- Candida Moss (University of Birmingham) wrote a piece back in March on Apollonius, the miracle-working son of God that is often compared to Jesus. In it Moss, a prolific writer and scholar, observes that many in the ancient Mediterannean were considered the son of this or that God and that the miracles of Jesus “weren’t completely unprecedented.” None of this, of course, means Jesus didn’t do what the Gospels claim he did. But it does suggest that in the cultural background the son of God motif was not unknown. Moss’ is a brief but informative article.
- Chris “the unicorn” wrote a piece for his new blog back in May on the relationship of Yahweh to Elyon in Deuteronomy 32:8-9. In it he not only looks at biblical texts relevant to the discussion (i.e. Genesis 14:18-20; Numbers 24:15-19; etc.) but also the literature of other ANE cultures including that of Ugarit as well as the Sefire I Treaty. Without going into too much detail, Hansen’s position is that the passage in the Deuteronomy suggests Yahweh is one of the divine beings who receives an allotment of people from Elyon, thereby making the Israelite deity subordinate to the Canaanite. (Which makes sense, given that the Israelites were Canaanites.) This post from Hansen is a pretty good introduction to the subject matter and readers are strongly encouraged to check his footnotes for some high quality references.
- Dr. Josh Bowen of @digi_hammurabi recently concluded a three part series responding to Whaddo You Meme’s video on slavery in the Hebrew Bible: part one, part two, part three. It is a fairly thorough response and illustrates the way in which these texts should be handled. Unlike most pop-apologists and pop-atheists, Bowen has the requisite training to handle these topics in a scholarly and respectful manner.
- Over at the Can I Say This at Church? podcast, Seth Price recently had a discussion with Paul Knitter on Christianity and Buddhism. Knitter, a Roman Catholic, wrote a book entitled Without Buddha I Could not be a Good Christian where he lays out his journey in Christianity with the aid of Buddhist thought. The interview was fascinating and Price always does a good job interviewing his guests. If you haven’t subscribed to the podcast, I highly recommend it. Price has interviewed some very interesting people including Diana Butler Bass, John Walton, and more. And while Price identifies as a Baptist, it is quite clear he is interested in listening to everyone, keeping an open mind and an open heart. We need more people like that in the world.
- The Real Atheology team recently interviewed Zach Christ, a Christian turned atheist turned Muslim who is a currently an Islamic apologist living in Turkey. They discussed a variety of topics including the nature of Jesus, the afterlife, and more. Christ’s answers at times seemed to strain credulity, especially his case for the existence of an afterlife. But overall it was different to hear from an Islamic apologist as opposed to the usual Christian ones.
Featured image: Wikimedia Commons.