Another week brings you another round of reads from around the web, courtesy yours truly. This week we have a report in on the “Gospel” of Jesus’ Wife, a look at “Guy Secrets revealed” (a common trap for our thoughts–making gender binaries), polemics in apologetics, our attitudes over Christmas/Advent, and a response to some arguments against the conclusions of the recent book, The Great Christ Comet.
Whatever Happened to Jesus’ Wife?– Well? Notice that the media uproar over the alleged “Gospel” of Jesus’ wife has effectively disappeared? There’s a good reason for that.
Response to an Amazon Review of “The Great Christ Comet”– Colin Nicholl, author of The Great Christ Comet, responds to a highly critical Amazon review of the book. The review argues that supernatural explanation best fits the Star of Bethlehem, while Nicholl holds it was a comet that was providentially ordered. See my review of the book here.
Guy Secrets Revealed?– Here’s an analysis of a book that claims to reveal “guy secrets.” The post provides much needed correction for the whole movement that seeks to identify the alleged inherent differences in preferences, mentality, and the like between men and women.
Polemics in Apologetics– The use of polemics in Christian apologetics is a necessary endeavor, but it requires some caution. Here is a great post putting forward how to balance the use of polemics in defending the faith.
A Note from Auntie Screwtape– If you’re not familiar with C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters, I suggest you get acquainted with it ASAP. The concept is a set of letters written from a demon to another regarding temptation. Here is a post in that style about temptations this Christmas season.
Today, I have changed the standard “Really Recommended Posts” to be all about the “Gospel” of Jesus’ Wife. Check out the updated list of links for responses to this discovery. Also, it snowed again here (yes, in mid/late April), so I made this an “owl post” edition.
SEE UPDATE: It has become revealed that this fragment is almost certainly a fraud. But, if you’re still bothered by it, check out the links below.
UPDATE 2 (4/17/2014): The case has been reopened as some alleged new evidence has shown that the document might not be a forgery after all, which now makes the links below relevant again! I’ve also added a comedic video I found via Tim McGrew.
UPDATE 3 (5/2/2014): It seems to actually be likely, after all, that it is a forgery! Which is it? Anyway, I added this link to a discussion of the evidence of forgery. (5/4/14): Another update with a post summarizing much of the evidence that the manuscript is a forgery.
There has been a bit of an uproar about a 4th Century Coptic Manuscript which purportedly provides evidence that Jesus had a wife. Apart from the fact that it is 4th century and therefore a few hundred years after the events and during primetime for Gnostics making up facts about Jesus to undergird their own theological leanings, many seem to think this is somehow evidence against Christianity. Well, here are some great responses to the discovery.
Reality Check: The “Jesus’ Wife” Coptic Fragment– Daniel Wallace, an influential NT scholar, comments on the discovery. He really gets into some great textual-critical details here. I would say this is one of the more important responses. I highly recommend this response.
Durham University professor calls the “Jesus had a wife” manuscript fragment a forgery– Yep, folks, we might be cutting this one off pretty quickly. Some analyses are suggesting fragment is actually a hoax, and the arguments seem pretty decisive. See the next post:
The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: How a Fake Gospel-Fragment Was Composed– This is a very interesting post which you can find Francis Watson, a professor of religion and theology at Durham University making a concise argument in a PDF which argues that the fragment is a fake. It’s a fascinating article, and perhaps destroys the whole controversy at the start. (To be fair, the late purported date of the fragment does little for me, anyway.)
New Coptic Fragment Says Jesus Was Married– A summary of skeptics’ attitudes towards historicity.
The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife?– Glenn Andrew Peoples has a simply fantastic discussion of the implications of this discovery. One of my favorite lines: “Prepare yourself. Suddenly, people are going to read a sensational article about a tiny scrap of parchment and become experts on early church history.”
Did Jesus Have a Wife?– A post which focuses on the authenticity of the document and the implications if it is indeed authentic. Another great response.
SHOCKING New Evidence Reveals 4th-Century Coptic Christians WONDERED If Jesus Was MARRIED!– What is the historical significance of the discovery, assuming it is genuine? A few very good, concise points.
So What if Jesus did Have a Wife?– Definitely an alternative approach. John Byron notes that Christians could grant that Jesus was married without somehow undermining the core doctrines of Christianity. This one is really interesting and I’m sure will be controversial. While not a response to this article, Aggie Catholics has a very different view of the implications of the discovery, while denying that it has historical import other than as showing the beliefs of Gnosticism: Proof That Jesus Was Married?
The Wife of Christ and the Bride of Christ– This post looks at the discovery from a more presuppositional type approach. We know the Bible is reliable, so what should we make of this discovery?
Stop the presses! Jesus was married! Oh no!– Carl Olson at the Catholic World Report comments on a number of issues with jumping to conclusions about the text. I found this one particularly insightful about how the discovery is being portrayed in the media.
Quick Thoughts on the New Jesus Wife Text– Darrell Bock, a prominent NT scholar, shares his thoughts on the implications of the text. It’s highly informative and concise.
Was Jesus Married?– A reflection on the way the media portrays stories like this along with an examination of the importance of the document and apologetics.
Get Ready for A Wave of Gnostic Looniness Again– James White notes that the discovery was made by a woman who loves to sensationalize gnosticism.
Shock! Horror! Jesus’ Wife! (Video)– a satirical video about the discovery and its alleged implications for Christian faith.
Gospel of Jesus’ Wife– New evidence has come up (5/1/14) which may show that the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is indeed a forgery. This additional analysis suggests the fragment is forged, though the material may be genuine. H/T Tim McGrew for the find.
Wall Street Journal: How the Jesus’ Wife Hoax Fell Apart (5/4/14)- A post summarizing much of the evidence that this “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” is indeed a forgery. There are a few comments on the end which I think are a tad unnecessary about those who are interested in women’s roles in the church and the like–after all, what one chooses to study does not necessitate certain views–but the summary of the evidence is great.
Another round of Really Recommended Posts here. Featured are undesigned coincidences, literary and culutral apologetics, egalitarianism/complementarianism, young earth creationism, and the “Gospel of Jesus’ wife.” I hope you’ll check them out and let me know what you thought!
Tim McGrew replies to Ed Babinski’s Critique of his Discussion of Undesigned Coincidences– I recently wrote on one of the [mostly] forgotten arguments for the truth of Christianity- Undesigned Coincidences. Tim McGrew is the best current proponent of this argument, and here he offers a response to some of the standard objections to the argument, along with a general criticism of trying to rebut the argument based on Markan priority. Check out my post, and check out this post to see the excellent defense of the argument.
“Full Dark, No Stars”: Stephen King’s Worlds of Night– An excellent blog that often looks into cultural apologetics, “Empires and Mangers,” Anthony Weber’s Blog takes a look at one of Stephen King’s work from a Christian perspective. It’s a very intriguing read. Anthony Weber is the author of “Learning to Jump Again,” which I reviewed.
It’s About the Bible, not Fake ideas of Progress– NT Wright is one of the most lucid Christian thinkers with whom I have ever interacted. Here, he takes a look at some strategies of those who are both for and against women in the ministry and evaluates the arguments. He offers a way forward in the discussion.
How prestigious evangelical scholars helped debunk the Jesus wife myth– Did Jesus have a wife? Some recent controversy occurred over the alleged finding of a fragment purporting to tell the truth on this exact detail. However, it has come to light that the fragment is almost certainly a fraud. Wintery Knight’s post looks at how evangelical scholars helped to expose this fraud. I have linked to a number of posts about this “Gospel” myself. For those wondering: even if it were not a fraud (which it is), it is a late fragment that doesn’t tell us much other than what some heretics believed at the time.
Nathaniel Jeanson of the Institute for Creation Research in Montana– I found this post extremely interesting. It is often alleged by young earth creationists that old earth proponents and “secularists” follow a strict uniformitarianism. Unfortunately, this definition of uniformitarianism is outdated by a couple hundred years.The GeoChristian offers a response to this YEC argument. Yes, this is part 3 of a 5 part series, no you don’t have to read them all to make sense of it. But do check out the whole series, because it is interesting!
Nonrandom Mutations Scramble the Case for Common Descent: Reasons to Believe, my favored resource for science-faith discussions, is chock-full of excellent articles like this one, which argues that mutations are not necessarily always random, but rather take place in such a way that reflects design.