Is the Pauline admonition for women to be silent in churches (1 Cor 14:34-5) a later scribal addition?

An interesting article on textual variants in one of the oldest manuscripts of the Gospels, Vaticanus: Vaticanus Distigme-obelos Symbols Marking Added Text, Including 1 Corinthians 14.34–5 It covers the old issue of whether Paul’s infamous admonition that women should be “silent” in assemblies of Christians (1 Cor 14:34-35) is actually a later scribal addition.  The […]

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Searching for Jesus in the Land of Israel

It’s a warm, sunny day in northern Israel, and I am sitting on the railing of a fishing boat from Kibbutz Ginosar as we slowly make our way along the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee. Behind us, on the burnt-brown hills that rise up sharply from the lake, we can see the resort town […]

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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 […]

Son of God
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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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“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 […]

Young Messiah
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 […]

why parents drag their kids to church or synagogue
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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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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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Evolution, Creation and Adam and Eve, Part II

People often ask me why I remain a Roman Catholic – given all the scandals over homosexual pedophiles in the Church, the Peter, Paul and Mary liturgies, and so on. They’re not asking me for the party line reason but my own, very personal reason. And this is what I usually say: Whenever I really […]

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Bible, Patriarchy & Wicca

To say that the Bible is patriarchal is like saying that Tai Chi is Chinese: It is such a bewildering statement of the obvious that only an academic or reporter would think it a profound revelation. Yet in the 1970s and ‘80s, literally millions of feminists opened the Bible (some for the first time, some […]

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Jesus in Ancient China

It’s an amazing story, one only now being told. More than 1,300 years ago, a Persian Christian monk named Aleben traveled 3,000 miles along the ancient caravan route known as the Silk Road all the way to China, carrying precious copies of the New Testament writings (probably in Syriac). Aleben and his fellow Christian monks […]

Jesus in China
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Sex and John Paul II’s Theology of the Body

According to rabbinic tradition, the first commandment God gives Adam and Eve in the Garden is to have sex: Pru vehravu, “be fruitful and multiply.” It’s little wonder, then, that Christian theology has pondered for centuries the place that human sexuality and bodily existence have in God’s plan for the universe. On the one hand, […]

Theology of the Body
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Thriving Long-Term Marriages

The break-up of Al and Tipper Gore’s 40-year marriage is sparking a soul-searching among many long-time married couples. The Wall Street Journal today had an interesting article about the shifting marriage patterns among couples who have been married 30, 40 years or more. It turns out the Gores are typical of the baby boom generation: […]

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The Eternal City

I took my whole family to Rome this year for Easter… and, as usual, it was an invigorating, life-affirming, faith-building experience for everyone. Rome has a way of doing that to people. I’ve been to many of the great cities of the world – from New York, London and Paris to Berlin, Athens, Cairo and […]

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A Comparison of Catholic and Reformed Views on the Salvation of Non-Christians

“God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears him and does what is right, is welcome to him.” — Acts 10: 34-35 In Lumen Gentium, the Decree on the Church in the Modern World, the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council forever committed the Roman Catholic Church to […]

Author Robert J. Hutchinson in Rome
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Jesus Christ Remains the Greatest Enigma in History to Believers and Skeptics Alike

In just three years or less, the mysterious figure we now know (or think we know) as Jesus of Nazareth somehow changed the face of the world. His real name was almost certainly Yeshu’a bar Yosef. From all the available evidence, he was a semi-skilled Jewish journeyman from a tiny village in northern Palestine who […]

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Lost Gospels Revealed

A final issue when it comes to New Testament studies: The so-called “lost” Gospels. As skeptics tell it, reflecting the worldview captured in The Da Vinci Code, the Christian church systematically suppressed the truth about Jesus and his early disciples, “censoring” alternative accounts of Jesus’ life and teaching because these texts didn’t reflect the “dogma” […]

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Atheist Crusaders Misrepresent Both History and Science in their Denunciations of the Bible

“We’re told that four fifths of American homes have a Bible, so go get it,” bellows Penn Jillette of the controversial comedy/magic act, Penn & Teller, on their Showtime TV series, Penn & Teller: Bullsh*t! “Really, no kidding! Go get your goddamn Bible! If you don’t read along with us tonight, you’re going to think […]

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The Biblical Roots of Thanksgiving

Unbeknownst to many Americans, Thanksgiving is yet another legacy of the Biblical heritage that shaped American law and culture over the centuries. There is at least some evidence that the deeply pious Pilgrims — who, as Puritans, believed the Old Testament law was binding on Gentiles as well as Jews — may have been partially […]

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