Why Jesus was Not an Apocalyptic Prophet Who Thought the World Would End in His Lifetime

What Jesus meant by “the kingdom of God” has been a source of debate among scholars across the academic and religious spectrum. For the past century or so, many scholars and historians have claimed that Jesus of Nazareth never intended to launch a movement or found a community at all, that he was an “apocalyptic […]

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The Earliest Report of the Resurrection of Jesus Likely Dates Back to AD 35 or Earlier

Going on the radio to promote a book is a weird experience.  One problem is that writers tend to immerse themselves in their topics and so fail to appreciate that other people don’t know anything about their subject… and don’t really care. That’s even true when the subject is Christianity and Jesus of Nazareth. For […]

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Are the Gospels Best Understood as Creative Nonfiction?

I was listening to the mythicist blogger Richard Carrier on “Unbelievable,” the UK Christian radio show and podcast that brings together Christian and non-Christian thinkers to debate various issues related to faith. Carrier, who has a Ph.D. in ancient history and is a very bright fellow, is one of the few credible members of the […]

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The Dawn of Christianity: How God Used Simple Fishermen, Soldiers and Prostitutes to Transform the World (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2017)

dawn-of-christianity-final-coverKnown for his popular books on Christianity and biblical studies, author Robert J. Hutchinson brings the early church to vivid life in this masterful account of the last week of Jesus’ life on earth and the twenty years that followed. He pulls together diverse biblical and historical accounts, recent archeological discoveries, and the latest in secular and Christian research to flesh out the well-known story and provide a deeper and more accurate view of those eventful times. Timely, comprehensive, and surprising—it’s the place to start for an in-depth understanding of how the Christian faith came to be.

How did a small-town rabbi and his beleaguered group of followers generate a movement that literally changed the world? The Dawn of Christianity answers that question with an intriguing combination of compelling narrative and up-to-the-minute scholarship.

Focusing on the climactic events of Jesus’ ministry and the twenty exciting years that followed, Hutchinson weaves together the New Testament accounts into a seamless narrative and then supplements the story with the latest in archeological, linguistic, and historical research. In the process he corrects long-held misconceptions and assumptions, sheds new light on how and where biblical events may have happened, and deepens our understanding of the ways those decisive years still impact our lives today. Photos, timelines, and a surprisingly useful “cast of characters” add new dimensions, depth and color to bring the story to life.

A highly readable synthesis of scripture, scholarship, and journalistic flair—The Dawn of Christianity is a rich and timely retelling of the greatest story ever told and its compelling aftermath.

REVIEWS:

The Dawn of Christianity is a fascinating look at the early days of the Jesus movement that became the church (from Jesus through the early days of the church). Shunning a skeptical read of this material, Hutchison works his way through the events and disputes that circulate around the origins of the Christian movement. It is a worthwhile journey with a capable guide that richly repays the reader. — Darrell L. Bock, Ph.D., Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

Buy online at Amazon.

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“Young Messiah” and the Self-Consciousness of Jesus

Some Catholic apologists are up in arms about the recent Hollywood film, “Young Messiah,” because, they say, it presents an “heretical” portrayal of the child Jesus as not being fully omniscient at age seven. I haven’t seen the film yet and so I don’t want to comment on the film itself. However, the question of […]

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6 Shocking New Discoveries About Jesus of Nazareth

The entrance to the Mary of Nazareth International Center in central Nazareth doesn’t look like much. It’s just a simple doorway off narrow Casa Nova Street, a few hundred yards from the Basilica of the Annunciation. Yet inside this recently built Catholic evangelism center lies an amazing discovery that has sent shockwaves through the world […]

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Just Who was Jesus of Nazareth, Anyway?

In the midst of the annual battles over how a pluralistic society should properly recognize an important Christian holiday celebrated by 70 percent of the population, there is one question rarely asked at this time of year: Just who was Jesus of Nazareth, anyway? Some claim that Jesus didn’t exist at all, and that Christianity […]

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Are the Gospels More Reliable Than Scholars Once Thought?

It’s the Christmas season… and once again Americans face questions about the historical accuracy of the Gospels. For more than a century, skeptical scholars have claimed that much of the New Testament is legendary, invented by the early Christians in the decades after the crucifixion.  A few even claim that Jesus of Nazareth didn’t exist […]

Are the Gospels Reliable
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Why Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Are Bad Choices for America

I’m one of those disaffected conservative voters who are delighted by Donald Trump’s politically incorrect jabs at the media — and by his plain speech. Like many old white males who own their own businesses, pay their taxes and just want to be left alone in peace, I’m mad as hell and don’t want to […]

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Are These Horrific Mass Killings Really Happening “Daily”?

When listening to politicians, you always have to remember Rahm “The Godfather” Emanuel’s adage:  never let a serious crisis go to waste. What Emanuel meant by that, of course, is that politicians should take advantage of a crisis situation to advance their political agendas. That is precisely what happened with the mass murder in San […]

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Peter Taught Marcus Who Taught Camillus Who Taught Quintus…

In the 1980 film The Competition, starring Richard Dreyfus and Amy Irving, there is a scene that has always been a metaphor, for me, for how Christians come to know Jesus Christ. Sounds strange, I know, but bear with me a moment. In the film, Richard Dreyfus plays a talented but not quite top pier […]

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Why I Secretly Root for the Atheists in Debates

Shortly after my book The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Bible came out, I was asked to fly to Ireland to participate in a debate on the existence of God at University College Cork. I had been doing radio interviews for my book and was very comfortable discussing some of the sillier arguments atheists use […]

Atheist Debates
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Today’s Golden Age of Philosophy

Few people know this, but our age is an amazing time for people who love philosophy. When I was in college 30 years ago, philosophy was strictly an academic exercise and there were few resources available for people, like me, who view philosophy more as a way of life or avocation than as a job. […]

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Crunching the Obamacare Numbers: A Lot More Money for A Lot Less Care

Ready or not, Obamacare is finally here. Polls show that most Americans remain highly skeptical of the law’s benefits. According to a new CNN/ORC International survey released October 1, less than one in five Americans say their families will be better off under the new health care law. Nevertheless, the controversial law’s passionate defenders insist […]

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The American People Say: You Fooled Us Once with Iraq…

You know what they say:  Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. The American people have learned the hard way that US politicians in both political parties tend to passively defer to what the “experts” in the defense and intelligence sectors advise doing, often to the detriment of the country […]

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French Politicians Alarmed by “French Spring” Movement

The “French Spring” movement (le Printemps Français) has rattled the French political establishment – and even gay marriage advocates in faraway California. That’s because it calls into question the claim that same sex marriage is “inevitable” and opposition to it mere bigotry. In recent months, between 400,000 and a million demonstrators of all ages have […]

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Atheists Take Credit for Science When They Had Nothing to Do with It

So if, as Albert Einstein insisted, Biblical religion was the necessary intellectual precondition for the gradual development of scientific method, how did the myth of the “scientific revolution” come about? One reason: For the past 400 years, the partisans of irreligion-from the Marquis de Sade to Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins-have deliberately misrepresented the way […]

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Vatican II: the View From the Pew

In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council, I’ve begun reading John O’Malley’s magisterial history, What Happened at Vatican II.  It’s a fascinating chronicle of the great theological earthquake that shook the Church to its foundations, throwing open doors to let fresh air into dusty mausoleums but also, at […]

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How I Saw the Loch Ness Monster

I never really expected to actually see the Loch Ness Monster. As a result, when I looked through the tour boat window out at the frigid waters of the loch and happened to spot “Nessie” cruising alongside with a little monster in tow, it was a startling moment. What made it more amazing was that […]

American author Robert J. Hutchinson in St. Andrews, Scotland
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My First Decade of Aikido

My knees are a bloody mess. It’s been a while since I did suwari-waza, the strange practice in traditional Aikido dojos of doing techniques, samurai-style, on your knees. Last week, the sensei spent almost the entire class doing suwari-waza and, when I stood up, the skin on my knees was entirely rubbed off. Ouch! And […]

Author Robert Hutchinson, longtime student of Aikido
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The Debunking of Wicca

In the 1990s, a new generation of young, less ideologically-driven, often female anthropologists and scholars made it their business to investigate prehistoric European religious cultures and, when they did, they made an astonishing discovery: the religion of the Great Goddess was all made up out of whole cloth. “The evidence is overwhelming that Wicca is […]

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Rob Bell Asks the Big Questions Ignored by Many Churches

What I love most about Rob Bell’s controversial book Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived (HarperOne, 2011), is the way it has triggered a new debate about what is really at stake in Christianity. The odd thing about Christianity, at least in the United States, […]

Rob Bell Asks the Big Questions in Love Wins
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The Power of Habits to Transform Your Life

One of my favorite gurus is a fairly recent one: Leo Babauta, the young founder of the Zen Habits website and the author of numerous books on simple living, getting things done and living a mindful life. I discovered Leo about a year after he launched his website in 2007, and I was hooked. He […]

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Why We Need Both Orthodoxy and Spiritual Cosmopolitanism

The photo above is of the main Bahai Temple in Haifa, Israel, one of the most beautiful religious structures in the world. It shines like a beacon on Mt. Carmel, a veritable symbol of spiritual cosmopolitanism and religious tolerance. I visited the Bahai Temple many times when I lived in Israel. It just looms above […]

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Finding a Balance Between Work and Leisure

I’ve been fortunate, over the years, because I have discovered a number of gurus who have cautioned me about indulging a monomaniacal commitment to work at all costs – especially when it involves a neglect of what really matters in life, such as anniversaries, soccer games and swim meets, school plays, sex in the afternoon, […]

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Why Parents Drag Their Kids to Church, Temple or Their Zen Sitting Group

Here’s what sucks about life: You wake up in your crib, confused and more than a little dazed, and then spend the next 20 or 30 years trying to figure out what to do with yourself. You mostly do what you’re told. You learn how to read, play sports, try to attract members of the […]

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How Chaos Theory Refutes the Blind Watchmaker of Richard Dawkins

I would like to briefly examine the claim, made by advocates of Neo-Darwinism and others, that advances in contemporary systems theory now give a rational explanation for the development of highly complex structures in the universe without recourse to the hypothesis of a Divine Creator. Further, I will show that such claims, while purporting to […]

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How to Muddle Through in Life

In the end, life is about muddling through as best you can. Most self-help books (and I read a lot of them) will advise you to find your “life’s purpose and passion,” but that’s like telling you the secret to success in business is to found a good company and make lots of money. The […]

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A Routine Near-Death Experience… and a Rumor of Angels

Two days ago, I was almost killed in an instant. I had one of those experiences that shake you to your very core – and which, to me, constitute some sort of proof of divine providence. It was a very ordinary day. I drove my son to the beach train for his daily trip up […]

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The Conservative Case Against the Death Penalty

I’ve always been opposed to capital punishment, and for the most conservative of reasons:  I don’t believe government should have the authority to take human life, at least not in a society, such as ours, that has the resources to build prisons. This is a fundamentally conservative position because it rests upon the assumption that […]

Grunewald Crucifixion
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Biblical Heritage Leads to Freedom, Religious Toleration & Human Rights

The new atheist crusaders (such as Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins) like to pretend that the concept of universal human rights just popped out of thin air in the 17th and 18th century, the creation of the agnostic and atheist thinkers of the French Enlightenment. But the truth is precisely the opposite: The […]

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