Andrew Bernhard Convincingly Demonstrates Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is Modern Forgery (Skinner)

FRONTJust in case you hadn’t seen it, this past Friday Mark Goodacre allowed a guest post (and a Saturday recap) by Andrew Bernhard over at the NT Blog. Bernhard’s posts are dedicated to demonstrating, quite convincingly in my opinion, that the poorly-named Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is a “patchwork forgery” drawn from an earlier version of Mike Grondin’s widely used, online interlinear translation of the Gospel of Thomas. If there was doubt before about whether GJW could be authentic, I think all doubt will be removed after you have read Bernhard’s evidence.

Pete Enns to Speak at Mount Olive (Skinner)

EnnsProf. Pete Enns is scheduled to give our annual Harrison Lectures here at the University of Mount Olive, October 12-13, 2015. Pete will be speaking on issues related to his recent book, The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It, as well as his forthcoming book on doubt. Lectures will be free and open to the public. You can find more information here. Please feel free to contact me directly for more information.

The Vivian B. Harrison Lectures were established by the Rev. Frank Harrison, former chaplain of (then) Mount Olive College, in honor of his late wife. The stated purpose of the lectures is, “to provide a medium for continuing education for the ministers and laypersons of North Carolina.” Lecturers from recent years include Willie Jennings, Yale (2014), Michael J. Gorman, St. Mary’s Seminary and University (2013), and Kavin Rowe, Duke (2010).

Across the Spectrum of New Testament Studies: Introductory Post (Skinner)

Across the SpectrumNijay and I are currently co-authoring a book for Baker Academic that is tentatively titled, Across the Spectrum: Understanding the Key Issues in New Testament Studies (forthcoming 2017). The book is intended to be a broad coverage of the spectrum of views on major issues in NT research and is aimed at upper-level undergraduate and divinity school audiences. In recent months I have been weighed down with completing several other projects but now I am in a position to turn my attention to this project. We have discussed the merit of blogging through our thoughts, ideas, musings, and revelations as we work through the chapters on this book. So consider this post an introduction to our task, a “heads-up,” and most of all an invitation. In coming months, if you see posts with the title, “Across the Spectrum…..,” we will be talking about issues related to the book. In those cases, PLEASE feel the freedom to weigh in on the conversation. We want this, above all, to be useful for students and non-specialists and our interactions with you will help us sharpen our thinking and writing. Thanks in advance!

Bartholomew, Richter, And Wright Speaking at IBR/SBL 2015 (Gupta)

I have the privilege of serving on the board of the Institute for Biblical Research, and each year we provide an academic program on the Friday night of the beginning of SBL. This year we are honored to have Dr. Craig Bartholomew (Redeemer Univ College) as our keynote speaker on the subject “Old Testament Origins and the Question of God.” Responses will come from Dr. Sandra Richter (Wheaton) and Prof. N.T. Wright (St Andrews). Everyone is welcome whether you are a member of IBR or not.

The details for our Friday program are below. Please feel welcome to attend!


Institute for Biblical Research
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Room: Marquis A-B (Marquis Level) – Marriott

Theme: Annual Lecture
The Institute for Biblical Research, Incorporated (IBR) is an organization of evangelical Christian scholars with specialties in Old and New Testament and in ancillary disciplines. Its vision is to foster excellence in the pursuit of Biblical Studies within a faith environment. The achievement of this goal is sought primarily by organizing annual conferences, conducting seminars and workshops, and by sponsoring academic publications in the various fields of biblical research. IBR’s conferences, seminars and workshops are open to the public and its publications are available for purchase. For further information go to

Tremper Longman, Westmont College, Welcome (10 min)
Milton Eng, William Paterson University, Scripture Reading and Prayer (5 min)
Mark Boda, McMaster Divinity College, Introduction
Annual Lecture
Craig Bartholomew, Redeemer University College
Old Testament Origins and the Question of God (40 min)
Sandra Richter, Wheaton College (Illinois), Respondent (10 min)
N. T. Wright, University of St. Andrews, Respondent (10 min)
Discussion (20 min)
Presentation by Zondervan Publishing Company
The IBR Reception follows the Annual Lecture and is sponsored by Zondervan

Book Notice: Jesus and Brian (Skinner)

Jesus and BrianYesterday I was thrilled to find this new book in my campus inbox! Last summer (June 20-22, 2014), King’s College London hosted a conference entitled, “Jesus and Brian: A Conference on the Historical Jesus and His Times.” I remember wanting to attend and being very disappointed that I was not able. (I had already made two trips to the UK that summer and there’s no way my university would have financed a third!) While the conference was taking place, I was able to catch various posts on social media as several of my friends attended and attempted to live tweet the proceedings. Well now I guess I have the second best thing, a copy of Jesus and Brian : Exploring the Historical Jesus and His Times Via Monty Python’s Life of Brian (London: Bloomsbury/T&T Clark, 2015). The book is scheduled for release on September 10, 2015 and represents the full proceedings of the conference.

The contributors to this volume represent some of the very best scholars working in both Jesus research and reception history, and include William Telford, Richard Burridge, David Shepherd, David Tollerton, James Crossley, Philip Davies, Joan Taylor, Guy Stiebel, Helen Bond, George Brooke, Bart Ehrman, Paula Frederiksen, Amy-Jill Levine, Steve Mason, Adele Reinhartz, and Katie Turner.

Two of the book’s four jacket endorsements are provided by members of Monty Python, who, I should point out, also attended the conference:

“I was astonished when I heard there was to be a conference where proper New Testament scholars would be discussing what they had learnt from Life of Brian! This is the result. Fascinating…” –  John Cleese

“Taken as a whole, the essays form a complete analytical documentation of the Life of Brian, and very interesting they are too! They take various angles and look at the film from not just a filmic one but from a historical point of view, and read many things I had not noticed at the time. The comparisons are always illuminating, and the commentaries always right on the nose.” –  Terry Jones

I hope to provide a more substantial review of the book in due course, but for now, I wanted to get it on your radar. You only have two more weeks to wait!

On the Virtue of Changing Your Mind: An Appeal to My Students (Skinner)

Changing MindTomorrow starts a brand new academic year and I am brimming with hopes for you, my students. I love to see the “light come on” in your brains as we cover new terrain. I love those awkward, occasionally uncomfortable conversations about what we’re learning and how it is making you uneasy. Studying the Bible in its social, historical, and religious contexts and in much greater depth than you’re used to can have that effect. I love that what I do with you and how I do it has the evocative power to bring you into and out of moments of intellectual angst and ecstasy. I also love that what we do, day-in and day-out, brings with it the potential to help you learn to change your mind.

Today I sat across from one of you and listened to your youthful, exuberant, and (honestly) half-baked theories about things you have yet to really engage in moments of serious thought. That’s okay. I will walk with you and do my best to help you see things you have not yet seen, just as others have walked with me. Please remember: you are here to learn and learning requires openness. True education means opening yourself to the possibilities that your previous thinking about an issue could potentially be wide of the mark and may need some leavening. I want you to know that it’s okay to be wrong or ignorant or misinformed. We have all been there and we are all there, to various degrees, continuously as we go on learning. Much more than that, I want you to know that true education means an openness to changing your mind. Too much of what passes for education is the rearranging or affirmation of your previously held biases. True learning requires that, eventually, you will change your mind about something.

I will make that my mission this semester. So sleep well and I will see you in class tomorrow.

Mark Boda’s New Book on Repentance in Scripture (Gupta)

R2MOver the summer, Mark Boda published a new book entitled Return to Me: A Biblical Theology of Repentance (IVP, 2015). Boda is a well-respected OT scholar at McMaster Divinity College.

About nine months ago or so, Boda kindly sent me a copy of the manuscript because I was working on research related to this subject. I was very impressed with his work. Firstly, I value that he allows for different parts of Scripture to have their own nuances regarding repentance. Secondly, I appreciate that he did not just treat the Old Testament, but includes a short, but important section on the New Testament. The significance of this work, for my part, is that Boda avoids the fallacy of treating the OT as covenantally-focused (expectation and obedience), and the NT as one-side (“grace only”). Rather, Boda demonstrates how patterns of divine-human interaction and expectation continue from OT to NT – repentance (from a relational-perspective) is present and important in the NT in ways congruous with the OT.

I think that the subject was too large for Boda to do more than soundings and big-picture work, and his NT section is very cursory, but this is a major step in the right direction of thinking about covenant, obedience, and repentance in a holistic and whole-Bible way. I hope someone will continue to study how covenantal repentance is at work in the New Testament (in its pluriform ways).