Tag: history

Book review: Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes
(January 18, 2018)

This is quite simply one of the best and most enlightening books I have read about Jesus and the Gospels. I have learnt so much that has helped me make better sense of the gospels and of my faith (although I am certainly not claiming to be like Maria in the Counting Crows song, Round […]

Book review: Disarming Scripture
(December 14, 2017)

Disarming Scripture by Derek Flood The Old Testament world was a violent place. For a christian, the most troubling violence is surely that said to be commanded by God, whether it be Abraham being commanded to sacrifice his son and heir Isaac, Joshua commanded to exterminate Canaanites who are unfortunate enough to be living in […]

Did the exodus really happen?
(September 12, 2017)

The exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and their travel to the Promised Land is one of the key events in Jewish religious history, and, therefore, in christian belief as well. But did it actually happen? Did something like 2 million people cross the Red Sea and through the Sinai, aided and guided by miraculous […]

Colonialism, war and selective memory
(August 21, 2017)

Photo: Slaves Waiting to be sold in Richmond, Virginia, painted in 1861 from an 1853 sketch. Wikipedia. The world has changed enormously in my lifetime. One thing that I never knew as a child but which seems to characterise the present age, is international terrorism. Terrorism, via car bomb, motor vehicle driven into crowds, gun […]

Joshua & the conquest of Canaan: what's history, what's legend, what's unknown?
(March 31, 2017)

I don’t know about you, but when I read the Old Testament accounts of Joshua and the Israelites invading Canaan, I don’t have any picture of the geography or where the cities were located. The matter is complicated by the fact that many people feel a lot is at stake. Believers generally want to find […]

Does archaeology show the Bible is true? Seven facts
(March 16, 2017)

I’m sure you will have read, and heard it said, that archaeology confirms the accuracy of the Bible. But you may also have heard from sceptics that the Bible isn’t historically accurate. So which is true? This is a complex matter with a wide variety of conclusions among the experts. I have tried to investigate […]

Book review: The Jesus Legend
(February 5, 2017)

Some books on Jesus and the New Testament are clearly apologetic in nature, seeking to argue or defend a certain viewpoint, whether it be sceptical or believing. Other books clearly aim at being academic, impartial, seeking to advance academic opinion. This book, which is almost a decade old, is kind of both. I have only […]

The kingdom of God – a ticket to heaven?
(January 25, 2017)

I was talking with an evangelical minister recently, about social justice and the mission of the church. He felt evangelism should be clearly our highest priority, because it has “eternal consequences”. I suggested that wasn’t how Jesus saw things – his main message and highest priority seemed to be the kingdom of God. But the […]

Did God command killings in the Old Testament or was that a misunderstanding?
(January 6, 2017)

Arguments rage about the Bible and how we should interpret it, especially about the Old Testament. Conservative christians are often critical of those who take a “liberal” view, which conservatives see as destructive and unfaithful, while sceptics tend to see the conservatives as not following the evidence. Is there any way to break through on […]

The real story of Jesus' birth?
(December 21, 2016)

The Christmas story is known and loved by many people who wouldn’t call themselves “christians”. The details are well known: angels, a stable with straw and animals, shepherds, 3 wise men with gifts, etc, and in the centre a glowing mother and a perfectly formed baby. Historians are not so sure about all these details, […]