Events in the Bible, the wider cultural background of those events, and the biblical text itself, all have a historical dimension.

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The Ten Commandments were based on the Code of Hammurabi?

A topic that was discussed among peers was that the Ten Commandments of Christian and Jewish faith were based off the Code of Hammurabi. I looked into the Wikipedia article and was informed that ...
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Why did the Samaritans worship God in Mount Gerissim rather than Jerusalem?

In John chapter 4, Jesus has a discussion with a woman of Samaria: The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in ...
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Before the Tower of Babel did all speak Hebrew as the original human language? [closed]

I find it fascinating that rabbinic literature suggests that Hebrew was the original human language. I have seen Christian authors also argue the same. For example, from the Jewish Encyclopedia: ...
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833 views

Was Luke's birth narrative written in response to Marcion's version of the gospel?

This site suggests that Marcion's version of The Gospel of Luke - a version which includes no birth narrative - was written before the version of Luke that includes the birth narrative, and that the ...
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What happened to the 500 witnesses in 1 Corinthians 15?

This week I taught Sunday School from this text: For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was ...
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Does the “lost leaf” theory for Mark's abrupt ending fail if written on a scroll?

I really like this explanation of Mark's rather abrupt ending: There are three possible explanations for Mark ending at 16:8: (1) The author intentionally ended the Gospel here in an open-ended ...
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Numeral system in the time of the Genesis

Genesis 41:49 (King James Version) And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number. Without being a perfect equivalent, this ...
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109 views

What textual clues are there that the original readers of Genesis would have understood 11:27–50:26 in a different way than Genesis 2:4–11:26?

One fairly common argument on how to interpret Genesis says that there is a change in theme (or perhaps even genre) near the end of Genesis 11, basically that things shift from the (pre-)history of ...
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Why did the people of Jericho deserve such destruction?

Note: I am looking for answers both in Biblical Text and from other historical texts Joshua 6:21-25 says that they killed every living thing in it (the City of Jericho) -- "men, women, young, old, ...
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284 views

Should Luke be considered a 'primary' source concerning events in Jesus' life?

Sould Luke properly be described as a 'primary' or 'secondary' source concerning the life of Jesus? I ask because the author of Luke does not claim to be an eye-witness to most of the events he ...
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Was Jesus crucified naked?

John 19:23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven ...
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880 views

Was it typical to cast lots like in Acts 1:26?

At the beginning of Acts, the eleven decide that it is appropriate to replace Judas. To do so, they narrow down the list of candidates to two men: Joseph and Matthias. Then they pray, "Show us which ...
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193 views

Was Luke mistaken about the year in which John the Baptist's preaching began?

Luke goes into detail concerning the beginning of Christ’s ministry. To quote: “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being ...
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557 views

Did the apostles travel with their wives?

I was doing some research for an answer and came across this verse: This is my defense to those who would examine me. Do we not have the right to eat and drink? Do we not have the right to take ...
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358 views

Can we date Mark without first committing to an interpretation of the Olivet Discourse?

Most scholars believe Mark is the earliest biography of Jesus. (Paul's writings and perhaps one or two other New Testament letters are earlier, but they include very little biographical material ...
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What does it mean to be a Nazirite?

In Numbers 6, God gives the rules for being a Nazirite. This person is set apart for service to God. There are rules they must follow and actions they must take or refrain from. They must not eat or ...
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Why would the disciples have rebuked people for bringing infants to Jesus?

Luke 18:15 tells a story of people bringing infants to Jesus: Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. (ESV) I take ...
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Is oral history like the telephone game?

Bart Ehrman argues that the gospel texts are not historically reliable beginning with this analogy: It is [oral circulation] that causes special problems for historians who want to know what ...
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Why did Dan remain on ships?

In Judges 5: 17, Deborah sang that Dan remained on ships. Did the Israelites have ships in the time of the judges? Is 'ships' the correct translation? Is there an explanation for this curious mention? ...
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What was the actual thorn plant that was used in Christ's crown of thorns? John 19:2

John 19:2 (HCSB) The soldiers also twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and threw a purple robe around Him. Image from The Passion of the Christ. What was the actual thorn ...
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281 views

Calculation of date from Genesis 7:11

Does Genesis 7:11 say: A) the floodwaters burst open in the 17th day, the second month of the 600th year of Noah's life, or B) the floodwaters burst open in the 17th day, the second month in the ...
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140 views

Is there something significant about Avram's tactics in rescuing Lot?

Genesis 14 describes the war of four kings against five kings and the capture of Lot, and then describes how Avram mounted a rescue mission: וַיִּשְׁמַע אַבְרָם, כִּי נִשְׁבָּה אָחִיו; וַיָּרֶק ...
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Assyrian Invasions of Israel

Previous to the fall of Samaria, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria made several excursions into Israel. The biblical records mention three: The first was against Menahem (2 Kings 15:19-20) but he was ...
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272 views

How does the Genesis account of the Tower of Babel compare with other traditions about the tower?

I'm aware there are number of accounts of the Tower of Babel in Midrash, from the Islamic traditions, Kabalah, Josephus and the Jubilees. For the most part, these accounts seem to derive from ...
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Was washing one's hands to show innocence, as Pilate did, a common ritual in the Roman Empire?

In Matthew 27:24, Pilate washed his hands because he couldn't find any guilt in Jesus while he condemned Him to the cross. So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot ...
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530 views

What was the relationship in ages between Jesus and his disciples?

There are a few texts in the gospels which give some flavor of Jesus' relationship with his disciples (citing the NIV here): Matt 10:24 - The student [μαθητὴς] is not above the teacher ...
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228 views

What language(s) would the Jewish Christians in the various Macedonian cities have spoken?

In Acts 16-18, Paul is shown moving from city to city in Macedonia - e.g. Phillipi, Thessalonica, Berea, Corinth - many of to whom he would later write letters. Acts 17:2 explains that it was his ...
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What did Moses do at Horeb in the first place?

I was reading Exodus 3:1: Now Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to the mountain of ...
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How credible is the theory that Enki and Ninhursag influenced Genesis 2 and 3?

How credible is the theory that the Sumerian story of Enki and Ninhursag influenced or inspired Genesis 2 and 3? the literature created by the Sumerians left its deep imprint on the Hebrews, and ...
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Moses' manufacture of the “bronze serpent” - what bronze?

In Numbers 21:9 it says: So Moses made a bronze snake and put it on a pole, so that if a snake had bitten someone, when he looked at the bronze snake he lived. [NET] Where would Moses probably ...
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Daniel 8:15-27 :“… Kingdom of greece …”

I was reading Daniel 8:15-27, where it says: .... the ram you saw that had two horns represents the kingdoms of Media and Persia. The goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the prominent horn ...
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183 views

What evidence exists to show that the Galatians could understand Greek?

I have seen before an atheist argument that the Galatians being migrant tribesmen from Gaul could not speak or read Greek, and therefore could not have understood an epistle in Greek, much less a ...
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429 views

What did 'adoption' mean to the Romans?

Romans 8 14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a ...
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180 views

Is there a published version of the Bible, where the text is ordered chronologically in the order it was written?

Has there been a published version of the Bible where the text was ordered in the order it is best assumed that it was written? I'm not interested in a version that is ordered in a chronological ...
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Ezekiel 16:4 - Why were babies rubbed with salt?

In an extended metaphor, the prophet Ezekiel compares Jerusalem to an abandoned infant: On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were ...
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How did David trick Achish?

I got to this section this week and I feel like I'm missing something: David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Gizrites, and the Amalekites—who were the inhabitants of the ...
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299 views

What do bible authors mean by “they remain there till this day…”?

Biblical authors like to proclaim how some monument/stone/altar/name remains intact to-this-day. Cool. Should I take that as till the day the author wrote it down (in which case: meh), or should I ...
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Did Jesus wear pants?

While researching this question, I came across an article I'd rather not link to1 that asserted that Jesus wore pants. The particular bit of evidence they cited was: Then I saw heaven opened, and ...
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729 views

What is the order of events of Nahum and Jonah?

I was reading the book of Nahum and it was speaking about Ninevah. Is the book of Nahum foretelling the destruction of Ninevah, for which the people of Ninevah averted by repenting of their sins, or ...
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193 views

Was the 'Great Bible' a translation from Latin or from original Hebrew and Greek scriptures?

The Coverdale Translation and the Great Bible were both the work of Miles Coverdale. To the best of my knowledge Coverdale relied heavily on the works of other translators, especially William Tyndale. ...
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70 views

Social standing of first century physicians

In Mark 5:26, in telling the story of the woman who had been bleeding, Mark mentions: She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting ...
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189 views

The Pharaoh of the Exodus

Is there any textual evidence in Hebrew Bible or Christian New Testament that would identify the Pharaoh involved with Moses and the Exodus? Is there any textual evidence that would also correspond ...
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614 views

Who was Neri, father of Shealtiel?

This one has been dogging me for a while. I know there is no (direct) Biblical source to answer this question, but perhaps the scholars here might be better informed as to the existence of some ...
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254 views

Are the speeches in the gospels and Acts meant to be taken as literal renditions of the original speech, or general gists of the speaker's message?

Acts 13:16-19 Then Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said, “Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen: The God of this people Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they ...
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Who are the soldiers in John 18:3?

Does the "detachment of soldiers" refer to a Roman guard? If so, how large of a group? Or is it a different group of soldiers, perhaps a temple guard or Jewish soldiers if there were any at the time? ...
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Historical Context and Fulfillment of Isaiah 7:8

Isaiah 7:8 (NET) reads: For Syria’s leader is Damascus, and the leader of Damascus is Rezin. Within sixty-five years Ephraim will no longer exist as a nation. As the IVP OT Commentary points ...
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Would the Pharisees go to Pilate and secure the tomb on the Sabbath?

This is in relation to another post in which the question was asked why the Sabbath was called "the day after the Day of Preparation." It strikes me odd that Pharisees would be about this sort of ...
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Accuracy of Alfred Edersheim's “Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah” [closed]

Edersheim's book The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah has been called "one of the best known and most important references on the life of Christ ever written." However, a lot has changed in the ...
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Qualifications for deacons and pastors in 1 Timothy 3:1-12

3:1 This saying is trustworthy: “If someone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a good work.” 3:2 The overseer then must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, ...
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What were the criteria for evaluating whether a book was included in the canons of scripture?

What criteria were used in collecting the Scriptures (Canon) which we know today as the Holy Bible. I'm not looking for new theological hypotheses here, just established ones. For example, how did ...