slaughtering sacrificial animals and performing rituals with blood. One would expect accidents to happen, and blood to sometimes splash where it shouldn't. Why aren't there any instructions on what to do if blood accidentally splashes into the mouth? I would expect a continuum of remedies for various degrees of accident: 1. blood went onto the lips, but not inside the mouth. 2. blood went inside the mouth but was not swallowed. 3. blood was swallowed, but the error was immediately detected, and a forced vomiting was induced. What about nose bleeds? What about wounds inside the mouth or in the gastrointestinal system? What about war? Would involuntarily ingesting your own blood also be an abomination? There is a translation that uses the different names of God
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The Bible Geek Podcast 21-018

How does Adoptionism fit into the evolution of historic Christology? My question is about the range of meanings that adelphoi can take. Can it mean ‘brothers in Christ’ which could be understood as ‘believers’ (regardless of gender)? There are various examples of Matthew ‘cleaning up’ Markan originals to beef up the Jesus character into a much more divine figure. So why did Matthew leave in ‘my god my god why have you forsaken me?’ Is there ANY decent critical scholarship that argues FOR the Pauline authorship of the Pastorals? Might the “Doubting Thomas” episode be an attempt to rebut the resurrection doctrine as taught by Thomas Christians? Have you ever heard if the origins of Saint Patrick's Day can be traced back to ancient Christians who co-opted Pagan holidays? What are your thoughts on the James Moffatt Bible? What do we really know about "the twelve"? Do you happen to know the history of hand gestures incorporated into prayer, and what role they play?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 21-017

In Acts 1:13-14 “certain women” are mentioned alongside the disciples. Who were they? Was it intentional that Mark has a stand-in appear inside Jesus’s tomb instead of Jesus himself? Also, that Mark had the stand-in notify a group of women first about Jesus’s resurrection? What is your understanding of Ezekiel's vision of the temple and the restoration of the pure worship? The Gabriel Revelation Stone, discovered at the Dead Sea in the early 2000, is said to depict the angel commanding the slain Messiah Simon of Peraea to rise on the 3rd day? Is that true? Is there a so-called musical source in the Tanakh? Is there an English translation of the old testament that uses the original names El, Elyon, Yahweh, and El Shaddai instead of substituting Lord, God, Almighty, or Adonai? In 1 Corinthians 11:25 Jesus says, “In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”' What does 'this' refer to here? And when he says "as often as you drink it" What is “it' in this context?  Can you explain which components of Christianity originated from Judaism and which originated from Greek thinking?
10/8/202119 hours, 44 minutes, 38 seconds
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The Bible Geek Podcast 21-016

Assuming that Luke and Matthew we copying large parts of Mark, and that books were extraordinarily rare, what kind of people were Luke and Matthew? Were they respected scribes? Low level bishops of some sort? For those who consider the Bible inerrant or infallible, what does this mean in the context of Proverbs and Song of Songs? What does it mean for Psalms? If Thomas, Didymus, or equivalents mean twin, and that was a common way of referring to a twin, what was the other sibling in the pair called? Biblical authors use superlatives in every single verse. When biblical authors use expressions that could be translated to English as "forever" or "eternal", what's a good way to interpret these? What is your view of the key role played by the Bible in the early Judeo-Christian foundation and later development of post-contact North American institutions? Is it possible that a historical “Paul” actually wrote all 14-15 letters, over a span of several years, and neglected to read his older writings to ensure they were consistent with his previous writings, or simply changed his mind about what he’d written in the previous epistles. Occasionally you mention having been fortunate enough to meet various great biblical scholars over the course of your career. Would you be willing to describe one or two of those meetings/correspondences/friendships that meant the most or was most intellectually valuable to you?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 21-015

In biblical times, how could one distinguish a Jew from a Samaritan by outward appearance? Where did Paul derive the information we read in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26? What do you think of the recent introduction of inclusive language in the New American Standard Bible? Might Thomas have been the “Twin” brother of Jesus? I could imagine a situation where a historical figure, increasingly understood as a more and more exalted figure, is equated and conflated with a mythical personage who developed separately, but is there a simpler solution? Assuming there was a common source, the "Q", why was he deleted, quenched, made to disappear? Unless it was Josephus? Does the Ipuwer Papyrus really verify Exodus? If the Romans fabricated the Gospel or adapted it, why did they pick the Levant as the source? What was the point of the “whole burnt offering”? Might the things that are said about Simon Magus have been based on things John the Baptist's disciples said about Jesus, according to the Mandeans? As to the apologetic technique of "interpreting the less clear passage by means of the more clear," is it legitimate to apply it to 2 passages within a single work, or within multiple works by the same author?'
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The Bible Geek Podcast 21-014

Do you think that back in the times at the beginnings of Christianity, there was an organization or brotherhood similar to the modern day Masons that ran parallel to Judaism, and later to Christianity, that served as an incubator for the kinds of syncretic ideas that seemed prevalent in the unorthodox sects of that era? Why is it assumed Matthew and Luke each used some third source (M or L) as opposed to just writing that unique material? : Might the famous devotional poem "Footprints" based on Acts of John 93? When and why did critical scholars begin dating gnosticism as a post-Christian constellation of beliefs? The judgment passage in Revelation 20 says “books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. Doesn’t the book of life actually make the whole ‘judgement’ aspect of the story completely redundant? The 5th century BCE Elephantine Papyri strongly suggest a Jewish community with little if any knowledge of the Torah and who shockingly violated several aspects of Deuteronomi law (such as polytheism) yet seek and seemingly get permission from priests in Jerusalem to build their own temple! Had any of these people ever read the Pentateuch? Why do scholars say, e.g., Mark was the first Gospel, 1 Thess was Paul’s first epistle? Why are they passing off scholarly guesswork as known fact? Please recommend a book explaining the meanings of “the Son of Man.” Who or what is Azazel? 2 Esdras 6 says God created Enoch and Leviathan together on the Fifth Day, then goes on to say that Adam was finally created on the sixth Day. Enoch was created BEFORE Adam? What is going on there? When do you think Christians first considered themselves as having a different religion than Jews? And perhaps leadingly (in terms of what I wonder), do you think that we may not be looking at a splinter, but rather a merger of Jewish sects and gentile sects that found enough compatibility to join disparate groups? How do you understand or explain the lack of first-century Christian texts? Is the war enough to explain it, or is the lack of a prominent Palestinian Christianity possible? Gerd Theissen describes the messianic secret in Mark as "a literary form given to the 'monotheistic' reservations about a life of Jesus bathed in the divine splendor." (p.96) The way I understood him--using Wrede, apparently--is that somehow presenting Jesus literarily as not claiming he was.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 21-013

What do you make of Matthew 27:52? I Corinthians 2:8 mentions the “archons,” usually translated as rulers of this world. Are archons necessarily celestial or can they be earthly? Why would a celestial being be crucified by celestial beings? Occurrences of “12” in Homer. In the Book of Revelation, are those who are thrown into the Lake of Fire annihilated, or do they endure eternal punishment? E.A. Speiser points to the Hurrian law which allows to adopt his wife also as his sister. Does this figure into the stories of the Patriarch claiming his wife is actually his sister? Is Matthean priority still a fringe opinion? Do you think that the refusal to practice apologetics is in itself apologetics? Despite the claim that salvation comes by faith, fundamentalists insist on particular doctrines as necessary for genuine faith. Isn’t this salvation by works? It’s bizarre to me to read all of this New Testament theology into a single verse of the Old Testament. Why not expound the OT text in its own right?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 21-012

Tell us about Bruno Bauer. Do you know whether anyone has made a serious, well researched argument to change the BCE/CE dating scheme to something more centered in the Western/Hellenistic/Enlightenment Eras? Might the Emmaus story be based on a dream? Or the resurrection appearance of Romulus on the Alba Longa? What do you make of the references to antinatalism in the Bible? Is the passage in Revelation 11:7-12 about the 2 witnesses somehow related to the Passion and Resurrection narratives of the gospels?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 21-011

I think the Jesus ben Ananias account in Josephus is actually about the Gospel Jesus as an old man. If this Ananias is the high priest of the Gospels, then Joseph Caiaphas was his son in law, and Jesus was his grandson. I'm curious about the origin of the idea found in many religions that pain and suffering somehow appeases a deity. In the epic movie, “The Life of Brian”, Monty Python members pose some questions about Christianity and Judaism. Why was the mention of the name of the God Jehovah a taboo? Why were women not allowed at stoning to death as punishment? Did liberation revolutionary groups exist, and were they all talk and no action? Is there any knowledge or writing or commentary exclaiming that the Christian religion was a Death Cult? Which of your books discusses the disorder of text in John? Seth Andrews said there were multiple authors of Mark. I have not heard that before. Do you agree? Why is the virgin Mary so important in the catholic church?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 21-010

My understanding is that "Paul" means something like "humble" or "small." Is that the idea? That this character goes from being the powerful persecutor Saul to the small and humble little Paul? Or is it more likely that there was some vague historical memory of a Paul who played into Jewish or Christian communities, and the memory of Simon Magus was grafted in some way onto that actual Saul/Paul? What you think of the Elton John/Bernie Chapin song “Levon,” appearing on the classic album “Madman Across the Water”? John 8:44 uses the phrase "You are from the Father of the Devil." Might this be a play on Romans 8:29 which says Perhaps the author is portraying the people that Jesus is addressing as the brothers of the Devil by claiming that they are from the Father of the Devil? Where Jesus cries out "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" If Jesus was God, why is he asking himself why he is being abandoned? Was Peter real or mythical and why do you feel that way? Please explain about local text variants and textual families. A while ago, you were discussing Lamech, son of Methuselah, married to Ada and Zillah, indicating that the implication was that “lamech has wives from A to Z.” Does this translates into Hebrew with their different alphabet? In Acts 15, why did food sacrificed to idols, blood, and strangled steak make the cut of laws that Gentile Christians needed to follow? Why these things and not the more morality-based laws? Was the long ending of Mark used for candidates for baptism as it is a cento? of Jesus's narrative/used in scenes in the synoptic gospels. Do you think the sayings in Thomas that parallel Synoptic sayings had a similar source by oral tradition? Were the Gnostic Thomas sayings older?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 21-009

Christians often criticize atheists for believing that the universe was created from nothing. How do they square this with their belief that God created the universe ex nihilo? I wondered if you've been following the story of "the Shapira document." What is your general take on Strobel and his Case For Christ? I can explain the idea behind Bayes theorem in a way that ANYBODY can understand without using any math. Where might the Zodiac killer have derived the idea that people he killed would become his slaves in the afterlife? Did the Assemblers of the New Testament pre-determine that it must have 27 books because of the Trinity (3x3x3=27)? Was a big reason that the Book of Revelations was included in the Canon that it was thought to have been written by the same author as the Gospel of John? Could St Paul’s letters have been written much later than the conventional dating of the 50’s AD? We are told that Esau was also called “Edom” (“red”) because he gave up his birthright for “red” stew. He also just happens to be born “red all over.” But Edom is known for its red sandstone. And people think this is real history?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 21-008

What was that parallel Bible you said you liked so much? Is there any reason to believe that the Q character from Star Trek was named after the Q source from Bible scholarship? How widespread is the belief that OT theophanies were appearances of the pre-incarnate Christ? What’s wrong with Joseph Atwill’s arguments? What book sets forth the fundamental historical-critical axiom that in any choice between a more or less spectacular version of the same event, the less spectacular is preferred since if the more colorful were first available we cannot account for the fabrication of the more mundane? When did modern scholars first conclude that the Pauline letters were written before the Gospels? Is God’s original name “Jealous”? In a recent episode, a fellow listener referred to Pilate's question "What is truth?" as "a glib dismissal of Jesus". Personally, I can't see as mere glibness; to me, the entire conversation is about collision of values. Please comment on the Kalam argument as put forth by William Lane Craig: I wonder what your opinion might be of Rene Guenon, Ananda Coomaraswamy, and Frithjof Schuon - the trinity of perennialists? Would the Stendhal syndrome explain early Christian spiritual experiences? Is there good reason to consider 1 Peter a forgery?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 21-007

Do we know why Jesus declares woes upon the “unrepentant” cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum in Matthew 11 and Luke 10? Which is more likely authentic: Luke 6:20 (“you poor”) or Matthew 5:3 (“the poor in spirit”? Is Luke redacting Matthew, or is Matthew redacting Q? In the Odyssey, only Eurycleia recognizes Odysseus’ secret identity, then rats out 12 maids who were in cahoots with the Suiters. Is this reflected in Mark’s gospel with the anointing woman, Judas, and the 12? Justin Martyr, an early Christian apologist who died around 165 CE during the reign of Marcus Aurelius, never quoted any of the canonical gospels. Does this mean that the canonical gospels were largely unknown in the mid-second century even to big-name apologists such as Justin? Can you recommend any books on the Bible and Astrology that use an historical scholarly approach and its use in ancient religions? Isn’t post-exilic Israel a perfect example of a situation that has occurred numerous times in history: that of a split between an aristocratic few and the more numerous people they despise? Does 1 Cor. 15:5 contradict the gospels?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 21-006

Is there a work that gives a good overview of the different models of how Christianity could have started? Genesis and Exodus use the term "Pharaoh" as if it's a proper name, while also referring to the "King of Egypt." Ezekiel refers to "Pharaoh King of Egypt," again like 'Pharaoh' is the name, and 'King' is his title. Same in 1 Kings 3:1 and 1 Kings 9:16. What's going on here? I wanted to know if you could speculate on the logistical process of how Pau's letters could have been assembled and collected. Does the Greek style of the NT indicate a first century origin? Does it matter if religious experiences are based on fictive deities? Were any of the towns Jesus said to have visited real? Why did the Catholics decide to make Peter the first pope? So what will heaven really be like?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 21-005

If the "Neapolitan Ice Cream" analogy for the Trinity actually Modalism? How about attempts to analogize the Trinity with Quantum Physics? Mustn’t the Genesis Flood be inspired by an actual world flood in ages past? Was Mary made pregnant by a Roman soldier, by her husband Joseph, or an angelic sex act? Do the Paulicians represent a continuation of original Gnostic Christian faith, or a revival? And might there be a real connection with a/the Gnostic Paul? Do you have any idea what Mary might have meant in Luke 1:34 when she asks the angel Gabriel, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” I would appreciate your advice for what translations or versions of the Bible might clarify the meaning of certain rare or ambiguous words in the text.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 21-004

Can we surmise that Marcion is a possible candidate for the author of Mark? He was in Rome during the 130s and I understand his name translates to “little Mark”. Why would a Roman author, whoever he was, choose to edit the Little Apocalypse from the ostensible time of Jesus to appeal to the current circumstances of the Bar Kokhba revolt? Do you have any speculation on who the "Teacher of Righteousness" might be? Could the story of Genesis 3:17b-19b go back ten thousand years to the Agricultural Revolution, perhaps a prescient warning to the people of the time of the dangers of urbanization? In Jubilees 5:12ff, what is the "place of darkness which is not judged"? What do you think about this Epictetus quote: "No great thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me you desire a fig, I will answer that there must be time to blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen." Could it be the Devil's rejoinder to Christ's desire for instant figs? Was Thomas Hobbes correct that the Bible depicts God as a material body? Is Matthew 12:31 a rejoinder to those who deny the personality of the Holy Spirit?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 21-003

Is there any biblical basis for the insistence of some that only humans go to heaven, not animals? What do you make of the baptism for the dead described in 1 Corinthians 15:29? Why would a Roman author, whoever he was (Marcion?), choose to edit the Little Apocalypse from the ostensible time of Jesus to remove references to the current circumstances of the Bar Kokhba revolt? Do you have any speculation on who the "Teacher of Righteousness" might be? Thomas Hobbes was such a complete materialist that he denied the existence of spirit and said that everything in the universe including God himself was entirely corporeal, that nowhere in the Bible did it explicitly say that angels and over heavenly beings were not material. Think so? Was Mathew 12:31 inserted to threaten “heretics” who denied the personhood of the Holy Spirit?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 21-002

"And heard (this) King Herod openly for his name / authority became manifest. And he said, "Because John the Baptist was risen from the dead and, by this, operates / works this Power ["dynamis"] in him”. Is Herod referring to Jesus or John? Is it possible that he means a docetic Christ spirit who appears here and there to do his feats? What was your translation philosophy in your Pre-Nicene New Testament? Luke 8:1-3 mentions a group of women who traveled with Jesus and the 12. Why does Luke include them? And who were Susanna and Joanna? Greek scholars recognize that when the plural form is used without a qualifying number, it’s be understood as meaning the minimum plural amount, two. Is this correct? Were Daniel chapters 7-12 a contributor to the Jewish revolt? I was hoping you could speak to the changing of the tax collectors name from Levi, son of Alpheus, to Matthew. One of the main foundations of Christianity, as I understand it, is the fact that God sacrificed his only son for our sins. But how much of a sacrifice was it?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 21-001

In Mark 6:15 Herod wonders if Jesus might be John the Baptist raised from the dead. Could it be that this doesn't refer to Jesus as sorcerer but to Jesus (or several people in a movement) manifesting the Celestial Christ to participants in a pentecostal-like movement (as per Stevan Davies)? I am wondering what your translation philosophy was for the Pre-Nicene New Testament. What purpose do you think Luke 8:1-3 serve? Also, I find the "afterward he went on through cities and villages." Why the sudden vagueness of cities and villages? Finally, what do you make of the mention of the women traveling with Jesus and the twelve? What of Joanna and Susanna (who appear only in Luke)? I have read that Greek scholars recognize that when the plural form is used without a qualifying number, it’s understood as meaning the minimum plural amount, dual. For example, John A. Bengel said: “The plural, kairous, times, denotes two times. The plural number is to be taken most strictly.” Is this correct? Hence in Revelation 12:14/Dan. 7:25; 12:7 (Septuagint) “time, times and half a time” the “times” is two times, hence 3 1/2 times in total. Is that correct? Were many Jews inspired by the book of Daniel: was the book of Daniel a contributor to the Jewish revolt, leading to the diaspora? I was hoping you could speak to the changing of the tax collectors name from Levi, son of Alpheus, to Matthew. One of the main foundations of Christianity, as I understand it, is the fact that God sacrificed his only son for our sins. But how much of a sacrifice was it? Thomas Hobbes was such a complete materialist that he denied the existence of spirit and said that God himself was entirely corporeal, that nowhere in the Bible did it explicitly say that angels and over heavenly beings were not material. I am starting to think that Hobbes would have found a lot of scriptural support for his views, or was he wrong? Re Mathew 12:31: So what exactly is the Spirit, and why would his or its rejection be a greater mortal sin than that of God the Father or the Son? I've found certain apologists weirdly insistent that only humans go to heaven, not animals. It seems to me these apologists must never have had a pet, or they'd know it can't be heaven if your pets aren't there too. Is there any biblical basis for their insistence? What do you make of the baptism for the dead mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:29?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 20-023

What is the word for "church" in the original Greek, and what did it mean before Christianity? If "Messiah" and "Christ" are terms rather than proper names, might not any group of people following a Messiah be called Christians by a disinterested third party such as a Roman historian of the time? Could Mark be hinting that the scattering of the twelve disciples shows that the original Petrine Christianity failed. But it was carried forward by Paul (as Simon of Cyrene) picking up the cross and walking with Jesus? Doesn't the paraclete in the Gospel of John have to be Paul? Matt 25:41 seems to explicitly state that Satan and his gang will join us heathens in Hell's torments. If that's so, where did we get the notion that they will not be the tormented, but rather the tormentors? Where did the horned, red-tailed, pitchfork-wielding imagery come from? And do you think there's a particular reason no angels are described as having female attributes? You have me convinced that Polycarp was the author/redactor of Luke/ Acts and the author of the Pastorals. Luke/Acts seems empathetic and respectable of woman, but the Pastorals seem to be the exact opposite. Do you have an opinion on why this may be?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 20-022

You asked listeners to suggest a mythical or legendary character who could potentially be historicized by clever apologetics. Here is my humble suggestion: Ned Ludd. I'm interested in any thoughts you might have on the Branch Davidians, Koresh, or the sectarian politics within the Adventist movement which gave rise to the group. What do you make of the thesis that the Greek word AEON should be translated as "AGE" or "EON" everywhere it appears, and "AEONIAN" as "Pertaining to the age" which has no English equivalent. Not “eternal.” Can you speculate on the possibility of a text or scroll lying in a cave or tomb that could change or alter our understanding of Jesus and the early church? Please comment on the idea that Mark was written first was promoted by Bismarck as part of the anti-Catholic Kulturkampf. His goal was to diminish Matthew which is the Gospel which includes the Peter-the-Rock verse which is the biblical basis for papal authority. I was wondering if you could comment on Galatians 6:17. Was Paul a stigmatic? Or what? A simple solution to the riddle in Rev 2:9 and 3:9 is that it is referring to the Herodians who were not ethnic Judahites but Idumeans who also collaborated with their Roman masters. I've always found the episode with Pilate in John 18:37-38, where Pilate asks "What is truth?" to be very poetic and compelling. It reads as a glib dismissal of Jesus as the one who bears witness to "the truth," but I can't shake the feeling there's more to it than that. It strikes me as subtly evil, the kind of moral relativism that is so easy to slip into, certainly for a jaded politician, but also for any of us. I'd love for you talk about this passage, the sitz im leben, and any thoughts you have on its relevance to the rest of story. How come Stephen got lynched by the Sanhedrin, but the same group had to get Roman permission to execute Jesus? You’ve suggested the idea of a personal relationship with God has its origin in 17th-century German Pietism. Can you say some more about this? Do you think the idea of a personal relationship with God or Jesus is a modern idea? Is it a Western idea? Do non-Christian religions have this concept?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 20-021

Might the Noah story be based on the recently discovered flooding of the originally dry Persian Gulf around 14,000 years ago? Did Simon Magus’ followers who still exist in Eusebius day? Was this a full-on religious sect? Deuteronomy 32:7 and Israelite polytheism. Could one write a book about a person of history, a mythical character, or a yet undecided person of history that may be a myth, that has similar amounts of evidence as Jesus? Could you use the same historical tools, apologetics, and guidelines (e.g. criterion of embarrassment) and "prove" they also exist? In Luke 23 Jesus tells the thief “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” There is an obvious contradiction with the three-day resurrection timeline with this quote, as Jesus isn't supposed to be in Paradise the same day. Unless, of course, you think in terms of Trinity where Jesus and Yahweh are the same being. In that scenario, Jesus has always been in Heaven and is there waiting for the thief to arrive. But if that is so, what is the point of the resurrection? If Jesus/Yahweh was in Heaven all this time, did he ever actually ascend to Paradise? Did he actually die? An Archbishop recently condemned Yoga because of its polytheistic, hence demonic origins. Isn’t this a classic genetic fallacy? Why did Matthew 12 omit Mark’s iconic phrase “The Sabbath was made for humankind, not humankind for the Sabbath”?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 20-020

On your latest podcast you were asked about the parallels between the controversies about Pauline and Shakespearean authorship. Since this is something I actually know about, I’d like to share my answer to the question. Have you ever heard of a Jewish sect that believed that directly talking to God was forbidden and blasphemous? Is it possible this Jesus/Metatron originally performed this role? Was the Copper Scroll (3Q15) a real list of buried treasures or some kind of hoax? Is the only thing preventing donkeys (or other animals) from talking some sort of physical limitation? Are they thinking coherent thoughts and complete phrases like the one in the Bible passage but are simply unable to express them verbally? Did Balaam’s donkey continue to talk? Why didn’t Balaam seem to be the least bit impressed that his donkey is talking to him? Do you feel that Mary was a mythical figure? Do you know of any early Christian commentary regarding the mechanics of how the Holy Ghost impregnated Mary? Does the Holy Ghost have a penis? Did they have intercourse or was holy semen magically implanted in Mary by the Holy Ghost? As you pointed out, several biblical figures relate to the cycle of "Day follows Night follows Day." My question is whether one or the other (sun or moon) is considered harmful or beneficial?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 20-019

In Acts, the writer mentions the apostles performing "signs and wonders", as well as miracles. If miracles are mentioned separately, it would seem that signs and wonders are something other than healings, resurrections, etc. What do you think the writer wanted the reader to imagine the apostles doing exactly? Parallel between scholars denying authenticity of some or all of Shakespeare’s plays and Dutch Radical Critics. Were Leviathan and Behemoth really a crocodile and an elephant? I wonder what consideration, if any, you have given to the creatures described in Job 40 to 41. Namely, the Behemoth and the Leviathan. If Marcion rejected the OT, why did his gospel contain Luke’s Central Section which is rewritten from Deuteronomy? Can you name any individuals who added or subtracted verses from scripture mss? In biblical times was it considered especially tragic to die in ones 30 since most people are supposed to have had a lifespan of 30-40 years? Could you address your thoughts on the historicity of The Buddha?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 20-018

In John 3:14-15, is the writer comparing Jesus to the serpent god? Why does God conceal his real name in the Old Testament? I was wondering what inspired the "Temptation narratives" in the various gospels? Why would the Romans undermine their state security by replacing their gods with a lesser god like Jesus? Does Paul show any knowledge of the contents of the 3 synoptic gospels or the one of John? Which biblical criticism books would you wish were translated in English that have not been yet? The Old Testament has numerous battles where the victorious army kills everybody in a town except for the virgin females, which they kidnap and force into marriages. Is there a word in English for this practice? How did Islam originate as a sect of Christianity? How to account for striking parallels between the Apocryphon of John from Nag Hammadi and the Life of Adam and Eve?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 20-017

What are your thoughts on the interactions between the biblical Paul and the 12? Did they even live at the same time? Why was it important that the first Christians get their message to Rome? Are the Odes of Solomon (e.g., Ode XXXI) and the Gospels both inspired by the Q Source? What was the early Christian attitude towards slavery? In the Acts of Thomas Saint Thomas was literally sold into slavery BY JESUS HIMSELF! Pilate is always used to underscore the evil of Jews, who are always treated as worse criminals. Am I correct in seeing him that way, as a rhetorical argument that pagans are less of an enemy than Jews? Was Jesus (assuming he actually existed) an Apocalyptic prophet or a Revolutionary? Do you know anything about the scholarly reception of Russell Gmirkin's book "Berossus and Genesis, Manetho and Exodus"? Do you think it holds up and we need to rethink our chronology for the Documentary Hypothesis?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 20-016

Analyzing Worldwide Church of God theology. Does an objective moral standard require God--or vice versa? Morton Smith and the Secret Gospel of Mark Marcion and Galatians Mithraism The Egyptian
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The Bible Geek Podcast 20-015

Ironies of Bible-worship Do we know exactly what caused Judaism to metamorphose from a polytheistic religion into a monotheistic religion? How much of a role might its adoption of Zoroastrian ideas have played in this? Could the young man fleeing the Garden naked originally have been Peter? What’s your opinion of the 60s-80s genre I like to call "Christploitation" Films? Was Cain originally Yahweh’s son? Where did Medieval artists get the idea of assorted sadistic torments in hell? Is Hell a fleshy place for things to burn?  If today’s cult founders are discussed ad nauseum by their followers after their passing, why would the NT epistle authors have nothing to say about their founder whom they believed was God incarnate?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 20-014

A possible Greek pun in the story of the Gerasene Demoniac. Balaam appears twice in Numbers, in chapters 22 and 31. In Chapter 22 he seems to be a good guy who fears God, but in Chapter 31 he masterminds an operation to seduce the Hebrews away from God. Do the 2 stories come from different sources? How did Paul recognize Jesus on the Damascus Road if he had never met him pre-crucifiction? How was Paul different from the gospel writers? Did he believe Christ lived above the Earth, never came to Earth.  What is Jacob doing with the peeled rods manipulating the genetics of his and Laban’s sheep? A Catholic apologist friend of mine insists that "late" dating of the gospels rests on the assumption that Jesus is not God and therefore could not have predicted the destruction of the Temple in Mark. Valid? During early Christianity, did anyone ever account for the "fact" that Jesus could walk on water, but was taken outta here with 3 nails and a hammer? How did early Chritians explain this away?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 20-013

Is the dating of the gospels well established?  How do we know Mark was written in 60-70 AD?  Could it be MUCH later? Is the Pauline view that the wicked dead will not be resurrected unto judgment derived from the LXX (mis)translation of Psalm 1:5? In a recent Bible Geek episode, you used the phrase “weighed in the balance“ from the book of Daniel. The phrase brought to mind the weighing method used by Anubis to determine whether a person’s soul can go to paradise. Do you think the reference in Daniel harks back to Egyptian religion, or is it merely used as a common simile?  What would Christianity look like today if Paul The Apostle, had never been born?  Would Christianity even exist? Do you think Dr. Robert Eisenman believes that Jesus Christ was not a historical figure? Can you recommend any books that speak to the issue of the claim that the Catholic Church is God's Church from a free thought perspective?   Was Paul's view that it was better not to marry part of a larger school of thought?  Was celibacy seen as more spiritual or more pure?  Was even marital sex viewed as sinful?  Perhaps the reasons are more practical, such as lack of financial burden, freedom to travel, etc?   What do you think of Daniel Boyarin’s revisionist understanding of the interaction between Jesus and Pharisees in Mark 7? What is the intended gender of the “Sun of righteousness” in Malachi 4:2?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 20-012

How much weight should we give to such a silence about Jesus' life as being evidence for Paul not thinking of Jesus as a human being that walked the earth? Now, if the silence of a Gospel-like-Jesus in the epistles is viewed as a telltale sign that we instead might be dealing with a celestial Jesus-figure, how do you explain the lack of historical Jesus references/allusions in the Pastorals (with the one exception of 1 Tim 6:13? ) Is it possible that "Q" was not an actual document, but instead was an oral tradition from which New testament authors quoted in their writings?   If for some reason you were to take a break from biblical studies, where would you direct your scholarly energy? Listener ideas for a Jesus novel. Why do Christians worship Jesus? How different do you think Christianity as we experience it would be if there were only the Gospels? Could the originals of the New Testament be kept in the Vatican's secret library?  What did Deuteronomy 29:29 actually mean when it was written? 
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The Bible Geek Podcast 20-011

Do you SUPPOSE that "Mark", which lends itself so readily to being a stage play...actually BEGAN as such? Mark is unique in that it never SAYS "angel". And we are never told who this boy is. Could it be that the "boy in white" is actually STAGE DIRECTION that by a quirk of fate found its way into the long term "record"?  In that the acting instructions read "scene opens:  angel (depicted by beautiful boy in white) is sitting on the right side...blah, blah, blah". The audience would have KNOWN the boy in white was SUPPOSED to be an angel, it would be culturally obvious, and so it need not have been spelled out to the crowd. But somehow, this play, with all its stage direction was edited into a "novel" and SOMEHOW this translation was simply included by MISTAKE? Is there a subtle stressing within the Bible that Lunar connotations (Abraham, Jacob, Elisha) might be better or more favorable than Solar (Isaac, Esau, Elijah)? If so, any theories as to why?  Has any scholarly work been done to discover the origins of various biblical stories in more ancient traditions? In Hebrews 1:1-2 most translations employ "world" or "universe" here. The actual word is aionas, or ages. Everywhere else, even in other parts of Hebrews, aionas is translated as ages. it's translated at age. Why?   According to the average Christian's knowledge, most everything, if not all, has been taken care of once Jesus ascends to Heaven. I can't for the life of me figure out why God would then need Paul. From the Christian perspective, why was Paul even necessary? OK, why didn't JC stay dead? What say you, Bible Geek, a dead JC would have quite an effect on Christianity but what kind of an effect?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 20-010

Do the Pseudo-Clementines anticipate Pascal’s Wager? Do you find that in Catholicism the Eucharist and the rosary take on more importance than the Bible? Why do we call the coming return of Jesus to judge the living and the dead the Second Coming? Why not count his birth #1, his resurrection as # 2, his return from harrowing Hell as # 3, and the Parousia as # 4? Might the story in John 1:41-50ff be thinly veiling “Simon” (Magus) and Dositheus (equivalent in meaning to “Nathaniel”), whom the Pseudo-Clementines number among disciples of the Baptist? What if when the basic gospel was "discovered" in the Jewish Scriptures through pesher readings, perhaps some of the readers figured that it was something that had actually happened right under everyone's noses, but that nobody had noticed due to the secrecy of the mission.  Under this assumption, Mark's Messianic Secret makes a lot of sense.  It serves not just to explain why the readers never heard of it, but why nobody at all had. Margaret Barker proposed (quite convincingly, to me) that First Temple Royal Cult beliefs survived the Deuteronomic Reform and had a strong influence on Christianity.  Part of her idea is that Wisdom was supplanted by The Law that was introduced by the Deuteronomists.  Wouldn't this mean that the keepers of the Old Time Religion would have a distaste for the Law?   Would they have obeyed the Law begrudgingly, while secretly being "Keepers" (nasar) of the old ways? Is there a viable alternative to modalism and tritheism that explains the Trinity? What are the major arguments for and against Lukan authorship of Acts? Pliny tells Trajan that Christians congregate on fixed dates before sunrise and sing hymns to Christ as if to a god. So did early Christians worship the sun as a manifestation of Christ? Should higher criticism of the bible be taught in schools as an elective subject? Does the bible in fact say that the Earth is flat? 
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The Bible Geek Podcast 20-009

Is 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 an interpolation? Is there a good critical study of Marian apparitions? Is Joseph of Arimathea’s retrieval of Jesus’ body based on Flavius Josephus’ account of rescuing a crucified friend with Titus’ permission? In Gal. 5:2-4 Paul writes that "if you let yourselves be circumcised Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You ... have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace." But in Gal. 5:6, he writes "in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor non circumcision has any value," and in Gal. 6:15 he writes "Neither circumcision nor non circumcision means anything." Which is it? Are you willing to speculate on what a smoking gun reference to Q would look like in a patristic source? Why did the redactor preserve the very different Decalogues in Exodus 20 and 34? Does Exodus 34:19 actually mean to mandate infant sacrifice?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 20-008

The story of Balaam in Numbers 22 is puzzling. Verse 6, which says any curse or blessing Balaam may speak will come true, reminds me of Jesus giving a blank check to Peter in Matt. 17. Any connection? And what is going on in this story? God seems to change his mind a lot. What was Balaam supposed to do? What is the point of Frances the talking mule? Is Matthew’s “Thou art Peter” passage some sort of pro-papal propaganda?  Any advice re my relationship with a religious woman who knows I am an agnostic but urges me to try teaching the Bible? What was the Apocalypse of Peter and why was it passed over for the canon? Did any early Christians believe in the “once save always saved” doctrine? Where did the idea of the 'name it and claim it' theology come from? What is your opinion on the writers Karen Armstrong and C.S Lewis?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 20-007

The Bible Geek's Emergency Relief Request Can you explain more about the haberim and how they may relate to the origins of Christianity?  Based on John 2:19-21 and 8:57, Irenaeus believed Jesus was about 50 at his death. Did this view die out in the pre-Nicene times or did it reappear in later theology? Also, how, if at all, could this be harmonized with the synoptic gospels? How are chthonic cults related to mystery religions, dying and rising saviors, etc? What do you think of my theory that Paul was intentionally trying to cleave off the straying Jewish cult followers from Judaism? Does your “Christian-atheism” share much with the thought of Slavoj Zizek and Jordan Peterson?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 20-006

Possible explanations of visionary experiences via hallucinaens, etc. What evidence nis there for Mark having originated in Antioch or Rome? For Matthew being wriiten in Antioch? Any idea to what extent Paul was reared in Roman or Roman-influenced culture (as opposed, say, to hellenistic / Jewish)? Acts 4:13 Peter is called "agrammatoi" ("unlettered"). Does that mean "not formally educated in religious matters or the Law of Moses" or just plain “illiterate"? Hyam Maccoby theorizes that Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem took place, not in the Spring around the time of Passover, but rather in the Autumn during Sukkot, the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. Further, Maccoby feels that too many events have been compressed into the brief time of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and the crucifixion.  It makes much more sense if these numerous events took place stretched out between Autumn and Spring. What do you think? Can you explain where scholars got the idea that the evangelist Luke was a medical doctor?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 20-005

Do you think the “young man” who flees the Garden of Gethsemane in Mark 14:51-52, leaving his sheet in the clutches of Jesus’ enemies might be a symbol for the casting off of the body of flesh and the emergence of the spiritual/resurrection body, having escaped the clutches of the Archons? In Raymond Brown's Anchor Bible volume "An Introduction to the New Testament," Brown dismisses the troubling episode of Jesus telling his disciples that he speaks in parables so that the public won't understand. (Mk 4:11-12), claiming it displays the biblical tendency to regard disappointing results as foreordained by God. But how is that any better? Do you think it’s completely out of the question there was a Hebrew original of the Greek version of Daniel? What’s the deal with the Western text tradition? Do we know why it exists, or what gave rise to it? Hello, Dr. Price, from Luther. I’ve got another pair of questions for you today. Both require us to wear our historicity hats.   Paul and James seemingly were the two primary figures in primitive Christianity. Yet since early Christian history, the primary dichotomy or internal competition was assigned to Paul and Peter, as one gets from a casual read of Acts. How or why do you think the Peter of history became one of the Big Two, especially considering Paul explicitly and Acts implicitly has him as more a waffling flunky than a leader? What do you think was Paul’s actual belief about his religious concepts compared to those of the Jamesian church?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 20-004

What do you make of the young man in the loin cloth, a.k.a. the Naked Fugitive, present at Jesus' arrest? Where does F.C. Baur claim that Acts uses Simon Magus to stand for Paul? Does Deuteronomy 22:5’ prohibition of cross-dressing fit in the Mary Douglas’s discussion of Israelite taxonomy? What is your view of speaking in tongues as described in the epistles and acts? When did people stop viewing the books that became the Bible as books written by people about God's interaction with the world and begin seeing them with some higher view of inspiration, as God's own words? What was Dr. Albert Schweitzer's contribution to biblical scholarship and how is he now regarded? Do you think that Mark may have used Josephus as a source?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 20-003

Is the Talpiot Tomb in East Jerusalem the Tomb of Jesus Christ and His Family as well as His Parents and close relatives? Why do we not have a binity rather than a trinity? Where did the notion of the Holy Ghost come from? The noun ‘Elohim’ has three basic uses in the Hebrew scriptures: the One God, lesser deities, and very prominent saints, as with Abraham (Gen. 23:6) and Samuel (1 Samuel 28:13). Is the 3rd perhaps the root of an 'exaltation theology' that would later be applied to Jesus? In Exodus 4:21 and many times in Exodus 7-11, it is written that "Pharaoh's heart was hard" and that "Pharaoh's heart was hardened". The Hebrew word translated "hardened" can also mean “strengthened.” This is said in tandem with God promising great signs and wonders. Could this mean God would by this means encourage Pharaoh to yield, but that he still resisted? What is your estimation of Bishop Spong’s scholarly work? Do you think the Protestant emphasis on Sola Scriptura is actually making an idol of the Bible? Who are your favorite conservative NT scholars and why? Is the philosophy of history espoused by Fichte/Hegel integral to Tübingen scholarship (e.g., F.C. Baur)?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 20-002

Could the Sermon on the Mount have been a non or pre-Christian text incorporated by Christians and attributed to Jesus? Aren’t the Passion stories of various savior cults a revived version of the Chaoskampf myth?  Would you share some of your thoughts about the book/prophet Amos? Can you discuss Christian views on reincarnation? Is there a precedent for it in the early church or even the New Testament itself? Why are the disciples denigrated as lower class dullards in the gospels? What do you think of the theory that Rabbi Akiva rewrote the OT?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 20-001

Pagan Greek trinities? On his first visit to Jerusalem, Paul "tried to associate with the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple." (Acts 9:26) Fitzmyer's commentary says these were just Jerusalem Christians as opposed to the Twelve. Does that sound right to you? Or, is it more like the term "apostle" in this sense? Acts 9:29 says "[Paul] also used to speak and debate with the Hellenists, but they kept trying to kill him." Fitzmyer says in this case “Hellenists” can't mean Jewish Christians, but rather just Jews. But isn't Acts pretty consistent in using "Hellenists" to describe Jewish Christians, like Stephen & the Gang who get recruited to go wait tables? If so ... KILL HIM? How could Paul lack the authority to draw the Corinthians, whom he evangelized, away from missionaries of James and have such a struggle in this community, yet, when he went to Rome in the account in Acts he could summon the Jewish leadership to him and they would listen to him?  Can you say something about “liberation theology”, the idea that the gospel is literally good news to the poor. And, why did this theology take off in Latin America? Might Jesus’ Gethsemane prayer about the cup passing from him originally have belonged to the Last Supper context? And then might it reflect the story of Joseph dining with his brothers with reference to Joseph’s cup of divination? If so, may we infer that Jesus was using such a cup and passed it among his disciples, each of whom addressed the cup asking “Is it I, Lord (i.e., God)?” Jesus then looks into it and sees that Judas’ question got the “yes.” In light of the Lot story where he has sex with his daughter, begetting the no-good Ammonites and Moabites, obviouslydisapproving of incest, how could Abraham speak of his marrying his half sister? Wasn’t the Temple of Solomon borrowed from the Egyptian story of the temple at Karnak built by Amenhoteop III? Both stories have a Hiram of Tyre, and many of the children of David and Solomon have very similar names when compared to those of Amenhotep III. What do you think of the bible authors rewriting Egyptian history as their own jewish history ?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-029

Re: the Bible’s stance on alcohol, what about Jesus' own drinking as in Matt. 11:18-19? Are you familiar with Norman Golb and his book, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls, and if so, what do you think? Does Mark’s negative depiction of Jesus’ disciples and relatives reflect enmity between Jewish and Gentile/Pauline factions? Why does the author of “The Second Treatise of the Great Seth” speak so mockingly of the heroes of the OT? .  Brandon suggests we need not worry that passages or whole epistles by Paul were censored since some pretty disturbing material still appears in the Pauline Corpus. Think so?  If I understand you correctly, we agree that Simon Magus is at the root of this belief system advanced by the “works of Paul” (stuff about the law and a judging, punishing God are out).  So Simon’s philosophy and writings would be considered source material.  Is there any uncontaminated remnant of this belief system?               What do you think of the idea that there was no historical "Nazareth" until someone pointed at a place and told the patron saint of credulity, the Empress Helena (Mother of Constantine), "Yeah, this is Nazareth."? You once said you rejected the notion in Atwill’s Caesar’s Messiah that the Romans had a part in creating the gospels and that they were engaged in a sort of esoteric satire which resulted in Christians unwittingly worshiping Titus instead of Jesus. I was wondering why you think this is such an incredible theory, isn't this precisely what happened in your case? Sure sounds like the jokes on you!
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-028

Is there any apologetic for T-totaling other than the idea of setting a good example? What is the Biblical view of suicide?  Was early Christian worship based on Jewish worship or influenced by pagan religion? What’re your thoughts on Neville Goddard’s books and lectures?  Could the name of the Gnostic Demiurge “Yaldabaoth” derive from the Iranian celebration of the night of the winter solstice as Shab-e Yalda, literally, "the night of Yalda"? What do you think of the Bible critics Dr. Bruce M. Metzger and F.F. Bruce who think that the New Testament is historically absolutely correct? Back in the 70s, when the American population was so much more Christian then, were Evangelicals confident based on this strength in numbers, or was there a feeling of alarm, a sense of losing ground, because of the counterculture's gains since the late 60s?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-027

I noticed that Ἰεροσόλυμα (Ierosolyma) was used in Galatians 1:17-18 and 2:1, while in other places Paul seemed to favor Ἰερουσαλὴμ (Ierousalēm), in particular Galatians 4:25-26; Romans 15:19; 15:25-26; and 1 Corinthians 16:3. If there is not a grammatical difference between how they are used, I was wondering what might explain the difference in usage. Jewish tradition describes Solomon working magic with a ring bearing the Star of David . The same symbol occurs in modern occultism, e.g., Crowler. Is there a connection?  Might Matthew’s “magoi” in his Nativity story have originally been “Parsees,” denoting Pharisees? Why does Acts seem to show James humiliating Paul? Could you list a couple of earlier scholars--let's say at least mid-20th century or earlier--whose work you think is essential and really holds up despite any more recent scholarship, and also maybe a couple to avoid because their work doesn't? What would you say is the best example of bible prophecy, shows the least amount of foul play? You expressed your changing views on the possibility that Romans would have had reason to invent some version of the Jesus story / Christianity. Romans propagating a nonviolent religion for their troublesome Jewish subjects makes sense to me, but my question is historical: can you think of examples of what seems almost like a state-imposed religion, especially in centuries close to the birth of Christianity? In SGF Brandon's "Fall of Jerusalem and the Christian Church" he seems to hold that Mark cold not have fabricated Jewish involvement in Jesus’ death on the grounds that it would contradict most people’s beliefs! What gives? Martin Luther seems to distinguish between the “guilt” and “penalty” of sin. What does he mean?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-026

Reading of "The Theology of Preacher". In Mark 16,:2, should we translate "on the first day of the week" or "the first sabbath"? Help identifying [Campbellite] sect? Was Nietzsche'e mad man based on Diogenes? Does "the perfect" in 1 Cor. 13:10 refer to the canon of scripture?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-025

Is there a parallel between how rock groups become “classic” and how Christian writings became canonical? I’d like to hear your considerations on a controversial book I recently came across, "The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit" (and its impact on world history) by Dr. E. Michael Jones. Could you talk a bit about why you believe in Q, and to what degree of certainty you hold those views? Would you say that sometimes a bit of fantasy regarding the afterlife and the spiritual life might be beneficial? Please comment on James R. Edwards, The Hebrew Gospel and the Development of the Synoptic Tradition. I’d like you to speculate, from a mythicist point of view, how the gospel gets from Jerusalem to the wider Greek speaking world, from which comes canonical Mark. 
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-024

Does Luke give Jesus an age of “about 30” because that was the age at which a priest could be ordained, and he wanted to set Jesus up as a priest as in Hebrews? Wouldn’t the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil allow us to distinguish the morality of actions? Especially if God made us in his own image, including his morality? Why should something be good necessarily because it comes from God? It is states that God not only produces good things, but also bad things (“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” Isaiah 54:7).   Since Catholics pray to saints as well as Christ and God, why do we consider that to be monotheism? Why does Psalm 40 read completely differently in 2 different Bibles? Various possible uses of the genetic fallacy in religion?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-023

In Matthew 16:15-16 is Jesus being Socratic, testing whether the disciples have figured out he is the Messiah? If Polycarp wrote 2 Timothy and Titus but not 1 Timothy, who did write 1 Timothy—Irenaeus? Would that imply he compiled the 1st editon of the NT canon, too? Do you consider yourself an agnostic or an atheist? And would you please elaborate? Can you talk about the introduction of baptism into Christianity? Are there just 3 major branches of Christianity? What do you think of recent scholarly claims that there were no dying & rising gods? Historically, leaders of radical movements have been matched with counter figureheads, leaders of opposing factions. Jesus in the gospels is not. Might that imply non-historicity? Does the NT envision Christian believers as not having to stand trial before God? You say that Jesus could not have said the line in Matthew 16:24 about anyone wishing to be his disciple has to "take up his cross and follow me" because the hearers wouldn't have been able to make sense of it (as Jesus hadn't been crucified ). But Zealots got crucified, too. Couldn’t it have been a Zealot recruiting slogan?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-022

Producer's Note: There are some audio artifacts in this episode, my apologies. What would have been motivating early church fathers to twist the identity of Simon Magus into a fictional Paul of Tarsus or vice versa? To what extent do you believe that there was a real Paul who had such a valuable reputation that producing such forgeries would be worth the time and effort? Which early church father would you be comfortable saying is the real mccoy?   Do you generally like the Anchor Bible commentaries, and are there any particular volumes you'd recommend? The Washington Post recently had a front-page story about Brazilian gang members whose lives are threatened by rival gangs ("One Way Out:  Pastors in Brazil Converting Gang Members on YouTube").  A certain popular televangelist, Rev. Arnaldo Barros, offers to publish their conversion to Christianity on social media, in which they confess their sins and renounce their gang affiliation and activity.  The converts gain immunity from retribution by rival gangs and their own. What kind of antecedents are there, Biblical or otherwise, for this practice?   Given the lack or archeological evidence of the exodus from Egypt, is it possible that later Hebrews created the "bondage in Egypt" story to obfuscate their origins as Hapirus,a class of rebels and slaves? Luke 22:29 has Jesus tell the Twelve "I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." However, the Twelve at that point included Judas. So did Jesus make a mistake, or did he actually intend for the traitor Judas to retain his throne despite handing him over? Is there a connection between Lazarus’ raising from the dead (John 11:38-44), the theory that Lazarus is the beloved disciple in John (based on John 11:3) and the tradition (addressed in John 21:20-23) that the beloved disciple would not die, or not die before the Parousia?  
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-021

1 Samuel 5:9, in Jerome’s Latin Vulgate, features a strange half verse following the description of the Philistines of Gath being smitten with hemorrhoids: “And while they were carrying [the Ark of the Covenant] about, the hand of the Lord came upon every city with an exceeding great slaughter:  and he smote the men of every city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts. And the Gethites consulted together, and made themselves seats of skins.” Where could Jerome have found such a reading? Why do Protestant and Catholics celebrate Easter a week earlier than Orthodox and Coptic Christians? When is the earliest known celebration of Easter?  If I was going to pick one edition of the New Testament to read, which one would you recommend?  Maybe one with informative footnotes to set things in context. I'm wondering how connected Yahweh and Jesus are to their physical bodies. I'm wondering if the spirit of Jesus is henceforth permanently connected to his body. By what means does Jesus connect with humans on earth from that point on because his body is in heaven? Does Dr. Robert Eisenman think that Jesus Christ did not exist as a historical figure? Does Dr. Robert Eisenman think that New Testament is historically unreliable? What was the point of including the story of the magi visiting Jesus at his birth? If Matthew is the most Jewish gospel, what do a bunch of Persians have to do with the birth of the Messiah?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-020

1 Samuel 5:9, in Jerome’s Latin Vulgate, features a strange half verse following the description of the Philistines of Gath being smitten with hemorrhoids: “And while they were carrying [the Ark of the Covenant] about, the hand of the Lord came upon every city with an exceeding great slaughter:  and he smote the men of every city, both small and great, and they had hemorrhoids in their secret parts. And the Gethites consulted together, and made themselves seats of skins.” Where could Jerome have found such a reading? Why do Protestant and Catholics celebrate Easter a week earlier than Orthodox and Coptic Christians? When is the earliest known celebration of Easter?  If I was going to pick one edition of the New Testament to read, which one would you recommend?  Maybe one with informative footnotes to set things in context. I'm wondering how connected Yahweh and Jesus are to their physical bodies. I'm wondering if the spirit of Jesus is henceforth permanently connected to his body. By what means does Jesus connect with humans on earth from that point on because his body is in heaven? Does Dr. Robert Eisenman think that Jesus Christ did not exist as a historical figure? Does Dr. Robert Eisenman think that New Testament is historically unreliable? What was the point of including the story of the magi visiting Jesus at his birth? If Matthew is the most Jewish gospel, what do a bunch of Persians have to do with the birth of the Messiah?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-019

I remember once hearing that even though they don’t believe in cremation, Catholics burn what they believe to be the leftover body and blood of Christ on a weekly bases, effectively cremating Jesus over and over again. How do Catholics make sense of burning the body of Jesus in bread form? I was told that a great many Christian sub sects all believe in what was laid out in the Nicene Creed and therefore despite their differences are "close enough" when it comes rapture time, and that the Vatican agreed. My Catholic friends have since told me otherwise. Which is true? Do you see any hints in the Bible suggesting that Israelite religion originated in Totemism? There are two mutually inconsistent tales of the nativity of Jesus, one placing him in Bethlehem, the other in Nazareth. If Jesus were a fiction, why didn't they come up with a standard nativity story? I would like to know what you think most likely was the original story of the passion in the canonical Gospels. Was Jesus just another dying and rising god? Was it an escape from death and direct abduction to heaven like Hercules, Romulus, Empedocles, etc. not to mention some old testament figures who escaped death? Or a Simonian myth in which Jesus performs a magic switch by turning himself into Simon of Cyrene's likeness and thus he ends up crucified instead of Jesus?  What do you make of the recent meeting between the Mormon President and the Pope? Why do you suspect the Gospel of Judas is a modern forgery? When Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven won’t come with signs but will be sudden could he be referring to the moment of an un expected death? What do you think of Joan Taylor’s idea that the Essenes were great doctors a well as cronies of Herod?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-018

Matthew 12:42 has Jesus say, "The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here." This seems extremely odd from any kind of Christian perspective. Is God calling character witnesses at judgment? How exactly is the Queen of Sheba relevant? What qualifies her to provide any input: she is presumably a pagan, even if she recognized Solomon's wisdom some thousand years earlier? And what is it she's supposed to do? She rises from the dead, scans the crowd comprising "this generation"--apparently judgment is being handled by generation for administrative efficiency--and confirms that, yep, anyone who didn't recognize Jesus as superior to Solomon should indeed go to hell? How do you translate Mark 14: 33-34? What would you require as substantial proof that an historical Jesus existed? In Hyam Maccoby's "The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity" he says that Jesus and his followers were Pharisees. Eisenman says they were Zealot-Essenes. Whom you side with? Would Maccoby have had all the same information Eisenman had to reach his late-1990s conclusion of Zealot-Essenism when he (Maccoby) reached his mid-1980s claim of Pharisaism?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-017

Do we have any good historical data and theoretical conceptions for why and how Christianity appealed so much to and spread so vastly within the Greco-Roman world in the first few centuries ACE? Doesn’t Genesis 6:19 imply a significant diminution in the power of God who, a few chapters before, had CREATED all living things? Why round up all the animals? Couldn’t God have just created them anew after the flood? We know that Zoroastrianism had a profound impact on second temple theology, but could the reverse have also occurred. Could the angel mythology and sacred fires of the first temple cult have influenced Zoroastrianism? Do you know people who actually have memorized the Bible, all of it, and could demonstrate it?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-016

1 Timothy 4:3,4 says, "the inspired word clearly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith...  They forbid marriage and command people to abstain from foods that God created to be partaken of with thanksgiving ... " (New World Translation) . Who is the author talking about? And, what "inspired word" does he have in mind (I can't find one that says this)?  Could you speak about the earliest state adoption(s) of Christianity and the impact this had on the development and trajectory of the faith? What is your opinion on the historicity of Mary? What is “Abraham’s bosom” as found in Luke 16:22-23? What is the historical context and background reasoning for why Jesus is depicted as using Psalm 82 as a proof text in John 10?  Do you have any book/article recommendations on calendars in the ancient world? Is the contradiction between Acts 9:7 and Acts 22:9 simply a problem of the KJV translation? We speak of Christian borrowing from pagan sources, but are there cases where pagans borrowed Christian elements? Is there a clear verse or agreed upon interpretation in Christianity that states that if an “hidden” sinner or unrepentant person exists in the congregation, the Holy Spirit will leave til he is gone?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-015

Do you think the Bible teaches a literal burning hell, or is it more a metaphor like outer darkness? Matthew reads this way in this NIV, "From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it." Does this refer to the rapid expansion of the gospel faith or to the persecution of its preachers? Matt 10:23 says, “truly I say to you, you will by no means complete the circuit of the cities of Israel until the Son of man arrives.” Does this mean that the preaching work will not be completed before Jesus comes back to judge everyone? If so, it seems unfair to those who didn’t get the chance to hear it. You’ve explained that the bible is a patchwork of various authors writing in different times, different styles, and for various purposes using the same characters, or variations on similar themes. This is just like the reboots, retcons, and contradictions in superhero comics, right Proverbs 3:5, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." (KJV) seems to me to be a rather ingenious bit of priestcraft, as on the surface, it admonishes believers not to think things through for themselves, so by inference, they ought to leave that to the ecclesiastical authorities. Think so? What is going on with the connections in the gospels between Jonah, John the Baptist, Oannes, and Peter—and the waters? Can you remind me, what is the historical context and meaning of the prohibitions listed in Acts 15:19-20? MythVision Podcast video:
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-014

What does the Geek think? Is Canaan the victim of some mixed up sources, a hidden castration story, or some other possibility that I’m missing? We see a historical pattern of vilification of a wartime enemy, the vanquishing of that enemy, and the subsequent romanticization, extolment, and assimilation of the subdued culture by the victor. Don’t we also find it in the Bible? Would you please comment on how shifting attitudes toward Jews and Jewish culture are reflected in the new testament, its development, and early Christian history?  How and why does the new testament both vilify and extol Jews?  A listener asked about Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”. Your interpretation of bar-wielding angels inspired me to a slightly different interpretation. A skolops can be any pointed thing from a splinter to a thorn to a pike to a palisade log. In between those extremes, it could also be a spear. We have Paul, speaking of journeying to the Heavens, Satan afflicting him, asking Kyrios (“Lord”) thrice that it might pass from him, and Kyrios refusing to lift the burden. That sounds to me a little like a condensed version of the Garden of Gethsemane with the Longinus spearing from John. Is it possible that John and Paul took this concept from a common (now lost) motif of the suffering servant? How can you reconcile the work of Robert Eisenman, Charles Cutler Torrey and the mythicism movement? Can you list any books, chapters, or portions of the New and Old Testament that are likely borrowings from texts from older civilizations?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-013

Does 1 Corinthians 12:3 mean that no one can come to believe in Christ apart from a special revelation direct from God? Are there Gnostic and/or Calvinist implications? Is it impossible for God to exist? Are there any good alternative theories to the single authorship of Luke-Acts?  I notice that John the Baptist was executed by Herod, while Jesus was executed by Roman authority, why the difference?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-012

Is it true that "by Hebrew tradition when the day of the month is not specifically stated, it is given to be the first day of that month"?  April 6th 32 A.D. is a Sunday, and not even Nisan 14 but Nisan 6? Given that Jesus died on a Friday, and Nisan 14 in 32 A.D. is on a Monday, how can Misler claim 32 A.D. is an "exact" fulfillment of the prediction in Daniel 9?  Ever read Asimov’s Guide to the Bible? Is Deuteronomy 22:28-29 talking about rape or seduction? Is it possible that the original "Jesus" was not called Jesus and that was the name they gave him later, as was the case wirh many many OT Hebrew characters have their names changed to fit meanings, including Jacob (Israel) Esau (Red), Abram, Sarah.  After the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, who do Lot’s daughters think they’re the only ones left alive on Earth? Why would we Gentile Christians have to keep the Ten Commandments when, according to James & Co. in Acts, all we had to do was avoid bloody meat, fornication, animals that had been strangled, and food sacrificed to idols? I’d be interested to hear your current thinking on Gnosticism and it’s place in the world.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-011

What are the biblical limits of divine revelation? If God nis omniscient, and “we have the mind of Christ,” why do we not know everything? Why do some prophecies remain unfulfilled? Why does the Bible know nothing of modern science? Please recommend a book on the origins and evolution of religion(s). Richard Carrier talks about the possible early dating of Hebrews as a pre 70 statement of a fully mythic Christ who had not yet been historicized. What do you think of that idea? Do you know of anyone else who has talked about Melchizedek as a pre 70 cult figure? Is there any other evidence for an early date of Hebrews which would support the Christ myth theory? Can you can expand more broadly on some historically prominent Christian concepts of what it meant to be inspired when writing scripture? How can the biblical writers have exhibited their own personal style if God was simply revealing their text to them?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-010

In Luke baby Jesus is presented at the Temple 40 days after Jesus's birth.How do apologists handle this contradiction, as compared to the events described in Matthew (the flight to Egypt)? After all, the holy family could not both flee to Egypt and present at the Temple 40 days later. Does the author of John identifies himself in John 21:24? The idea of a dying Messiah appears to have gained popularity during the 2nd century A.D. particularly since the death of Simeon Bar Kokhba. Therefore, why is it impossible that the idea a dying Messiah actually came in earlier than the 2nd centuary A.D, say, 50 years earlier with the new cult of Christianity? I know that the supposed OT "prophecies" were never intended to be about Jesus or the Messiah at all. But, as you can easily use them in a Messianic way (like Early Christians did), why can’t they have made the entire thing up? Is it possible that the entire Jospehus passage on Jesus was a interpolation by Christian scribes, and could the same be true of Tacitus? Isn’t “Do you believe in God?” a loaded question? Better to say “do you believe in any gods?” Exactly what kinds of “morals” are actually set out in the Bible (stoning to death, massacres, collecting heaps of foreskins as a dowry, and so on)?   Aren’t those who say “but without heaven and hell what’s to stop you from (raping and pillaging and murdering) implying that’s what they’d be busy doing if they didn’t believe? Have you read Asimov’s Guide to the Bible and what do you think of it? What non-canon books do you think are most interesting/worth reading? What would you suggest as the simplest and most potent way to explain why one doesn’t believe there was a historical Jesus? What would be perhaps the top 3 “must read” for people interested in Higher Criticism? In Matthew 8:5-13, the story of healing the centurion's leprous servant, how does the centurion show the faith that apparently amazes Jesus so that he says "I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith"? All he did was ask for healing. And what was the content of that faith? Not faith in the Pauline gospel certainly! What does Jesus mean by "follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead"?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-009

Could you outline the work of Thomas J. J. Altizer, his work, the context of his contribution, the significance - and how it has influenced your own thinking and work? How did “Lucifer” turn into “Satan”? In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us not to pray, fast, etc., in public because then they will have “received their reward in full.” What sort of reward? Private piety brings reward in heaven. But doesn't the idea of a reward contradict the idea of the good deed in the first place?  How old is the apologist claim that “microevolution” occurs only within “kinds,” and there is no “macroevolution” from one “kind” into another?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-008

What is the oldest textual reference for John the Baptist? Did Mark describe John the Baptist as wearing a camel-hair shirt and eating locusts? Could Mark be a redacted version of the Marcion gospel? Are you aware of anyone who has tried to apply a Marcionite lens to Mark and what is the best secondary source on Marcionite theology? Have you ever heard of the 'Recovery Bible' (translated from Polish) and what are your thoughts on bibles with excessive annotations? Could the name Peter (Cephas) in the bible be a mistranslation? Please comment on Arthur Darby Nock and the current view of his work. What is the true meaning of the parable of the Prodigal Son? In the end of Mark (chapters 15, 16), why are there different descriptions for Mary the mother of Jesus? Did Bruce Metzger believe Gnosticism influenced Christianity, and what does that mean for Bart Ehrman?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-007

Is Mark 9:42-50 necessarily talking about a heavenly afterlife?. What on earth does this mean? "Everyone will be salted with fire.” In the feeding of the 5,000 and the 4,000, do the numbers of loaves at the beginning and afterward mean anything, especially as relates to disciples and their relative success or importance? Recently, it occurred to me that the apocryphal gospel of Peter has some strangely close parallels with the Sumerian myth of Inanna in the underworld. I have a question about Matthew 5:25-26. Matthew 5:21-32 are basically saying, "not only can you not do X, you shouldn't even THINK about X!" But all of a sudden verses 25 and 26 sound more like a first-century version of "hey, resolve your issues quickly or the doggone court system will bleed you dry." Unlike what precedes and follows, there doesn't seem to be anything especially moral about it, and it doesn't follow the format of "avoid [sin], yes, but also avoid [minor version of sin]”. Is it an interpolated proverb? Would the hypothetical gospel sources Mark, Q, L, M, etc., count as independent sources for a historical Jesus? Why didn't Jerusalem play a bigger role in the growth of Christianity? When did the idea of a canonical Bible occur to people? Did such an idea exist prior to the Septuagint? Or was it thought of more as an evolving collection? Bruce Metzger speculates that, if a new Pauline letter were to be discovered, the church would have to determine if it added anything to what our familiar Pauline epistles teach. If so, it might be added to the canon. But by this criterion, should we drop any familiar Pauline writings that are redundant? And if a new one did add something important, wouldn’t it be rejected, its novelty considered heresy? Is there a way to reconcile the spiritual resurrection of Jesus in 1 Corinthians 15 with the fleshly resurrection in Luke 24?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-006

Supposedly, today among western scholars, there's agreement that we know more about the historicity of Jesus than we do about the historicity of Mohamed. What does Dr. Price think about that? Luke 23:43 (NIV): “Jesus answered him, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise," but the New World Translation has: “Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in Paradise.” The position of the coma changes the meaning. Yet, there was no punctuation when the gospels were written. Which is the correct translation? You’ve downplayed the research of Karen King who said there was no such thing as Gnosticism. Have you changed your opinion? Doesn’t the notion of a fiery Hell come from the reference to Gehenna, a physical location near Jerusalem where bodies were burned in a pit.  Over time this came to refer to a pit of damnation for sinners.This along with the "devil" presiding over it seem to be fairly modern ideas which were written about much later than the original bible. In Holy Fable, Vol. 1, speaking of the plagues of Egypt, "The story-tellers have thus retained some 'local color' without realizing that these were fairly common and altogether natural events. They assumed these disasters were unique, miraculous occurrences. This means that the stories were told very far away from Egypt. It’s as if someone did not know what had actually destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki and said it was Godzilla." Might the Japanese have come up with all those silly monsters to process feelings/memories of the horrors of the war while not openly attacking their conquerors? If Christianity began as a mystery religion, with adherents being told the secret once they rose high enough, who is to say Catholicism isn't STILL a mystery religion? Do we really know what bishops and cardinals say among themselves about the historicity of Jesus? I was recently asked by a co-worker what the Holy Spirit was as a member of the Trinity and I must say I do not have a good answer. Do you? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-005

Producer's Note: There is a lot of noise and buzz in this episode. I did what I could without distorting the good Doctor's voice too much, but I do apologize for the poor audio quality. Concerning Papias's comments on Mark using Peter as a source, you suggest Papias may have not been referring to canonical Mark but to "the Ebionite work The Preachings of Peter.”Are you referring to Kerygmata Petrou which was written about A.D. 200? When you mention the Infancy Gospel of Matthew, do you mean the Infancy Gospel of Matthew the same as The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew from the 7th century?  Is 1 John a coherent work or a patchwork quilt of successive redaction? Just how gnostic is 1 John? Does Paul's famous teaching in Romans 5:18-19 support or contradict any of the historic theories of the Atonement? Is it the major influence on Christian soteriology?: Hebrews 5:8 says of Jesus, “he learned obedience through what he suffered.” But when I think of various NT writings, including what I recall of the rest of Hebrews itself, I don't recall anything about Jesus having "learned obedience" through his suffering. But elsewhere in the NT we get the impression that he suffered because he was obedient. What gives? You’ve compared Galatians 1:11-12, where Paul says that he learned his gospel through revelation, with 1 Corinthians 11:23, where Paul tells the Corinthians that he delivered to them what he also received. You seem to accept the view that these two passages do in fact contradict each other. But Earl Doherty and Richard Carrier read the 1 Corinthians passage in light of, and as consistent with, the line from Galatians, such that in 1 Corinthians, when Paul speaks of receiving a teaching, Doherty and Carrier argue that this reception was through revelation. Why do you think different? You said you were persuaded by John Dominic Crossan's argument about the Cross Gospel. Yet since then, you’ve made no mention of the Cross Gospel at points when doing so would have logically fit. What is your current thinking on the proposed Cross Gospel? What do most mainstream biblical scholars make of Crossan's proposal? What did you mean when you said that even if you accepted various alternative synoptic source theories, it wouldn't make much difference regarding Q? When Catholics pray that the sacrifice of Christ be made present in the Mass, are they asking that Jesus be killed again? Please explain how Zoroastrianism influenced Judaism.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-004

Is there much genuine Higher Criticism being done today? Is SATAN! a kind of mythological Frankenstein monster and if yes what parts was he sown together from? In the first few chapters of the book of Genesis, does God create the first humans or his version of humankind, a sort of prototype of what humans should be based on his will/desire, unlike the humans other gods have created before him ? What do you know of the work of Dr. Ashraf Ezzat, who argues that the translators of the Septuagint changed the setting of the Old Testament from Arabia to Egypt? Did the writer of 2nd Timothy 2:4 leave us a clue about division in the early church or even worse reveal that not everyone thought Jesus had returned? Was the idea that Paul hailed from Tarsus really borrowed from 2 Maccabees 3:5 and 4:4? What was the purpose of the Deuteronomic Reform? Was this where Judaism decided it needed an Orthodoxy, and went with the most mainstream books, and eliminated what might of band "Sect books, in other words books belonging to a smaller Jewish group not part of the mainstream, and this is why things like Enoch,Jubilees,Tobit,Baruch and others are not part of the cannon today? What is your opinion on Enoch 2 and 3? Are the very old books or more later forgeries? Would things such as Horoscopes count as blasphemy against the holy spirit? What are the Local Church and the Plymouth Brethren?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-003

In a recent (or, recent to me) episode, you said the Reformation was, to some extent, based on how one shouldn't read secret meanings into the Bible.  Can you elaborate on this?    Can you shed any light on Passover terminology in Hebrew and Greek?: Is there any historical reason to think that John the Baptist was beheaded on Herods birthday? It seems to "foreshadowed" by Pharoah beheading the cupbearer on his birthday. I know that the gospels often say events in the OT "foreshadow" events in Jesus life.  What can we know or surmise about the Jerusalem Church led by James? What does Paul mean by “Lord?” He often writes “the Lord Jesus Christ.” What is this word “Lord” in Greek and its meaning? What if Q was none other than one of the Jewish Christian gospels (The Gospel of the Hebrews, The Gospel of the Ebionites, The Gospel of the Twelve, or The Gospel of the Nazarenes)? Why do the lists of 10b Commandments in Exodus 20 and 34 differ? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-002

Did children really play at mourning? Do you happen to know of any references, preferably from the seven authenticated letters of Paul which can be used to support/confirm the consensus dates of 35 to 56 for Paul?   Isn't there a non canonical gospel that has a transfiguration like scene that actually is a resurrection appearance? And bwhy do some think the canonical transfiguration story was originally a post resurrection appearance?   I recently reread the Infancy Gospel of Thomas.   I can understand how stories of the young Jesus could come about but why in the world would someone that was a Christian of any stripe go to the trouble of writing something that makes kid Jesus look like a brat?  I mean this thing reminds me of the Twilight Zone "It's a Good Life".   Re the NRSV, aside from the absurd inclusive language thing do you have any other problems with it?  Why do mainstream scholars say that 1 Thess. was written around 50CE?  I'm curious as to what the apologetics are regarding badly answered prayers. John 4:22 says the Samaritans worship what they do not know, while the Jews worship what they do know. What do we think the authors trying to say about Samaritan beliefs exactly?  Is that believed to be historically accurate, or a mischaracterization of 1st/2nd-century CE Samaritanism? Can you explain exactly which components of rapture theology are identifiable in the Bible using historically appropriate hermeneutics, and which components are truly "not in the Bible"?   
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The Bible Geek Podcast 19-001

What do you think of Jordan Peterson’s definition of “truth” as any notion that, if believed, increases survival value? Could you enlighten us as to the Book of Enoch and the ubiquitous Watchers? And does this book and it's narrative turn into being about Satan somehow? What do you think of the Young Earth creationism apologetic that God created Adam, Eve, and earth with artificial signs of a long past? Was Jesus’ teaching about heaven and hell news to his listeners, or were they all familiar notions? Has any Christian group ever taught that infants go to hell? Wouldn’t the Book of Revelation make more sense if it had been written by and for Ebionite Christians? Assuming Luke used Matthew as a source, any idea why the Genealogies are different?  Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-036

What does the Geek think would happen if we really did find something new (in the recovered Library of Herculaneum) that should objectively count as scripture rather than apocrypha? How would this affect various notions of the canon? Might Jacob’s stone pillar actually be intended as a divination dolmen? Why does Saul/Paul have two (alternative) names? In which circumstances would  each be used? Jews read Kaballah and Gematria-based interpretations into the Hebrew Bible and Catholics read references to Jesus Christ into some Old Testament phrases - do followers of other sacred texts - Hindu and Buddhist, for example - do the same? What happens in the case of priests who have been laicized, due to appalling criminal behaviour? As 'once a priest, always a priest' means that the ex-priest could administer the sacraments if he wanted to but has been told not to, does this also mean that the ontological change too cannot really be withdrawn, such that a child abuser is, effectively, an Alteri Christus? Might Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” have been his incredible guilt over having persecuted those who are now his brethren? Is Christianity now in the process of another reformation? Was it common for critical scholars to publish anonymously or pseudonymously? Were the risks legal, or social/reputational? When did this change? Could you list fellow theologians and historians of the New Testament and early Christianity with a degree PhD who claim that Jesus Christ is a mythical figure and that the New Testament is unreliable historically? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-035

Could you please provide the definition for "abomination" as used in the Bible? Would you please review the history of the concept of having a personal relationship with Jesus/God? I wonder if you know of any analysis of the similarity between the sayings of early Cyrenaics and the gospels. Explain Transsubstantiation? Do John the Baptist, Peter and others have some connection with the god Oannes? On the Gnostic notion of Christ first becoming incarnate in the awakened pneumatics.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-034

Is there a connection between 1 Timothy 1:7 and Plutarch’s "Bruta Animalia Ratione Uti” (Book 4)? In addition, based on the theory that you have mentioned - that Paul’s struggles against the beasts of Ephesus was spiritual (I believe) rather than physical - is it possible that 1 Cor 15:32 is also playing on this juxtaposition of the natures of both beasts and men? Is Matthew 27:46-47 dependant on an earlier version in which Elijah has become the pilot of the sun chariot every day, and that once the sun darkens, Jesus is calling for it to reappear? Can you explain how or why the hypothesis of the gnostic redeemer came to be prominent, as Margaret Barker indicates it had been in the past, and how or why it became discredited? Is there some connection between Paul’s letters and John’s Gospel? Was Hamaan said to have been hanged from a tree/gallows or impaled on a stake? Could you please tell me what the approximate populations of Jerusalem and Galilea were after the first Roman war ending in approx. 70 CE and the third Roman war ending in approx 133 CE or point me to a good source for this information?  I was wondering what the punishment for taking the lord's name in vain was in Jesus's time and how does than mix with the narrative structure of John's gospel? If, for example, it was something serious, wouldn't the Jews punished him long before the Romans got to their hands on him or even heard about the guy?  What can you tell me about the role of Minos in the Inferno and in Christian extra-Biblical traditions? I was wondering if you could recommend any books that speak to the issue of the claim that the Catholic Church is God's Church from a free thought perspective?   I'm not sure how much Celibacy plays a role in the scandal, and I'm curious to know more about the Biblical perspective on celibacy. Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-033

Might Mark 6:24ff mean that Herodias used John's severed head as a magical oracle device? Could Moses and Joshua have been variant (Canaanite and Egyptian) versions of an older mythic deity, subsequently harmonized? To what scriptural evidence do Pre- and Postmillennialists appeal? Ricky Gervais says he is an "agnostic-atheist." What does that mean? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-032

Would you care to comment on the pre-Jesus environment, especially the book of Daniel and Enoch? Was Jesus on the cross actually petitioning Elijah to come and rescue him? Or appealing for the sun (Elijah’s fiery chariot) to rise? Might the “young men” who seized him have been angels or archons trying to prevent the ascension of Jesus? The young man who fled away naed, leaving behind his garment: was this the Christ spirit escaping the flesh-body and leaving it behind? Or might the young man have been the resurrected Lazarus? Did the Ark of the Covenant even exist? What saith the Bible about animals? Can you recall any case of God overtly lying? The “existence” of God. Recap of Mythicism. Was Hitchens correct that, had Jesus been sheer invention, early Christians would have created a simpler Nativity story? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-031

On whether mainstream acceptance of Mythicism would end Christianity. How is Arminianism any less deterministic than Calvinism?  If God knows how all future events would come to pass, then how can human beings act contrary to God's foreknowledge?  My wife is an evangelical believer and raises our kids in her faith. I don’t object, but after much internal debate, I’ve chosen to expose my kids to facts regarding other faiths in the world. My only real beef with the evangelical faith is the reliance on the threat of eternal damnation. How would you approach this? What passages in the Bible would you use to promote alternative eschatologies?  Is Jerusalem the 3rd-holiest site for Islam? And is Muhammad’s ascent to heaven apocryphal or Koranic? Does the Koran promise 72 virgins or 72 raisins?  If none of the four Gospels had survived but only Tatian's Gospel Harmony, would academics have been able to discover there were at least four Gospels and the Q document behind it? What methods can be used to find out if the Quran was originally several different sources?  Why were four Gospels included in the New Testament? Was each aimed at refuting a particular heresy? In the Bible, what is "usury," charging excessive Interest or the charging of any interest? What is a "familiar spirits"? Please comment on the nearly pornographic Ezekiel 23:20?  Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-030

Some Afghani Muslims believe Ali was a prophet after Muhammad. How can they reconcile this with Muhammad being “the Seal of the Prophets”? Why wasn’t the Acts of John included in the canon? Would you have included it? Is there a consensus among modern Christian theologians regarding the need for salvation for extraterrestrial aliens? Is Heaven hotter than Hell? Was Adam an androgynous being much like Manu in the Rig Veda? Is it possible that Caiaphas blackmailed Pilate into crucifying Jesus, knowing that Pilate used funds from the Temple for building an aqueduct?  Barbara Thiering argues that Jesus was the "Man of a Lie" mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls. However, Robert Eisenman contends that it was St.Paul who is given this title. Which seems more likely? The story in Matthew about a Roman centurion who asks Jesus to heal his "young servant" uses the word pais, "boy" and that this has sexual connotations. Is this an effort to make Jesus appear to be friendly to Romans and vice versa?  The Mandeans are gnostics. They hold John the Baptist in high regard and Jesus in low regard. Might this indicate that John was actually gnostic, or with gnostic influence?  Was there a conflict between Jesus' followers and followers of John?  Might the Gospels have been scripts for screen plays? What do we know about the use of Greek words that are translated as the proper noun "Satan" in the New Testament? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-029

Morton Smith mentions the notion that Jesus had magical tattoos from his time in Egypt that empowered him to cast miraculous spells. Where does this idea come from? What is the point of Matthew’s device of pushing the nativity sequence forward by means of dreams? Do any modern Christians emphasize the significance of dreams? In Malachi, there is a stern warning about God smearing dung on the faces of the high priests of Israel. What's this all about? When roughly did Jews and Christians begin to see the Genesis One creation story as suggesting humans are created in the Image of God and that this should be seen as the origin of human dignity and all human rights?  Given your dislike for inclusive language in Bible translations, why did you translate "an individual" instead of "a man" in Galatians 6:1? Many OT passages involve cups of judgment, especially ones containing wormwood. Num 5: 18, 24, 27; Eze 23:31-34, Hab 2:15, Jer 8:14; 49:12; 51:6 +; Psa 60:2, 75:8; 116:13; Zec 12:2; Obd 1:6, and others. Might the Gethsemane scene be based on such texts?  Anew reading of the death of Absalom in 2 Samuel.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-028

Whether the original Hebrew of Genesis implies the loincloths of Adam and Eve were animal hides—or the physical bodies newly clothing their spiritual bodies. Might Genesis 6:4 have originated as propaganda for the policies of Ezra and Nehemiah?   Might the Greek phrase 'οἱ γίγαντες οἱ ἀπ᾽ αἰῶνος' mean the Genesis 6:1-4 Nephilim were avatars of the Gnostic Aeons?   Is the supposed influence of Hinduism & Buddhism on Gnosticism and Christianity rendered unlikely by the absence of any Sanskrit texts in Egypt or Palestine? My question relates to the overall idea the New Testament gospels are Midrash. Why would a group of individuals sit down one day, grab a random name out of a hat, then start writing Midrash in Greek? Why would Paul (in Galatians) refer only to James as the Lord's brother while not so describing Cephas? It seems obvious to me that "brother" here can have only its literal, primary meaning. I'm interested in your take on how the Prosperity Gospel has developed over the decades and its relation to those American Christians who have accumulated economic and political power. Does Romans 13 mean, as many hold, that God rubber stamps the actions of any and all government? Or that he has charged them with righteous administration, implying he will replace them if they fail? Is the Catholic refusal to inform the police of crimes learned of in the confession booth based on the Bible? What do you think of Jordan Pederson’s approach to the Bible? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-027

In Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity, Walter Bauer says: "the catastrophe in Palestine forever erased the demand that gentile Christians of the diaspora should be circumcised and should to some extent observe the ceremonial law. ... [F]ellowship between Jewish and gentile Christians in the outside world became really possible." Was it really so consequential and immediate an event as to erase that line? Is it racist for Walter Bauer to write that Rome was "by nature and custom least inclined or able to yield to seemingly fantastic oriental ways of thinking and oriental emotions that becloud clear thought"? In the Pauline epistles, many statements are tied together by words such as "If", "For", and "Thus".  It looks as if he's trying to construct logical arguments, but the statements are often non sequiturs.  Why do his writings have the trappings of rationality, but not the substance?  Do you think Jordan Peterson is on to something when he says that the Judeo-Christian tradition is exceptional among religions in preserving the wisdom Nature (or God) has written into us through evolution? Is the Swoon Theory compatible with Christ Mythicism? Does the Infancy Gospel of James portray Jesus as theophany of Yahweh descended direct from heaven?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-026

What about the apologetics argument that the resurrection of Jesus could not have been fabricated because of the fact that gospel writers claim that women were witnesses to the event. As women were not thought to be competent witnesses, why would the gospel author state that women saw the resurrected Jesus unless it were the truth? Is it true that the Roman empire generally had a policy of religious tolerance, provided that the religion in question makes a reasonable claim at being an ancient tradition? In Acts 17:16-34, Paul is dragged in front of the Areopagus, because some people thought he was a "babbler", while others said he was "a setter forth of strange gods." But the Areopagus lost the power to prosecute religious matters in 462 BC. Is this an anachronism? Wendy Doniger mentioned in one of her books the possibility that Jesus was raised by wild animals. What are your thoughts? Do you think it's possible that the rich young ruler was the "beloved disciple" in John's Gospel? What do you think of the family tomb of Jesus Christ? Does the Bible contain examples of utilitarian entreaty to sacred powers for no other reason but one’s own ends? I remember hearing of a theory of a hidden messiah where the messiah would come (and leave) without anyone knowing until being revealed some time later. Was this belief current before the Jesus era?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-025

When in Mark 5:43 Jesus tells Jairus and his wife not to tell anyone about “this,” something impossible given that they would have to pretend henceforth that she was dead in an empty grave, Mark mean s that Jesus means not to disclose the method of healing/resurrecting the girl, not to the fact that she was alive. Maybe he wanted everyone to think he was simply an effective doctor, not a miracle worker? This set of questions was inspired by a YouTube video, "If Atheists Talked About The Hulk Like Jordan Peterson Talks About The Bible." Does the Bible ever rename characters for discernible literary of theological reasons? Preacher often say the body and the flesh are not the same thing, but is there an actual Greek basis for this distinction? Is the Hulk a decent representation of the Paulinist or Marcionist "Fleshly Man"? What reason is there to posit the existence of a Signs Source underlying John? I regularly hear that many modern critical scholars are both Christians and hold certain mainstream positions regarding the suspect history of books such as the Pastorals, at least one of the Epistles of Peter, etc. Do you know whether, as Christians, they tend to accept the books as pious forgeries and still somehow inspired as scripture? If you were a somewhat conservative Christian what one book of the Bible would you consider the most problematic to your belief, the most embarrassing, the most open to attack from the outside? And why? When you write a scholarly book or paper, do you typically just write out the entirety of your argument, and add in the relevant references later? Or do you stop and start, inserting references as you go? Or some mixture of the two? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-024

It has been claimed that the genealogy in Matthew 1 contains 14+ features of sevens, said to collectively defy probability.  From a textual standpoint, how plausible is this?  Could the Samaritan woman in John 4 be a reference to the last Seleucid monarch, Cleopatra Selene, who just so happens to have been the ruler of Galilee during 70s BCE when the Toledot dates Jesus? What are the covenants? How were they broken? What did they add or take away from the human race?  My father told me as a child that faith and prayer power is limited because God cannot lie, and his words create laws, laws that even God himself cannot break. Is there any passage of the Bible where God breaks his law? Did God create animals in Eden so man might offer them in sacrifice?   The Synoptics depict John the Baptist predicting the imminent apocalyptic judgment to be rendered by the Coming One (Jesus). It didnâ??t happen. How do inerrantists deal with this? Or do they even notice? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-023

Pastors seem often to give parishioners answers that will satisfy them even if the pastor doesnâ??t really have an opinion. He doesnâ??t want to look bad. How did you deal with this situation? In the depictions of the crucifixion in Mark and Matthew, why are Jesus' cries to Eloi and Eli misheard by onlookers? What purpose does this detail serve in the narrative? What do you make of the Freemasonsâ?? allegorical interpretations of the Bible? How large were the stones covering ancient sepulcher tombs? You know how you can separate the Pentateuch into four sourIs there a book that delineates the various â??hereticalâ?? elements or sources on the gospels? Could you speak to what lead to your atheistic stance? Is speaking of the Holy, the ineffable, et cetera. merely speaking in the abstract of the mystery of existence or the idea there may be something out there, but perhaps it is just beyond human understanding? What seems to be the most prevalent idea of the fate of the unfortunate after death according to the Bible? How could something like Christianity get off the ground, especially if Jesus was a myth?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-022

Nature is horrible, and civilization allows animals such as a cows, pigs, sheep, and humans to live in comfort and safety.  Why, then, the persistent mytheme of humans being the defective additions to an otherwise perfect world? Jesus never baptized anyone with water so how did this become a staple of the Christian church, especially the Baptists? What do you make of the fact that there is zero evidence that the Arab conquerors of the 7th century were Muslims? I personally am convinced that they were most likely a Syriac Christian sect, a sect that had a lot in common with the Ebionites.  Do you have any suggestions on books that you could recommend on Martin Luther or the Lutherans in general? Is it fair to say that "Christianity defined itself in the context of Neo Platonism neo-platonic philosophy as a religion of truth"? Might Jesusâ?? cursing the fig tree reflect the folk custom f cursing/rebuking a barren tree in order to produce fruit the following season? Can you shed some light on the dating of the book of Daniel and what we can determine whether these are predictions of the future or reflections on the past? Is there any textual evidence anywhere that Matthew's birth narrative with the Oriental Kings paying respect to infant Jesus a subtle attempt at recognizing the Alexandrian Buddhist influence on new Christianity?   Could Christianity survive in some form if it were proved there was no historical Jesus? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-021

Doesnâ??t the mention in Galatians of Paulâ??s meeting with â??James the Lordâ??s brotherâ?? count against mythicism? Was Thomas Didymus in some sense Jesusâ?? twin? Does the NT refer anywhere to a shape-shifting Jesus? I'm wondering if you have any thoughts on how to discredit Papal Infallibility.  How much of the poem Father Brennan recites to Robert Thorn in THE OMEN is based on Revelation or any of the apocrypha or any other biblical prophecy? What do you think of Islam and the Koran? I would like your take on the parallels that exist between Paul and Stoicism - both intentional and accidental. How much actual influence existed there, and precisely what of Paul's writings best exemplify this? Is Theophilus (lover of God) just the Christian reader of the Gospel of Luke? Why does only Mark mention Pilate's astonishment at Jesus' quick death? Is there any scriptural warrant for the Doctrine of Inclusion, whereby there is no Hell and all are saved, whether they believe or not, whether they do good works or not. Indeed: whether they are Christians and accept the divinity of Jesus or not? Adventures in tongue-speaking. Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-020

Do you think Isreal and Judah were ever a single nation? Any biblical recollections of two major asteroid impacts of 12000 and 13000 years ago? What are your thoughts on humor in the Bible and humor as a factor in a life well lived? Are the moral concepts in the Bible unique and proof of divine inspiration? What is the relationship between esoteric Buddhism and esoteric Judaism? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-019

I was hoping you could spend a few minutes speculating on the future of American Evangelical Christianity following President Trump. Also, would you mind informing us about the differences between American Christianity and Christianity from other countries. In your translation of Mark you refer to Gethsemane as a "plot of ground" instead of a garden. Any particular reason you didn't call Gethsemane a "garden?" Granting that Matthew 24:29 is prophecy after the fact, why would the author write something he knew had not happened?   Might â??the knowledge of good and evilâ?? in Eden refer to learning what food is healthful or deadly? I've observed that Jesus Myth debates and lectures are almost always hosted by a small group of atheists.  Why do they feel the need to constantly be retold things they already know about an issue that may not really be a scholarly issue?  And do you feel this is really an important debate? I thought it might be a good idea to read through the New Testament in the order in which the books were written.  What do you think of this approach?  How well do you think a courtroom analogy of Christianity holds up?  How do we know that God makes â??severalâ?? humans at once in Genesis chapter 1? Is that somehow hidden in the original Hebrew? Would citing the Infancy Gospel of Thomas as a source for an essay be as valid as say the Gospels of Mark or John?  What is the best history of the King James Version of the Bible? Do you know how pages of Codex Sinaiticus came to be waste paper bin liners at the monastery at which they were discovered? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-018

A Christian was saying that Justin Martyr was listing parallels between the Jesus story and earlier pagan stories to somehow woo pagans to the Christian faith. I said no, Justin was responding to common objections raised by Trypho and others about comparisons they were making against Jesus by comparing him to similar themes found in pagan god stories. Which is true? Where does the Augustine/Calvin view that humans are the enemy of God due to their sin nature come from? What did Mark mean by â??faithâ?? when talking about the woman who touched Jesus robe and stole his power?  What is the path to salvation per Mark?  How great an influence did Egypt have on Israelite religion? Where the hell did the prosperity gospel come from? Does it have historical roots or is it a relatively new, uniquely American invention? How have protestant Christians historically addressed the irony of teaching "faith without works" while simultaneously requiring a work (i.e. a profession of faith or a sincere belief in Christ) to achieve atonement and forgiveness of sin? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-017

Which of three explanations for the Messianic Secret do you prefer? Dr. Price in your experience, was Robert W. Funk's work with the Jesus Seminar in any way related to his tendency (on display in his A Beginning-Intermediate Grammar of Hellenistic Greek) to strike out on his own and redo the scholarship in a way that was new ? Could Isaac be an alternate name for Ishmael?  Perhaps an attempt to merge stories from different traditions? I'm curious as to your view on the Secret Gospel of Mark. Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-016

What do you think of Roger Parvusâ??s theories on the identification of â??Ignatiusâ?? with Proteus Peregrinus and the possibility that Theophilus of Antioch had been a follower of Apelles? What support does the New Testament provide for the importance of the nuclear family in raising children?  Whatâ??s your view on who all the gospel â??Marysâ?? are and why Jesusâ?? mother pops in and out of the stories? Isnâ??t the church discipline procedure in Matt. 18 pretty bad and unworkable advice: forcing someone to apologize by doing a gang-up if they don't "hear you," etc.? I wonder if you have any thoughts on Walter Kaufmann and his translation work on Nietzsche. Ezekiel makes mention of Daniel. I was under the impression that the book of Daniel was a rather late product, perhaps dating to the Hasmoneans. What does this say about the dating of Ezekiel? Or might it be that Daniel was a figure of Hebrew folklore before there was a â??book of Danielâ??? I believe that, if we view the Bible as manâ??s search for God rather than a direct revelation from God, a lot of the contradictions and mysteries disappear. If you know of any books that explore this theory please let me know. Is the notion that two distinct gods, Yahweh & El Elyon, were merged into â??Godâ?? a fringe theory or is it widely accepted?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-015

Examples of the growth of urban legends as â??oral tradition.â?? Paul both engages in â??boastingâ?? and warns against it. A contradiction? Do you think the city of Nazareth existed before the time of Jesus, and why?  Why is it easier to trace a family tree of â??hereticsâ?? and Gnostics than to reconstruct a succession of orthodox teachers and thinker? What do we know about the origins of the tradition that Polycarp was a student of the Apostle John? Is John the Baptist said in chapter 54 of Book 1 of the Clementine Recognitions to have been claimed "the Christ" by his followers and accused by others as the founder of heresies and schisms within the spectrum of diverse early Christianity? If so, doesn't this really sound much like to how early Church Fathers described Simon Magus as the founder of Gnosticism and subsequent heresies, or similarly Paul the apostle of the Marcionites and Gnostics?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-014

Why we cook meat: revisited. What does the Bible tell us about singing vs. instrumental music? What do we know from other sources about first-century worship?   Any thoughts about the proof-text method of arguing and teaching, and its place in church history?   Is it wrong to believe that even with Roman roads, communication between churches would have been slow and spotty and thus uniformity of practice and creeds would be doubtful? Will the Catholic church ever stop protecting the institution and actually take action to end the child-abuse and remove the abusers?   Would you mind reviewing the evolution of the god-concept?  How did he go from a genocidal humanoid to a loving, vaporous bystander? Are there any of god's actions that may be considered unequivocally good -- that is, not made possible by, or intended to fix, a problem that he himself created; and not for any secondary gain, such as increasing the number of his followers, the status of his followers, or his own personal standing among other gods or people? Whether Jesus said he would â??lift upâ?? or â??cut offâ?? vine branches that produced no fruit: revisited. Does the minority view of Jesus as the final sacrifice that now permits Gentiles to become genuine members of the family of God have a historical, albeit much different, mundane basis, that grew into something bigger, requiring a God-Man to save all humanity in order to compete with the ubiquitous similar stories in the surrounding regions?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-013

Mustnâ??t God be condemned for crimes against humanity, e.g., the murder of the Egyptian firstborn in Exodus? In the Garden of Eden did animals have the ability to achieve immortality if they had access to the Tree of Life? Why were they punished with death due to the misdeeds of Adam and Eve? In the flood stories, why did Yahweh cause so much death and suffering among animals? Since animals are incapable of sin, why were they punished along with humans? Is the Wellhausen thesis still used today? Did the gospel writers know of the epistles? What did Simon Magus claim for himself?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-012

About Jesus' supposed 'harrowing of Hell' - the time between his death and resurrection when he supposedly traveled to Hades/Hell and freed the poor captive spirits there: why were there any spirits in Hades/Hell anyways?  Christian dogma says souls go to Hades/Hell only after the Day of Judgement which won't occur for more than a thousand years after Jesus returns to Earth so there shouldn't have been any souls to harrow.  In fact, as Satan and his demons supposedly have full range over Earth, why would any of them be in Hades/Hell either. Any idea how such a heretical idea became dogma? In the Ignatian Epistle to the Ephesians describing the apparition of the bright star that heralds the newly revealed secrets of Jesusâ?? birth and death, his resurrection isnâ??t mentioned. Could it be, then, that the bright star was Jesusâ?? resurrection appearance, according to an archaic tradition dating from before the Gospel resurrection narratives had taken hold? Did they imagine Jesus as a star ascending visibly in triumph for all the world to see, holding court with the angels (the sun, moon and stars) and taking his rightful place at the top of the heavens? What does the Ignatian Epistle to Smyrna Chapter 18 mean? â??He was born and was baptized that by His passion He might cleanse water?â?? Cleanse water? In your debate, what did Bart Ehrman mean with all the â??outer spaceâ?? talk in reference to the crucifixion?   Is there anything dishonest about participating in a religious group for the experience and the fellowshipâ??if you are an atheist? If Stephenâ??s martyrdom in Acts is fiction, why make a noby for the job? Why not an apostle? Why is it that Jesus an immortal being is tortured, killed and 3 days later resurrected is considered a sacrifice at all? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-011

Hereâ??s how Catholics harmonize the liturgical date of Christ's conception with the date of His birth. What should I be looking for in Deuteronomy to show that it was written last and used the first four books of the Pentateuch? Could the Ark of the Covenant could have been a drum? How did the Queen of Sheba get to be a judge of "this generation" in Matthew 12:42? Is it true that some (many? most?) relevant scholars have abandoned the categorization â??Gnosticismâ?? just because of the differences between the specifics sects? Is it feasible to think that at least some early Christians believed that Christianity is older than modern Christians believe it to be?  Why did Absalom publicly have sex with his dadâ??s harem girls? What is your opinion re the Reformation and Martin Luther? I was readying Genesis 1 and 2, and I was wondering which of these stories emerged first in history.  I am interested in knowing when the Samaritan Pentateuch was written. Are apologists correct in arguing that Daniel could not have been written 165 BC because the Aramaic it uses is too early a form of the language? What sort of social ramifications have arisen for Mythicists, short of legal trouble? Was Carl Jung a Christ Mythicist? How important to your own work are Arthur Drews and/or Albert Kalthoff? Your opinion of Bruno Bauer? Your thoughts about the book Zealot by Reza Aslan? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-010

The fact that the character of Aaron exists in the Bible is fairly confusing to me. If Moses had a speech impediment why not just heal him instead of roping one more guy into the whole plot? How do Christians handle the holy pregnancy? The celebratory date of the conception is in early December and the birth in the end of the same month. Was it a super quick or really long pregnancy?   What does the word "begotten" as in "only begotten son" mean? Why do you think the doctrine of the Trinity is such a cornerstone doctrine even among Protestants and Evangelicals? It seems like it should have been a doctrine they might have wanted to jettison after breaking with the Catholic Church. Do you think the crucifixion story might have been invented as a away to console early Christians over the persecutions and martyrdoms they experienced? Watching a commentary on the Jack Chick tract "Earthman," I noticed that Chick specifically used the term "little animals" to describe God giving Adam and Eve skins to wear. Could he have been thinking of foreskins? Can you talk about the history of literal interpretation of scripture in Christianity and Judaism? Have there always been strains of it, or is it more--as I initially suspected--more of a Protestant development? What does Paul mean by â??braggingâ?? or â??boastingâ?? which he sometimes condemns, other times approves? Did the Book of Tobiut influence the NT? And might the gospels be other examples of overt edifying fictions? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-009

In your latest Bible Geek podcast, you wondered if there were cobras in the ancient Near East. Sure there were! How does Marcion factor into the Q hypothesis?   In Job 42 God rewards Job with 7 sons and 3 daughters. In verse 14 the daughters are named and in verse 15 it says "nowhere in the land were there found women as beautiful as Job's daughters and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers." Why do you suppose the author of Job showed such deference to the daughters, as it seems counter to my understanding of ancient Hebrew tradition? You've laughed at the passage that apparently gives parents the right to have their children stoned to death if they act up. (Deuteronomy 21:18-21). Is it possible that the passage actually restricts the freedom of ancient parents to treat their kids with arbitrary cruelty? In the cleansing of the Temple where Jesus chased out the money changers, what would be the punishment for such an action? Wouldnâ??t it be great for a movie to depict Jesus overturning the Temple tables single-handedly by telekinesis? There are several â??blank checkâ?? promises in the NT that any prayer will be granted. If anyone can so readily debunk the truth of these sayings, why were they included at all? Doesn't it seem counter intuitive for the church to have put itself on the line like that?  [A reading of Priceâ??s essay â??The Retreat from Radical Prayer.â??] Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-008

Could you speak more to the differences between monolatry and henotheism? Could you explain the clues scholars use to date ancient texts but with modern examples? The Gospel of Philip says, "When we were Hebrews we were orphans, with only a mother, but when we became Christians we had a father and a mother."  It doesn't make much sense that a Valentinian Gnostic would regard the god of the Hebrews as female, but there it is. Or is he referring to Sophia? I want to know what your thoughts in general on Jung's work and his idea of the "spiritual problem" which the best I can make right now is that without religion there is nothing to hold back humankind's most evil and murderous tendencies. I don't see how it accounts for the evil caused by religion.  An angel, from what I understand, is a messenger.  For God to make two people with no intention of making any more, and walking and talking with them in his garden, he wouldn't need messengers.  Milton, though, has the whole Rebellion of the Angels happen before the creation of the physical world.  That's like building the Internet before computers. And why is the serpent of Eden never depicted as a cobra?. I know that Genesis 1 and 2 are two distinct creation narratives, but how did some of the contradictions slip past redactors? Do we know more about the suggested location of the Garden of Eden, or is there some kind of mythological significance to those markers named that have never been found? Is there something in the text that signals a shift from prose to poetry? Genesis 5:1 calls itself "The Book of the Generations of Adam." Do you think this means that this was a separate book (apart from Genesis) that just got compiled into a larger collection later called "Genesis"? Genesis 30:3 has Rachel saying that Jacob should sleep with her maid "that she may bear on my knees, that through her I too may have children." Does this mean what it sounds like? In Mark 5:19 Jesus tells the cured Demoniac to go back to his people and tell them about what the Lord has done. What about the Messianic Secret? And why do the locals beg Jesus to leave them? A fusion of two stories? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-007

2 Samuel 12:14 says God killed the newborn son of David & Bathsheba to punish Dave for engineering Uriahâ??s death. But Deuteronomy 14:16 declares that no one will be killed for his parentsâ?? sins! How do apologists explain this contradiction? What is the origin of Mandaeaism? What do they believe? Do they have scriptures? Did the lack of spaces between words cause much potential for confusion? How reasonable would it be to imagine Jesus, as depicted in the Gospels, as a Greek speaker? Re the wilder fringes of fundamentalism that can still be seen today: where did this stuff come from?  1 Thess., at 1:1, purports to be written by Paul, Silvanus and Timothy. Throughout the letter "we" and "us" are used as the first person. However, at 2:17-3:6 the letter starts referring to "I, Paul" and to speak of Timothy in the third person. I understand that 2:14-2:16 is thought to be an interpolation because of an apparent anachronistic reference to the destruction of the temple as punishment of the Jews for killing Jesus. Is it also thought that this longer section wherein "I, Paul" and "Timothy" are spoken of is part of the interpolation also? Ephesians 4:11 lists "apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.â?? Since apostles, by definition, were gospel preachers, doesnâ??t the (otherwise redundant) addition of â??evangelistsâ?? imply authors of written gospels? How can a believer, once he recognizes the artificiality of the symbolic names of biblical characters, not realize that such people are most likely made-up characters in a work of fiction? What does scripture actually say about homosexuality? What do you think the Catholic Church, the Protestant churches, and other faiths like Judaism, Buddhism and Islam will be like 2000 years from now? Is there any predictability about the way that religions develop over time?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-006

Does the NT ever call Jesus â??Godâ??? If not, why are supposed â??Biblicistsâ?? so adamant that you must believe he is? Is Acts 14, 12, where Barnabas is called Zeus and Paul is called Hermes, based on a well known story among the gentiles? Why didn't Jahve just cure Moses of his speech impediment? Isnâ??t Aaron a useless addition since it is not he who leads the people into the promise land but Joshua? What if there was no â??Qâ?? Document, but the Marcionite Gospel contained the so-called Q material? And that Matthew expanded Mark with this material which he took from the Marcionite Gospel? Then Luke used Mark and Marcion? How much of a role did the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE play in the development of the atonement theory of Jesus' death? Is there any evidence that any Christian prior to 70 CE believed that Jesus' death was an atoning sacrifice? For that matter, were there Christians at all prior to 70 CE?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-005

Producer's Note: This episode cuts off abruptly at around the 39 minute mark due to some technical difficulties, my apologies. Is Bart Ehrman minimizing the piety of pagans as well as the extent of Christian persecution of them? Does the NT ever call Jesus â??Godâ??? If not, why are supposed â??Biblicistsâ?? so adamant that you must believe he is? Is Acts 14, 12, where Barnabas is called Zeus and Paul is called Hermes, based on a well known story among the gentiles? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-004

A very special episode of the Bible Geek as Dr. Price interviews author and new testament scholar Dr. Bart Ehrman on his new book The Triumph of Christianity. Dr Ehrman is currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and you can find more of his work at his wonderful blog:
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-003

How do we verify any early church claims since the gospels and the epistles along with "Church history" all point towards being propaganda? Why didn't Jesus stone Mary Magdalene?   I know Jesus calls out the stone throwers  (John 8:7), but wouldn't Jesus be without sin and therefore be able to throw the first stone?  Would it be a sin in His fatherâ??s eyes not to follow the laws of the OT?  I was wondering what did Judas betray in the first place?  Jesus was a local celebrity, his views were pretty much out there, known to anyone who wanted to be familiar with them. What kind of inside info did Judas have? Concerning the age of Jesus at the start of his mission: Why thirty? I think the Bible has its own internal logic so Jesus's age had to be thirty for some reason right? Mt 28:19 has an explicitly trinitarian formula for baptism, which contradicts the Jesus-name formula from Acts 2:38. Might the Matthean text be an interpolation? In whose name did John the Baptist baptize? Cannot one can believe in God, and see the Bible as moot? Some say that "He cuts off every branch that does not produce fruit" in John 15:2 could be translated as "He lifts-up every branch that does not produce fruit." Is that true? Are biblical scholars really so entrenched or fearful for their jobs that they really wonâ??t even consider the idea of Jesus as a myth?  What does that say about New Testament scholarship?  Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-002

How strongly did Platonism influence Paulâ??s understanding of the Fall? Which scholars propose a mid to late second century date for the Gospels and Pauline letters? Might Jesus have been a Samaritan or influence by them? Is it possible that Jesus and/or his followers knew about the 70 weeks prophecy in Daniel and took it as a Messianic prophecy and expected the Messiah around that time (see Luke 3:15)? What do you think of the â??family tomb of Jesus Christâ??? Of the frescoes of two fish on two ossuaries? Of the names that are engraved on the ossuaries? Could â??Holy spiritâ?? as "sacred breath" mean acetone breath produced by fasting? Neal deGrasse Tyson says that Scriptural Literalism was the only viable option for individuals before the scientific revolution.  However, others claim that the Biblical Literalsim that opposes science today really came into existence in the early 1900s. What sayeth the Geek? Please talk about the development of the publishing industry in the ancient world and its relation to religion. Could you comment on the gospel writerâ??s tendency to shuffle the narrative context and chronology around certain sayings? Are the Gospel authors relying on a sayings collection like Q and creating narrative structure as they go? Do we have any idea where the New Testament notion of Armageddon comes from? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 18-001

Evangelicals and fundamentalists interpret the veil of the temple being torn in half as a symbolic transition from God dwelling in the physical temple built by humans to God dwelling within believers' hearts in spirit. Special note was made in regard to the veil being torn from top to bottom, a feat that only God could accomplish, as a human would need to tear it from the bottom to the top. Is this the original meaning of this portion of the crucifixion narrative, or is this a later theological interpretation added on to the passage? What exactly led to and/or caused Jewish Christians to begin proselytizing (preaching the gospel to) Gentiles? How much of a role might the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in AD 70 have played in this development? Youâ??ve discussed how the idea of penance evolved when it was realized that Jesus ain't coming back anytime soon. Prior to this, per the book of Hebrews and then the Shepherd of Hermas, Christians were expected not to sin at all, because Jesus' arrival was just around the corner. How does 1 John 1:8-9 fit into this development? Theme music provided by: Peter Benjamin - composer for media [email protected]
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-054

Do you agree that the experience of encountering the transcendent/sacred/numinous/ineffable, or of trying to induce that encounter, is the original or ultimate goal of the religious impulse? If something like this idea is true, do you think it is legitimate to talk about the "true" meaning of religious language in these terms, even if religious people (ancient or modern) would not necessarily recognise or even understand such an interpretation?  Do you think there is a value in retaining the religious language to approach these ideas, a value that cannot necessarily be had through using the language of science, philosophy, or art? How do you personally interpret the subject matter of the world's religions and mythologies, such that they don't simply appear as records of mankind's ignorance and superstition throughout the ages?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-053

How much of what we think of as Christmas is biblical and how much of it is some kind of syncretism? Someone claimed that the Talmud is a 4th faith/is not a Jewish text. What could this mean? Does Numbers 5:11â??31 describe an abortion?  Whence the notion of Peter as the bouncer at the Pearly Gates? Does Mark 4:11-12 contradict Mark 4:22? Does the Jerome Bible Commentary really say that Romans 9-11 is an interpolation? Why do scholars think 1st Clement (1:1) refers to persecutions under Domitian? And why does the author refer to the Corinthian church as "ancient?" (in 47:6) Wasn't the Corinthian church relatively recent when this was written? Is it possible that the generally accepted dating (AD 80 and AD 140) could be incorrect? Might Simon Magus might have been the actual historical Jesus? Do you see a link between Simon Magus/Paul and 'The Egyptian' mentioned in Josephus and confused with Paul in the Book of Acts?  Assuming that a Pauline mythic-Jesus worship was spread over Asia minor/Greece first, what is the most likely geographical origin for historical Jesus tale? Do you think the author of Colossians wants us to think that he is writing from Heaven, that he is not Paul the itinerant preacher, but, dead and walking with Christ on some other planet/heavenly place?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-052

Do we have any concrete sources or proof that Romans chapters 9-11 were not original? What is the point of Matthew 22:1-14, the Wedding Banquet? Isnâ??t â??Itâ??s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brownâ?? filled with biblical allusions to end-times and second coming prophecy and the Delay of the Parousia? In the Tower of Babel story God seems to lamenting the fact that humanity decided to work together and build something worth noticing! Yahweh's petty, Zeus-like nature is on full display, knocking down any attempt at advanced human civilization. What possibly could have been the intended moral of this story? When in Rev 12:4 the Dragon cast a third of the stars of the heavens down to Earth, isnâ??t this best understood as the Dragon defeating those stars / angels and casting them to Earth as defeated enemies? Might Jesusâ?? healing of the blind man with spit (Mark 8:22-26) have a more mystical meaning than generally acknowledged? Perhaps the â??men as trees, walkingâ?? might have been a spiritual vision of the blind man prior to his regaining physical eyesight? As for how long the Man and the Woman were in the Garden, you suggested that it might not have been very long. But maybe they did eat of the Tree of Life, which enabled them to live for hundreds of years afterward, outside the Garden. Maybe God had created other humans elsewhere, and that post Eden interbreeding with them eventually caused the immortality of Adam & Eveâ??s descendants to peter out?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-051

Doesn't it strike you as a bit strange that the person of the Trinity involved in the conception of the human Jesus is not the Father, but the Holy Spirit? Mark 1:14 says "After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God." Does the lack of any context or detail about John being put into prison mean that he assumed readers knew about John's fate without being told? And does the author intend to say that the reason Jesus began preaching was the event of John's imprisonment? What do you know of the Khabouris Manuscript, said to be a copy of the oldest known (2nd Century) Eastern Canon of the New Testament in the original native language of the Scriptures, Aramaic?  Why you think Mormons are Christian? Navigating a marriage between an atheist and a KJV-only fundamentalist. Is Acts 2:42-4 supposed to be a pattern typical of similar religious beginnings? Into what stage of the myth-making process does this fall? What is Satans role in the temptations in Matthew and Luke? Finding the Bible more interesting once one abandons belief in its divine inspiration. Is it dishonest to take Mormon missionaries time to discuss the Book of Mormon with no intention to convert, when that is their goal in spending the time with you? What do you think about the parallels between Lot and Noah? How does mythicism deal with Catholic claims that the Church and certain beliefs existed before the Bible was written?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-050

You said that some of the early patristic writers believed that John the Baptist was a heretic and even the spiritual mentor of Simon Magus and Dositheus. Might this version imply the canonical gospels had not yet been written? Why do you think Matt changes Mark to make the fig tree wither away immediately rather than over the course of a day?  If Mark is a Paulinist Gospel how can the baptism be adoptionistic which seems to be a doctrine popular among Jewish Christians like the Ebionites?  I wondered if the baptism might not better be seen as the point where the man Jesus is possessed w/ the spirit (the Christ) which some Gnostics believed, what Bart Ehrman calls separationism.  What say ye? What does the Geek think is going on with Jacob and Laban's flock in Genesis 30? Why would the gospel writers in the second century have to embellish the Jerusalem siege and/or the Bar Kochba revolt and not have Jesus describe in detail what will happen just like how Josephus described it since the evidence is strong that the gospel writers have Josephus in front of them while writing the four gospels. Also, why would the writer of Luke dismiss the death of James? Is there any real proof for Burton Mackâ??s hypotheses re Q?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-049

My question comes from the book of Numbers, chapter 5:11-31. The Test for Adultery. What is going on here? Also, what is this â??spirit of jealousyâ?? that comes upon the man? Why does Catholicism making itself over into Protestantism? Doesnâ??t 2 Samuel 7:5-6 imply that there was a Yahweh temple before the Exodus? How might we account for traditions of Jesus that clearly do not fit with the Christian agenda, i.e., those that would not have been made up by Christian storytellers, and are so quite likely historically accurate accounts?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-048

Does the first sentence of the Naassene Fragment refer to the creation story in Genesis? You've mentioned that Matthew tends to double the characters and events of Mark. Could this same thing be going on in Matthew's genealogy, where it says there were fourteen generations between Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile, and fourteen from the exile to Christ, double the lucky number seven so often mentioned in earlier books? Can you elaborate as to why you think biblical studies as we see it today is or is not functioning correctly and should really be taken up outside of seminaries? Robert Eisenman identifies Paul as a Herodian. He also suggests Simon Magus and Paul may be indistinguishable . How does your theory work with Eisenmans?   Would Markâ??s readers have recognized the illegalities of the Sanhedrin trial?? Why does the high priest tear his clothing when he is expressly forbidden from doing so in Leviticus 21? When the slave of the high priest loses an ear, does this disqualify him from temple service? Why was it necessary to have Judas as a betrayer of Jesus for a bounty? Do you think Mark 16:8, " they will pick up snakes with their hands", is a reflection of Paul being bit by a viper in Acts? In Matthew 27: 52-53, he doesn't tell us is what happened next.  He just leaves it to the reader to draw his own conclusion.  Why? Why was it necessary to have Christ ascend to Heaven in the crucifixion story? Why not stick around (more than 40 days)? Wouldn't it be easier to convert Jews to Christianity with Jesus as Exhibit 1? As Paul only knew the "gospel" from "scripture and revelation" wouldn't it follow then that the Jesus revealed to him was the magisterial Christ, and that he being so would not bother to  relate to him (Paul) matters of his earthly existence? If you could clarify what exactly Paul meant by the gospel? If only Q had survived and the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John had not survived how much would we know about the context, events and locations of the life of Jesus?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-047

Besides Jesus historicism and Mythicism, is there a "third way", whereby the Jesus of the gospels is a composite of stories originally told of several historic figures?  Several ancient sources remember Jesus as a teller of parables. Doesnâ??t this imply there was such a teacher? I would like your thoughts on creatio ex nihilo and the opening verses of Genesis. Is there any New Testament passage that references the Masoretic texts instead of the Septuagint? Why does history seem to belie Deuteronomyâ??s promises for Godâ??s protection and forgiveness for the Jewish nation? Burton Mack tells us ancient students commonly had to try to write what a well known philosopher might say on this or that topic. Does this contradict Bart Ehrmanâ??s claim that the ancients frowned on pseudepigraphy? Does Mark 4:11-12 contradict Mark 4:21-23? Does an early date for the Didache depend on an early date for the canonical New Testament? How much of the New Testament does it predate--if any?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-046

The Korean terms for God and Jesus. Why are Korean Christians so inclined to Western Protestant theology, specifically Calvinism? â??How were animal sacrifices and shamans excised from the Judeo-Christain tradition? Why was Western Christianity more successful than Eastern in suppressing polygyny?  Please recommend some sources on â??deconversion,â?? the process of â??converting" out of a religion and into non-belief.  Can you suggest resources on the evolution of Sophia into Christ? Suggestions on textual criticism. I would be greatly interested in knowing what your reasons may be for thinking all of the gospels were likely written in the 2nd rather than the 1st century. Suppose Gideon had a large army but divided them into groups of 300 which engaged and defeated the Midianites in various places, so that the credit for defeating â??the Midianitesâ?? (as a whole) was given to this or that 300 depending on where the tale was told? Reasons for thinking the Vedic Soma drink was not the juice of the Amanita Muscaria mushroom.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-045

When Jesus was tempted by Satan on the mountain top, why didn't he simply say "all creation is mine already, I made it, so it's not yours to give me"? Isnâ??t this Manichean? What do you know of the accusation that Count Tischendorff maybe forged part of the Codex Sinaiticus? Does the Samaritan Pentateuch have a different version of Deuteronomy? Why your pronunciation of â??Yahwehâ?? is mistaken. What do the terms â??spirit, soul, body;â?? â??mind, body, spirit;â?? â??soul, body, mindâ?? denote in the Bible? Was Lukeâ??s Theophilus Theophilus of Antioch in the 2nd century? Was the holy oil used by the priests in both the First and Second Temples a hallucinogen? Julian Jaynes suggests that people in the Bronze Age hallucinated stones speaking to them, and thought that the stones were actual gods. Does this bear on various stone stories and texts in the Bible? I've heard it said by "preservationists" (King James only preservationists at least) that Psalms 12:6-7 is the proof that God has providentially preserved the words of the Bible through the ages. But isnâ??t this a gross misinterpretation?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-044

Donâ??t ongoing theological developments inadvertently produce contradictions with earlier forms of the beliefs? What exactly was the place of Hercules in Ancient Greek popular devotion? And does it figure at all into positing an originally mythic Christ? Why does Christian iconography customarily depict Jesus as long-haired, if Paul considers long hair for a man dishonorable (1 Corinthians 11:14)? I would like to hear your comment about a recent argument touting supposed evidence of Joshuaâ??s destruction of Hazor. Does the Duhem Quine thesis salvage theodicy against the falsification argument? Why do the Abrahamic religions have such strong taboos about sex?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-043

The genealogy in the Bible goes from Adam to Jesus in some 6000+ years. Does this force Christians into a young earth stance? Could you comment on what is meant by â??wineâ?? in the Bible? What do you make of the theory that Paul was Jesusâ?? choice to repace Judas and that the eleven jumped the gun when they picked Matthaias? What did Albert Schweitzer mean by calling baptism an â??eschatological sacrament"? Why is it that baptism is and always seems to have been included in Christianity? John baptized. Essenes baptized. But did Jesus ever baptize? Did he ever instruct others to baptize? Or was this just part of bringing the Baptistâ??s flock into the fold? Can you talk a little bit about the different things that baptism (and the Eucharist, for that matter) mean to different sects of Christians?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-042

Why do even critical scholars resist the conclusion that the gospel stories are plainly rewrites of OT stories, not traditions of what Jesus said and did?.   Is there anyway to harmonize the god of the Old Testament and the story line of the Old Testament with Jesus and the New Testament ? Can we honestly call creation "good" or "perfect" if there is a dog gone crafty serpent in there? Given that the gospels are legendary anyway, could the idea of Peter as an ignorant fisherman be complete fiction, and perhaps the original Cephas/Peter was in fact highly educated and thus could have written 1 Peter? Please explain the â??filioqueâ?? controvery. Matthew 19:12 has Jesus endorse celibacy. In 1 Cor. Paul says something similar but without quoting Jesus. Doesnâ??t this support Mythicism? Hamon, in the Septuagint, is called a 'Macedonian' instead of a Persian. Could the translator have been trying to avert blame from the Persians?   What is the intent in Acts 15 when the Gentiles are urged to avoid â??bloodâ??? Revelation 6:6 has the Black Horseman commanded not to harm or destroy the oil. Might this refer to adulterating it? How does Paul fits into the orthodox account of the origins of Christianity? Why would Jesus not teach everything to his followers while on earth? And why not impart any new teaching to his original circle rather than some outsider?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-041

The best evidence for God's existence is that there IS NO evidence for God's existence. That is to say, if he were to be measured he would no longer be transcendent, infinite, etc. A good, if ironic argument for Godâ??s existence in the face of no evidence? Might the two feeding, one with 7 baskets of leftovers, the other with 12, symbolize the Gentile and Jewish churches respectively? What would it have been like for ancient Jews in Palestine to see a total solar eclipse? If Paul did in fact know the apostles and James the brother of Jesus would that be considered reliable evidence that Gospel accounts are more or less accurate? Why do critics recognize the post-apostolic standpoint of Lukeâ??s prologue but not of 1 Cor. 11:2?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-040

Can you recommend some good books on the historical John the Baptist or on early understandings of or religions based on him? Is there an approach you'd recommend for someone trying to get a more robust self-education on the origins of Christianity? When Jesus tells Peter, â??Get behind me, Adversary!â?? might he have been asking Satan to â??back him up,â?? reinforcing his resolve in the face of his coming Passion? In Mark 15:7 Barabbas is described as having committed murder during "the insurrection." Is there any historical evidence, Josephus perhaps, that can describe this insurrection? Please comment on the work of Stephan Huller and that of Roger Pearse on Mithraism in the Roman world. One listenerâ??s childhood vision of God fighting Godzilla!
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-039

How did the idea of demons and demon possession come into Judaism and Christianity? In Mark 14:47 the disciples try to resist Jesusâ?? arrest. Why do the Synoptic Gospels move from "one who stood by", to â??a companion" to â??a follower" and John seems to feel it necessary to name the one eared man? Just because the fragment P52 has text that matches what we currently identify as John 18, how can we presume that the missing pieces, if they were to magically appear, would in fact be a complete copy of the Gospel of John? If God existed, wouldnâ??t the Hubble Telescope have spotted him by now?   Who introduced the â??nomina sacraâ?? into NT manuscripts, and how can we be sure what names are intended in these abbreviations? What do you think of the most common arguments offered for the existence of God? Might the stars that fall to earth in Mark 13 refer to fallen angels? Might the episode of the young man in Mark 14 be a vestige of a version in which Jesus escaped his captors?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-038

Opening the Transfiguration episode, Mark and Matthew state that "6 days had passed" before this event while Luke states "8 days" had passed. Why the difference in the days? What, if any, is the textual evidence that some Gnostics believed Judas Iscariot was specifically commissioned by Jesus to "betray" Jesus, in order to liberate the Christ aeon from his body? What do you think of the parallels between Jesus Christ and John Conner from the terminator series?  What are the main arguments/pieces of evidence that, in your view, prevent historicity from being completely thrown off the table? Can you give me some historical insight into what Blaise Pascal thought of the Wager?  If you were a psychologist how could you actually prove a patient who thought he was God that he was mistaken? Does Matthew 5:17-20 leave room for the â??least in the Kingdomâ?? are still saved? Would Acts 10-11 contradict Matthew 28 if â??make disciples of all the nationsâ??refers to the nations of Israel, rather than to the gentiles? Does the NT oppose secret knowledge and esoteric interpretation or not? In short, is new testament ecumenicalism fatal to historicity? Re whether Judas's betrayal is really necessary to Gospel narrative. In days before photography, would it have been that easy to recognize a famous person on street like that? If the Persiansâ?? Jewish protégés were Zoroastrianized, how did the Sadducees get in charge of Judea? I'm hoping you can clarify something about your stance on abortion. What do you think about instances of ectopic pregnancy, rape, incest, and victims of human trafficking? Are there circumstances which you'd say it's a moral imperative to allow an abortion?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-037

How long did Adam & Eve live in Eden before being kicked out? Why do you think the â??personal relationship with Jesusâ?? was an invention of the German Pietists? Did the â??Tzadikâ?? concept in Judaism imly the possibility that a very holy man might qualify for adoption as Messiah? Also, would you comment generally on the meaning and use of the word â??zedekâ?? in the Old Testament?   During the Transfiguration, why does Almighty God appear with only a single line to say? Fill us in on the Rastafarians? Is it reasonable to think that "Christianity according to Matthew" is an attempt to advocate the Galilean, rather than Judean, approach to the law? In this framework, Jesus's mission would be neither to abolish the (Judaic) law nor to fulfill it, but rather, to pare it down to its "true" (Galilean, Pentateuch-only) size, so that it could be further condensed into the gospel of Matthew, which would then form the basis of the new law for some group of Hellenized Galileans or Galilean-leaning Jews. Why are some people disturbed more by questions than by answers with which they disagree? "Bartimaeusâ?? actually means â??son of Timaeus,â?? so why does Mark tell me his name is Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, and then tell me he is the son of Timaeus? Also, why is the character named at all when no other miracle recipients are? What is the origin of the apocryphal story about Eden's Tree of Life being cut down and the wood used to make the Staff of Moses, then the Cross?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-036

Is it possible that Zechariah 6:9-15 implies a proto-Christian religion existed around the time Zechariah was written?�  If even believing Christian scholars accept that two out of the four gospels are based on earlier gospels, how could they claim to the pulpit or their congregation that the NT is an accurate representation of Jesus's life? Since the 2 Source theory is the most accepted theory from both conservative and liberal scholars, are there any other scholars who came up with different alternate theories on how the four canonical gospels are written? Discussing Colossians 1:24, you paraphrased David Scholer thusly: "When there are loads of different interpretations of a Bible verse, itâ??s probably because the meaning is obviousâ??that is, so obvious, and offensive, that people will try to make it mean anything else." Can you can give us some other verses to illustrate the point further? In my book Unlocking the Puzzle, I proposed that the Christological difference between Paulâ??s Christ and the Messiah of the Jerusalem apostles was that Paulâ??s Christology claimed that Jesus was crucified as the suffering servant, while the Jerusalem apostles were awaiting Danielâ??s â??one like a son of manâ?? directly from God, no crucifixion necessary. Dr. Eisenman says that Islam adopted the Jamesian theology of salvation by works as opposed to Paulâ??s justification by faith. � My theory might fit in with Dr. Eisenmanâ??s when you remember that in Islamic theology Jesus was not crucified. Right? Might the temptation narrative have been originally the second half of the Baptism story as written by Adoptionists? The temptation of Jesus by Satan as a test to see if he is really the Son of God makes a lot more sense to me if it were intended to serve as proof that the adoption really â??workedâ??. 1 Corinthians� 6:19� says that the body is the "temple" of the Holy Spirit. Could this be an anachronistic interpolation done by a scribe after the fall of the Jerusalem temple in 70 AD.? In Matthew 2:3 the Magi have spoken to Herod about the newly born King of the Jews and Herod is "disturbed and all of Jerusalem with him." Why is "all of Jerusalem" added to this passage? Seems highly unlikely Jerusalem would know or care about the Magi and their message. If what you suggest regarding the imposition of "resettled" Zoroastrian "Jews" to Israel is true, wouldn't the priests of the temple cult--the Sadducees--be the Zoroastrians, while the popular laypeople--the Pharisees--be the traditional Jews? Do you agree or disagree with Bart Ehrman in locating Gnosticism as a post-Christian development rather than a prior influence upon Christianity? Am I right to interpret the gospels as saying that the power behind the things we expect from faith is the faith itself? Does the warning to keep the Transfiguration secret occur in all 3 Synoptics? Is it a device to introduce a new story concocted long aftedrward? After the Romans destroyed the Jewish temple which made the practice of everything Jewish near impossible, Jews needed a way to continue practicing their faith/culture. Was Christianity invented as a substitute? Mythicists hold that in 1 Corinthians 2:8, when Paul refers to Jesus being crucified by "the rulers of this age," these are heavenly beings in the outer/upper realms of "this world," but others defend the traditional translation implying earthly rulers. Why are the latter wrong? Can you either explain or point me to further reading on the German pietists who introduced the idea of a personal relationship with Jesus? I understand that the Gospel of Mark is also a Paulinist gospel, so is there any sign of the messianic secret concept in the Pauline epistles?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-035

Can you recommend an order in which to read your books? Why is the Bible THE fundamental text of Western Civilization and culture, its themes, stories, and values permeating our moral codes, our artistic expressions, and indeed our shared consciousness? The story of the modern creation of â??Saint Odysseus.â?? How credible do you find the notion that Marcion's gospel might have been a version of the Gospel of Mark? Isnâ??t the negative treatment of Peter in Mark inconsistent with the tradition that Mark got his Could you recommend a work/s dealing with the theme of 'conflict resolution' passages in the New Testament: refutations of so-called heretical ideas by having someone, typically Jesus, say something that refutes a given idea? What does it mean to say that something is 'taught in the Bible'? Is something that is extrapolated from the text, for instance trinitarianism, to be seen as 'bible sanctioned' given it does not appear explicitly in the text? Is there any link between the Nazarenes of the New Testament and the Nazirite tradition of the Old Testament? What events in the history of Christianity (or religious history in general) could have easily turned out differently, with big implications? Mark often seems to borrow OT texts, only to split them and reverse the halves. Furthermore, these passages are always associated with his â??sandwichesâ?? (the intercalation of two Jesus stories originally separate). Is Mark calling attention to his having derived the Jesus versions via Spirit-inspired esoteric reading of scripture disclosing, originally, events undergone by Jesus as he descended through the celestial spheres to earth? How long did Adam and Eve live in the Garden? Why are so many Biblical characters renamed?  Was this the result of the ancient writers trying to fuse two characters together? And is Saul becoming Paul really a renaming, or is Paul just a Hellenization of Saul? If evangelicals are so keen on "eyewitness testimony," shouldnâ??t they accept Mormonism, since the Book of Mormon begins with "The Testimony of the Three Witnesses" and "The Testimony of the Eight Witnesses" who supposedly saw the golden plates from which Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon? Why would Mark make sure to include both â??feeding the multitudeâ?? stories seeing they are so much alike? Was there really such a huge fan base of the Feeding of the Four Thousand which would have compelled "Mark to include it?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-034

Why do the descendants of the founders of sectarian groups rarely remain members after a few generations?  Revelation 12 seems to place the Fall of Satan in the End Times, but otherwise it is understood to have occurred at the dawn of timeâ??why? Luke 15:23 has the son return and the father say: Bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat, and celebrate.The word for â??killâ?? is widely used to refer to a sacrificial offering. Might it mean that here? What do you think of typology and the actual act of crucifixion in the New Testament? Does the likely cultivation of wealthy donors at the start of a new religion imply that, e.g., Mark, composed for a literate audience, would have been written right at the start? Donâ??t Genesis 1-3 and the Enuma Elish share a theological hierarchy of divine forces of nature, personal deities, and kings as their deputies on earth? Should the last part of Judges, where society is in chaos, really be at the beginning, with the system of judges turning early chaos into later order? Given the similarities between the story of Saul and the ghost of Samuel (1 Samuel 28) and Odysseus and the ghost of Teiresias (The Odyssey Book XI), might there have been any connection between the two?  Also, just how common a belief was it that the dead could be summoned to predict the future?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-033

Do you think the Shroud of Turin is authentic burial cloth of Jesus Christ? What problems are there with the following scenario? Matthew combines Mark with a Q-like source. Luke uses Matthew and Mark. I was wondering, based on reading the first five books of the Bible, if Jahve was a mountain or thunder God? What, if any, historical evidence do we have of the Council of Jerusalem presumably held circa 48 CE? I'd like to get a handle on whether any of the NT is based on translations of Hebrew or Aramaic passages or even lines. Can you suggest any readings (or podcasts or videos) that will clarify this issue for me? Why does Solomon pardon his brother Adonijah for attempting to capture the throne, but then orders him killed when, via Solomonâ??s mother Bathsheba, he asks for King Davidâ??s recent virgin bed-warmer Abishag? What is your opinion on the Church politics between the Anglican Church in North America and the Episcopal Church? Do you see one's stance as more grounded in scripture? 1 Corinthians 6:19 says that the body is the "temple" of the Holy Spirit. Could this be an anachronistic interpolation done by a scribe after the fall of the Jerusalem temple in 70 AD? I wonder if you could summarize your understanding of the different agendas of the Synoptics.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-032

Are there any plausible arguments that Paul actually wrote one or more of the four Gospels? Does the NT avoid using the Hebrew name for God, using the more generic â??Godâ?? in order to cater to all god systems from all nations? Might â??Jesusâ?? have been merely a name chosen to cover all the various OT and pagan characters whose stories were borrowed and combined in the gospels? If Judas was already dead, why does 1 Corinthians 15 say Jesus appeared to â??the twelveâ??? Might â??Cephasâ?? the apostle of Jesus have been Caiaphas the high priest? Why is there an almost unanimous agreement on the early dating of the Iliad, but so much debate over that of the Bible, given they have similar spurious evidence for said early date? Could they have influenced each other at all? Might the story of King Arthur have been a Christianizing rewrite of the David story? Could Assyrian henotheistic precedence of Ashshur, and the parlance surrounding worship of him, have influenced ancient Israelite religion? Might the â??angel of the Lordâ?? be a mask for various polytheistic Israelite or other deities? I have a question about the names of the members of the Godhead in different languages. Do you believe Jesus was ever buried in a tomb? What's your opinion of Dennis R. MacDonald's Two Shipwrecked Gospels: The Logoi of Jesus and Papias' Exposition of Logia About the Lord? Has anyone put together a version of the OT as it might have been without the Deuteronomic Reform? Might the womenâ??s silence on the message of the angel at the tomb imply that no one else would have known where it was? Does the Didache actually condemn abortion? Does any other early Christian text? Some say that reading Paul as believing in only a celestial Jesus requires â??mental gymnastics.â?? Does it? The fact that Jesus was from Nazareth, while the Old Testament says the Messiah would come from Bethlehem, shows that a real Jesus was from Nazareth and everybody knew it. Does it? Because "crucifixion was especially offensive to the Jewish people,â?? no one would have told such a story as Jesusâ?? crucifixion if they werenâ??t stuck with it as a fact, right? Do you have such a wealth of knowledge of all things Biblical that you pull every fact out of your memory?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-031

Could you talk a bit about 1. Logical problems with Christian theology 2. The morality of Christian theology 3. How diverse Christian theology is with its liberal churches (universalism) to its exclusive churches(fundamental) and are they reconcilable? What do you think of Rob Bellâ??s idea when bad things happen, people try to control the balance, by making sacrifices to the gods. The codification of these sacrifices in Leviticus stops the bigger-and-bigger effect, and finally Jesus is there to provide a way for humans to stop their self destruction in an attempt to appease God. He goes on to argue that the only acceptable sacrifice is to give up one's time and money to help others. Do you know why the question of who the Historical Jesus really was always mirrors the person asking the question? Does 1 John 4 refer to the OT prophets when it says, "many false prophets have gone out into the world", and "Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God"? In Acts 13:2-3, Paul (Saul) and Barnabas are designated by the Spirit to go on a missionary journey. It says nothing about John Mark, who we later hear did accompany them, after which Paul refused to work with him again. Does this imply the Spirit did not choose Mark? And does John Mark stand for Marcion? Doe the passage imply an attempt to distance Marcion from his favorite apostle, Paul? Acts 12:20-23 reports that Herod was struck down by the angel of God and eaten by worms and died. Is there any reliable record about how this Herod died? Does Luke 7:28 ("I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.") imply John has no free will and has to follow a narrowly scripted fate given to him by God, and that, not having acted by free choice, John would be last in the Kingdom of God? â??Holy Mackerel:â?? was it derived from Holy Immaculate? Suppose there is, as you often jokingly suggest, a "fourth person of the Trinity." I nominate Melchizedek.  I'm really interested to hear your take on the disparity between archaeological evidence for scribal activity in Jerusalem during the Persian period, vs the fact that so many scriptures are conventionally dated to that period. What are we doing in saying grace?  And when we say a â??blessing,â?? just who is blessing whom, or blessing what?  My question is whether or not the OT idea of the firstborn sacrifice may have plausibly played into the actual conception and reason for creating this archangel, Jesus, who would become the ultimate sacrifice. Before I commit to the effort of reading "Did Jesus Live 100 years BC?" could you please briefly outline the hypothesis, in terms of what the best evidence for and against it is? Was Yahweh circumcised? I noticed that Methuselah died in the same year that the Great Flood began. Did YHWH postpone the flood until Methuselahâ??s death, or did Methuselah actually drown in the flood? I find the idea that 'the birth of Christianity could have been a hoax to help create a better world' fascinating. Is that plausible? Might Paul (or one of the other first Christians) have derived the belief that Jesus was the first fruits of the general resurrection at the end of days, so the end times were imminent, from a hallucination of Jesus whom they inferred had risen? And, Mark could have learned this apocalyptic stuff from Paul, and simply invented the apocalyptic material in his gospel. Therefore, there is no reason to suppose, as Ehrman does, that the historical Jesus, if there was one, was an apocalyptic prophet. How about this? The first Christians invented a story of an atoning Christ, keeping the philosophy of love paramount, but substituting the temple cult with, to use Paulâ??s words, a simple and pure (2 Cor 11:3-5) faith in Christ? Do you think that the whole idea of Paulâ??s inability to physically write might have been a rationalization for all the letters from Paul coming in with different handwriting?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-030

How far back does the earliest narrative of a great commission and ascension go? Which account--Mark's, Matthew's, or Acts'--is likely the earliest? Is any of this in anyway likely traceable to any historical figure? Is Paul responsible for turning Jesus into more of an historical, rather than mythical, figure? Why are Christians not seeing Zoroastrianism as a sort of ancestor to their tradition, similarly to the way the Muslims look at Christianity? How did the concepts of Zoroastrianism catch on so well in the Jewish world, and why? How and why did the mythos surrounding Jesus appeal to so many non-Jewish people to the point of becoming the official religion of the Roman empire? Do you think that Christianity would've spread as massively as it did without the institutionalization of Christianity by the Roman Empire?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-029

With the repeated failure of predictions of a mortal, human â??warrior-king-priest Messiah,â??might early Jewish Christians, perhaps inspired by Danielâ??s Celestial â??Son-of-Man,â?? have scrapped the old concept in favor of a new-and-improved spiritual, immortal, eternal version that would come straight from Heaven? Combine Matthew 14, where Herod says "This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead" with the crucifixion scene in John where Jesus says to Mary, "Woman, behold your son." Might this not mean that the spirit of the Baptist transferred to Jesus and, upon his death, into the Beloved Disciple? I know that in theory Islam is totally opposed to idolatry, but is this really true in practice?  Today I saw a video on the internet that appears to show one of the London terrorists worshiping an Isis flag.  Am I misinterpreting this?  Also, why do Muslims have to face toward the Black Stone when they pray.  If venerating a rock is not idolatry, then what is? A purely celestial Jesus, being invulnerable to harm and following a predestined plan of action, is boring, isnâ??t he? To create a more interesting story, did they bring him down to earth as a human being? How does the dynamic of you being an atheist and still attending a church work? Trilogies seem to be the standard in books and movies so what is your opinion on whether Luke/Acts was part of a unfinished trilogy? What if Christians began with a concept of a purely celestial Jesus acting in heaven and teaching, via revelation, from there, but later Christians lost sight of this and filled in a supposedly earthly life by rewriting material from the OT. This would not be a scheming conspiratorial hoax as some Mythicists seem to imply.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-028

Catholic apologist Peter Kreeft says, "You can't write fiction about Jesus. The figure of the Gospels makes every attempt at imaginative fiction look silly." But donâ??t the gospels read like fiction, with their studied omission of mundane events and detailsâ??just a sequence of wise sayings and super-feats, and their utter lack of character development? Do you think the author of Matthew put an anachronism into Jesus' mouth with the phrase in Matthew 11:12? That the "from the days of John the Baptist" presupposes the later era of the evangelist himself? Mark 6:4 is usually translated as something like the King James Version, "But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house." That means that Jesus is modestly saying that he has been honored elsewhere, in contrast to his reception at home. But others render it as "A prophet is not dishonored except in his own country, among his own kin, and in his own house." In this rendering, Jesus is emphasizing the dishonor he receives at home. This does not imply that he was honored elsewhere. Which one is correct? In the wilderness, isnâ??t Satan tempting Jesus, essentially, to become equal to Godâ??which he already was? Can you recommend an online resource where I would be able to search the Septuagint for correspondences? Why do you suppose Mark has the man in white tell the women at the tomb to go and tell "his disciples and Peter." Would it have anything to do with 1 Corinthians 15:5? Why do you think Luke has two different time frames for Jesus's life after the resurrection? Luke shows one week while Acts says 40 days. In old translations of Isaiah 45:7, we have Yahweh virtually admitting to creating â??evil.â??Everywhere else in the OT, the same word is translated as "evil" or "bad". Are newer translations obfuscating the meaning of this verse by translating it as "calamity" instead of "evil"? Apologists claim the stories of women as witnesses of the empty tomb and resurrection appearances canâ??t be fabrications since testimony was not accepted from women. But might women characters have been made up since they couldnâ??t have been physically able to roll away the stone and steal the body? Isnâ??t it true that we don't have witnesses to the resurrection, we have (contradicting) stories about (likely unreliable) witnesses to the resurrection? You always talk about people using the Bible as a ventriloquist dummy. Would you say that (some) liberal judges do that with the U.S. Constitution?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-027

Amy Jill Levine says that Jews do not think that Jesus Christ was the messiah because he did not usher in the messianic age. What do you think? Regarding Jesus cursing the fig tree: might it be a condemnation of Rome for failing to embrace Christianity? What do you think the "real" meaning of Matthew 16:23 (Jesus rebuking Peter as Satan) could be? Christian Lindtner on Capernaum and Kapilavastu. Did Christianity make the world a better place than it had been, or not? Midrash vs pesher â?? which is the better term?  Or, how to use the terms properly if they differ on shades of meaning? Since many people in the Mediterranean believed in 2 Gods (an evil creator God and a "version 2.0" good God) isn't it likely that Jesus was created to be the good god then he was historicized?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-026

Could you elaborate your understanding of the difference between atheism and agnosticism? Does the Bible tilt more toward predestination or free will? If belief were truly the sole requirement for salvation, belief in WHAT, exactly? What is the meaning of â??the marrow of saltâ?? in the Ninth Enochian Key? What happened to the different levels of heaven in Christian thought? Reza Aslan says: â??I am not a Muslim because I think Islam is right or that Islam is true, whereas other religions are not. All religions are merely languages.â?? It seems to me that Aslan is just speaking what my parents would call a watered down, "love everybody, there is no right or wrong" kind of inclusive religion, which is separate from the reality of historical Christianity or Islam. Am I missing something?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-025

A new study suggests that the Lebanese are descendants of the ancient Canaanites. How does this affect, if at all, the theory that the ancient Canaanites were just a literary device to illustrate the old ways of the Jews that they were abandoning? As I understand 1 John 4:1-3, it says that 'true' prophecies agree with what the Johannine community already believes! Then whatâ??s the use? Did Ecclesiastes, so different from the rest of the Bible, survive against the odds because of their profundity? Might the biblical stories of God changing his mind intend to instruct monarchs, showing that even God listens to his priests sometimes, implying that the ruler needs to listen to the priests who are recording these stories? Is entering the Christian heaven any different from entering the Borg collective? If you had to pick one of the two which would you join? In the movie The Ten Commandments, at the parting of the Red Sea, the Israelites fear God but worship him.   Does fear become love in any other Bible stories?  In view of the Render unto Caesar story, why would any denomination of currency have political imagery in a Christian country i.e. England?  How is it that Jesus of Nazareth was considered Jewish but the good Samaritan and the Samaritan woman were not? A professor stated that Bible inerrancy is a fairly new concept, a backlash against a growing secular movement in the mid to late 1700's to 1800's. Is this true?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-024

Should we just understand the Eden story as about kings and subjects and the former wanting to keep their power and position, and the later wanting freedom? How different was Israelite religion from Canaanite paganism? When major characters in the NT such as apostles have multiple names, is this simple a device to combine different characters? Were the originally sinless Mary and Jesus like the sinless Eve and Adam and thus capable of falling into sin? What are we to make of modern miracle reports? Should we dogmatically reject them a priori?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-023

Is the first person narration in Nehemiah an actual memoir? Was the Gospel of Mark possibly a satire? When Mosesâ?? spies report that the Canaanites are unconquerable giants, are they just making phony excuses, â??tall talesâ??? What is going on with Saul, Samuel, and the Witch of Endor? Was it a demon impersonating Samuel? Donâ??t conventional theologians have to do a lot of text-twisting to escape the implications of passages in which God "repents" or "changes his mind" or is otherwise convinced of an argument by one of his prophets? Do the gospels ever depict Jesus as gradually discovering his own divinity? Are modern Pentecostals like ancient Montanists? Jehovahâ??s Witnesses like ancient Arians? Have the "heresies" of the early church always carried on, just morphing from one sect to another with a new face? Was the ancient rabbinic decree that prophecy ceased with Malachi motivated by the desire to demean more recent writings with ideas that didn't please the Jewish orthodoxy then emerging?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-022

Why does Islamic tradition identify the Prophet Idris (the Biblical Enoch) with Hermes Trismegistus? What is the significance of the number 144,000 (Rev 7:4)? Can you give a quick run-down on the history of ideas of salvation in Christianity? Could you please give a survey of the topic of Christology, including both orthodox and heterodox perspectives? I have read that early opponents of Christianity claimed Jesus was a magician who learned his tricks in Egypt. Who were these opponents?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-021

Do you have a book that goes in detail about the theory that the ancient Israelites were the Canaanites? Is there a possibility that the ancient Israelites were black people? And what are your thoughts about the current Jews in Israel being Khazars? Does the Star of David survive from ancient Israelite star worship? When did the geometric designs known as star polygons, primarily the pentagram and the hexagram, actually become associated with the celestial bodies we call stars? Was Yahweh circumcised? What do you make of Gurdieffâ??s student Maurice Nicoll and his approach to the Bible? If Christianity sprang from disparate groups, might their founders have been amalgamated into the gospel Jesus with all his incompatible features? Do you think it possible that early Christians shot themselves in the foot, when in their zeal to rid themselves of texts that might lead to heresy, they destroyed genuine evidence, even if negative, for the existence of a historical Jesus? What would you make of the passages that seem to show Jesus advocating for a life of voluntary poverty?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-020

If Mark meant us to understand Jesusâ?? baptism as the messianic anointing by Elijah, wouldnâ??t this fend off the â??criterion of embarrassmentâ??? What would have happened if the Marcionite sect became the dominant and orthodox version of the church and how much different would Christianity today be because of it? In John 19:26 + 27, Jesus, on the cross, says to his mother "Woman, behold your son" and to a disciple standing by Mary "Behold your Mother". These two statements sound so human and vulnerable in their utterance, can this be the Son of God? Kim Lewis on the Synagogue of Satan. Galatians uses "Kephas" in 1:18, 2:9, 2:11 and 2:14, but "Petros" at 2:7 and 2:8. Are 2:7b and 2:8 are an interpolation, adding Peter's credentials as an apostle to the Jews? If Jesus hadn't been put to death on the cross, but had instead died of old age, would God have still raised him from the dead? And if so, would that death and resurrection have had the same supposed effect? Was Polycarp a student & colleague of John? What do you think about UFOs? Some say that it says in the "original manuscripts" that when Jesus says, "in my fatherâ??s house are many mansions (John 14:2)," the original words "house" and "mansions" were actual "cosmos" and "worlds," respectively. Is this true? Do you think John the Baptist ate locusts (egkrides), or pancakes (akrides)?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-019

Could Jesus have fasted for 40 days if he did it the way Copts do today; eating after sundown? Might Markâ??s pericope â??Leaven of the Phariseesâ?? (Mark 8:13-21) be rebuking Jewish Christian readers for not accepting Pauline doctrine? How tenable is the Christian worldview with the Arts, since so much of it is predicated on the world being sinful? Someone contended that theology has not advanced at all in the last 100 years. But is that true? Please comment on the Orthodox Church. Why was Noah needed to save the human race when at least one other man, the righteous Enoch) had the credentials to stay God's wrath? And why did Enoch not die but Noah does? Was Terah was alive or dead when Abram left Haran? If it does imply he died than the math doesn't add up. Why does Abram pray only at groves of trees? Though Lot tells his family to flee the city, he himself lingers. Why? In Genesis 24:24 Rebecca answers the servant, â??I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Micah, whom she bore to Nahor.â?? Did people really introduce themselves in such a grotesquely long manner? In Gen. 31:13 how can the God of Bethel be the God of Abraham & Isaac when this same God of Bethel was with Jacob this whole time? In Gen. 35:1 God tells Jacob to go to Bethel to the God who appeared to him and make an alter. Doesn't this imply polytheism? In Gen. 39:9 how could a slave actually be greatest in the house? In Gen. 39:22-23 how does a prisoner end up being in charge of the prison essentially? In Gen. 40:8, why would they seek an interpreter of dreams in a dungeon to begin with? Is the point of the Joseph story to urge Jews to live as â??a light unto the Gentilesâ??? How come in Mark 13 Jesus does not know the time of the End but in Revelation he does?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-018

If the gospels are not trustworthy historical accounts of Jesus, what did the early church fathers think they were talking about? Ignatius is said to have been a disciple of the Apostle John; surely Ignatius would know the real truth behind the gospel narratives, and therefore not treat them as being true accounts?  1 Samuel 5:9 of the Douay-Rheims translation adds to the end of the story of the hemorrhoid plague in Gath: â??And the Gethites consulted together, and made themselves seats of skins.â?? What is the manuscript evidence for this? Was there a real point to the testing of Jesus in the desert?  Re Luke 19:23-28, I have always read the line â??Bring hither, and slay them before me,â?? as meant to be spoken after the close of the parable; in other words, by Jesus in his own voice, and not Jesus as narrator. What do you think? In your opinion, who is The Beloved Disciple? I have heard that Philo of Alexandria and Paul knew one another. If so, doesn't this lend credence that Paul's Jesus is in fact the celestial Jesus to which Dr. Richard Carrier attests? What are the odds that the Paul of "The Acts of Paul and Thecla" is closer to the real Paul than the one portrayed in "Luke/Acts" Dr. Natalie Houghtby-Haddon said that many scholars think the apocalyptic aspects of Jesus probably weren't applied to him until the fall of Jerusalem in 70, and thus would not have been a part of any historical Jesus' message or ideology. Does that sound correct to you? Could you recommend a book or books that do a good job explaining the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and any other groups or subgroups: where they come from, what they believed and practiced, how influential they seemed to have been and with whom, etc.?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-017

How could a copyist, seeing a body of text in the center, and notes in the margins, possibly confuse the two and combine them in his own copy? Would such things not be clearly delineated in ancient manuscripts? What about Michael S. Heiserâ??s Reversing Hermon: Enoch, the Watchers, & the Forgotten Mission of Jesus Christ, which, e.g., argues that 1 Corinthians 11:10 means to warn prophesying women to cover themselves lest they attract the lustful leer of evil angels who might beget in them a new race of Nephilim? Do you think that at least some of the NT authors believed that Jesusâ?? death provided salvation for every creation? Was Paul seeking theological approbation from the Pillars, thus acknowledging their superiority? Is it possible that universal education (including girls!) in the 3 Rs was available to Galileans?   Is it possible that Paul and Mohammed were working from the same source tradition that Mary, mother of Jesus, was Miriam, sister of Moses and Jesus was Joshua? Q and Thomas don't have a passion narrative, being merely lists of sayings. Does this imply that some Christians knew nothing of his death? How could Jesus have been fully human yet avoid all sinning? In your opinion which political philosophy would "Christianity" most be applicable to? I recently read "Is Lucianâ??s 'On the Death of Peregrinus' a Satire on Marcion?" by Hermann Detering and would like to hear your thoughts about Deterings speculations. Might the figure of Jesus have had such a sway on the imaginations and emotions of so many people throughout history because of his malleability, his dialectical ability to include opposites? In "The Synoptic Apocalypse (Mark 13 par): a document from the time of Bar Kochba" Hermann Detering claims that Mark 13:14-19â??s use of the phrase "when God created the world" is a refutation of the Gnostic and Marcionite belief that the Demiurge, not the most high God and the father of Christ, created the material world. What are your thoughts? Are there any instances in the NT of early Christians praying to a goddess?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-016

Why would God not make himself known by some still-evident means rather that a highly dubious story of a 2000 year old story of events in a far-off land? Please explain again how 1 Timothy 2.12-15 refers to fallen angels and Gnostic writings. Maybe the Jubilee Year custom was based on historical practice after all. Is Mark implying that the youth at the tomb in the white robe is Jesus? Whence your pronunciation of Yahweh as â??Yakwehâ??? Is my impression correct that the earliest documentation we have of a formed Christian movement shows multiple and varying Christian sects? Does the possible historical priority of Mark over Q threaten the Christ Myth theory?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-015

What do you make of William Klassenâ??s attempt to minimize the connection between the Matthean Judas story and Zechariah? If the Dead Sea Scrolls really do come from the 1st or 2nd century BCE but they are referring to John the Baptist & Jesus, doesnâ??t that imply they were earlier figures â??updatedâ?? after â??Christianityâ?? had caught on? Might â??Jesus Christâ?? have been a title or a role, not an individual? What do you think of the hypothesis that Christianity was invented by the Flavians in an effort to create a tamer, more peaceful, version of the Messiah prophecy, more friendly to Rome? Are there any attempts by Christian scholars to prove the existence of Jesus Christ by using philosophical arguments?  Apologists often insist that Suetonius is speaking about Christians because even during those times up to the current modern Greek speaker, "Î?η" which is pronounced as long "e", and "Î?ι" sound the same. Is their argument valid? Might Suetonius, in his Life of Claudius, be talking about Gnostics being expelled from Rome? If John was reworking the creation story in Genesis 1 might his equivalent to the division of the waters via the firmament be Jesus calling â??Peter the son of Jonahâ?? (John 1:42), the prophet who was held in the body of a great beast in the Deep for three days before being spit out on land? Can you supply any insight into the ancientsâ?? concept of heaven? On your March 20 podcast you suggested that eliminating the ego leaves one dead for all intents and purposes. Have you considered that, since matter and energy cannot be destroyed, our atoms go on into another form after death?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-014

Is the depiction of Jesus in the Catacombs valid archaeological evidence for the historical Jesus? How does the absence of Nazareth in any first century contemporary writings, including Flavius Josephus relates to the late date of the gospels? If Nazareth didn't exist just yet during the time Jesus lived, why would the gospel writers pick a non-existent place to begin with? Does the place Nazareth relate to cults the Mandeans and Nazoraeans? Isnâ??t it a sign of Mythicism when Christ is called â??the firstborn of the dead,â?? contradicting all the stories of his raising Lazarus, et al., as if there were as yet no such stories? What did the NT Christians think they were being saved from? Hell? In light of Revelation 1:1, how do the Christians who believe Revelation is describing events that are happening today or will happen in the future defend their theories and dogmas? While there may be objections to drunkenness in the Proverbs, isnâ??t it the critics of the drunks who come off badly in the stories of Noah and Lot? From my understanding, after the Exile, the Hebrew religion had a major shift from a polytheistic Canaanite religion to the monotheistic Yahweh cult. Was that transition made in an effort to make the Hebrew captives more "acceptable" to their overlords? Can we also see Christianity as an effort to make Second Temple Judaism into something more acceptable to the Romans? If Jesus began as a non-Jewish myth, why such an effort to make Jesus Jewish in the gospels?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-013

When did the phrase "word of God" come to be associated with the Bible? Whatâ??s the deal with the King James Only movement? The Trees of Knowledge and of life were set aside for the gods. Humans were exiled from Eden and prevented from partaking. But the Serpent already has knowledge and is not condemned to die, unlike Adam & Eve. Nor is he said to have been excluded from Eden. Doesnâ??t all this imply he was one of the gods? Why were Enoch, Jubilees, etc., excluded from the Bible? Did any eastern religious ideas end up in Christianity? Is organized religion just an elaborate scam? In view of the incantational use of words printed in all caps in the Greek Magical Papyri, might Gal 6:11 denote occult purposes? Can you account for the variation in the saying about how to pray, in which there seems to have been a variation in using 'Holy Spirit' (in Marcion and early Luke) and 'Rule of God' (in Matthew and later Luke)?. Why were the important prayers â??Abba Your Name be Hallowedâ?? and â??Your Will be Doneâ?? left out in Marcion and Luke as well as the texts surrounding the prayers? Is the story of the â??hanging upâ?? of Saulâ??s male relatives in 2 Samuel 21:8-10 a neglected case of human sacrifice in the OT? By making Jesus the generated son of the Almighty, does not the Christian mythology rule out his being the Davidic Messiah? God, after all, is certainly no descendant of David. Is the â??synagogue of Satanâ?? reference in Revelation a reference to Paulinst congregations of so-called Jews? An alternative interpretation of the Absalom story.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-012

What of the similarity between Jesusâ?? being betrayed at super and Osirisâ?? betrayal at supper? Aren't the gospel writers tipping their hands when they proclaim that Jesus did such and such "to fulfill the scripture"? Prophecy is supposed to be predictive, not prescriptive.�  You do not do a thing because it was predicted, but rather it was predicted because it is what you will do.�  If we somehow could confirm that Jesus did really did get resurrected and we found that he was really the son of God, would what is written in the Old testament make any sense? Do you think the religious right if they ever do get religion and the bible back in public schools would be happy without their specific denomination's teacher teaching their child the bible/about god? �  Does 1 John 3:1-2 substantiate the Mormons believe that God was once like man, and that we are on the path to God hood ourselves?�  Has someone assembled a color-coded version of synoptic gospel texts to indicate which passages are midrash/parallels/citations/allusions to Hebrew scripture? It seems to me that the NT-as-OT-midrash� claim applies most aptly to the gospels, and then most clearly to the synoptics� specifically.�  Do you agree? Why do we think the Judeans didn't write anything on tablets during or after exile? Why did the Marcionites adopt "Paul" as their theological founder? Also, why did the emerging 2nd century Catholocism co-opt "Paul"? �  In Genesis we read that God, the creator, rested on the 'seventh day.' Why, if this being is the timeless, limitless, mysterious Creator as per Christian theology? Animal sacrifices were omnipresent in the ancient religion, in both Jewish and Hellenistic culture. But Christians changed that. To what do we owe this prohibition?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-011

The racist context and legacy of 2nd Nephi 30:6. In Sun of All Ages William Tyler Olcott suggests that the Canaanite deities were all personifications of the sun - representing the strong fierce summer sun, explaining why they were cruel gods. Could this explain the cruel and harsh nature of YWHW in the Old Testament? Do you believe Nimrod and Semiramis were actual historical characters? I have heard that they may have a fragment of Mark dating back to the 80's? Is this true, or debunked? Is it true that they found pieces of chariots in the Red Sea? Can you speak about the Christian idea of "Eternity" being time-less, a constant now? When, in Judges, the Levite says the men of Benjamin intended to kill him, are we perhaps supposed to infer he is lying? I'm curious why you think Mark choose Nazareth rather than Bethlehem as Jesus' hometown?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-010

The early Christians seemed completely absorbed with the coming of Christ, and weren't interested in taking part in rebellions against the Roman state. How does this compare to the character of Jesus in Luke, who tells his disciples to sell their cloaks to buy swords? Was Wellhausen correct that the Jubilee law originated after the Exile as a way to allow the so-called returnees to claim land in Palestine as their own, long lost, inheritance? Could you discuss the various Atonement theories and terminologies and lay out some differences? The â??Open Theismâ?? view of Greg Boyd would get fundamentalists out of some tight spots but it seems to really take Yahweh down a notch or two. What are your thoughts and do you think this view can be squared with the Bible? God in essence replaces both the High Priest (Eli) and the King (Saul) with people that arenâ??t their proper successors (Samuel and David respectively) because they have displeased Him in some way. Do you think this could be a theological plot device to set the reader up for the eventual Assyrian destruction of the Northern Kingdom and the Babylonian Exile, a way of saying, â??Yep, even though you're Godâ??s anointed, if you cheese him off in the right way youâ??re done for.â?? Am I seeing a pattern where there is none or might I be onto something here? Is your only beef with the NRSV the gender inclusive business or do you have other gripes with it? Is the Arminian reading of Romans 9; that it deals with the â??predestinationâ?? of groups, not of individuals, plausible? Isnâ??t Calvinism more or less Gnosticism? You say that prominent figures in the Old Testament were originally celestial deities later rewritten as humans, for instance, Elijah, or Samson. What would have prompted people to take these existing sun gods, or moon gods, and write them into stories as humans? How could Jesus, as God incarnate, have asked God why he had forsaken him?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-009

Could the early Jewish and Christian religions have originated in Africa? Along the same lines, could the Ten Commandments be a rip off of the Egyptian 42 Negative Confessions? You cannot say if there definitely was a Jesus, even after a lifetime of research, so how you say there is no reason to posit a Creator? Whence the impossibly long life spans of Genesis 5? Did Paul believe in an â??Earthlyâ?? Jesus? And assuming he did, did Paulâ??s Christ â??liveâ?? 900 years B.C.E?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-008

In the beginning of Luke we find that the Greek does not read â??bookâ?? (biblos) but rather â??logon.â?? Does Luke call his gospel a â??logonâ?? because it was, in its original form, a collection of the sayings of Jesus like the gospel of Thomas or Q? Perhaps later Marcion re-worked the text into a traditional narrative gospel with Polycarp sprucing it up in the second century? Could â??Marcion" have been the founder of gentile Christianity? Is there a set of assumptions shared by non-mythicist scholars about Jesus? If there are, why do you not find those compelling? A couple of Matthew-Luke agreements against Mark: can they be adequately explained by proposing scribal errors or harmonization? The O.T. laws specified stoning for blasphemy so how come the zealous Chief priests didn't just have Jesus stoned as they did to Stephen according to Acts 7:54-59? For the crucifixion to have been Godâ??s plan from the start, doesnâ??t that presuppose Roman rule over Jews? And if so, mustnâ??t the OT promises of victory and independence have been charades? Why do we assume Q is a collection of sayings rather than a narrative like the other gospels? Couldn't it also tell the story of Jesus' ministry and have the parables, etc. peppered throughout? Please expound on the theology of Unitarian Universalism. Does the total ban on alcohol consumption that some Protestant denominations like the Baptists espouse have solid biblical support?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-007

Has anybody done a study of the Luke-Acts theology of the Holy Spirit and baptism? Do you think John the Baptists leaping in the womb by the holy spirit is a indicator that infants should be baptized? Do you think the eschatology of Matthew and the book of revelation is consistent? Do they share a common source? Might Judas have ratted out Jesus in the belief he was helping ignite a messianic, apocalyptic overthrow of Rome? Is uncertainty the price of building oneâ??s own scholarly synthesis, or is it essential to it? Is Mark 12:35-37 actually denying Jesusâ?? Davidic lineage? Besides, as the royal heir, wouldnâ??t the messiah have to be the firstborn son of the firstborn son all the way back, not just somebody with Davidic DNA? You have stated your belief that the story of Jesus cursing the fig tree is an infancy story transplanted into the life of the adult Jesus. But were there infancy gospel tale already in Markâ??s day? Mark isn't above showing Jesus as a magician (fingers in ears, spittle on tongue / eyes, magic word "ephphatha," etc.) and even as an imperfect magician (seeing trees instead of people). Maybe the fig tree tale originally had him (or some other magician) casting a spell on the tree to bring forth fruit out of season, and then castigating it when his spell fails. Any thoughts on Martin Scorsese's Last Temptation of the Christ? Why hasn't there been a proper Job movie? Would you give an overview of how many different religions are promoted by the New Testament?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-006

If the epistles precede Mark, and if Mark chose to historicize Jesus, and if Mark based his Jesus character on some individual Cynic sage, would that individual qualify as the historic Jesus? An explanation for how Pythagoras knew there were 153 fish, based on 153 as a â??triangular number.â?? What if anything can be the â??moral lessonâ?? taught in the last 3 chapters of Judges with their gang-rapes and massacres? Why was Christianity, after the supposed death of Jesus, based in Jerusalem? Are there any reports of Jesus having appeared in other parts of the world after his death to people who would have no expectation of seeing him?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-005

Is it possible that the â??young menâ?? who grabbed hold of the fleeing â??young manâ?? in Gethemane (in Mark) were the basis of the hypothetical â??12 legions of angelsâ?? in Matthew? What are your thoughts on Danielâ??s 70 weeks prophecy that apparently was fulfilled by Jesus to the day? And if we are to imagine that Jesus actually was a historical figure could he hit have self-fulfilled this himself? Since so many denominations of Christianity claim they are saved by grace alone, how do Christians get around all the works righteous passages? How do you suppose Lutherans are able to keep Lutherâ??s treatise "On the Jews and their Lies" under wraps? When Luke says "Jesus was the first to rise from the dead" in Acts, is he talking about rising out of hell, which is what I've heard at least one apologist say, or did he actually mean the first to rise from the dead, forgetting about all of the previous folks that were raised in the OT and the people Jesus raised himself? Why is liturgy important, and also, why are there seasons to the church year, like Advent, Lent, Pentecost, and so on? I recently read your article â??Was Jesus John the Baptist Raised from the Dead?â?? How have your thoughts about this idea changed since you wrote the article? What type of reaction have you received from other critical scholars? It's my understanding that Marcion believed in the dual Gods like the Gnostics and that Jesus was sent by the "Good" God as a spiritual entity. He felt that Paul was Godâ??s chief apostle and Marcion collected Paulâ??s letters into a canon. In my opinion this is damning evidence that Marcion felt Paul believed in a spiritual Christ and not a human one, i.e. Mythicist's are right! Why do you suppose Matthew, writing for a Jewish audience, does not mention the circumcision of Jesus but Luke, writing for a Gentile audience, places it at the proper 8th day? Seems to me it would be the opposite of this. Could you talk about the Gabriel Revelation stone?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-004

Doesnâ??t the "Jesus Mythicism" hypothesis posits too high a Christology (Jesus as a dying/rising God) to interpret the Jesus of our oldest sources? Isnâ??t the eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil a fable about human consciousness, ie why are we different from other animals, feel shame, guilt, fear for the future, etc.? Isnâ??t it as silly to casually assume one can use the New Testament gospels as evidence for the historicity of Jesus as it would be to assume one could use THE ODYSSEY as evidence for the historicity of Odysseus? If Jude says he is the servant of Jesus and brother to James then can I make the assumption that James is not the biological brother of Jesus but his servant also? Might Lukeâ??s â??diagnosisâ?? language mark him as an exorcist rather than a physician?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-003

Might Honi the Circle Drawer have been the true founder of Christianity? See: Assyrian estimates of the size of earth, heaven, and the Abyss. Is there any absolutely literal bible translation, one so literal as to render the names into their meanings, e.g., Jesus isn't merely rendered as Yeshua but as "savior"? I'd love to hear your thoughts on how to create spaces for discussions where people disagree, sometimes passionately, while still respecting each other as people, citizens, and siblings.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-002

Arenâ??t preachers who start talking in the first person as if they were Jesus doing the same thing biblical critics said early Christians did, resulting in the gospel sayings? As someone who has been involved in the Neo-Pagan movement for two decades, I used to encounter the idea that Jesus was a "Great White Witchâ?? the meaning that he was a healer and magic user. What do you think is the strongest argument for this? In Moses and Minimalism, are your mentions of dugong hides being used to decorate the Ark of the Covenant a joke I'm not getting? Doesnâ??t the similarity of Galatians with passages in the Dead Sea Scrolls imply Pauline authorship, not pseudepigraphy? Is it really possible that in John 19:26-27 Jesus means to say Mary is henceforth the Mother of all Christians? Does reciting the Rosary count as â??vain repetitionâ??? The newest edition of the English Standard Version of the Bible, in Genesis 3, changes â??your desire shall be for your husbandâ?? to something like â??your desire shall be contrary to your husbandâ??s.â?? Is this legit? What is the best argument for Jesus having been a magician? I'm curious as to your membership status with the Episcopalians. Jesus is often understood as a Sun God, but has there been any work done to align the character of Jesus with Water deities?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 17-001

Can you tell me what the arguments against the Q theory are? Christian Lindtner argues that â??The New Testamentâ?? decodes to â??The New Tathagatha.â?? Is there an anachronism / error in the Parable of the Talents where one servant is told that he should have at least invested the money so that the master could have earned some interest, instead of burying it for safe keeping? St. Paul does speak about Jesus being â??born of a womanâ?? and some other albeit minor things that do indicate that Jesus was on earth. So, I am wondering how those Scriptures might relate to your â??Heavenly Realmâ?? theory. What is the evidence for human sacrifice in biblical Israel? Why could the gospel & resurrection stories not be understood as â??noble lies,â?? approved by both the OT and classical thinkers? Can you explain the difference between a Charismatic and an Evangelical church, and how do they intersect with the Pentecostal movement? What might be a good source for a good direct conservative scholarly take on Bultmann's John Commentary?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-031

Are Yahweh and Allah supposed to be the same deity? Might early Christians have believed Jesus and John the Baptist were both messiahs? Might James the Just and John the Baptist be identified with the brothers James and John in the gospels, the so-called â??sons of Zebedeeâ??? Do we have any non-Biblical, non-controversial examples of scribes interpolating rejoinders to the text into the texts? Is there an anachronism / error in the Parable of the Talents where one servant is told that he should have at least invested the money so that the master could have earned some interest, instead of burying it for safe keeping? I was under the impression that charging interest on a loan was not allowed in the bible. Often people cite the bible for vegetarianism and veganism, but when Jesus drove the demons into swine and thus off the cliff Matt 8:31, was Jesus in effect a butcher? Biblical scholars before the 1970s considered the Old Testament character of Moses as a historical figure. Was it a â??Professional Tabooâ?? to seriously question Mosesâ?? historicity prior to this period? Was it the same way that today it is taboo to question the historicity of Jesus? How do we know Jesus spoke Aramaic? Does Hebrews 9:27 rule out reincarnation? Someone commented: "Price takes the outdated dying-and-rising god theories of James G. Frazer seriously.â?? What do you think of his response? Wouldn't a New Testament vs. Lovecraft Mythos Annual be at least plausible? What is the difference between an apostle and a disciple? Assuming that Paul was writing about a celestial instead of a historical Jesus, what did the word "Apostle" mean to him? I'm wondering how the idea developed that the nation of Israel had been delivered out of Egypt. We know from archaeological evidence that key parts of the biblical narrative concerning Israel in Egypt never happened, but the Old Testament is full of references to deliverance from Egypt anyway.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-030

What have you to say about the Jordanian codices? About the disappearance of Deists and the Reign of Terror.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-029

Was there an OT prototype for the Zaccheus episode in Luke 19? What is the Griesbach hypothesis? In Bible times, how high up did people assume the firmament was from the earth? In the 1st centuries BC and AD around the Mediterranean, especially in the city of Rome, was Greek the lingua franca? Did Roman citizens in Rome talk with one another in Greek? How do Christian apologists deal with the fact that the Gospels disagree on the names of the 12 Disciples? Would you please restate the case for there being an error in the traditional dating of the Gospels and Acts, that putting these events at the turn of 1st centuries BC and AD puts the Gospels and Acts in the wrong century because they occurred decades earlier or later? Jacob wrestles with an angel, or maybe with God. The next day he reconciles with his brother Esau and says that Esau's face is like unto the face of God. Was Esau the wrestler? On the subject of Esau, doesn't he get a bad rap? The reunion with Jacob is a touching example of forgiveness. Moses and Aaron, as sons of an incestuous union, are mamzers (children of a married woman and a man other than her husband, or a child of incest). So aren't all the Hebrew priests, the Levites, mamzers?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-028

What does the number 40 signify in biblical symbology? Might Mark originally end at 15:39 with the centurion's exclamation, "Truly this man was the Son of God!"? Why do scholars neglect the work of Alfred Loisy? To what extent do you agree with the theory of Lena Einhorn? What is the difference between the â??birthrightâ?? and the â??blessingâ?? which Jacob cheated Esau out of? Does the term 'sons (or children) of Belial', mentioned a number of times in the OT (Hebrew, from 'beli' (without) and 'yaal' (value)) mean merely 'worthless men' or instead of 'sons of Belial,â?? a devil? Has the Westcott and Hort edition of the New Testament become outdated? What if Christians of the 2nd century and encoded their belief that YHWH didn't send Iesou to redeem our sins, but his own crimes?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-027

What do you think of the arguments in the Eastern Orthodox Bible for the originality of Markâ??s long ending? How synoptic are the synoptic gospels really? Why are the monotheistic religions so obsessed with the Apocalypse? Were the Greeks and Romans the same way? The Christadelphians deny that the biblical terms â??devilâ?? and â??satanâ?? generally refer to a supernatural evil entity as most readers think. Are they right? Whatâ??s your opinion of Kenneth Wuest's New Testament translation? How can Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:8, refer to himself as â??one untimely bornâ?? if he was a contemporary of Jesus? I was wondering if Matthew and Luke's genealogies had any real link to anything. Can you recommend a good introduction to the Bible for an interested novice?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-026

What are your thoughts on the Parable of the Talents, and could you offer me a more erudite, exegesis, than my Sunday school teacher gave? Are the stories of Saul and Ahijah parallel, and if so is it an intentional parallel to establish continuity in the pre-Omride rulers of the north? Or is it, as I suspect, the merging of two different legends who had similar stories told about them in a less nationalistic tribal past in the north. Care to comment on when and where you think the monotheistic idea came from? I think Jerusalem represented by Aaron and Moses were priesthoods of different gods. Moses represents a priesthood of the snake god Nahushtan/Leviathan and perhaps even a remnant of a cult of Set that remained in Canaan after the Bronze Age collapse and the withdrawal of Egypt during the 13th century BCE or so. Aaron then is the Yahwistic priest who represents the more rural Jerusalemite/Jebusite/Melchizedek priesthood that overtakes the snake cult with their bull god sometime around the end of the northern kingdom. Is that a fair interpretation of the evidence do you think? Why do mainstream critics reject the notion that the whole Jesus story is rewritten from the Old Testament? Has anyone proposed that the religious leaders had the soldiers steal the body of Jesus and destroy it to keep people from worshipping it (e.g. Lenin) or hiding it and then saying it was risen? John 21:15-17 uses two different Greek words for â??love.â?? Does Aramaic have analogous pair of terms? And if not, what does this imply about the origin of the story?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-025

If Jesus himself knew about the betrayal, and knew that it was needed for his eventual execution, why isnâ??t Judas eventually seen as a saint or at least a non-disgraced Apostle by Christians? What is your take on the visionary experiences at the heart of the Old Testament, and could they be a description of the visionary experience as induced by psychedelics? Might the various 'episodes' in the life of Jesus have started not only as midrash of the Old Testament but as incantatory texts for healing and exorcism? Might Mark in its earliest form have been a Simonian document? If Paul were Simon Magus, with â??Paulâ?? himself being a later proto-Catholic creation, wouldn't it be better to stop using the term Pauline Christianity and instead speak of Simonian Christianity? If one were to pick one of the early Christian, proto-Christian, and ancient Christian-offshoot cults to use as the basis for a Cthulhu Mythos cult, which cult would you pick and why? What are some of the more credible theories behind the importance of the number seven in the ancient world?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-024

What would be the most probable rendition of the phrase â??end of the worldâ?? in the canonical gospels? How does the â??closure of the ageâ?? relate to Gnosticism? According to Diogenes Laertius, 360 jurors voted for death to Socrates, 140 for a fine. However, before this, when voting on if he was even guilty, when the ballots were counted, 280 jurors had voted to find Socrates guilty, 220 jurors for acquittal. This means that there were jurors who said to themselves, "yeah, he's innocent, but let's kill him anyway." Ditto Joseph of Arimathea re Jesus? What markers point towards a late date for John? Given Paulâ??s letters, why would Mark have had what seems to be an undeveloped theology? Is there astrological symbolism in the NT? Did Paul never refer to the Son of Man because his Jesus was not a human man and Mark and Matthew used the phrase because they wanted people to think their creation was human? Is there any evidence that Thomas evangelized India? Why would a predominantly Hindu people convert based on the teachings of a man who preaches of Jesus? Does Islam ever acknowledge that God's name is / was once Jehovah? How do they deal with that?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-023

Michael Heiser suggests the gospel story of the raising of Jairusâ?? daughter (Luke 8) is intentionally drawn from the story of the death of Jephthahâ??s daughter (Judges 11), but with a happy ending. What about it? Why didn't the early copyists and redactors fix Matthewâ??s erroneous attribution of Zechariah 11 to Jeremiah? Might Revelation be envisioning the events of the Bar Kochba Revolt? â??Church of Christâ?? (HQed in the Philippines) insist that most of the translations of Isaiah 43 are corrupted when they read, â??I will bring your offspring from the east.â?? It should, they say, read â??from the far eastâ?? (cf., the Moffatt translation) because Isaiah is talking about the Philippines. Bogus, right? Why would a scribe (Eusebius?) choose Josephus to insert a forged passage about Jesus? Why not some other historian and writer like Philo of Alexandria? Why would anyone venerate an empty tomb? Lourdes gets something like 5 million visitors every year on so-called apparitions witnessed by schoolkids! Revelation 3:10 speaks of an hour trial about to come upon the whole world.â?? Sometimes this phrase seems to denote the Roman Empire in ancient usage. Could this Revelation passage be a rhetorical polemic against the Romans? Did Jesus have brothers? It would seem so since there is an allusion to James the brother of Jesus in Galatians, thus an actual firsthand testimony. Stephen H Smith shows how Mark evidences the structure of a dramatic tragedy. Is it reasonable to suggest that perhaps Matthew (or Luke) came first and then another author came along and attempted to rewrite those gospels into a script for a tragedy/closet drama; stripping out the long sections that we call Q material, because they interrupt the narrative flow?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-022

What is the impact on Christianity if the Pauline doctrines were merely the product of a temporal-lobe epilepsy sufferer? What do you think of the suggestion in The Mythology of Eden by Arthur and Elena George that the forbidden knowledge was really the awareness of the chaos of the primordial waters that existed prior to creation, the order of the world that Yahweh created, and the responsibility that humans would have to participate in keeping the chaos (i.e. evil) from entering back into the orderly world (i.e. good). Looking at Luke's nativities of John and Jesus, I wonder if there's a connection between the quasi-simultaneous miraculous births of John and Jesus (Elizabeth barren, Mary a virgin) and the conception of Castor and Pollux? Is Peter denying Jesus three times another instance of making Jesus a new/better Elijah/Elisha/Moses? Isnâ??t Richard Dawkins right in claiming that "theology isn't even a subject"? How might one reconcile Lena Einhornâ??s theory with mythicism? Though Acts has Paul surviving a viper bite on Malta, prior to the fourth century there is no evidence of Christianity there, nor did any species of poisonous snakes ever inhabit the Islands! Wouldn't everyone in Heaven be terribly depressed and horrified at all times because of what they knew was happening to their loved ones who didn't check the right theological box? What do you think of Michael Heiserâ??s explanation of Exodus 4:24-26? Cain was avenged seven-fold; Tubal-cain was avenged seventyseven-fold, and Jesus forgave seven times seventy. Is there anything in the new testament that isn't "my scripture's bigger than your scripture"? Were Elijah and Elisha really two separate characters, or is it possible we're seeing a doubling as in twice-told tales of Genesis?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-021

Have The Christ Myth by Arthur Drews (1910) and Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions by TW Doane (1882) been superceded? Where have all the Deists gone? Do the numerous Moses-Jesus parallels imply that Moses was already viewed as a Messiah? Irenaeus in his Against Heresies (III,11.1) says, "John, the disciple of the Lord, preaches this faith, and seeks, by the proclamation of the Gospel, to remove that error which by Cerinthus had been disseminated among men..." What he is saying here is that John was written after to refute Cerinthus which is one smoking gun for the late date of John. There are scholars before and now that contend that it is the case and that John was the judaized and historicized version of Cerinthus' gospel. Are there any scholarly attempts to reconstruct the Cerinthus gospel just like scholars before and now have reconstructed Marcion's gospel of the lord which is being called as the "ur-lukas"? Can we consider the Cerinthus gospel as an "ur-john"? If 1 Corinthians 15:3-11 is not an interpolation, does it really back up the gospelsâ?? Easter stories? The listed appearances sound more like visions, while the rest of the chapter seems to understand the resurrection of Jesus as spiritual rather than physical. Is Mark 16:9-20 more Marcionite or Gnostic? Are the â??hate your familyâ?? passages in the gospels a reflection of the period when the Early Church Fathers are battling the heresies of Gnosticism? Reading the apocryphal "Life of John the Baptist" text recently, I noticed a present-tense reference to Theophilus, who identified as being in office. Is this the same Theophilus mention in Luke, eh? Is it reasonable to suggest that the Passion narratives are not meant to implicate and condemn Jews but rather to say that all humanity must be depraved if even the best of them, Jews, could be so blind to the truth? Iâ??m curious to hear what you might have to say about Lena Einhornâ??s new book, â??A Shift In Time: How Historical Documents Reveal the Surprising Truth about Jesusâ??? Are there links between the NT passages and Isaiah 65, which mentions eating unclean pigs and living in tombs? Is there a correlation between one not being able to look at the face of God and not being able to stare directly at the sun? Is the Deuteronomic prohibition of cross-dressing the product of the ancient Israelite taxonomies discussed by Mary Douglas?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-020

I can't recall exactly where I got this inchoate understanding of the history of the Jesus thing; I believe it was from you or Carrier. Basically, this ill-formed understanding is that people believed that Jesus had done his thing during different times in history, with references in his stories that pinned him down to different historical periods, and those dates kept getting moved up. Is that the case? Was the Jesus mythology a wholly mutable east(sic), dancing forward through history until it got pinned down by scripture to the times of Herod and Pilate? Obviously, if that were the case, those are the sorts of documents that medieval Christians wouldn't bring forward to us, making it difficult to verify, but if it's the case, how do modern Christian cognoscenti deal with it? Do you have a suggestion on reading material that addresses the claim that Jesus fulfilled hundreds of messianic prophecies? You mentioned that Dan is excluded from the tribes in their enumeration in Revelation because Jewish scribes calculated that the antichrist would come from the tribe of Dan. Could you elaborate on this? Could you please outline the "Pantera is Jesus' father" theory and describe its strengths and weaknesses? What resources do you recommend for me as I prepare to do my own NT translation? Given all the hoopla about the Eucharist being a version of Passover, why if Jesusâ?? body represented by bread and not lamb chops? What sayeth the Geek? Was God bound by some rule that only a blood sacrifice could entitle him to forgive sins? Doesnâ??t this entail the Socratic Euthyphro dilemma? Were there factions that disagreed about faith vs works as they wrote it into the Bible, or is this just a minor contradiction that was made into a big deal by later factions? Did the superstition about 666 increase dramatically after The Omen movie? What is the meaning of â??the prince of the power of the air" from Eph 2:2?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-019

If God is â??pure actâ?? and does not move from potentiality to actuality, how can God ever act, speak, love, etc.? Why is there so little genuine intellectual curiosity among most religious people? You once said the Bahá'í Faith was the only other religion that you "seriously considered converting to." What appealed to you? Hereâ??s a recent dream: God changes his own â??Wordâ?? from YHVH to YHSVH, and this changes his underlying character and essence. This idea unifies the God of the Old Testament with Jesus, yet preserves Marcion's realization that these are two different people. Has anyone else has this idea? Re the story of Jesus and the coin in the fish's mouth (in Matthew 17), wouldnâ??t there have been many much simpler ways for Jesus to have had his and Peter's taxes paid? Why the miracle? Youâ??ve described the character Joseph of Arimathea evolving from a merely pious person into a disciple of Christ. But already in Mark he is already called â??of Arimathea,â?? meaning, according to Richard Carrier, "best disciple town." Compatible theories or not? If I am in no way a believer, can I still aspire to be a theologian? What would it mean to be a theologian in that case?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-018

The Bible Geek, Robert M. Price, answers your Biblical bafflements and scriptural searches.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-017

Episode 704 of The Bible Geek with Robert M. Price.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-016

Would the Birth Narratives of Jesus be evidence for an oral tradition of Jesus? If Calvinists are correct and there is nothing the reprobate can do to be saved and the elect can do to be unsaved, what further value can theology have? If one is punished eternally in hell, doesn't that mean that person has everlasting life, albeit a miserable one?. The deuteronomistic list of Davidâ??s â??mighty menâ?? has the feel of a "gathering of heroes" list of the sort familiar from myths like Arthur's gathering the round table or Jason with is Argonauts. Would these mighty men have been the heroes of their own sagas, now lost? Might Matthew 23:8-12 be an interpolation into a Qumran style polemic against rival Jewish authorities? Could John son of Zebedee have been the original hero in the stories where we now see him as Peterâ??s mute sidekick? And could he have originally have been John the Baptist?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-015

What do you think of the theory that, since in Romans 1:3-4 Jesus is said to become Godâ??s son via resurrection, and 1 Cor 15 says Christians will share that resurrection, hence sonship, thus becoming Jesusâ?? fellow-sons, brothers, that James the brother of the Lord simply means James was a martyr awaiting resurrection? You once proposed the formation of a modern secular Lyceum. I was fascinated by the idea, and wondered if you could expound on it. Is there any possible basis to the crazy-sounding theory that the Canaanites deserved to be exterminated since they were the offspring of demons and mortal women? What do you make of John w21:1:19, in which Jesus speaks of love as "agape" and Peter uses the word "philea"? Eisenman says that Paul was a Herodian and created a version of Christianity aimed at discrediting James-Christianity. Why would he go to that trouble? Why not just argue against it? Did the judaizing/historicizing efforts of emerging Catholicism invent the concept of the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, or can this concept be traced to nearby pagan religions? Ignatius's Epistle to the Ephesians says that "as [Christ] represents the mind of the Father, so our bishops ... represent the mind of Jesus Christ." Thus the "conduct and practice" of church members should correspond with the mind of their bishop. Certainly this seems to place Christ lower in the hierarchy than the Father, doesn't it? Either that or it seems to indicate the bishops actually have insights into the mind of the Father, through Christ, in which case it seems to raise the bishops' stature. Is there any religious practice, either in an early Christianity, competing mystery school, or other religion from the time where the transmission of holy power is as described in John 20:22, through breathing it out onto the assembled devotees? Do you have any idea how the book of Luke can end so nicely and the book of Acts end like a television series does when the budget is cut without notice?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-014 Part 2

It seems awfully bold of Moses to step in to thwart Yahweh's punishments upon Israel. Does the author intend to elevate Moses to such a level, almost like an equal to Yahweh? Moses just can't stand by and watch Yahweh hold the whole people accountable for the transgressions of a few; isn't that literally the founding premise of Christianity? No synagogues in Galilee? What if the word simply denoted â??meetingsâ??? Might â??Mosesâ?? have been a â??sanitizedâ?? version of Ramses II? What does it mean, in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus chastises his disciples three times for sleeping. Jesus was mad because they weren't "keeping watch," and because of this they also risked "falling into temptation"? In Paul's 'authentic' letters, does he truly feel Jesus is equal to God? By â??Christâ?? does he mean â??Jewish Messiahâ?? or just a proper name? How would James the Just, if he were brother of Jesus the Galilean, become high priest, since he would be of low birth and a Galilean to boot? How can we think he has ANY relation to the Jesus of the New Testament? Do you think that the author of Acts had read the epistles? If so, why are there such blatant contradictions between his story and the epistles? Is this a viable interpretation? "And he {the man} honored Jesus. And the daemon departed from him {the boy}. And the boy was cured from that very hour." What is known about the Christians immediately following the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension? When Pharaoh's magicians pulled off their "secret arts", where did the source of the magic come from? If God outlaws idols, why did he tell Moses to build one: the Brazen Serpent? Lee Stroebel claims there is an overwhelming number of sources "proving" the Biblical story of Jesus is true. How do apologists get away with such claims? Was the Jesus mythology a wholly moveable feast, dancing forward through history until it got pinned down by scripture to the times of Herod and Pilate? How do modern Christian cognoscenti deal with it? Do we know Pliny is referring to Jesus when he says Christians sing hymns to â??Christâ??? Is there really any important difference between Christ Mythicism and the idea that a human Jesus became largely mythologized? What do you think of the often heard Christian theological idea that Jesus' mission included personally living a life fully in accordance with the (Jewish) law so (essentially) we don't have to? Was baptism any part of Jewish law or practice? How could Matthew have been a learned Jew if he failed to recognize the poetic parallelism in Zechariah 9:9? Does Mythicism depend upon a conspiracy theory?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-014 Part 1

After a hiatus due to some technical issues, everyone's favorite Bible Geek returns to answer your quandaries and questions! The overflowing mailbag was too stuffed to fit in just one episode, listen to part one now!
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-013

In Revelation one of the churches is congratulated for resisting the teachings of a false apostle, is that a veiled reference to Paul? What do you think of The Complete Jewish Bible? Does non-orthodox Messianic Judaism change anything about what you've learned or studied or what conclusions you have produced? Any thoughts on LA Marzelli, "The Watchers, and the "seed of the Nephilim"? If the Tower of Babel produced diversity in language, than what produced diversity of race (color/bone structure, etc)? What is referred to by â??the branch of the Lordâ?? in Isaiah 2? Might Psalm 71:20 be referring to resurrection at all or is it more likely they only denote that Yahweh helps the righteous when their down and brings them back up on their feet? What do you think about the theory of R.G. Price that the young man in Mark 14:52, based on Amos 2:16, forms the culmination of three Markan allusions to Amos, the others being 2:6 and 2:12? Couldnâ??t we solve a lot of source-critical puzzles if we posited that â??Qâ?? was first an expansion of Mark? Where does Paul explains how remembered oral communications from Jesus were subject to distortion, substitution, and deletion of meaning, not to mention that any concepts communicated were bound within the context of language, unlike his teaching, based on a direct, non-linguistic transmission of information directly from Jesus? Doesn't a blatantly provocative, vulgar and literal image like a crucifix lend itself to not merely state sanction, but enforcement? When did this image become common?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-012

What do you think of Kenneth A. Kitchen? The recently discovered "Seal of Hezekiah" features Egyptian symbols like the Ankh and the winged sun disc. Does this mean the king was a polytheist? Are there regional idioms of speech in the Bible that might help track down the origin of this or that text? Would the virgin-born Jesus resemble only Mary and not Joseph? What exactly are the theological differences between Catholicism and Orthodoxy? What do you think the mid- to long-term prospects are for Islam to be widely studied from a humanistic approach like Christianity often is? Is there any connection between the psalmist Asaph and fable master Aesop? Are there any sections of the Bible that are supported by extra-biblical historical evidence that you are aware of; and, if so, what is it? I read somewhere that the IHS we see on Catholic ritual equipment, such as chalices, is the IHS known as the "Bacchus monogram". Is it true? Why do modern Christians emphasize the inherent complexity of God as a proof of his existence as creator, while Islamic philosophers emphasize the simplicity of God as a proof of his existence?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-011

What are some core books you would suggest to supplement a read-through of the whole Bible? Since Genesis 5 begins with the line, "This is the book of the generations of Adam," might this chapter have once been its own book? Does Genesis 5 offer a third creation story, or perhaps an alternative continuation of the second creation account that ignores the Cain and Abel story? Are there more extrabiblical stories of Seth out there, similar to the various apocrypha and apocalypses centered around Adam? I s there is any etymological connection between the Biblical character of Seth and the Egyptian god Set? Could canonical Luke be later than John? Suggestions on numerological coded messages re Mary Magdalene, Jesus, David, etc. How common is the error of thinking that "Lord of Hosts" refers to communion wafers? Can you offer any insight into Stoicism and its presence in the Bible? Might the Parable of the Shrewd Manager be Gnostic meaning that "Even if you don't have the gnosis, at least go ahead with ecclesiastical Christianity, because that's better than nothing"? What's your interpretation of the story of David and Goliath? What is the proper pronunciation of erudite/erudition? Could you expand on your theory that Hegesippus is actually just Josephus? What do you think of theories that Josephusâ??s work was reworked or even commissioned by a cabal within the Flavian household and instrumental in the creation of Christianity? Are traditions like Gnostic mystical pantheism gone from modern Christianity? Some translations of Matthew 18:22 say "seventy-seven times," others "seventy times seven." Which is more accurate translation? Could you please explain why the translators of the LXX changed the order of the Hebrew Bible and then also added more books to the canon? If Simon Magus is the basis for the "historical" Paul, does any of the material in the Pauline Epistles go back to the mid-to-late 1st century, even if it's in a garbled form? If all the Gospels are comparatively late, wouldn't we expect a great deal more "Pauline" influence even in Mark?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-010

Where do the mythologies surrounding the Roman soldiers Longinus and Tiberius Pantera come from? The Yezidis say Satan fell but then was redeemed and restored to his place. Might we consider him a Dying and Rising God? What might the Yazidi faith have to tell us about the origins of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity? What are your thoughts about Vesuvius being a basis for Revelation 8? Why are New Years and Christmas a week apart? Is the reference to Lilith in Isaiah retrofitted to be a name, or is the translation into "screech owl" in the King James a deliberate obfuscation? On a recent Bible Geek, there was a suggestion that boiling a kid in its mother's milk could be a reference. Can you provide a recap of books of the New Testament where multiple books have, or are purported to have, the same author, and is that actually the case? Jesus makes it clear that it is not what we eat that makes us unclean but what comes out (Mark 7:18-23). Does this conflict with Leviticus 11? Does 1 Timothy 4:3? Is it possible that the Mark passage is a reflection of the Gnostic dietary laws? Matthew says Joseph of Arimathea was a disciple of Jesus. Luke says he did not consent to the vote to condemn Jesus. Do these differences imply reliance on earlier oral traditions? Can you explain the ancient belief in two messiahs and how it may be reflected in the NT? If the canonical Pauline epistles were heavily interpolated, why did Marcion seemingly not have access to the originals? Or do you think he did?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-009

Is learning the original Greek, Latin, and Hebrew truly essential in learning the meaning and context of the Bible? Bart Ehrman, in his Misquoting Jesus, says that the earlier the manuscript, the more errors you find. Which ones is he talking about? Please describe the process of translating Hebrew and Greek manuscripts into modern English. Is the Letter of Mara ben Serapion an independent attestation of a historical Jesus? What exactly does Daniel 9 mean to predict? Why does the Talmud curse anyone who reads Daniel 9:24-27 to calculate the coming of the Kingdom? What do you think are the best books/articles to read on Exodus? E.A. Speiser suggests that chapter 14 was an independent, foreign, "quasi-historical" document that was imported into the rest of the Genesis material, and he takes this as evidence that Abraham was a real historical figure "who was attested in contemporary sources." What do you think of this claim of historicity? Are there any theories about the identity of the "man carrying a jar of water" in Mark 14:13? Why does the pregnant Elizabeth stay in seclusion for 5 months (Luke 1:24)?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-008

In Gilles Deleuze's essay, "Nietzsche and Saint Paul, Lawrence and John of Patmos," he writes "John of Patmos deals with cosmic terror and death, whereas the gospel and Christ dealt with human and spiritual love. Christ invented a religion of love (a practice, a way of living and not a belief), whereas the Apocalypse brings a religion of power--a belief, a terrible manner of judging. Instead of the gift of Christ, an infinite debt." and goes on to write "...this bearer of glad tidings [Christ] is doubled by the black Saint Paul, who keeps Christ on the cross, ceaselessly leading him back to it, making him rise from the dead, displacing the center of gravity toward eternal life...." What are your thoughts on this, and why do Christians tend to fixate on the death and resurrection of Christ and talk less about things He supposedly said and taught (this has been my experience at least)? Please talk about the importance for biblical studies of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Please give a brief explanation of how the Bible was put together and who wrote it. Re "Lord of Hosts": does one say "a host" or "an host"? Exodus 4:18-31 seems to indicate that Moses was not circumcised. Then how did the daughter of Pharaoh know that baby Moses was a Jew? Why is Elijah is given such preeminence among the Hebrew prophets? Why does the Gospel of John omit the 40 day sojourn in the desert?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-007

Can you tell me anything about about the origin, authorship, geography or dating of the Meqabyan (or Ethiopic Maccabees) books? Does Galatians 3:1 refer to an early Christian Mystery Play? Is Harold Bloom correct in his derivation of Mormonism from sectarian and kabbalistic sources? Why does the anointing at Bethany make Jesus look like a bit of a jerk? And could the reference to "the poor" denote the Ebionites? Which of your books would be good to cast doubt on the infallibility of the Bible, to account to friends for my loss of faith in it? Does the gospel story of the discovery of Jesus' empty tomb rest upon older Buddhist accounts of the discovery of "Yasa" having disappeared from his bed? Regarding apocryphal gospels and other New Testament-era books that didn't make it into the canon, is it reasonable to assume that we have better access to books that date from the later eras of early Christianity (say, 3rd through 6th centuries) than those from earlier dates?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-006

What if Mark was signaling that it was actually Simon Peter who was crucified and Andrew was the young man who fled naked from Gethsemane? What are our sources for the story that Antiochus forbade Hebrew worship? Do we have anything substantive beyond The Book of Maccabees, or Josephus -- who himself was probably echoing Macabees? Do you accept the opinion of Dr. James (Mickey) Efird and Bruce Metzger that Revelation was NOT about the end of the world but simply a book written in a well-known genre for that day to give people hope that their persecution under Emperor Domitian would soon be over if they just waited it out? Is it possible that the Synoptics used Marcion's Gospel, the Gospel of Peter, and the Infancy Gospel of James? Do you think the Masoretic text may have been edited in response to Christian doctrine? John's gospel never names Jesus' mother. Might he have been trying to de-objectify her by keeping all portrayals minimalistic, including the obscuring of a name?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-005

Why does Matthew 5:17-19 say that if anyone should annul the Torah would be called "the Least," implying a single person? Does he mean Paul? Does "witch" in Exodus 22:18 actually mean something like "Poisoner"? Did these "witches" belong to pagan religions? Could you provide evidence from the Pauline letters which may refer to the celestial (i.e., non-historical) Jesus? Acts tells us that Paul was Pharisee and that before his conversion he hunted down and arrested Christians. Can you tell me what type of Christians they were? Origen says the gospel resurrection stories conceal a very advanced esoteric truth. Any idea what it might have been?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-004

Can Karl Popper's philosophical analysis that all induction is "deductively invalid" and strict reliance on falisification be applied to the question of the historicity of New Testament material? Is the Jehovah's Witnesses idea correct that "Jehovah" is the actual name of God, and everything else, including "Yahweh," are merely titles? Bible Geek standup comedy. What is the OT minimalist understanding of 40 years of wandering in the desert? In Luke 2:1, the shepherds hear that Bethlehem is the "city of David"; wasn't that supposed to be Jerusalem? When did people begin to refer to their canon as the "Bible," rather than "scriptures"? Can you explain the significance of R. G. Collingwood's The Idea of History, and its impact on Biblical studies? Is G. R. S. Mead's theory that Marcionites followed Chrestus, not Christos, valid? Are there any 1st century examples of literature similar to the Gospels, i.e., historical fictions about known mythical figures? When was December 25th established as Jesus' birthday? What are the differences between a theophany and an avatar? Does sorcery require a powerful magic or intention to work, or are just the words enough? Is it possible that Luke's and Matthew's nativity stories were specifically written as polemic against an early version of the Toledoth Jeschu? Thus, neither based on Christian traditions in common? Doesn't the gradual pruning of the branches of Christianity from many diverse sects to orthodoxy point more toward a mythical origin? Possible error: questioner cites R. G. Price: "The Gospel of Mark as Reaction and Allegory" ( as "The Gospel of Mark as Theological Allegory" (, found online, by Jonathan Rutherford. Why, if Jesus was not historical, did Christianity rise to such popularity? Multiple observations from the Trickster. When did the first signs of "supersessionism" of Christianity over Judaism appear and what was its history of progression? A recommendation for the Skeptic's Annotated Bible and website. Should the idea that high Christology requires a long development time, e.g., John's Gospel, also be applied to such Gnostic works as The Apocryphon of John, making such works much older in origin? Is the ICHTHUS symbol specifically Christian (acronym), not pagan, in origin? Are all religious figures euhermized historical individuals? Are the mentions of synagogues in the NT really an anachronism? Can you comment on the origin of Wisdom literature, how they became incorporated into the Tanakh, and why the chapter divisions seem so arbitrary? What is your perferred moniker? Can God be "artistically pictured" in a such a way that does not force corporeality on the viewer? Did visual arts affect the perceived historicity of Jesus for early Christianity? How does your mythicist theory differ from Richard Carrier's?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-003

Can you say something about the Greek words used in the NT for "spirit" and "ghost"? In the Salem Witch trials, the accused could not defend herself by saying she was nowhere the scene when someone claimed to be afflicted by her hex, because it was believed that a witch did not need to be there when it struck. Where would devout Puritans get such a notion? Are there any theories as to why the ancient Hebrews created a day of absolute rest? Have you heard anyone suggest that Abraham failed his test when God asked him to kill Isaac, because he was hoping Abe would use his free will and refuse? Is there real evidence to prove the Epistle of James is not really the work of James the Just? Might the two rival gospel genealogies reflect Mary's laiasons with two different guys named Joseph, one of the Jacob's son, the other Heli's? Has anyone ever researched how many prayers, myths, and stories took root in different cultures in antiquity? Why does everyone say John the Baptist called himself unworthy to tie Jesus' sandals? It says "untie"! Does the New Testament continue the Old Testament use of "feet" as a metaphor for that which YVHV demanded be circumcised? With such varied reporting of a trial of the most important figure in Christianity, how can it all be true? Also, does this prove that Mark's gospel was written first due the brevity of his trial narrative which then Matthew, Luke, and John embellished in their gospels? Is there any uncontaminated reminiscence of the belief system of Simon Magus? How likely is it that the Vatican does hold some of the ancient source material they worked so hard to suppress?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-002

Dr. Richard Carrier says the very first Christians were probably Jewish-Christians who doubled as literate Rabbis. Is there any evidence to corroborate this? What is the main evidence leading most scholars believe the New Testament was originally written in Ancient Greek, not Aramaic. Why have scholars retreated from Baur's restriction of genuine Pauline Epistles to Romans, Galatians, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians? Why was The Shepherd of Hermas not included in the New Testament? Is it likely that Matthew used more of Q than Luke did? Are there any hints of possible Q material in Matthew that wasn't used by Luke? Do you think Strauss's arguments against the rationalists in The Life of Jesus Critically Examined are relevant at all today? And would his book be much different had he known of the Two document hypothesis? Would you please recommend a book/author to read for info on Isaiah? How on Earth were Noah and his family able to pass on the information about the history prior to the Flood? Does the 117th Letter of Pliny offer any real information about Jesus? And might it be a forgery anyway? Where does biblical mythology deal with the rainbow? You've defended several translations from the Jehovah's Witness New World Translation. If they have the truth, why don't you join? Re: Philip K. Dick & Reza Aslan. Re: the relationship between Christianity and Science Fiction.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 16-001

Is the account of the martyrdom of James the Just historical or a conflation of three different versions? Millions of birds starve to death every year, so how do apologists deal with Matthew 6:26? How best to deal with ventriloquists who allege that the Bible predicted things discovered by science only millennia later? What is the real dividing line between the religious believer and those who look at existential questions through a secular prism? The Delay of the Parousia motif in Lovecraft and the NT.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-062

How would Christianity (and the world) be different if Jesus and the Book itself were EXPLICITLY the revealed messenger/word of god, a la Islam? Conversely, how would Islam (and the world) be different if it wasn't explicit? In John 20:17 Jesus tells Mary Magdalene, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father." Does this denote Docetism? Don't the raisings from the dead of Lazarus and others make Jesus's resurrection a bit anticlimactic? Is there anything to the claim that these were merely operating-table resuscitations and not resurrections? Since Matthew used significantly more of Mark than Luke did, do you think it's safe to assert the same re: Q? Is some of the "M" material also Q material? If Psalm 16:10 is not about some person whose body doesn't decompose, to what is it referring? Might the healing of blind Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46-52 really refer to a spiritual awakening? Might the apocalyptic predictions of the Bible be timeless predictions of an everlasting opposition between good and evil?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-061

How does the Jewish notion of Messiah ben Joseph and Messiah ben David influence the New Testament? Is the presence of Joshua as one of the scouts in Numbers 13 a later editorial redaction? What's the deal with Caleb's ancestry? He is called both a representative of the tribe of Judah, but it often mentions that he is a Kenizzite. What does it mean by saying that Caleb "hath another spirit in him"? Fascinating stuff from Dr. Barton on Moses' burning bush and the Garden of Eden! Ditto on the Parable of the Dishonest Steward and the "leaven of the Pharisees." Was the Bible written "to convert the masses"? Is it proper to refer to the Christian community of any nation as "The Church"? Is El Elyon a Caananite god that eventually morphed into the Hebrew god? Did Yahweh/God sit down to dinner with Abraham in Genesis 18? Are modern Christians right in interpreting such "God as human" Old Testament sightings as Jesus?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-060

Is the Angel of Death used for reasons similar to the Angel of Yahweh: an appearance of a God too holy to appear on stage himself? What is your theory as to how or why religion developed at all? What is the purpose of Mark's Transfiguration story? Is it possible to discern any potential "pre-Markan" agendas for this one story? Does the familiar system of Bible citation (BOOK, CHAPTER, VERSE) distort the meaning of the text? In Mark 14:51 who is the young man who flees away naked? Is John's gospel more concerned with John the Baptist's movement than the synoptic are? Isn't the temptation narrative most compatible with an adoptionist Christology? What do we know about the Gnostic Cerinthus? Is the scene with the youth who fled naked in Mark derived from Joseph fleeing from Potipher's wife?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-059

Why do Matthew and Luke change Markâ??s picture of Joseph of Arimathea? Why does Jesus assume you would be slapped on the right cheek first seeing that most people are right-handed and would therefore slap the left cheek? How can so many people believe the Bible to be the inspired book of God? If, as Bart Ehrman says, Luke can be read as an adoptionist, does that mean Polycarp was an adoptionist? What do we know about the Ebionites? What do you think Mark believed regarding Jesus' resurrection? What are the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus? Why do many of the surviving ancient histories seem to have gaps in them around the time that Jesus supposedly walked the Earth?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-058

Revelation 1:1 seems to say that God gave the Revelation to Jesus to give to the church. Does this undermines any doctrine of Jesus' divinity, particularly the implications for his omnipotence, and oneness with the Father? Does Revelation 1:7 indicate a belief that Jesus is going to return during the lives of the people who actually executed him (Pilate, Caiaphas, etc.) or just a belief that the Jews would see him? Acts 19 says some Jewish exorcists who tried to imitate Paul's miracles were sons of a Sceva, "a Jewish High Priest." Were there numerous high priests at the same time? Is there any consistent position on eating meat offered to idols in 1 Corinthians? Might the Eden story enshrine a historical memory of the switchover from "Paleo" to agriculture? Luke 3:23 says, "So Jesus ... was the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli," Is the "(as was supposed)" supported by any of the manuscripts or is it a later addition added after Jesus had been raised to the status of the Son of God? Where do you and other scholars stand on the question of the authenticity of the James ossuary now? Are there any scholars on board with the claim that the Syriac Peshitta is the basis for Hebrew and Greek versions? With which (if any) of the Synoptic Gospels do you think "John" the evangelist was familiar? Is there anything to suggest that the Gnostics were better educated than the early "proto-orthodox" church, or were various early Christian groups literate and reading a range of materials? Philip K. Dick & Bishop Pike. How did the "good" thief know that Jesus was innocent?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-057

In Exodus 1:8, we read about a change in Egyptian leadership from one unnamed pharaoh to another, "who knew not Joseph." So soon? Were there other pharaohs between them? Might the longevity of the Patriarchs be lingering after-effects of Adam & Eve sneaking a bite of the Tree of Life? Is it possible that Mt. Vesuvius was the inspiration for the apocalyptic material in Mark? How do you answer the anti-intellectual verses that suggest that you are suppressing the truth? Secondly, what are some of the major reasons that you reject the truth claims of the Bible and its followers? What are the similarities between Jesus and the Greco-Roman god Serapis? What do you know or suspect about where and for whom each Gospel (and, what the heck, any non-canonical gospels or other particularly interesting books that come to mind) was written? Eisenman argues that Paul attacked James in the 40s, and that this event became the model for the canonical stoning of Stephen. If this were true, how would that fit with Paul's statements in Galatians 1:18-19? Is there any parallel between the Jesus Christ of Revelation 22:16 and Lucifer the fallen angel? If Satan was such a minor figure in the Jewish religion and the Old Testament, and even at times an almost benevolent figure, how or why did he get to be such a major villain in the Christian religion? Since Satan doesn't fall from Heaven until right before J.C. is due for his Second Visit then just who in the hell are these unclean spirits/demons that pop up in the New Testament? Is there really a contradiction in Matthew 11 when John asks if Jesus is the Messiah after having already recognized Jesus when he had baptized him earlier in Matthew? Is there necessarily a contradiction between 1Cor 15:22-23 and Mark 12:18-27, the former saying that the dead will rise when Christ returns, while the latter says that at least some saints already live with God, e.g., Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Might Jesus mean simply that God remains their God and therefore will not leave them dead? Can you explain how Oneness theology and Trinitarianism originated and came to diverge? Valentinus believed in the tripartite nature of man, being made up of body, soul and spirit. Most evangelical Christians believe that the soul and spirit are interchangeable. But Paul speaks of these three separate parts of man in 1 Thessalonians 5:23. I know that Valentinus claimed to be a disciple of Theudas, one of Paul's own disciples. Do you think that Valentinus' strange anthropology is an indication that he may actually reflect Paul's theology more closely than the orthodox church? 1 Samuel 13:1, about Saul's age at his coronation, is variously translated as "one year," "was thirty years old," "was forty years old and a son of one year." What was the original intent of this verse? In his Church History Eusebius outlines his Christology. God is of two natures, Father and Son. Why no mention of the Holy Spirit and Trinity? Who divided scripture into all its chapters and verses? When was it done and how did the worldwide church all agree to adopt these divisions? Re: the possibility of Joseph moving Jesus from his tomb to the criminals' graveyard, William Lane Craig stated that according to Jewish law it was illegal for Joseph to use his family tomb as a temporary holding spot for Jesus. How would you answer this? What is your reasoning concerning the Jewish allegation that the apostles stole the body? What do you know about controversy around Genesis 4:1 implying God begat Cain? What's the most interesting development or revelation in Biblical scholarship/Biblical criticism to come out this year? Jesus and stepdad Joseph are referred to in English bibles as carpenters, but the Koine Greek term is 'tekton', which I believe has a more general meaning of a skilled craftsman or builder. Is there a Koine Greek word specifically for carpenter, which was oddly not used? Can you please provide a handy thumb-nail sketch of Macion's theology? The way some left leaning Christians speak about Christianity, it's as if the religion is about nothing but giving away everything to poor people. Are they correct? What is your opinion of the doctrine of Annihilationism? Are there any Bible Atlases that are particularly well done, or are so laughably wrong? If we don't believe what Acts tells us about Paul, what are the grounds for disbelieving that an individual by that name wrote several principle letters? He could be called Paul, Polycarp, or Paulycarp, for all it matters. Or is the point more to argue that no single person wrote any major portion of what has come down to us in the post gospel New Testament? If there was a mythical Jesus what do you think the point of the relatively short time on the cross is? And much more ...
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-056

A special Halloween treat! The Geek reads his story "The Righteous Rise", originally recorded as part of the 1/29/2013 episode.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-055

The possible origin of Matthew 27's resurrection of the saints in the Lotus Sutra. I hear a lot of claims of Jesus being similar or a copy of pagan gods, as well as rebuttals from others about these claims. What is your professional opinion of these claims? Is Eisenman's theory about James derived from Hyam Maccoby? Any thoughts on if there are any indisputable data we have about the historical Jesus? Possible allegorical interpretation of the miracle of loaves & fish. When Luke borrows the story of Jacob & Esau striving in the womb for use in his episode of the fetus John leaping in Elizabeth's womb at the approach of the pregnant Mary, are we meant to understand the Jesus, though younger than John, will usurp the right of the elder as Jacob did Esau? Why isn't Jesus named "Emmanuel"? I am wondering if you have ever heard of any scholar suggesting that The Acts of the Apostles was redacted from a shorter Acts of Paul, written by Marcion or Marcionites? Is there evidence for a violent Jesus? Mark's use of thematic sets of 3, 6, & 9 texts. Where did the risen Jesus get the clothes he was wearing? Should we assume that Revelation was written by a follower of Marcionite Christianity since the book talks about secret knowledge being passed on to favored disciples? What is the latest critical analysis on the author and time period of Revelations? Mad Men TV show as a parallel to the gospels' mixing of history and fiction. More on the Jesus artwork in the Jehovah's Witnesses publications. In Luke 1:32 the angel tells Mary how she will give birth to a son who will be the heir of David, even though she does not know a man. Doesn't that imply that Mary has David's blood? Is there any evidence that is anywhere near contemporary that Paul actually persecuted the Christians?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-054

Given that demons are supposed to be fallen angels, can we assume that unfallen angels would have the same ability to possess people? I'm wondering if any of the pre-Christian cults made such an effort at "historicizing" their divine figures as the developing Christians did. Parallels between Mark & 1 Maccabees suggesting Mark used it as a source. What in the world does Mark 9:49-50 mean, what with salt and fire and all that? What of Frank Zindler's theory that the Therapeutae of Egypt are evidence that "Christianity" was already in development during Philo's lifetime, and that Jesus was likely a later addition to a pre-existing branch of Jewish mystery religion? Whence the notion that the proverbial "eye of a needle" was a gate through which a camel could not pass without stripping off everything but the essentials? In Genesis 15:7-12, 17-21, how did Abraham arrange the animals? And is the ceremony some Sumerian divination practice? You mentioned in an article that Joseph Smith was willing to die for his made up religion, but wasn't he killed trying to escape out the window from assassins? So, is this a bad example? If Christ may not have lived at all: what happened at Year Zero? When was the C.E. dating system adopted?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-053

Can you discuss the zombie story in the Book of Matthew? I always thought that Acts of the Apostles didn't mention the Pauline Epistles because they were Marcionite (and Acts is anti-marcionite in nature). If you are saying that the author of Acts also wrote the Pastoral, then what reason would the author have to not mention the Pastorals within Acts? Hebrews 8:10-11 says, "I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts... And they shall not teach very man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest." Wouldn't this imply that proselytizing and preaching to the gentiles was against this covenant? "You have the right to work only, but never to its fruits. Let not the fruits of action be your motive, nor let your attachment be to inaction" (Bhagavad Gita 2:47). Is there a similar verse in the Bible? Wouldn't it have been more likely that Jesus would have been crucified on a tree? Is Noam Chomsky correct that the word "prophet" originally meant "dissident"? Might we not call one who believes Jesus existed but most of the stories are mythical a Jesus minimalist? What does it mean to say, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword"? In Lk 1:3, is Theophilus supposed to be a particular historical person? What do you know about the origin and the meaning of the belief that the world came into being "through" Christ? What translation of the Bible do you recommend for a critical reader?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-052

Why did the author of Mark write his/her gospel? And why did he give Peter a starring role when he clearly didn't like Petrine Christianity? Every time something in the New Testament gets connected to ancient Greece or Buddhism I can't help but wonder is there anything pure and original in the teachings of Jesus? Bertrand Russell said that Christianity owns a lot to Orphism. Is that true? Was Polycarp of Smyrna really one of the students of the Apostle John? What do you think the relationship of the Dead Sea Scrolls is to the New Testament? What reasons are there to think that the Q Source existed, or that it didn't? Could the Gospel of Thomas be the Q source? If not, how are the Gospel of Thomas and the Q source related? Luke and Acts are thought to have the same author due to similar syntax. What is the case for this?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-051

Can you explain to me what's going on in Acts 8:14-16 with the Samaritans being baptized but not yet receiving the Holy Spirit? Of the various arguments presented by apologists to support the historicity and/or divinity of Jesus, which (if any) do you find the most difficult to challenge? Doesn't Gal. 2:14 mean that, just like Paul, Peter no longer observed the Law? If so, might not Peter have actually sided with Paul in opposing the Jerusalem church on this important issue? What are the "three things" that Jesus told to Thomas in Thomas saying 13? How do we interpret passages like Romans 1:3 and 1 Clement 32:2 if Jesus was thought of as a celestial being? If Jesus was not a historical person, why would there be so many failed predictions by Jesus in the gospels? The story of Noah appears twice in the OT. One of the differences that stand out is that the story in chapter 6 seems to have an inordinate amount of detail as per the size of the boat where the version in chapter 7 contains no such information. Did someone add the details to make the story seem more realistic? Is there a particular time when the covenant of works ended and the covenant of grace from Christ's death and resurrection started? Doesn't it seem that if certain sects or religions aren't left behind in a logical and rational manner, then the void created will be filled by something just as crazy? In a church play, Mary's father, upset at her pregnancy, suggests that the child's father must be "a man with stars on his eyes." Where might they have gotten this?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-050

Juggling four theories on Simon/Peter/Cephas. In Genesis 19:14, depending on the translation, Lot's daughters are either married or about to be married. If they were in fact married and Lot's offer to the crowd consists of virgin daughters, could one draw the conclusion that the anger of the crowd stems from a feeling of Lot trying to fool them? Since he was a resident of the town the mob would probably know beforehand? What does the geek think? In Job 26:13, is the crooked serpent the constellation Draco, or is it the Milky Way? Moses marries a Midianite yet Israel fights the Midianites. What lies behind these seemingly contradictory stories? More about Philip K. Dick's gnosis! Would it be correct to say that Matthew and Luke agree on the timing of Jesus' birth but that Luke is just wrong in placing the census and reign of Quirinius at the time of his birth (Luke 2:1)? Might Marcion's gospel be the Q source? Is it possible that elements of both Simon Magus and Paul have been spun out of a single event, namely Marcion's attempt to win recognition with the early church, and that Simon Magus is the "bad" version and Paul is the comparatively "good" version? Does Genesis 15:13-16 mean that Yahweh wants to punish Egypt and the Amorites but to do this he first needs to have Abram's descendants suffer? An opponent assures me that form criticism is obsolete, and there are more modern alternative in use nowadays. What could he be referring to? Yet he thinks the Shroud of Turin is legitâ??huh? What's the deal with the common cultural concept that humans can become angels?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-049

Why do Jehovah's Witnesses depict Jesus with short hair parted on the right? Is there any biblical basis to the notion that "Hades" is a pre-Hell and that "Gehenna" is the final destination of sinners? Doesn't "The Exorcist" novel/movie evidence a creative evolution of the demon possession concept? Is the statement that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are already alive with God inconsistent with the notion of waiting till the resurrection? What do you think of Teilhard de Chardin? How did Satan become identified with Lucifer, leader of the rebellious angels? Didn't Rome steal earlier, "pagan" rituals and secrets, censor them and gain control over the masses? And how can Gentile Christians claim to be followers of a Jewish messiah who was sent to others, not them?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-048

Do I understand your position correctly that the story in Genesis Chapter 3, about the serpent and the eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil by the man and the woman, is more about a conflict between two gods, Nehushtan and Yahweh with Nehushtan winning? The two lists of the descendants of Cain and Seth are almost identical, with similar or identical names appearing in much the same order. Is this just another example of two versions of the same story being told as if they were separate stories, as is so common in the bible? Also, could you recommend a book or books on Canaanite mythology? Differences between the Synoptic accounts of the healing of Peter's mother-in-law. So if we discard a historical Jesus, we also get to discard the Apostles, right? If God is supposed to be eternal and unchanging and outside of time, how do apologists square the circle and give him a changing, mortal, human nature that exists inside of time? What is the best order to read the OT books to get an understanding of the history of Israel it's trying to propose? Why are the crowd telling Bartimaeus to be quiet? Is it because he is calling Jesus the Son of David? Why the detail of throwing aside his cloak? Is the name a play on Plato's work Timaeus, and that Bartimaeus regains his sight when he throws away his philosopher's cloak, abandons, Platonism, and follows Jesus? John Allegro used the locations from the Copper Scroll from Qumran for several archaeological digs in the hope of finding treasure described in the scroll. While he did find the locations, in each case thieves had already made off with the loot. Given that some scholars posit that Jesus was part of the Qumran community, do you think Matthew 6:19-21 could be in response to his own sectarians? Where do you think the Marcionites would fit into Margaret Barker's Christian reconstruction? When Jesus mentions Abraham's Bosom in the story of Lazarus and the rich man, what is he (or his author) referring to? Isn't Jeremiah 20:14-18 a reference to abortion? Doesn't the Two-Source Hypothesis presuppose or imply Matthew and Luke's respective ignorance of one another since they differ most significantly in the narrative material not taken from Mark? If this is the case, doesn't this clash with the hypothesis of Polycarp as both the Ecclesiastical Redactor (or more to the point, Expander) of Ur-Lukas or Marcion's "Luke" and the compiler of a New Testament canon, as he would then have to be well aware of Matthew? I wonder if you could comment on the parable of the wedding banquet (Matthew 22:1-14).
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-047

David Trobisch replies. More info on the Lemba and the Falasha. If John the Baptist is held in such high esteem by Christians today, why assume ancient Christians would have found his baptism of Jesus an embarrassment? I noticed that your translation of John 1:1 reads 'was a God'. Would you please offer an apologia of your alleged 'frightful mistranslation'? Is there anything outside the Bible to indicate the existence of some sort of Paul, or should we be as agnostic about his existence as about everything else reported in the New Testament? Is the story of Cain and Abel a justification for aggression by the sheep-herding writers against their farming neighbors?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-046

By moving the Transfiguration to come after the 1st Passion Prediction (8:31), the redactor altered Mark's Gospel from clearly adoptionist to merely having adoptionist overtones, and screwed up the literary quality of the story. Were certain gospels, etc., excluded from the canon because they contained inconvenient statements that later church authorities were keen to gloss over? Any thoughts about the "family of Jesus" stuff, which I know of primarily from reading Mack and Eisenman? Could you please explain what the "rape of Dinah" story meant at that time? It occurs to me the "four facts" that Habermas, Licona, and Craig say prove the resurrection can be explained by something I've never seen the HLC crew challenged with: hoax. Have you, or other scholars, explored the possibility that the founding executive of Christianity was an insincere opportunist, along the lines of Lucian's Alexander, or Joseph Smith, or L. Ron Hubbard? Might the statement concerning John that "the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is" (Mt. 11:11) be Marcionite in origin? How would we recognize an original autograph manuscript of a NT book if we did find it? Is it fair to say that you are a full mythicist, while Bart Ehrman is a majority 75% or 90% mythicist? Why would someone trying to write a history intentionally do artsy things that expose it as literature? Are we to understand that the gospels were not intended to be history?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-045

Glimpses of David Oliver Smith's work on chiasm and interpolation in Mark's gospel. Why does God appear to Moses in the form of a burning bush, not the pillar of fire? In the opening passage of the Gospel of John, why is "logos" universally translated as "word"? Does Genesis 5:24 suggest an early Israelite belief in some sort of heavenly afterlife, available only to some, and distinct from Sheol, the usual afterlife destination? What is implied when Moses, et al, are said to be "gathered to their people" when they die? What parts if any of the old testament were written by nomadic herders? How confident are scholars that Yahweh is the most accurate pronunciation since the word was not spoken except by the high priest once a year in the temple? What are differences that you know of between the Jewish and Samaritan Pentateuchs? When did they diverge from each other? And how does the timing of this divergence influence the idea how and when the Jewish Pentateuch was finalized? How do Biblicists make sense of the disgusting text Malachi 2:3? The saying, "God helps those who help themselves" isn't in the Bible, but is any such concept to be found? Why, in the Transfiguration in Mark's Gospel, does the narrator tells the reader that after 6 days Jesus takes Peter, James and John up the mountain? â?¦ After what?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-044

Why is an UNMARRIED couple traveling together as in Luke 2:4-5? What do you think of the argument that God speaking of "we" in Genesis is "the royal we"? What does that mean to have "little faith"? You suggested that Osama and Uthman are the same root name, but that doesn't seem to be true. In The Simpsons Reverend Lovejoy says the Bible does not allow us to go to the bathroom. Is there anything even remotely similar in the Bible? The Lemba should not be considered African Jews, at least not when compared to the Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jews) and the Falash Mura/Beta Abraham (Ethiopian Jews who converted within the last few centuries to Christianity). Is there any basis for the popular belief that, based on Psalm 46, Shakespeare helped translate the KJV? Is there any basis to the notion that the 12 disciples were young rabbinic school dropouts? Are there any church traditions related to the age of the disciples? What do you think is "early" for documents related to Jesus? Christians say God 1) loves mankind and cares for our eternal fate, 2) has issued rules we must follow to avoid damnation, and 3) possesses the absolute power to instantly and unambiguously convey these rules to each of us. Yet He gave His good news only to a dozen illiterate fishers and herdsmen in a remote desert tribe. We are then asked to believe He, in his compassionate power, oversaw the oral transmission, error-prone transcription, and fallible translation of contradictory gospels, leading to divergence and schism. What do you think? Is Genesis 27:5-25 a myth about a solar eclipse? The broad details of Abram going to Egypt during a plague, getting close to Pharaoh, being mixed up in some sexual impropriety, and God smiting the Egyptians with plagues (Gen. 12.10-20) is very similar to the descent of Israel to Egypt and of course the Exodus. Is it likely that this story of Abram was in time extrapolated to apply to the whole nation? What do you think of Madame Blavatsky's explanation of the rumor that Jews worshiped an ass-headed idol? King Herod asks the wise men when the star had appeared, so why doesn't Matthew tell us? Whence the notion of there being a trio of wise men? Why is Jesus called a "child" rather than a toddler once the wise men arrive? Could there have been another, older kid there? During the temptation of Jesus is Satan depicted as a villain? Whence the idea that Jesus was 30 years old? Why do none of the Egyptians seem to realize what's going on during the plagues? What are your thoughts about OT prophecies "of Jesus"? Why do Luke and Acts speak of both "the cross" and "the tree"? Just synonyms? Problems with the apologists' claim that "On that day you will surely die" means "On that day your eventual death becomes certain." Might the Nephilim of Genesis 6 have some connection with the Norse Niflheim? What do you make of Schmithals reading of 1 Cor 1:12? Is it possible that the John of Luke 1 and John the Baptist of Luke 3 are not the same Johns and that their conflation was accidental or half-accidental? Is it possible that Luke 1 was a later interpolation intended to establish the credentials of an early gospel writer named John? Is it possible that the Gospel of John was written specifically to capitalize on the reference to a prophet (not Baptist) John in Luke 1? Is it possible that Luke never meant to say that Jesus was born in a stable, since the underlying Greek word is kataluma, also used for the 'upper room' during the Last Supper?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-043

What does it mean that Jesus compares John to a reed shaken by the wind and to a person dressed in soft robes? What if James's brother John is really John the Baptist? This would mean that John the Baptist was the Lord that Paul was referring to. This would make John the Baptist the historical Jesus. It was only at his resurrection that he was given the name Jesus or Savior (Phil. 2:9-10). What do you think? We're all familiar with nationalities being represented in the Bible by single characters, (e.g. Judas to represent Judeans as a people, but what about talking animals like the Eden snake or Balaam's ass? Or New Testament examples like the Four Heavenly Beasts? Doesn't the movie Flight Club have many elements of mystery religion initiation as well as with the anti-possessions stance of Cynicism? Suggestions about David Trobisch's theory on the Pauline letter collection. In the Prodigal Son story, what do you think is the purpose of designating the two as elder and younger? Is it possible that Matthew 19:12 was lifted directly from the Graeco-Phrygian god "Attis" who is depicted as a castrated god? Might the Markan Appendix be aimed at Hinduism? Doesn't it seem entirely reasonable for members of a faith to believe their own faith is the correct one, and that nonbelievers/non-practitioners would be wrong (and/or damned)? Which 4 heads should go on a Mount Rushmore of apologists? What's the difference between a "fundamentalist" and a "maximal conservative"?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-042

How could the atonement (and the scapegoat ritual underlying it) be understood as something other than an immoral passing of the proverbial buck? Wouldn't a satirical and disrespectful description of a faith system work well with regard to debating men like William Lane Craig? What novels would you recommend that deal with a critical take on the bible? Why was Adam specifically sentenced to dig, not to hunt or fish, or gather mushrooms and berries? Does Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" reflect a Christian Atheist trend of the time? Zech 2:10 - 3:8 features speaking parts for Satan, Jehovah, and some angel, but who is saying what? Why aren't more scholars jumping on the mythicist bandwagon? How does salt lose its savor? Why does every gospel include a John the Baptist story near the beginning? Was John so widely known and respected at the time that his testimony would convince readers all around the Mediterranean to believe in Jesus? Does the story about John sending his disciple to Jesus to ask "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?" (Matthew 11 and Luke 7) mean that John no longer had faith in Jesus?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-041

Simon of Cyrene and the chiastic structure of Mark. What accounts for the hostility of members of different religions or even denominations of the same one? How likely do you think it is that there are still authentic yet archeologically undiscovered Biblical manuscripts? What differences would you expect from Canonical texts discovered from earlier periods than we currently have? If Matthew did not mean to present Jesus' birth as a miraculous virgin birth, how do you understand the angel's words to Joseph: "For that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit" (Mt. 1:20)? Should I tell what I know about biblical criticism in order to help prevent the kind of wreckage that religion is capable of causing? How would you explain to an evangelical Christian the scholarly quest for the historical Jesus? Were the saints that rose from the dead in Jerusalem during the crucifixion the result of the harrowing of hell? What if the Snake was originally the owner of the Garden of Eden and the one whom Adam & Eve disobeyed? Is the scarcity of the term "Christian" in the NT is a mark of the tests' very late date? More info on the origins of "knecht" and "knight." Was the Emperor Constantine definitively converted to Christianity or not? I've always heard that one enters heaven with a whole and complete body, whether it is physical or not, but doesn't Matthew 18:9 suggest that one can enter heaven with only one eye? We are willing to pull the plug on someone's life when that person is brain dead. Can't we use this same standard when judging an unborn child? If there was a Jesus, do you think he was crucified on a cross as opposed to a tree? At Caesarea Philippi, does Peter recognize the truth about Jesus or is he mistaken as usual? If the cherubs atop the Ark of the Covenant were depicted in sexual embrace, does this not imply Judaism was basically (or originally) a fertility cult? Is it reasonable to suspect that the author of Hebrews was a believer in Merkabah mysticism? Is it possible that the Essene community, expecting a Davidic Messiah to come after (the priestly Messiah), eventually created a mythical Jesus, perhaps rethinking the nature of the kingdom of God altogether?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-040

Ephesians 1:3-14 constitutes one sentence. Is there a mnemonic trick for mentally processing these long passages the first time through? Are run-on sentences common in other Greek literature of the period? What would be The Geek's "central theme" to the bible? Was Tertullian correct in his report that the author of the Acts of Paul & Thecla was defrocked as a forger and his book debunked? Bart Ehrman says that the cult of St. Thecla was once so popular that it rivaled even with the cult of the Virgin Mary. What is the evidence for this? Is there any evidence the canonical Acts of the Apostles shared the encratite teaching found in the various Apocryphal Acts? Observations on same-sex marriage and Christianity. What are the sources about Jesus having a brother James? Is there a 'best qualification' to have in order to examine if Jesus existed? Is it best to be a Textual Critic? Apologists say that you can't test God, "God does not put on a show for you," but aren't these Bible passages in which God does this? Can we say the Noachian Flood is a metaphor for Baptism, the cleansing of sin by water? We have two incompatible genealogies for Jesus, so I suppose it's fortunate we have two Jesuses: Jesus ben Joseph and Jesus Barabbas. Why don't more mythicists point out that there is no evidence for the existence of various towns mentioned in the gospels? Analogies between the related concepts of Trinitarianism and Modalism and some elements of Quantum Field Theory.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-039

Did the Gnostics and the Mystery Religion initiates employ any secret way of communicating? How do apologists explain away anachronistic sayings in which Jesus is made to address or refute issues that arose in the early church? In the AMC series "Humans" I see a parallel with the creation of humans by the Archons in Gnosticism. Any relevance to actual Artificial Intelligence work? What stops apologists from going all the way and just saying the gospels came immediately after Jesus' death? Might the doctrine of perpetual virginity of Mary have been an attempt by the emerging church to prevent anyone else from one-upping their founding authority? Authority could not rest with the "brothers of the Lord" since there couldn't have been any! Is it possible that Luke felt the need to change Matthew's genealogy because of the curse given to Jeconiah that "no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling anymore in Judah" (Jer. 22:30)? If so, would this be proof that Luke was written after Matthew and was responding to it? Why did the Dead Sea Scrolls community insist on the use of the solar calendar instead of the lunar calendar used by the Pharisees and the Sadducees? In a recent episode, you were talking about prohibitions of divorce in the gospels but you indicated that while Mark and Luke appear to have no exceptions, they are not as strict as they appear. Why? How an infinite something could nonetheless have a boundary. Why do you think Luke may not have meant to tell us Jesus was the result of a miraculous conception? Natives of Madagascar practice a circumcision ritual wherein a 5 year old boy is circumcised, then a male member of the family must eat the severed foreskin ... off the end of a banana no less. Can this be a vestige of an unknown Jewish mission to Madagascar? Or may circumcision have been borrowed from Africa?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-038

You've mentioned that Yahweh derived from Canaanite polytheism, and I wonder if you could go into further detail on the subject and provide a list of suggested readings. Do the archetypal names Adam ("man" or "mankind") and Eve ("mother of all living") mean that they were intended as mythic figures? Does Paul's language indicate he thought of Adam as an historical individual, and would that be common in first-century Judaism? What about Pharisaic Judaism is so at odds with the teachings of pseudo-Jesus? Why are fundamentalists so attached to the King James translation? Doesn't it matter that King James was gay? Is the information age going to be the death of religion (except maybe as literature)? There are 67 years between the death of Hezekiah through the reigns of Manasseh and Amon up to the time of Josiah finding the scroll of the Torah. Are we to believe that the inhabitants of Judah had completely forgotten the Torah in that 67 year period? You have said that there is no archaeological evidence to substantiate the Exodus story, but does the evidence show any movements at all in the Sinai? Might Irish monasticism have been influenced by the Desert Fathers of Egypt? What did Egypt represent for the Israelites in the Old Testament and then for the early Christians? Why did Judaism and its offshoots become dominant in the West rather than some modified form of the Egyptian religion? I was wondering if you could discuss the theology of Zoroastrianism, in particular the aspects that influenced Abrahamic faiths.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-037

The Nephilim and their offspring make their brief guest appearance in Gen 6:4. "They were the heroes of old, men of renown". The immediately following verse delivers a sudden condemnation of the evil of men, followed by Yahwe resolving to wipe all life from the face of the earth. Have two unrelated stories been stitched together here - or are we missing something? What do you think of Gregory Riley's theories in The River of God? Could you recommend books on Zoroastrian influence on Judaism and Christianity? Is Bart Ehrman correct that pagan religions had no concept of scripture or holy books? Why do some scholars refuse to accept that there were pagan influences on Judaism and Christianity? Where does the idea of exclusivity in Christianity and Islam come from? How can one show that Marcion's theology not only influenced but also became a bedrock of Christianity?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-036

What is a good source for understanding the polytheistic pre-Jewish religion? Did early Muslims have to syncretize or cater to multiple groups like early Christians did? Am I right in thinking that the Valentinian Gnostic Pleroma is a series of realities where concepts such as truth, peace, and justice exist in perfection and that the seeds imbued into our reality of the Pleroma are a mythological way of explaining why these concepts can only partially exist in our reality? J D G Dunn argued in defense of the historicity of the empty tomb account, saying that it is unlikely that a fabricated account would cast women as the central characters. Valid? Bart Ehrman that since book-ends of Jesus' career are apocalyptic (baptism by John at one end, followers who are apocalyptic at the other), it must be the case that Jesus himself was apocalyptic in his outlook. Do you agree? In the ancient world, salt was often not just impure but laced with dirt or deliberately cut with other things to add flavors. Sachets were made to filter the salt, and these were then dunked into water to be used to cook rather like tea bags are today. After some number of dunks, the result was a small sack of tasteless dirt, fit only to be trod into the earth. Does this lie behind the famous gospel passage of treading underfoot salt that has lost its savor? Have you heard it suggested that the story of Eden about explaining the need humans have to eat and excrete? That the snake in the story is the human alimentary canal?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-035

Did Joshua's troops violate the Sabbath by carrying trumpets around Jericho, or aren't such rabbinical restrictions anachronistic? Now everyone is emphasizing the Jewish nature of the gospels, how Jesus is the product of Jewish, rather than Greek culture. How much of this is scholars seeing what they want to see? How solid are the arguments, made by Jane Schaberg and others, that Jesus was illegitimate? Where in the Bible does the idea of 'ensoulment' arise? Which source do you think presents a more "accurate" picture of John the Baptist - the Synoptics or Josephus? In Matthew 27:32 why does tradition advocate that the antecedent of "his" in the "his cross" phrase refers back to Jesus and not the last nominative that appeared in the sentence, the man named Simon? Could the business about Simon the Cyrenian bearing Jesus' cross be a reference to anything but picking up a physical cross, such as Simon Peter (the Cyrenian) perhaps taking over the ministry? An apologetical mistranslation in the NASB. Some say that the Parable of the Ten Minas in Luke 19 is meant to be read as satire. Huh? Doesn't the story in 2 Kings 3 say that Israel was routed by the wrath of the Moabite god? Can you suggest some critical introductions to the Koran?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-034

Is it true that in the ancient world there two behavior codes, one moral, one ritual, and that to unify morality and religion was a Hebrew innovation? What would have been the social survival value of exclusively religious rules? Might the passage from 2 Kings 2:23-24 about Elisha and the she-bears have intended to teach us to be careful about possible damage done by careless words? In the story of the loaves and fishes, was Jesus simply setting an example about sharing? Why is it a miracle? Does the Bible really teach that God is infinite? If he were, wouldn't we have Pantheism? What is the purpose of the story in Daniel of Nebuchadnezzar's time as a feral beast-man? Explaining how we know how the ancients pronounced words. Doesn't the story of the Sheep and the Goats teach salvation by works of mercy? Have you changed your views as to whether the Sermon on the Mount was influenced by Buddhism? Is there is a case to be made that the Cynics were influenced by Buddhist missionaries? Were the teachings of Jesus created to correct the obvious flaws in the Old Testament God?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-033

How has scholarship on Galilee impacted studies of the Historical Jesus? What do you make of N.T. Wright's 'criteria of double dissimilarity and similarity'? Please recommend some books on Hell. What are some good responses to Christians who don't accept Higher Criticism? What do you think of John Allegro's book "The Sacred Mushroom And The Cross"? Why do Jewish scholars seem more open to Moses being a myth than Christian scholars are to the Christ myth theory? A recent incident occurred with relevance to historicity, oral traditions, faith and formations of legends. Might there have originally been one Mary that then got split into many different characters, like you posit for many of the 12? Where is the line between a historical Jesus and a fictive Jesus to be drawn? How minimalistic can you get and still have something called a "historical" Jesus? What is the latest possible date for Mark and the other NT books?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-032

Why was the Christ Myth so popular and how did it spread so quickly if it was totally untrue? If there had never been the teachings of Christ bringing a sense of the equality of souls, would we have the Declaration of Independence that brought a sense of equality before the law? Was the so-called "New Quest" for the Historical Jesus in the end colored by a sort of apologetics? In Genesis the Nephilim existed before the flood, yet it also shows them in Numbers, Deuteronomy, Amos and Joshua after the flood. How did they survive the flood? Are both groups related or did more angels go after humans girls after the flood? Are there any lost non-canonical Bible books you'd like to have known more about? I'm looking for initial chinks in the armor of biblical inerrancy that might get even the staunchest fundamentalist asking questions. Can you suggest some questions to ask them? What is the difference between saying "There is no God" and saying "God is dead"? Please discuss the idea of taking the Eucharist as an atheist. In what order might one read the Bible to reflect the development of biblical thought? Might the use of "ecclesia" or "flock" by later NT writers be an attempt to work out what is meant in remembered sayings using those terms to mean something like "sangha" in Buddhism? In view of the propaganda use of the Bible against gays and gay marriage, isn't a scientific, critical study of the Bible more urgent than ever? Which do you think is the older, the Jesus Movements or the Christ cults?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-031

Another Bible Geek Show special: Dr. Price reads "The Austerity Gospel of Gordon Fee," a paper written for a Johnnie Coleman colloquium.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-030

Was David an historical figure? Might he have originally been a great Psalmist later reinterpreted as a king? Might astrology have been condemned in Israel as unauthorized petitioning of guidance from angels ("stars") instead of God? Might L. Ron Hubbard's "Thetan" mythology have been derived from 1 Enoch? In the story of Jesus healing a man's withered hand (Matthew 12:9-13), might Jesus have been telling him to cast off the oppressing hand of a crippling demon? Was the story of Paul driving out a demon from the woman who followed him in Acts 16:16 structured as a kind of anti-parallel to the Gadarene demoniac of Luke? Does it suggest that there were diviners not directly associated with Christianity that were, nevertheless, accepted as inferior but still speaking by the spirit of God? Do you know anything about Watchman Nee and his present-day following? Is J.N. Darby's translation skewed by his (Dispensationalist) beliefs? What do you think of the various interpretations and translations of 1 Timothy 2:11-15? Might Mark's Messianic Secret texts (silencing the blabbermouth demons, etc.) have been derived from 1 Cor 2:7-8? What do you think of the philosophical position of igtheism, or ignosticism? Was the early Christian doctrine that sins could not be forgiven after baptism prevalent only among "orthodox" Catholics or was it more widespread? Where did it come from? Re the Supreme Court decision requiring all the states to perform and recognize gay marriages, what are your thoughts on the fears of many who don't accept gay marriage that the government will force them to act contrary to their religious beliefs? In Acts 2 and 4 it seems like the Christians in Jerusalem were practicing a kind of communal property and redistribution. What exactly is going on here? Was this only temporary? Was it only in Jerusalem?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-029

What do you think of DM Murdock's book Did Moses Exist? The Myth of the Israelite Lawgiver, and her mythicist theories? Christine Hayes understands the story of Abraham's attempted sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis 22 as Yahweh realizing that humans who obey every command without thinking are just as bad as the ones who disobey every command. Have you heard this interpretation before? Is there a relation between "Ye are the salt of the earth" and the story of Uddalaka and his son in the Chandogya Upanishad? What do you make of the fact that both Mark's parable chapter and the Olivet Discourse are single, elaborate chiasms, whereas the rest of Mark is made of individual pericopes, each with its own chiasm? And why does Mark 4 use repeated hearing language, while chapter 13 has seeing language? Did Christianity contribute to the decline of the Roman Empire as Edward Gibbon says? Did alliance with a powerful Rome allow Orthodox Catholicism to triumph over rival Christian sects, or was it the decline of Rome that contributed to its triumph? Were the Crusades necessary because of Moslem persecution of Christians? What was the original intent of texts such as 1 Corinthians chapter 5:11-13, 2 John 9-10, Matthew 18:15-17 dealing with excommunication or "disfellowshipping"? Was Mark 9:38-41 a slight jab at Paul because he was not in the inner circle of the earliest adherents of Christianity? Has Mark 9:38-41 been interpolated? Why do you suppose the church started limiting scripture readings to short passages? Has the Christ myth theory gained any footing in the Orthodox Jewish community or even amongst followers of Reform Judaism?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-028

Info on the "History in the Bible" podcast by Garry Stevens ( Would you agree that some atheists who want to "purge society of religion" in order to create a perfect world, as they seem to believe that (organized?) religion is the root of all evil, are more evangelical that evangelical Christians? Whether Jesus was a 100 BCE mystic or whether he never existed at all, if you don't take the Gospels as "Gospel," why did the Jesus "Movement" take place at this time in history? Can you recommend an annotated edition of the Koran? If the gospel of Mark is the fictional product of a small group of authors, doesn't that process obviate the need for a historical hero cult? What evidence other than Mark exists for a Jesus hero cult? Might the fictive glories of David and Solomon be fictionalizations of the glories of Omride Israel, borrowed by Judah after the Assyrian conquest of the north? How does anybody know how ancient words and names were supposed to be pronounced? At his trial Jesus is asked if he is the son of "the Blessed" and says he will take his seat at the right hand of "Power." Why this avoidance of the divine Name? Is there any real evidence of an underground stream of Modalist and/or Pentecostal belief between the 1st century and the 20th? 1 Corinthians 2:7-8 says the angelic rulers did not recognize Jesus for what he was, while various Markan stories show demons acknowledging him as God's Sonâ??a contradiction? Might Jonah's swallowing by a fish have originally been part of a mystery initiation re-enacting Yahweh's death and resurrection (a la Marduk, Baal, etc.)? Might the Seals on the Scroll in Revelation refer to restraining bonds on various creatures described in the book?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-027

Might the Eden story be an etiological myth about the digestive tract? What is the actual historical context of the condemnations of homosexuality in Leviticus 18 and 20? Can the relationships between David and Jonathan, and between Ruth and Naomi, fairly be understood as homosexual in character? Should we infer from Jesus' silence about gay people that he tacitly approved of loving homosexual relationships? Rahab and her household were spared the general destruction of the city because she put a scarlet cord in her window as a signal to the Israelites. But given that her house was part of the city wall (Joshua 2:15), how come it was still there after the wall collapsed, with Rahab still alive inside? God's commands the Israelites to walk round the walls of Jericho for six days with the priest carrying trumpets in front of the ark; and then on the seventh day to do the same thing but this time blow the trumpets. Given that one of these days must have been the Sabbath, does trumpet carrying not count as work? What is your opinion of the NIV translation of the Bible? What is the history and background and who was behind this translation? How would Christianity have evolved if Marcion's theology had prevailed? In view of the obvious seams in John, how do conservative scholars justify maintaining that John was written by a single author? Do you think that the gospels were put together with the liturgical calendar in mind? Why has there not been a race to the bottom in religion? How can kindly Gods be popular? If Pascal was right then we should choose to worship Satan or Charles Manson. Is there a good read-along guide for reading the whole Bible? Perhaps reading the books in the order in which they were written? Might Dr. Christian Lindtner be correct that Q is to be identified with the Lotus Sutra? What about the theory that the Ur-Markus was the basis of the synoptics? In 1 Cor. 15, Paul first refers to some scriptures dealing with resurrection, etc. but NT scholars agree that such scriptures can hardly be found in the OT. BUT wouldn't it be a better explanation to posit the use of Buddhist scriptures where such elements are actually found? Why is the word "church" so scarce in the canonical gospels, appearing only in Matthew 16:18 and Matthew 18:17? Why did the Samaritans accept only the Pentateuch as authoritative, but not the Prophets or any other books?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-026

Please recommend a few books on Hellenistic culture and influence in Judea/Palestine. In Mathew 3:9 John the Baptist is lambasting those poor old Pharisees and Sadducees again. But I really don't understand his meaning. "Do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our ancestor'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham." What does Matthew 24:28 mean? If the bible doesn't mention abortion, what on earth is Numbers 5:11-31 about? In my view, what Ezekiel described in Eze 28:13-15 and Eze 1:13-14 were not stars but plasma discontinuities. The Roman Catholic Church claims that Peter was the first pope. How true is this? Did Peter even exist? Is the Petrine Doctrine an interpolation? How or why do you reject Pascal's wager? Couldn't there be a Quadrinity? What about 5 members of the Godhead? Or a million? How does Proteus Peregrines fit in to the Paul-Simon puzzle? Might the Ophites have been a survival of the worship of Leviathan? Is it possible that the story of the Exodus is a memory of the Hyksos being expelled from Egypt? Is it possible that there was some sort of Enosh-Enoch-Moses-Noah ur-patriarch? According to William Lane Craig, there is an increase in conservative scholarship. Is this true? How reliable is conservative scholarship? Is it all or mostly ax-grinding? Comments on Let the Reader Understand by Robert M. Fowler and Thomas L. Thompson's The Mythic Past.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-025

Robert M. Price reads his essay "Lotus and the Logos".
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-024

A Buddhist key to the puzzle of the fourfold gospel canon. Please contrast the story of the Widow's Mite with that of Ananias & Sapphira. Was Theophilus in the Lukan prologue Theophilus, bishop of Antioch during year 169-183 AD? Who do you think is the EARLIEST likely historical Old Testament and New Testament characters? What's with the "Mark of Cain?" What is the biblical basis for this idea that we're all rotten, stinkin' sinners who deserve to be tortured for eternity, and who are saved from receiving our just deserts only by God's grace? What is the historical lineage of this "humans are evil crap" meme? Does "hate" in Luke 14:26 really just mean "love less"? Was Yahweh originally a volcano god? If Jesus was affixed to a post, hands nailed above his head, would it change our idea of how Jesus was thought to be executed and the wounds he would have suffered? How do Christians explain the concept of "fully God and fully man" nature of Christ?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-023

King Ahab and Elijah question from the 5/27/15 podcast revisited. The criterion of embarrassment: might many groups within the Roman empire's social hierarchy not consider death on the cross in any way ignoble, disqualifying the criterion? Is the whole of 1 Corinthians 15 (not just 3-11) an interpolation? Don't myths necessarily develop over a long period of time, rather than appearing suddenly fully formed? What about 1 Thessalonians where "Paul" already appears to believe in an apocalyptic parousia, both a first and second coming within his own lifetime? Answering the damn phone! In Genesis, why does not God talk directly to Joseph, like the earlier patriarchs? Is the story of Noah simply a retelling of the Eden story? Is there any connection between Joseph and Daniel, given certain parallels? Why do you disagree that the "stylistic" and "vocabulary" analyses of the seven "undisputed" Pauline epistles trumps your analysis of the dating, among other, criteria for inauthenticity? Is there a relation between Gideon's biblical "300" and the Spartans? What do yourself and other biblical scholars think of Zacharia Sitchen's theories? Has Dr. Price read "The Preacher" comic book series? Regarding your rejection of the authenticity of "Secret Mark": considering both the great number of familiar Markan phrases and the chiastic structure of nearly every canonical Markan pericopes seen as stylistically characteristic of Mark; does this not seem as a further argument against the authenticity of "Secret Mark" which lacks these literary distinctives? Did the followers of Chrestos have fewer cavities? Does the Bible speak of "natural selection," or is there anything resembling modern evolutionary theory contained in it? A question about a question from the 3/27/15 podcast, concerning Quran surya 33 and the Shi'ites. Concerning the recent panel discussion of Dr. Price with Richard Carrier and David Fitzgerald, would not Goodacre's theory better explain the synoptic problem over the various two-source theories?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-022

How well did Mohammad tie into the Jewish and Christian origins? Did he teach that the historical aspects of the Jewish and Christian religions were pretty well accurate up through the time he received his revelations? Are there characters in his narrative that do not appear at all in the Christian Bible? How did apologists deal with the Tower of Babel story when compared to our landing on the moon and Voyager leaving the solar system? Was the prohibition on saying the name of God, or questioning him in any way, an attempt by his prophets to keep people from looking to closely at the inconsistencies in their stories? How do the apologists deal with the different animals in America and Australia that could not have gotten on the ark? How do Creationists deal with the size of the universe and the speed of light? Do you think Westerners are wrong to deliberately provoke Islamic militants by insulting them or their faith? Wherefore the discontinuance of child sacrifices? Does the Old Testament support Matt Slick's inference about the "Old Testament God" being "the incarnate Christ?" Is Bar Kochba related, literarily, to the nativity of Jesus, i.e., the star that the Magi use as a guide? Is there any evidence Mark's gospel was written as a play, a simplistic rendering of 1st century history and Marcionite-Christianity, and that Matthew and Luke stepped up to challenge it (via different mediums)? Any comment on Bart Ehrman's dim view of the work of the Jesus Seminar? Do we get any sense anywhere in the Bible that demons can read our minds? Why is King Ahab considered a villain? The Hebrew Roots movement teaches that Paul was really teaching his converts to KEEP the Torah. Can a plain reading of Paul's epistles be interpreted like this? Could "seething a goat in its mother's milk have been part of a pagan fertility ritual of some kind or a command not to slaughter an animal before its weaned? What sort of viper bit Paul on Malta?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-021

Aren't the "stones fire" in Ezek. 28:13-15 the same as the "coals of fire" in Ezek. 1? Isn't NT Christology a direct continuation of Philo? And what is his role in the evolution of the Christ Myth? Is Michael Hardin correct that the phrase "son of Damneus" isn't found in any of the original Greek texts of Josephus? If Marcionitism had become the dominant form of Christianity, and copies of the 27-book NT had been unearthed in modern times, what would we make of it? According to traditional Christianity is the Old Testament YHWH considered God the Father, Jesus, the Trinity itself? Do the Islamic State's activities reflect the teachings of the Qur'an or not? Is it possible that Saul/Paul was Marcion's father, Saul being a converted Jew, and that when he died, Marcion inherited his letters? Do the Hauptbriefe have a core/original author, with any contradictions between them to be explained as later additions and edits, or is there no core author? Song of Songs 6:4 mentions both Tirzah, the capital of Northern Israel after King Jeroboam relocated from Shechem to Tirzah, and Jerusalem. Why would the author, pretending to be King Solomon make such an obvious anachronism? Does Judges 1:19, in which God was unable to clear enemies of his people from the valley because they had chariots of iron, imply that God was not always so omnipotent? If God has to exist outside the confines of our space-time multiverse, then souls don't just spend the rest of eternity in either Heaven or Hell. The moment that they enter eternity, they exist throughout all of eternity. That means that they have been in Heaven or Hell since the beginning of the universe and throughout their lifespan as well. To your knowledge, has this issue been discussed in Christian circles?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-020

How common was it in the ancient world for the first book written about someone to be 40 years after their death? How do apologists explain how Moses learned and wrote about the stories that pre-date his birth? Is there any real difference between the doctrine of predestination and its hardcore version of "double predestination" espoused by some Calvinists? Christian apologists defending the historical resurrection of Jesus often use the appearance of Jesus to Paul as evidence that the resurrection really happened. A historic appearance to Paul would have had to occur post ascension (according to the New Testament timeline). In order to argue that Paul is encountering the resurrected Jesus, wouldn't you have to assume that Jesus returned to earth after the ascension? Should we now to be expecting a 3rd coming? Has any scholarly work pointed out the 'deconstruction' of distinctions in Gospel of Thomas and the mystical experience underlying it? How often and where does the phrase 'the age' appear in the New Testament? Does it come from the Old Testament or is it unique to the New? To what does it refer? In 1 Corinthians 15:3 Paul says that Jesus was "seen by Cephas, then by the twelve." Nowhere in the gospel accounts does Jesus appear to twelve disciples. What does this say about Judas' role in the passion narrative? Does the term "Judas (not Iscariot)" suggest that a single Judas has been split into various characters, including Thomas? What is your view of the Muratorian Fragment? Is there a resource where I can get a list of "Q" material? When is the earliest extra-biblical evidence for the existence of the church? Who are the earliest Christians to be mentioned by contemporaries? Which NT characters were historical figures? Discussion of Diodorus Siculus' account of how Orpheus identified Osiris with Dionysus and its implications for mythicism, the virgin birth and the ethnicity/color of the Egyptians. If the letters of Ignatius are essentially fiction, what are your thoughts about how and why they came to be written? Why do the chronology of Mark and Luke differ on the time of day/night Jesus faced the Sanhedrin? In Revelation, are the "Jews" who belong to the "synagogue of Satan" the Paulinists? When the interpretation of a particular verse hinges on one or two words, when does the manuscript evidence kick in?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-019

Why would the disciples need any Paraclete at all to lead them if Jesus was supposed to return during their lifetimes? Are there any scholars/books you feel comfortable simply rejecting based on reputation or first impressions? Why not shelve the larger question of whether Jesus is a myth and just consider the historical veracity of each gospel story or saying, case by case? Might the character Doeg the Edomite, chief herdsman to King Saul, be a reference to/allegory of the Edomites sacking the Temple and killing the Priests during the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem? The Muratorian Fragment refers to the Apocalypse of John being the predecessor of Paul. Can he mean Revelation predates the Pauline Epistles? Who is "the man" in the Apocalypse of Abraham worshipped by some, reviled by others, a Gentile who converts Gentiles to monotheism? Is it possible that the Apocalypse of Abraham was written in reaction to the fall of Jerusalem and the loss of the Temple? If so, could it be Ebionite in origin? I am interested by your biography and "evolution" and wonder what you consider yourself to be (religiously/philosophically) at this juncture? Does the criterion of embarrassment really vindicate the historicity of Jesus being baptized by John? What if the incarnation and crucifixion meant that God was atoning for his own sins in creating a sinful world? How do the Ishtar/Tammuz and Isis/Osiris myths factor into the development of proto-Christianity? Do holy mackerels worship the Lord thy Cod? Could the episode of the "wise men" who visit Jesus be Christianity's first attempt to make Jesus acceptable to "science?"
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-018

Why would the disciples need any Paraclete at all to lead them if Jesus was supposed to return during their lifetimes? Are there any scholars/books you feel comfortable simply rejecting based on reputation or first impressions? Why not shelve the larger question of whether Jesus is a myth and just consider the historical veracity of each gospel story or saying, case by case? Might the character Doeg the Edomite, chief herdsman to King Saul, be a reference to/allegory of the Edomites sacking the Temple and killing the Priests during the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem? The Muratorian Fragment refers to the Apocalypse of John being the predecessor of Paul. Can he mean Revelation predates the Pauline Epistles? Who is "the man" in the Apocalypse of Abraham worshipped by some, reviled by others, a Gentile who converts Gentiles to monotheism? Is it possible that the Apocalypse of Abraham was written in reaction to the fall of Jerusalem and the loss of the Temple? If so, could it be Ebionite in origin? I am interested by your biography and "evolution" and wonder what you consider yourself to be (religiously/philosophically) at this juncture? Does the criterion of embarrassment really vindicate the historicity of Jesus being baptized by John? What if the incarnation and crucifixion meant that God was atoning for his own sins in creating a sinful world? How do the Ishtar/Tammuz and Isis/Osiris myths factor into the development of proto-Christianity? Do holy mackerels worship the Lord thy Cod? Could the episode of the "wise men" who visit Jesus be Christianity's first attempt to make Jesus acceptable to "science?"
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-017

Is Paul's claim that he will "remain in Ephesus until Pentecost" (1 Cor. 16:8) a bit of Catholicizing redaction? In Acts 21:38 the RSV and other translations read "assassins," but the Greek word is actually "sicarii." Would you say this is a poor translation? What do you think of John Allegro's book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross? Have you ever read the books about Jesus traveling to India, or that Jesus was really a Hindu or a Buddhist; that Jesus was called Krishna, etc.? What was the point of including all the variant doublets in the Pentateuch? Wouldn't readers favoring one version be upset if their favorite came second in order? Would it make sense to view Babel as an anti-Jerusalem? Are the names of David's sons ironic comments on their deeds? Does Josephus mean that Pharisees believed in reincarnation or resurrection? 1 Cor. 1:19 says, "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent." (KJV). Where is this written? Does 1 Cor. 1:17 ("For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be of none effect.") mean that Paul's gospel purely experiential and that there can be no conversion through argumentation but only conversion following revelation? Does 1 Cor. 1:22 ("for the Jews require a sign and the Greeks seek after wisdom") indicate that Paul's Christ lacks historicity? That the Jews needed concrete evidence of salvation is a "stumbling block" for them since Paul's Jesus apparently was not a sign to be seen but merely something that is "preached" and that did not happen for all to see. In an interview you conducted with Thomas Altizer for Point of Inquiry some years ago, you expressed sympathy for Altizer's theology in general and in particular for his idea that God is not merely deadâ??in the rhetorical sense of not existingâ??but had literally died on the cross, never to be resurrected. What I didn't understand was how you, as a mythicist, could support the notion that God had died, when you don't believe he ever lived. If God is eternal, perfect, all-knowing, etc., isn't he paralyzed in a strait jacket of eternal actions? I would like to hear your analysis of the evangelical claims about the mark of the beast and the cashless society. Can you recommend any work that explains the historical and cultural context of each prophecy and an explanation of how modern interpretations of prophecies fail?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-016

Who exactly were Cephas, James and John, mentioned in Galatians 2? Why is the story of the loaves and fishes considered a miracle? The disciples were not the only ones who had some food, but not enough to feed everyone. Jesus got everyone to share some of what they had, and it turns out there was more than enough for everyone. A historic appearance to Paul would have had to occur post ascension (according to the New Testament timeline). In order to argue that Paul is encountering the resurrected Jesus, wouldn't you have to assume that Jesus returned to earth after the ascension? Should we now to be expecting a 3rd coming? A new theory of an historical Jesus should attempt to find Jesus in a wider than traditional historical range. Rene Salm found that Nazareth was inhabited before Jesus was supposedly born, after he supposedly died, but not when he was supposedly alive. And some traditions place Jesus at about 100 BC. Why not start here? Why shouldn't Christian parents refrain from raising their children as Christians? Let them have their own conversion experiences. What are your thoughts are about Papias of Hierapolis? Did he really get first-hand testimony from Jesus' apostles?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-015

Why does Reza Aslan, in his book Zealot, give no hint of the debt his work owes to S. G. F. Brandon? Does the Bible actually command a victim to marry her rapist? Is it possible to reconcile the idea that I gleaned from reading The Great Angel: that Jesus was viewed as some kind of manifestation of Yahweh, with the Jesus myth's incorporation of elements from Ishtar/Tammuz, Isis/Osiris and the Osiris mystery religion? Is possible after all to determine the gender of the author of a given New Testament document? Josephus speaks of a James and John, sons of Susa, who are led by a man named Jesus. Is it possible that 'Susa' is a corrupted form of the name 'Zeus'? t do you think of Francis Schaeffer's contention that the Triune God is the only answer for the philosophical problem of unity in diversity? Is Galatians chapter 2 talking about the same message being preached to two different audiences, or is it two different messages?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-014

Might the Joram mentioned in 1 Samuel 8:9-10 be the same as King Jeroboam? In the LXX, Samuel and Kings are grouped together as 1-4 Kingdoms. Did the translators work from a Hebrew version that grouped these books knowing their origins? Or did the translators realize their provenance and group them? Or is it an accident they align with scholarly consensus? The Old-Latin order of the Gospels was Matthew, John, Luke, Mark. Why would Luke be placed before Mark in this order? In his Genesis commentary, Rashbam says that, on a literal reading, the day does not start in the evening, but in the morning. Likewise, he says the commandment of phylacteries in Exodus 13:9 is not to be taken literally. He observed the traditions but merely pointed out they are not literal commandments of the text. Why should this seem controversial to publishers who have censored his work? What are your thoughts on Dr. Marcus Borg and his work. Where do you place the Gospel of Peter in relation to the canonical gospels and do you think it's dependent or independent? And why does the extant text refer only to "the Lord," not "Jesus"? Is it possible that the evangelists had copies of the epistles and used material from them to construct sayings of Jesus? If so, would this count as evidence for the Christ myth theory? The author of the Epistle of Diognetus, in his second chapter, seems to suppose that Jews were monotheists yet sacrificed to idols. How could he be so ignorant about Judaism? Might this passage represent a gentile belief in a heavenly Christ before that sect had merged with a separate Jewish Jesus Movement? Would that support Burton Mack's reconstruction of the early Christian church? Might it even be a pious forgery from the high middle ages?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-013

Did the author of Acts have a copy of the Pauline and deutero-Pauline epistles in hand and use the (scant) biographical information in them to help him craft stories in his pseudo historical narrative so Acts would match the already extant letters? When I mentioned reading Wellhausen, my professor suggested his opinions, while correct on the sources of the OT, were in other areas considered generally anti-Semitic? Any basis for this? Do you consider terrorism an ancient phenomenon, and specifically one with biblical precedent? With Jesus taking the role of Sophia, what is the need for the Holy Spirit, and why does it become part of the Godhead? Shouldn't apologists drop the argument that, since Jews had no notion of a resurrection of a dead man before the Eschaton, only an actual case of it could have eventuated in belief in Jesus' resurrection? After all, Mark tells us that Jesus' contemporaries believed him to be John the Baptizer raised from the dead, so I guess they could conceive of it happening after all! Is the NT debate over faith vs works anachronistic for the period 40-60 AD? What do you think of apologists destroying mummy masks to hunt for gospel fragments? What books in the bible do we have a clear idea regarding their authorship?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-012

How substantial is the evidence for "James the Just"? We are told when Elkanah and Samuel are introduced that Elkanah (and therefore Samuel) are from Ephraim. Later in Chronicles, he has become a Levite. Did the author of Chronicles invent his Levite pedigree to co-opt him for the Levites? Is it reasonable to think Chronicles is preserving an earlier version of the Daniel character than we have now in the Book of Daniel? Why were the Genesis Patriarchs and Matriarchs so urgent that their children not marry Hittites? What do you think of Ken Schei's thesis that the Ebionites were the original Christians, but Paul succeeded in destroying their religion and usurping authority to lead the followers of Jesus? Did Jesus, as portrayed in the Gospels, think the Kingdom of God was imminent? Was he wrong about this? If He thought the end of the world was at hand, why would he bother preaching liberation for the poor? Aren't many if not all the miracle stories about Jesus besting some older or contemporary God? What do you make of the story of a first-century "copy" of Mark found in an Egyptian papyrus burial mask?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-011

Moses and Minimalism will be coming out in a few weeks. Holy Fable: The Bible Undistorted by Faith is still in the works. A fundamentalist Bible teacher claimed that the Dead Sea Isaiah scroll debunks a "liberal" theory that Christians created Isa. 53 as a prediction of Jesus and inserted it into Isaiah. Huh? Regardless of the date of the authorship of Isaiah, could parts of it be Christian interpolation? Regarding the rise of the monotheistic Yahweh cult and child sacrifice, was this prohibition a deliberate attempt to turn the Israelites to the animal sacrifice cult as an alternative to killing their kids? In Jeremiah, when the sacrifices of cakes to the Queen of Heaven stopped, why did Yahweh still punish the people for idolatry? Too little, too late, like Josiah's reformation? What was the status of Asherah to El in relation to the rise of Yahwism and the Deuteronomistic reforms? Who would win: Barney or H. R. Puffinstuff? Does the existence of demons, sorcerers, etc., in the NT represent polytheism? Why did no one preserve the numerous prophetic and historical books mentioned in the OT, e.g., the Book of Gad the Seer? Does Isaiah promote actual monotheism or henotheism? Since rabbis usually were married and had kids, and Jesus is not so depicted, does this imply docetism in the gospels? Since Abraham's 300 retainers were circumcised, thus members of the covenant, mustn't they have been fathers of Israel, too? Since the Hebrew words for "God" and "nature" share the same gematria value, might we translate Genesis 1:1 as "In the beginning nature created the heavens & the earth"? What is your opinion on various theories of Isaac Asimov equating individuals in the OT with groups, tribes, nations, etc.? In Galatians 3:1, couldn't the Greek word translated "publicly portrayed" also be rendered "written before," the translators misleadingly implying Paul meant he had publicly demonstrated that Jesus' crucifixion was a fulfillment of OT prophecy? What resources are available for citation in academic undergraduate and graduate studies that might be more acceptable to university professors than, for instance, Richard Carrier?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-010

If there are sufficient references in the Gnostic literature to a mythical conception of Jesus (as opposed to an historical conception) at what stage would it make sense to think of the Gnostic authors of antiquity as the very first mythicists? What is the reason for ascribing the Magnificat to Elizabeth instead of Mary? In the Eden story, couldn't the snake ("Levi" = "serpent") be telling Adam to chose between being ruled by a King (Yahweh's vicar) or High Priests? Why would God create the woman helper from Adam's side and thus impart the natural desire for sex if he didn't want procreation? Why would he be angry at the two for acting on a natural desire that He himself created? Also, what mother and father did Adam leave? Why no Pauline Epistles to Alexandria , Athens, or Tarsus? If Mohammad was originally, within the pages of the Qur'an, a historical warrior-prophet, why does his name only appear there four times? What do you think of the suggestion that the narrative of Dinah, Shechem, Simeon, and Levi should be divided between a story about a rape and another about a betrothal? Isn't the argument for Q dependent on the timing of the writing of Matthew and Luke's gospels? If they were both using Mark as a source and written in close temporal proximity, then the Q source is more likely.
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-009

What is the official the Roman Catholic teaching concerning the salvation of members of other religions? Can you explain this Quranic passage (Al-Ahzaab 33:40? "Muhammad is the father of no man among you. He is the Apostle of God and the Seal of the Prophets. Surely God has knowledge of all things." Could the Jewish esoteric text Sefer Yetzirah be as old as the Hebrew Bible? Is it possible that the Book of Ruth was written as a response to Ezra-Nehemiah's opposition to mixed marriages? Is there any connection between the names of Queen of Sheba and Bathsheba? Did David choose Jerusalem to try to unite the Northern and the Southern tribes? It seems as if the Book of Genesis follows the metaphysical thought of the Greek philosopher Thales who held that water was the single universal substance. How common was Hydro-Monism among the Ancients?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-008

Why there is a discrepancy of 243 years between Bishop Ussher's age for the earth and that given in the Jewish calendar? Do any of the extant apocryphal gospels use Mark and/or Q as source materials the way the canonical synoptics do? What is the significance of dividing "between the sheep and goats"? Could you address some of the apologetics given for God "hardening Pharaoh's heart"? Do you think the doctrine of "soul sleep" is biblical? When the 10 sons of Jacob make their appeal to Joseph, 42:16 clearly has Joseph instructing to send just *one* from the brothers back to Cannan to fetch Benjamin in order to prove they are indeed in Egypt to purchase grain and not spies. After 3 days of lockup for all 10 brothers, this suddenly turns into sending all the brothers back *except* one (Simeon). Any idea what gives? Is it possible the Simeonites are the descendants of the Hyksos? Were the Amalekites literal brethren to Israel? Why would Laban name his daughters little "lamb" and "cow"? In what ways, specifically, did Josiah's reform "corrupt" the religion of the first temple?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-007

Some Mormons seem to think Genesis 10:25 refers to a divide/split in the "covenant" line, linking Joktan to both the Jaredites and the Yucatan Peninsula. What are your thoughts on this interpretation? Do you think that the Apostle Thomas going to preach in India is a garbled historical memory that the "celibacy gospel" was imported into Christianity from Buddhism? Is there any reason to believe, as some do, that Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel painting of Adam, Eve and the Serpent at the Tree of Knowledge secretly suggests it was actually oral sex performed on Adam by Eve which was what the "knowledge of good and evil." Google claims there is no implied Biblical condemnation of suicide prior to the Pauline writings, and that it was several centuries before suicide emerged as sinful and abhorrent in Christian doctrine. Is there any particular reason for this? Burton Mack says we can infer the existence of a particular "Jesus movement" from miracle collections in Mark and John. How? Does Job 26:7 contain modern cosmology? Do you think mainline Christian denominations would benefit by presenting from the pulpit the type of information you present in your podcast? In John 2:20 is Jesus/John referring to the Zerubabbel temple of Herod's? Is it true a growing number of scholars are leaving the Q hypothesis behind, and do you see any particular weaknesses in the Q-hypothesis? Did early Christians have a more humane and slightly less nonsensical view of post-mortem judgement than we do today? Which, if any, particular doctrine concerning hell does a fair reading of the relevant texts vindicate?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-006

In Luke 20:34-36 Jesus says the resurrected righteous do not marry because they cannot die. What has that got to do with anything? In Acts 15:22ff we read that some members of the Jerusalem church had gone to Antioch, without authorization and spreading unsettling ideas. Any ideas as to what these unnamed troublemakers were preaching? Ezekiel 8:17 list various idolatries and blasphemies. What the heck could "putting the twig to their nose" mean? The synoptics were almost certainly pulling ideas from Isaiah 53, in their Passion narratives. How then do they get verse 53:9 backwards?! "His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death" (NASB). Don't the gospel crucifixion & burial accounts flip these distinctions? A question about the Zohar I, 21b. Origen, Ambrosiaster, and Euthalius agree that Paul was quoting the Apocalypse of Elijah in 1 Cor 2:9 and Epiphanius says that Eph 5:14 borrows from this work. Interestingly, Euthalius also mentions this verse in Ephesians but says it comes from an apocryphal work of Jeremiah, not Elijah. What's your take on this? "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." How on earth does one harmonize this with the idea that the Torah can be disregarded if one is a Gentile convert to Christianity? The word 'jot' (a small flourish on a Hebrew letter) is a Hebrew term is it not? What term would have been used in the original Greek? When did the concept of eternity come about in Christianity? What was it about Christianity that made it the "winner" among all other religious beliefs in the Roman Empire? Why do we not hear about more forgeries in the world of biblical archaeology?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-005

Might there have been a connection between early Christianity and the Jewish priesthood, based on various otherwise odd facts mentioned in the NT? Isaiah 11:1-9 seems to be talking about the continuing reign of the Davidic line, but aren't Jeremiah 23:5-6 and Ezekiel 37:24-28 talking about the reign of the Davidic line continuing once again after the Babylonian exile comes to an end? If so, can't they be considered "Messianic Prophecy" since they express hope for some future Davidic King? Mark Goodacre says it is likely Paul dictated all of his letters and the bit of Galatians with the large letter comment was a moment where he took the pen himself from the scribe as if to underline the gravity of his writing. Does this mitigate your criticism that it is a sign of pseudonymity? Tell me a speculative story from the mythicist point of view on how Christianity could have got started that fits what evidence we have. Was the first-century tentmaker from the city of Tarsus Paul or someone else? Are James & John based on Castor and Pollux? Is the second part of Luke 20:38, "for all live to him," a later redaction which alters the first statement? Without the addition it read that Christ is not a God of the dead, which may mean those whose name is not written in the book of life? Is there any relation with 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 where Christ is for believers and unbelievers life unto life and death unto death respectively? Is the apparent cannibalism in the Last Supper a type of reverse sacrifice? Is it unique to Christianity? Or from an older tradition?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-004

What are your thoughts on the theory that the original text of the Gospel of Matthew had one Joseph as the father of Mary, who then married another man of the same name? Is there a strong case for both a Second and Third Zechariah or only a Second? Also, what do you make of the opinion of some that the second part of the book was written by a disciple of Zechariah who didn't want to take credit for what he learned from his master? In the Hermeneia commentary on Mark, Adela Collins questions whether the author of Mark was a gentile. Is this special pleading? Don't you hold that it's not that there's no evidence for a historical Jesus; it's that the evidence we have is so scant, so questionable and problematic that it doesn't meet the burden of proof? Greg Boyd argues for an early date for Acts because the Apostolic Fathers allude to it. Valid? Christians claim that the Bible is the word of God, but has it identified itself as such? What's the best grammatical or figurative interpretation that finds Mohammed mentioned in the Bible or pre-Islamic extra-biblical material? One Rabbi suggested that any servants that Noah's family brought with them on the Ark would not have been mentioned, on account of the fact they were not free men. Therefore Noah could have had dozens, hundreds or even thousands of servants along with him on the Ark. This is very similar to Islamic teaching on Noah's Ark. What are your thoughts on this? Since we know that Simon Peter's death in Rome is a much later myth, is it possible that Simon Peter's execution is based on Simon bar Giora's execution? Acts says Christians are called Christians for the first time in Antioch, understood as Antioch on the Orontes. However, what if this Antioch is actually a veiled reference by our author - Polycarp - to his fictional Paul's origins, namely his birth in Tarsus (called Antioch on the Cydnus) and thereby is admitting Paul founded Christianity, or at any rate it did not become a unique religion until Paul. Is there a connection between Matt 5:5 and the events of Revelation 21? You've mentioned that the 153 fish in John 21 is almost certainly a reference to the Pythogorean parallel story. There are lots of triangular numbers, why this one in particular? In John 1:51 we read "And he said to him, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.'" Might the writer have been envisioning the giant Jesus of the Elcasaites (Jesus was a 96 mile tall angel), in the Gospel of Peter, etc.? In Revelation 9:11 who is Abaddon the destroyer? What is it about the shifting between third-person and first-person narration in Acts? In Acts 18:18 the narrator says, "Before he sailed, Paul had his hair cut off at Cenchrae because of a vow he had taken." What was that vow?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-003

What do evangelicals mean when they speak of "blessing"? What factors make us believe that the "seven" Pauline epistles are in fact authentic? What confidence do we have that the information the Pauline letters is more factual than the clearly fictional account in Acts? Edgar Goodspeed's "The Twelve" tries to convince the reader that the gospel of Mark is just a word for word dictation of Peter's preaching by one of his translators, Mark, and it should be considered a first hand account of the ministry of Jesus. The only evidence Goodspeed uses that I can see comes from Papias. Is Goodspeed just supporting the party line in trying to secure an eye witness account in the Gospels, or is there better evidence to support it? I've read that Tarshish - true identity unknown - may simply have meant "land very very far away". In which case, I wonder if the author of Acts would've chosen this to create a contrast between Paul and Peter? If Peter is "from" the centre of the world, Jerusalem (or the very rough whereabouts) then it would be neat if Paul, his counterpart in so many ways, came from the absolute opposite place. How can a credible scholar like Bart Ehrman claim that there are an "astounding" number of historical sources attesting the existence of Jesus? Re whether or not babies would get raptured. does the Bible specify an age by which you will need to accept the "gift of eternal life" or is this just a matter of church doctrine? Suppose I take a piece of paper and write, "My name is David, I live in Texas. God spoke to me and said, 'I have chosen you as my special person. I give you all the land from the Red River to the Rio Grande. Kill all the inhabitants, take their property and virgin daughters for yourself. Anyone who does not believe this writing is opposing My will and if you don't kill them, I will'." I make copies of what I wrote, circulate it and tell people if they don't believe it, an invisible man in the sky will punish them. Isn't this what the Hebrews did? I think that the "quails" that God sent to the Proto-Hebrews in Exodus 16 were a misinterpretation of "locusts." What if the Baptist's "locusts and wild honey" referred to locusts and manna (which was described in Exodus 16:31 as tasting like honey)? In that case, might his having entered but never crossed the Jordan have been a symbolic re-enactment of the Proto-Hebrews exile in desert in Exodus? How might such an interpretation affect our understanding of ascetic jewish sects at the turn of the millennium? What are the sources for the list of books in Polycarp's canon? Do we know if it included the exact same 27-book list that was later promulgated by Athanasius and Pope Damasus? It sounds like the god of the old testament really dislikes yeast. Do you know of any possible explanation for this? I heard you say that Jesus never said he was the Messiah. What about John 4:25-26? Is the myth of Yahweh, Baal, or Marduk fighting and being consumed by the primordial dragon and then coming back to life and fighting his way out of the dragon's belly a metaphor for solar eclipse? Could you please provide a detailed summary of the reason why the Pastoral Epistles are not by Paul? Also, what reasons do apologists educe in order to support Pauline authorship of these letters? Is it surprising that none of the four canonical gospels claims an author by name since so many noncanonical texts do? Are there any non-canonical books attributed to John the Baptist? I wonder if you could discuss the concept of Metanoia. Is it fair for Christian missionaries to persuade Muslims to convert, knowing it will be a capital offense? Can you explain the fierce conflict between David Strauss and Bruno Bauer? What was the main philosophical and scholarly disagreement(s) between them? According to Frank Schaffer the early Christian church was unified enough to possess a uniform liturgy which the Eastern Orthodox communion still follows to this day, he claims evidence for this can be found the texts of early Christian historians like Polycarp. What do you make of this claim? John Dominic Crossan's The Power of Parable says Josephus cannot have written the Testimonium Flaviamun as it stands so he argues for the cut-down version of the passage that removes the "obvious" Christian interpolations. But if you remove the "he was the Christ" part, then what does the later phrase "... and the tribe of Christians, so-called after him ..." refer to? Crossan's answer is that Josephus didn't use the phrase "He was the Christ." No, the phrase he did use was "He was called the Christ." In support of this reading he calls upon the passage later in Jewish Antiquities where Josephus uses the phrase "Jesus who was called the Christ." What do you think of Crossan's reasoning? Psalm 19:11 says, "Moreover by them is thy servant warned." Warned about what? Whence came the Catholic practice of praying to Mary?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-002

Re Reuven's question concerning the rabbi who "taught the Torah to God," could it merely be hyperbole denoting that "the rabbi knew the Law so well he could even teach God a thing or two"? In the LXX, Hamaan is called a Macedonian by Xerxes in Esther 16:10. Was "Macedonian" used to replace the word 'Mede'? Might the Book of Revelation have originated among Ethiopian Jews? The Zohar uses the phrase, "Master of the worlds" which immediately reminded me of the Qur'an. Is there a connection here to the Qur'an? Your inquirer notes that Herodotus did not mention the Hebrews or Judah and wonders why. Within the Persian Empire there must have been hundreds of nations/peoples that he did not mention. Like any historian, he had to select from a mass of this and that what he will include and exclude. Does Mr. Robert Price believe the Bible is divinely inspired and inerrant? What is his theological stance? Why are there so many hostile accusations against the Jesus Seminar participants? How could Noah know how much food to bring on his voyage if he didn't know how long he was going to be on the ark? What I can't understand in the mythicist argument is why Matthew and the other gospels would put failed prophecies into Jesus' mouth if he wasn't a historical figure. Some say that goat-seething was a practice of one of the Canaanite religions, possibly a sacrificial one, and that the Israelites were explicitly forbidden from this because of its significance. Is there any evidence for this, or is it a rationalization? You've mentioned that there will be a Grand Bible Study in Heaven where the faithful will learn the hidden meanings and where all contradictions will be resolved. But will we have asbestos-paged Bibles in Hell, so we can learn where we went wrong? How much basis is there for traditional views of Heaven in the Bible? Could "Thou shalt not kill" be a commandment to be vegetarian? What is your take on apophatic, or negative, theology? You've said Matthew 16:24 was added later because it would be an absurd statement by Jesus without any prior knowledge of the inevitable crucifixion. However, couldn't one argue this was a prophetic statement?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 15-001

Is it possible that the low Christology of Mark is really a misreading? What if Mark is not writing of Jesus the man, but of the earthly travels of Paul's heavenly savior? A set of "What Would SuperJesus Do?" stories? If the first gospel were a deliberate fictionalizing of a heavenly Jesus, what would this do to the concept that a Jesus hero cult was part of the early Christian mix? With a skeptical tradition that goes back over 300 years in Western Europe, why are educated people still having such a hard time accepting something like the Christ-myth theory? Do you see a connection between the hesitancy to teach about these radical elements of the Enlightenment in high school and colleges with the hesitancy of mature intellectuals to tackle the possibility of Mythicism? If the atonement value of Christ's death is supposed to be analogous to all the pre-Jesus sacrifices to YHWH, then why didn't Jesus stay dead? What do you think about the hypothesis that the historical Paul might have been a Herodian prince, possibly even the nephew of Herod Agrippa ? Can you recommend any books or articles on the relationship between the tree of knowledge and sex? Did the Jewish people get the prohibition on BBQ pork sandwiches originally from the Egyptians? In view of the similarity of Deuteronomy's giving of the Law on the plains of Moab instead of Mount Sinai to Luke's sermon on the flat land instead of Matthew's Sermon on the Mount, is this not a strong indication that Luke knew Matthew's gospel and felt the need to change it? If Acts' depictions of Paul's conversion experiences are based on Euripedes' The Bacchae, where the god asks the King (Pentheus?) who's persecuting his followers, "why do you kick at the goads?" could Luke have chosen Saul as Paul's pre-conversion name (Paul never calls himself that in his own letters) to heighten the parallels? Instead of Dionysus asking a Greek king why he's futilely going up against a god ... Luke has his God (Jesus) asking a Jew named after a Jewish king, why he's futilely going up against God. Some say the current scholarly opinion is that there was an historical King David, based on the 1993 discovery of the Tel Dan Stele, an Aramean stone inscription from around 950 BCE containing the phrase, "the house of David." But does that prove anything?
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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-066

Is there any biblical basis for the claim that God can't be in the presence of sin? What do you know about the Washington DC Bible Museum? Is the concept of free will actually found in the bible? Is the invocation of free will as an excuse for why god permits suffering is merely an post-hoc rationalization or could there be more to it? I wonder whether modern apologetics is actually shoehorning the biblical god into a role of a quasi-deistic god, which is totally at odds with the god the ancient Hebrews believed in. Could it be that the god of contemporary Christianity has next to nothing to do with the God of the bible? Is there a point where Tillich's conception of deity as "being" is compatible with even atheism? Are Atheists making an error by championing only reason, and abandoning the Tradition of Western Christianity? Do you think Margaret Barker is right to read the feminine pronoun as important theologically to Malachi 4:2? Or is this just a descriptor of the actual sun in a feminine manner? Is there some way to identify oneself as "Christian" and yet understand the divine in terms of First Temple ideas ( a la Margaret Barker), where the lines between polytheism and monotheism become blurred, without actually applying it to a belief in a god or even in a divine realm or afterlife? In John 20:28, when Thomas exclaims "My Lord and my God" to Jesus, does this indicate that the author believed Jesus to be God? Are there good reasons for or against the possibility of "Luke" writing his books to Theophilus of Antioch?