When did Jesus and his followers receive the spirit?

At two particular points in the New Testament narrative the Holy Spirit breaks through the heavenly seal and escapes into the earthly realm. In the first case, the spirit descends upon Jesus at his baptism in the Jordan. In the second case, the spirit is poured out upon believers as they celebrate the feast of … Continue reading When did Jesus and his followers receive the spirit?

Immanuel: theology or history?

Christmas and Theology Theological constructs, while often helpful, sometimes prevent us from hearing what Biblical texts have to say. This is certainly the case with scripture's dual nativity stories. Two theological concerns in particular blur our reading of these stories. Since the two birth narratives are divergent and sometimes contradictory, in our desire to defend the … Continue reading Immanuel: theology or history?

John and the Historical Temple-Disturbance

Until rather recently, the Gospel of John has been systematically excluded as a source for the historical Jesus. It has been popularly considered a "concocted Gospel." Accordingly, scholarship tends to understand John as a derivative spiritualization of Synoptic material. As such, the Fourth Gospel contains no viable independent memory of the historical Jesus.  This critical … Continue reading John and the Historical Temple-Disturbance

Magic and Misunderstanding in John 8

A paper I wrote examined the dispute between Jesus and Jerusalem Jews recorded in John 8. I began with a well-trodden observation: in John 8:42-58 the typical Johannine misunderstanding motif is afoot. That is, the Jews do not understand what Jesus is saying. Their questions and accusations disclose that Jesus and his opponents are operating … Continue reading Magic and Misunderstanding in John 8