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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

8
votes
1answer
128 views

When was the Hebrew Bible's exact text/spelling synchronized globally?

The Hebrew Bible is essentially identical in all Jewish communities, despite significant differences in spellings and wordings from the Septuagint or texts in the Dead Sea Scrolls, or even from quoted ...
8
votes
3answers
349 views

What is the judgment in Psalm 1?

The ending of Psalm 1 provides great hope for those who delight in the instruction of the Lord: Not so the wicked; rather, they are like chaff that wind blows away. Therefore the wicked ...
8
votes
2answers
27k views

Who were the Hellenistic and Hebraic Jews of Acts 6:1?

In Acts, it talks about a division in Judaism that I had not heard of before: Acts 6:1 (NIV) In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained ...
7
votes
4answers
8k views

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 ...
7
votes
5answers
4k views

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: ...
7
votes
3answers
8k views

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 ...
7
votes
3answers
584 views

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 ...
7
votes
4answers
302 views

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 ...
7
votes
2answers
249 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
848 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
173 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
547 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
343 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
6k views

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 ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
485 views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
550 views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
268 views

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? ...
6
votes
2answers
13k views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
270 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
138 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
153 views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
266 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
453 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
220 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
435 views

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 ...
5
votes
4answers
981 views

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 ...
5
votes
1answer
233 views

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 ...
5
votes
1answer
175 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
370 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
174 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
5
votes
1answer
973 views

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
5
votes
1answer
684 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
243 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
187 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. ...
5
votes
1answer
62 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
179 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
530 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
244 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

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? ...
5
votes
1answer
407 views

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 ...
5
votes
1answer
433 views

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 ...
5
votes
0answers
1k views

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Who were the people of Jericho?

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, ...
5
votes
2answers
339 views

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, ...
4
votes
2answers
583 views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
109 views

What exactly does מִכְנָס (miknac) mean?

Researching a related question, I came across passages like: You shall also make for them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; they shall extend from the hips to the thighs.—Exodus 28:42 ...