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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What are the similarities and differences between the Genesis creation account and other creation stories of the time [closed]

(Operating under the assumption that Genesis was authored by Moses, and its intent is a polemic against other origin stories and their view of the deity at the time). The Enûma Eliš is said to have ...
11
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3answers
2k views

Did Luke use Josephus as a source?

Richard Carrier summarizes an argument made by Steve Mason in his book Josephus and the New Testament that Luke knew of Josephus' Jewish War (79 CE) and Jewish Antiquities (94 CE). At it's core, the ...
13
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5answers
4k views

Interpretation of Genesis 1:26?

I am under the impression that the Trinity is a Christian idea, and that the Jews did not view God as "three in one and one in three". How, then, was the following passage interpreted by the people ...
10
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2answers
1k views

What is an “anachronism” in Biblical Hermeneutics?

I have run across several definitions as it relates to "anachronism" in Biblical Hermeneutics and I am confused: An anachronism in word studies takes place when we read a definition of a word ...
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3answers
475 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 ...
8
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3answers
610 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 ...
9
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3answers
298 views

Ancient Hebrew Calendar(s) and Modern Translations of “Years”

When we read Genesis or Samuel/Kings/Chronicles (or any OT book that attempts any sort of reliable chronology), what are reasonable meanings of the word (translated) "year?" Suppose I wanted to ...
3
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1answer
301 views

What is the difference between “soul” and “spirit”?

Hebrews 4:12 seems to distinguish between "soul" and "spirit" (or ψυχή and πνεῦμα, respectively) in some manner similar to the difference between "joint" and "marrow." For the word of God is ...
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6answers
2k views

How should we understand the “Cleansing of the Temple”?

As a preface, I was talking with some good friends last night and this passage came up. On of my friends contributed an interpretation that made my blood boil. He was clearly wrong and clearly ...
10
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2answers
723 views

How big were the nomadic clans of the patriarchs?

According to the book Genesis, 70 people came down with Jacob to dwell in Egypt after contact was made with Joseph: And the sons of Joseph who were born to him in Egypt were two souls; all the ...
12
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1answer
233 views

Statistically, how similar is the NIV to other translations such as the RSV?

In "The advantages of the ESV" by Wayne Grudem, he states that the 2001 edition of the ESV is "92% RSV, 8% modified, or 60,000 words" (from the RSV): This sounds like strong confirmation of the ...
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3answers
862 views

How does the Noah's Ark narrative relate to the Gilgamesh flood account?

How does the Noah's Ark narrative relate to other the Gilgamesh flood account? For reference, the Biblical flood account is in Genesis 6-10 and the Gilgamesh flood account is on Tablet XI. The ...
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1answer
194 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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2answers
2k views

How strong was Midian's army?

When Israel took vengeance on Midian they sent 12,000 troops (Numbers 31:4) and prevailed: אֶלֶף, לַמַּטֶּה, אֶלֶף, לַמַּטֶּה--לְכֹל מַטּוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל, תִּשְׁלְחוּ לַצָּבָא. Of every tribe a ...
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2answers
2k 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 ...
2
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1answer
680 views

What sort of “slave” is Paul referring to in 1 Corinthians 7:21-23?

Paul writes the following in his first letter to the Corinthian church: Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. For he who ...
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1answer
328 views

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

What/who have commentators historically believed the "four riders" of Revelation 6 were?
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4answers
46k views

When did Jesus change his view on preaching to Gentiles?

In John 10:16 Jesus says (ESV quoted): And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. The ...
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1answer
32k 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 ...
14
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4answers
7k views

Is Deuteronomy 22:28 talking about rape?

Some folks assert that this passage describes the Torah's sole punishment for rape: If a man comes upon a virgin who is not engaged and he seizes her and lies with her, and they are discovered, ...
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2answers
2k views

Did Jesus call God YHWH?

In Matthew 27:45-46 Jesus is recorded as saying: Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani? Based on Jesus the Phoenician Jesus called God 'EL'—which is a Phoenician God—when he was on the cross. ...
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3answers
23k views

Why did the witnesses lay their coats at Paul's feet?

During the stoning of Stephen, according to the book of Acts, "the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul," who later converted to Christianity and took the name Paul. ...
11
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2answers
429 views

Did Jephthah have pets?

Judges 11:29-40 tells the story of Jephthah's victory over the Ammonites. Before the battle he promises, "whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the ...
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3answers
440 views

John 8:57 and the age of Jesus, before his crucifixion

I was doing some reading in the Book "Ante Nicene Fathers" in Irenaeus' "Against Heresies" Book 2 Chapter 22 (book II chapter XXII) Irenaeus quoted John 8:57, in his argument to the Valentinens that ...
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1answer
769 views

What about the noncanonical books quoted in Jude?

The book of Jude contains many quotes and references to the Old Testament. However, there are two quotes which seem to be from elsewhere. The first is attributed to The Assumption of Moses. Jude ...
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4answers
8k views

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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1answer
362 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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1answer
232 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 ...
6
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1answer
276 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 ...
5
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1answer
368 views

Earliest attestation to Luke's gospel

What is the earliest convincing attestation to the gospel of Luke? I believe that Justin Martyr quotes from Luke's gospel ca.150. Is that generally considered unassailable? Are there other earlier ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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3answers
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Was “Τετέλεσται” actually stamped on paid bills and debt certificates in the first century?

I've often heard some really cool explanations around the meaning for the greek word Τετέλεσται in the New Testament where Jesus said, "It is Finished". I love what I've heard, and have even preached ...
12
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3answers
702 views

Is Luke's “Theophilus” An Actual Person or an Allegorical Person

I've always wondered if there's any persuasive evidence either way for Theophilus whom Luke addresses in Luke 1:3 and Acts 1:1 being an actual person or an allegorical personification? I mean my ...
11
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2answers
24k views

What does Jesus mean by “vain repetition” or “babbling” in Matthew 6:7?

What ancient tradition of prayer is Jesus critical of in Matthew 6:7? In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. (NABRE) But ...
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3answers
8k views

In the time of Jesus, were the Jewish authorities allowed to execute?

In the gospel accounts of the trial of Jesus we learn that the Jewish authorities could not sentence anyone to death: Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” “But we ...
9
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2answers
533 views

Who was Nimrod?

In the middle of an otherwise repetitive genealogy in Genesis 10, one man is especially singled out: Cush was the father of Nimrod, who became a mighty warrior on the earth. He was a mighty hunter ...
7
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1answer
894 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 ...
6
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2answers
284 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 ...
5
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0answers
2k 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 ...
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7answers
16k views

Why should an altar be made with uncut stone?

God told Moses that the altar must be made of unhewn stones: And if you make for Me an altar of stones, do not build it of hewn stones; for by wielding your tool upon them you have profaned ...
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5answers
1k views

How would stoning of an adulterer actually be carried out under the Law of Moses?

How would stoning of an adulterer actually be carried out under the Law of Moses? In John Chapter 8 there is the familiar story of how Jesus prevented a stoning of a woman who had committed adultery. ...
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3answers
384 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 ...
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6answers
4k views

How should the story of David's concubines be read?

There's a small story of ten concubines spread across Samuel: And a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom.” Then David said to all his servants ...
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5answers
5k 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: ...
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1answer
551 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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1answer
451 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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4answers
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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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3answers
414 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, ...
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1answer
459 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 ...
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2answers
618 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 ...