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Questions tagged [history]

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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How are concubines different than wives?

In the Hebrew Bible, a marriage ceremony is never actually described. Priests and their attendants (Kohanim and Levites) are responsible for work in the sanctuary, such as sacrifices and offerings, ...
Emi Matro's user avatar
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28 votes
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Was the text of Matthew 28:19 changed?

Scholars such as F. C. Conybeare1 have claimed that the Trinitarian baptismal formula of Matthew 28:19 was not original to the text of Matthew. Matt 28:19 (NIV) 19 Therefore go and make disciples ...
Vince's user avatar
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27 votes
6 answers
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Who is the Artaxerxes of Ezra 7?

Ezra 7:7 mentions a Persian king Artaxerxes: Some of the Israelites, including priests, Levites, musicians, gatekeepers and temple servants, also came up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King ...
Soldarnal's user avatar
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25 votes
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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 ...
hawkeye's user avatar
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25 votes
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Did Moses have an Egyptian name?

Moses got his name from Pharaoh's daughter: When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the ...
Jon Ericson's user avatar
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24 votes
6 answers
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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 ...
Joel Glovier's user avatar
23 votes
3 answers
36k 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 ...
Niclas Nilsson's user avatar
22 votes
7 answers
68k 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 them.&...
Jon Ericson's user avatar
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21 votes
7 answers
20k views

Revelation: Before or after AD70?

My question is about how the Book of Revelation is dated. Some say it was written before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, and others say it was written later (maybe around AD 96.) Obviously the ...
Jas 3.1's user avatar
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21 votes
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Why does Jesus tell his mother his "hour has not yet come"?

Very early on, John tells a story that is unique to his gospel: On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding ...
Jon Ericson's user avatar
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21 votes
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In Luke 2:7 is "kataluma" a "guestroom" in a house or at an "inn"?

Luke 2:7 KJV translates "kataluma" as "inn": Luke 2:7 KJV - 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for ...
tladuke's user avatar
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21 votes
3 answers
108k views

What was the purpose of giving Jesus vinegar to drink?

What was the purpose of giving Jesus vinegar to drink ? (Mark 15:23, Matthew 27:34) Some think it was a way to mock Jesus, but others argue that the "vinegar" (with gall) was the diluted wine drunk ...
YoMrWhite's user avatar
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20 votes
7 answers
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In Deuteronomy 4:13 why were the Ten Commandments written on two tablets?

When Moses is given the Ten Commandments they are apparently written on two tablets: He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments, which he commanded you to follow and then wrote them on ...
Soldarnal's user avatar
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20 votes
5 answers
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What was the lesson Elisha wanted to teach Joash using the arrows?

In 2 Kings 13:14–17 we find that Joash, the king of Israel, took a bow and some arrows as Elisha told him. And the 17th verse: Elisha said, “Open the east window,” and he did so. Elisha said, “Shoot!”...
Ionică Bizău's user avatar
19 votes
3 answers
100k 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 ...
Bruce Alderman's user avatar
19 votes
8 answers
12k 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, the ...
Jon Ericson's user avatar
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19 votes
9 answers
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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 ...
Jas 3.1's user avatar
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18 votes
5 answers
8k 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 ...
Jon Ericson's user avatar
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18 votes
3 answers
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Was Potiphar, being a captain of an Egyptian guard, likely a eunuch?

In Genesis, we read the infamous story of Joseph and Potiphar's wife. Potiphar's wife (who is named Zuleikha, at least according Sefer HaYashar) repeatedly makes sexual advances on Joseph, and as we ...
Butterfly and Bones's user avatar
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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. Is ...
Dan's user avatar
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17 votes
6 answers
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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 ...
Onorio Catenacci's user avatar
17 votes
3 answers
4k views

Jesus and the adulterous woman: was stoning a practical possiblity?

In John 8:5, the Pharisees ask Jesus: In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say? (NIV) Was stoning a woman for adultery often/sometimes done during Jesus' days, or ...
tbleher's user avatar
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16 votes
6 answers
7k views

Locations of the graves of the Patriarchs

The Book of Acts at 7:16-17 states that Jacob died and was "carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem." But Genesis ...
Bruce James's user avatar
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16 votes
2 answers
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How consistent were Augustine's hermeneutics?

St. Augustine of Hippo seems to have had considerable influence on the field of hermeneutics. His work in the field seems to be a bit of a landmark in the history of how hermeneutics is done. However ...
Caleb's user avatar
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15 votes
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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 ...
seedy3's user avatar
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15 votes
8 answers
2k views

How did Jewish people living under Roman rule understand the role of a Paraclete?

John 14:16 (DRB): And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever. John 14:26 (DRB): But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will ...
Hold To The Rod's user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
7k views

Why was, "for they were Ishmaelites" considered an explanation for why the Midianites had golden earrings in Judges 8:24?

Gideon's Ephod Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” Gideon said to them, “I will not ...
Ben Mordecai's user avatar
15 votes
2 answers
641 views

What evidence exists that supports the understanding of the Exodus as a deliverance metanarrative and not as a historical narrative?

Marcus Borg has proposed a "historical-metaphorical" reading of Exodus (particularly the narrative of the event itself) in which deliverance and salvation are established as key themes in a grand ...
Twilight Sparkle's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
1k 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 ...
Soldarnal's user avatar
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14 votes
6 answers
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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. ...
Mike's user avatar
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14 votes
6 answers
4k views

John 1:1 - How would Λόγος (Logos) be understood in Hellenistic philosophy?

In John 1:1 (NIV, KJV, ESV, NASB, RSV, ASV, NRSV), the text is often translated as something close to In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. "the Word" as ...
James Shewey's user avatar
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13 votes
1 answer
5k 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 ...
Hello's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
14k views

Where, and how, did Josiah die?

The death of Josiah is reported differently in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. The Kings account is brief: [WEB] 2 Kings 23 : 29 In his days Pharaoh Necoh king of Egypt went up against the king of ...
Dɑvïd's user avatar
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13 votes
7 answers
32k 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 who ...
Jon Ericson's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
5k views

How did authorities know that Paul was really a Roman citizen?

A previous answer to a different question ventured into the territory of my question here, quoting from The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (which in turn, cited from some commentaries) that ...
ScottS's user avatar
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13 votes
1 answer
5k views

Accuracy of Alfred Edersheim's "Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah"

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 ...
Dan's user avatar
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12 votes
6 answers
7k views

Why will Dan not be in heaven? What did he do worse than his brethren?

The entire tribe of Dan is absent from the list of those tribes which are to be found in heaven. Here is the list given in Revelation 7. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there ...
Biblasia's user avatar
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12 votes
8 answers
6k views

In Hebrews 4:12 what is the difference between ψυχή ("soul") and πνεῦμα ("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 quick, ...
w.kent's user avatar
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12 votes
8 answers
99k views

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 ...
Muke Tever's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
60k 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 when ye ...
Alypius's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
Amichai's user avatar
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12 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
Frank Luke's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
933 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 well-...
Jack Douglas's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
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Just how overpriced was Efron's burial cave anyway?

In Genesis 23 Avraham pays 400 shekels to Efron for a burial cave for Sarah (and, later, other family members). This seems to be an enormous amount of money and Rashi suggests it's even worse than it ...
user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
Jon Ericson's user avatar
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12 votes
5 answers
4k views

On which day of the week was Jesus crucified - Wednesday or Thursday?

My question does not involve understanding what the meaning of the Day of Preparation is. This is about which day of the week. While there are contrary opinions on this, I believe all gospels point to ...
Rob Callicotte's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
13k 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 ...
user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
6k views

What was the roof likely made of in Mark 2:4?

We were talking about this last weekend and I've been curious about it. Mark 2:4 (NIV) Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by ...
Richard's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
6k views

Who were the "chief priests" and "Sanhedrin" in reference to the people trying to kill Jesus?

Mark 14:55 (NIV) The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. Wikipedia has shown me that the ...
Richard's user avatar
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12 votes
7 answers
19k views

What did earrings have to do with idolatry in Gen 35:4?

As Jacob brings his family back to Canaan, God calls him to build an altar to Him (Gen 35:1), and then Jacob is moved to do the following, of which the part in bold is what this question concerns in ...
ScottS's user avatar
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