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History in the Bible

Sep 16, 2018

Our earliest pagan sources for the life of Jesus - the historians Josephus, Tacitus, and Suetonius - tell us almost nothing about Jesus. The letters of St Paul are uninformative, as are rabbinic sources. We have to rely on the four gospels. These have their own agendas. In this episode I explore the...


Aug 26, 2018

Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians is the earliest surviving document of Christianity. I drop in on the Thessalonian Jesus-club to discover how a pagan newcomer would have reacted to the club and the letter. The newcomer is befuddled by the strange words used by club members, and confused about Paul. I also...


Aug 5, 2018

Since the Enlightenment, three great academic attempts have been made to make sense of the life of Jesus: the first, second, and third quests for the historical Jesus. I follow the Third Questers.


Jul 15, 2018

The discovery of the ancient Codices Vaticanus and Sinaiticus in the 19th century revealed that the New Testament circulated in three different textual traditions: the Byzantine, the Alexandrian, and the Western. It became clear that the Textus Receptus was based entirely on Byzantine manuscripts, all written in the...


Jun 24, 2018

Unlike the Jews, Christians preserved many versions of their scriptures. The invention of printing spurred European scholars to revisit ancient Greek manuscripts in an attempt to create one single version of the sacred books. Over a century, Erasmus, Beza, Stephanus and the Elzevirs produced Greek editions....