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Posted inHistory

Joseph of Arimathea – fact or fiction? Er, fiction.

Reading Time: < 1 minute Joseph of Arimathea used to be used by William Lane Craig as a pillar of his truth claims for the Resurrection, itself one of the four cornerstones of his apology. Richard Carrier, amongst others, has provided some very interesting viewpoints on the historicity of this figure (or lack thereof). Craig no longer seems to reference J of A, quite possibly the result of the weakness of any positive evidence and the strength of negative evidence for his historicity.

Posted inHistory

JP Holding and internet civility [miracles can happen! ;) ]

Reading Time: 17 minutes People seem to be talking about internet civility an awful lot at the moment. For example, Dan Fincke at Camels with Hammers has been asking people to sign up to a civility pledge. I have been involved in my own debate with a rather infamous apologist, JP Holding. For those who do not know JP Holding, he is an ex-prison librarian cum self-styled apologist who runs Tektonics.org (Tekton Apologetics Ministries) and Theology Web. He has a Masters Degree in Library Science, which will be important for a later point.

Posted inHistory

The Puzzling Figure of Jesus – Man, Myth, Messiah? Our very own Aaron Adair on Jesus.

Reading Time: < 1 minute Recently for my local Secular Student Alliance (SSA) group I gave a talk about what we can know about the historical Jesus, and perhaps he was originally a non-historical figure made flesh. This proposition is not the least bit popular among academics, let alone Evangelicals, but it isn’t necessarily crazy either. You will find some comparing it to Holocaust denial or creationism, but the evidence that Jesus existed is nowhere near as strong as it is for evolution or the Nazi-led Holocaust. There is significant evidence for Jesus, prima facie, but things get hairy when you look again.

Posted inHistory

Josephus: A Reliable Source?

Reading Time: 4 minutes Josephus was a Jewish historian whose first-century writings mention Jesus. Christian apologists eagerly point to two references in particular as extra-biblical evidence of the miraculous works of Jesus. We’ll investigate them both to see if they hold up.

Posted inHistory

Breakthrough in world’s oldest undeciphered writing

Reading Time: 3 minutes Experts working on proto-Elamite hope they are on the point of ‘a breakthrough’

The world’s oldest undeciphered writing system, which has so far defied attempts to uncover its 5,000-year-old secrets, could be about to be decoded by Oxford University academics.

This international research project is already casting light on a lost bronze age middle eastern society where enslaved workers lived on rations close to the starvation level.

“I think we are finally on the point of making a breakthrough,” says Jacob Dahl, fellow ofWolfsonCollege,Oxfordand director of the Ancient World Research Cluster.

Posted inHistory

Mrs. Jesus

Reading Time: 3 minutes A tiny papyrus scrap, “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” has been making the news. What do we make of the manuscript? And what of Christians’ reactions to it?

Posted inHistory

Who Would Die for a Lie? (2 of 2)

Reading Time: 4 minutes This is the second part of a dissection of the apologetic “Who would die for a lie?” that argues that the apostles’ deaths are strong evidence that the Jesus story is true. Not only is there scant historical evidence for their martyrdoms, but other elements of the argument smell fishy.

Posted inHistory

Who Would Die for a Lie? (1 of 2)

Reading Time: 4 minutes Apologists like to point to the deaths of the apostles and ask, “Who would die for a lie?” What doesn’t get enough attention is the more fundamental question: “Why think that any of the apostles were martyred in the first place?” The evidence that they were is quite flimsy.