What I’m Watching
Not getting enough drama from watching Maury or Paternity Court? The world of online Religious Studies is bubbling with Derek Lambert at MythVision Podcast dropping Dr Robert M Price because of what Derek sees as Price's extreme and racist views. Here Derek explains the issue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hyUn37oWlU And Price's take on the matter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CimIH0928DY I spent a long time researching and writing about Martin Heidegger, and he had a Nazi period, so I certainly understand the difficulty of dealing with a thinker who people routinely dismiss out of hand without even reading the thinker because of the thinker's extreme views. That said, Heidegger is widely regarded as the greatest continental philosopher of the 20th century. Price's New Testament Narrative As Old Testament Midrash is foundational, and as Alan Avery Peck says The Jewish Annotated New Testament takes the discussion forward in a fruitful manner. It is unfortunate that the two great ... Read Article
Secular Activism: The Burden Of The Message
Are you prepared to tell people who have no justice in this world that they will have no justice in the next world either? The summer after teacher's college, I worked for Community Living taking developmentally and intellectually disabled people to a summer cottage retreat. One of the realest moments of my life was when a camper with Down Syndrome broke down crying because he believed he would never have a girlfriend. Whoever sold us the fairy tale that life was fair? They couldn't, so they sold us the fairy tale that the next life will be fair. I saw the movie Champions today, which was a wonderful uplifting film about aspiring Special Olympics athletes and their quest for success. I highly recommend it! One thing I've learned as a teacher is that success means different things to different people. For a high powered attorney, success may mean arguing a difficult case effectively, whereas for someone with schizophrenia success may mean a successful trip to the grocery store. ... Read Article
[EDITED WITH NEW MATERIAL ADDED] My 2 Favorite New Testament Bible Reading Tips
The ESV translation provides the following helpful chart about Jesus predicting his death in Mark. The Three Major Passion Predictions in Mark Three times in Mark 8–10 Jesus predicts his death, the disciples fail to understand or to respond appropriately, and he then teaches them about discipleship. Announcement of Jesus’ DeathFailure on the Part of the DisciplesJesus Teaches on DiscipleshipJesus will suffer, be rejected, killed, and will rise after three days (8:31)Peter rebukes Jesus (8:32–33)Jesus commands them to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow him (8:33–9:1)Jesus will be delivered, killed, and will rise after three days (9:30–31)The disciples do not understand the saying and are afraid to ask him about it (9:32)Jesus teaches that the first must be last and that those who receive children in his name receive him (9:33–50)Jesus will be delivered, condemned, mocked, flogged, killed, and will rise after three days (10:33–34)James and John ask that they may s ... Read Article
Happy International Women’s Day!
I thought this International Woman's day would be a good time to think about gender and sexuality. We are all familiar with the current transgender controversy of biological males participating in women's sports. Perhaps a way out of this controversial issue is to have a separate competition category for transgender athletes? On the marriage front, we still very much operate in the ancient legal understanding of one married partner becoming the legal owner of their partner's genitals. A related issue is marriage as ownership. We have over the past few days seen the resurgence of ownership issues with the Taliban making it illegal for women to divorce and so now need to return to an abusive husband. See : In Afghanistan, Taliban Force Divorced Women Back To Abusive Ex Husbands Abused for years by her ex-husband who broke all of her teeth, Marwa has retreated into hiding with her eight children after Taliban commanders tore up her divorce. Article: https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/the-d ... Read Article
John MacDonald BLOG POSTS Christian Origins Index (Secular Frontier)
Scroll down for all my blog posts here at Secular Frontier related to Christian Origins! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIHF8Xe-O6Y But First, 12 (for the 12 Tribes of Israel) BONUS Posts: Psychologizing Jesus Christian Origins: Afterword Easter 2023 Blog Post 3/3: Who Killed Jesus? It’s Holy Saturday, So What Happened To Jesus Between Good Friday And Easter? Jesus and Satire (2/2) Happy Easter: My Favorite Easter Joke Unhooking The Bra Of Mystery Jesus and Satire: A New Darth Harley Video! (2/2) Brainwashing and Indoctrination in Culture and Sexuality Deconstruction and Religious Studies Blogging My 2 Favorite New Testament Bible Reading Tips Secular Activism: The Burden Of The Message My Theory Of Christian Origins: Richard Carrier Reader Response My Internet Infidels/Secular Web Publications are: The Justified Lie By The Johannine Jesus A Critique Of The Penal Substitution Interpretation Of The Cross Of Christ A Critique Of Penal Substi ... Read Article
[2/2] Deconstructing The Cross Of Christ: Was Jesus Crucified? A FATE WORSE THAN DEATH FOR JESUS AND US
A FATE WORSE THAN DEATH FOR JESUS AND US “The world is about to end (honestly, lol), so you better get right with God and start loving one another …” The previous post that I am now concluding was: Deconstructing The Cross Of Christ: Was Jesus Crucified? (with Dr. James Tabor, Dr. Ali Ataie, Dr Robert M Price, and Neil Godfrey) What does the scriptural coloring by the writers of Jesus’ death tell us about the historical details that we can know about his death? As the team of scholars behind the Jewish Annotated New Testament conclude, it may not be possible to locate historical material behind the heavily theologized Mark death account imitating Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22. This suggests that the central aspects of the religion can be completely derived from the rewriting of Hebrew scriptures. As to the source for the resurrection on the third day, Matthew prooftexts the story of Jonah being swallowed for three days in the big fish. Our earliest source for the crucifixio ... Read Article
Deconstructing The Cross Of Christ: Was Jesus Crucified? (with Dr. James Tabor, Dr. Ali Ataie, Dr Robert M Price, and Neil Godfrey)
Previously in this miniseries of blog posts, I did the posts: Scholar Intermission: Dr. James Tabor Religion and Brainwashing As well as some earlier blog posts about some of these ideas see https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/ (1) Dr. Ali Ataie points out Carrier suggests the reason so many Jewish parents were naming their sons Jesus/Joshua in Jesus’ time is Joshua was the Jews greatest hero and they were hoping their sons would become the messiah martyred fighting Rome, as per Daniel 9:26 (see video below 1:30:18 to 1:34:02) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eU02_xwZlDg&t=5756s Ataie points out Paul says "Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was portrayed as Crucified (Gal 3:1)" which suggests there were other factions portraying a non crucified Christ (see above video 1:46:21-1:48:30) Neil Godfrey (in his interesting blog post here: https://vridar.org/2020/06/12/how-paul-found-christ-crucified-on-a-tree-in-the-scriptures/) translates following Max Wilcox: Who bewitche ... Read Article
Religion And Brainwashing
I'm on a break from blogging right now, but I just wanted to share my new short kiosk article on Religion and Brainwashing is out today. See https://infidels.org/kiosk/article/religion-as-undue-influence/ We are also featuring Price's new book: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=1634312384/interinfid-20/ From reading the prevue Price seems to be fleshing out Fitzgerald's thesis of many Christianities birthed one rather than one Jesus birthed many. See here at 50:35 for a few minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WI72JNz0IC8 Relating this to where I left off blogging, I think Tabor's wrong where he posits a fundamental divide between Paul and James. I certainly agree with his main thesis/idea that we are finding stuff that disagrees with a penal substitution reading of the cross in the bloodless Didache and the epistle of James. But, where there is major continuity is if we read Tabor's insights into the Didache and Epistle of James into the cross, which leaves us with a Moral Inf ... Read Article
Scholar Intermission: Dr. James Tabor
+++++++++ I use "Tabor" to refer to the scholar, and "James" for the apostle, as they have the same first name. I'll be taking a break from blogging for a bit, but here are some fun facts on Dr. James Tabor relating to what I've been posting lately. I've talked a bit about how the Didache document and Q may reflect a primitive non-cross / non-resurrection form of Christianity before Jesus died. Tabor comments: The Didache is divided into sixteen chapters and was intended to be a “handbook” for Christian converts. The first six chapters give a summary of Christian ethics based on the teachings of Jesus, divided into two parts: the way of life and the way of death. Much of the content is similar to what we have in the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain, that is, the basic ethical teachings of Jesus drawn from the Q source now found in Matthew and Luke. It begins with the two “great commandments,” to love God and love ­one’s neighbor as oneself, as well as a version of the Go ... Read Article
Is A Religious Culture Self-Perpetuating
I wonder if the fact that the topic of religion is always coming up actually fosters belief in such things as the resurrection of Jesus? Perhaps being inundated with discussion of a highly improbable event works to overcome its implausibility in our minds? Maybe we hold contradictory views that we know the miraculous is ridiculously unlikely, and yet it seems plausible because of how often such ideas are discussed?. Perhaps the same mechanism functions with belief in alien visitation in a culture saturated by Science Fiction? ... Read Article
The False Prophets And The Christ Myth Theory
Like the false brethren and false apostles I dealt with in previous posts, we analogously have the pseudoprophētōn or "false prophets" of Matthew 7. We read: 15“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus you will know them by their fruits. 21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ 23Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, ... Read Article
For Paul, What Was Required To Be An Apostle?
Paul says one of the necessary conditions of being an actual apostle is having seen the risen Christ.  He asks “Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?“  This is not a sufficient condition, since he says the 500 saw the risen Christ without being apostles, but such an experiences was necessary for apostleship: [H]e appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. But what about the demonic “false apostles and false brothers” Paul hates?  What was it about the false apostles that made them false?  It’s not just that they were Christian Judaizers. The 12 were Judaizers, and Paul respected them, though he disagreed.  So, what made the false apostles Paul hated “false?” There seems to be a connection in Paul betw ... Read Article
Josephus On The Death Of John The Baptist: Interpolation Or Late Date For Mark?
Josephus, Antiquities, 18.116-119Written c. 94 CE. Some have disputed the authenticity of this passage, but it is extant as early as 248CE, as it is referred to in Origen’s Contra Celsus 1.47. The relevant text reads (my highlighting) Source: LCL 433:81-85 But to some of the Jews the destruction of Herod’s army seemed to be divine vengeance, and certainly a just vengeance, for his treatment of John, surnamed the Baptist. For Herod had put him to death, though he was a good man and had exhorted the Jews to lead righteous lives, to practise justice towards their fellows and piety towards God, and so doing to join in baptism. In his view this was a necessary preliminary if baptism was to be acceptable to God. They must not employ it to gain pardon for whatever sins they committed, but as a consecration of the body implying that the soul was already thoroughly cleansed by right behaviour. When others too joined the crowds about him, because they were aroused to the highest degree by his sermons, He ... Read Article
Jesus Died According To The Scriptures (Conclusion)
So, in this series of post I talked about the meaning of the death of Jesus. The previous posts were: The Peculiar Case Of The Martyrdom Of Polycarp and interpreting the Death of Jesus (2/2) The Peculiar Case Of The Martyrdom Of Polycarp and interpreting the Death of Jesus: Erasing The Cross From History Paul And The Super-Apostles Jesus According To The Scriptures Wrap Up What I tried to stress in this series of posts was that there were not 2 main factions in early Christianity as is commonly thought, just Paul and the Jerusalem church, but 3. Paul respected but disagreed with Peter and James, but Paul hated the ones who he called the ultra orthodox faction claiming the true message of Jesus: the super-apostles/false brothers and sisters. This latter group seems to be followers of Jesus who did not ascribe to the crucifixion/resurrection theology, and instead focused on Jesus’ message before he died. It is sometimes forgotten that Peter and James with the Corinthian creed invented an ... Read Article
Jesus According To The Scriptures Wrap Up
So, in my last three posts I've been talking about the question of whether Jesus died by crucifixion, or for some other reason: The Peculiar Case Of The Martyrdom Of Polycarp and interpreting the Death of Jesus (2/2) The Peculiar Case Of The Martyrdom Of Polycarp and interpreting the Death of Jesus: Erasing The Cross From History Paul And The Super-Apostles That Jesus was killed by crucifixion is considered historical bedrock (whether by Pilate if you are a historicist, or by sky demons if you are a mythicist). I've tried to point out some problems with this reading. Just to wrap up, our oldest statement of Jesus's death as a salvific event is: 3 For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures 4 and that he was buried and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) As is obvious, this is not a bare historical claim, but a theological one. And we kn ... Read Article