Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Three books by Bart Ehrman

  • Did Jesus Exist? (2012)
  • Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium (1999)
  • How Jesus Became God (2014)
If I was going to recommend three books to newcomers to the field of historical Jesus studies, it would be these three.  Ehrman is an interesting guy.  He rejected the Christian fundamentalism of his youth to become a secular Bible scholar writing in the academic mainstream.  An engaging writer and teacher, he has perhaps done more than any other writer of our time to bring the insights of modern Bible research to a wider audience.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Three books on Shariah law

The first book that I want to cover in this post is Shariah: The Islamic Law by Abdur Rahman I. Doi.  This is a detailed textbook of the principles and rules of traditional Sunni Shariah.  Such textbooks seem to be rather unusual in the English language.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Pauline Christianity

Here are some characteristics of the churches which Paul founded and ministered to, as gleaned from his letters:

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Review of "Mormonism Unvailed" by E.B. Howe (edited by Dan Vogel)

E.B. Howe's Mormonism Unvailed (the spelling was normal for the time) was the first anti-Mormon book to be published after Joseph Smith's new religious movement appeared in 1830.  The work was published in Ohio in 1834.  This is a new edition of the book, which has been edited by Dan Vogel.  Vogel is a prominent secular scholar of Mormonism whose previous major work was his biography Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet.  Vogel has provided an introduction and detailed notes to the text.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Review of "The Rocky Mountain Saints" by T B H Stenhouse

This is an interesting piece of 19th century anti-Mormon literature.  Thomas Stenhouse (1825-1882) was a Mormon journalist who fell out with the church.  He published the book in 1873 as an exposé of what had gone on in early Utah, which he depicted as a repressive theocracy.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon - Part 2

For Part 1, please see here

The Church of Christ, as it was originally called, was established on 6 April 1830.  In later years, Smith would claim that the biblical figure John the Baptist had appeared and ordained him to the "Aaronic priesthood" in 1829, but this was another story that he appears to have come up with ex post facto.  In any event, Smith didn't stop to pause for breath.  He quickly started work on a new scripture called the Book of Moses, which became the first part of a new "translation" of the Bible - actually an edited and somewhat expanded version of the King James translation.