Michael D. Coogan: Hard Pressed to Identify A Distinct Israel

Michael D. Coogan, The Old Testament: A Historical and Literary Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures, third edition (Oxford University Press, 2014), 228. The cumulative evidence, then, suggests that the Israelite confederation was composed of groups of disparate origin, including Canaanites. What would have motivated such groups to join Israel? One factor could have been the persuasive power... Continue Reading →

"What would lead people to make all this stuff up – all of it – from scratch? Not just embroidering or adding to existing stories about an existing person, but inventing all of the above, including the bits that clearly work against their purposes? So far, I have not heard an adequate explanation for this.... Continue Reading →

It’s gotten all mixed up, you see, as it was bound to after thousands and thousands of years of dogma and tradition. Religion doesn’t spawn morality. Intelligence spawns morality,which inevitably gives birth (in intelligent enough species) to religion.Now, some people find that religion helps hone and focus their morality, that it gives their morality a purpose... Continue Reading →

In my experience, Christian apologetics is geared towards reinforcing the faithful, not convincing the skeptic. As I wrote last October, "It seems that pop-apologetics is nothing more than preaching to the choir."1 This in spite of the oft-repeated claim that apologetics is biblically mandated: "Always be ready to make your defense [apologian] to anyone who demands from... Continue Reading →

The Weekly Roundup – 12.21.18

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to my readers. I'll see you in 2019! On December 31st I will have completed reading the Old Testament, New Testament, and Apocrypha in the NRSV. I've lost count how many times I've read through the Bible cover-to-cover but I can now say I've read through the entire NRSV! In... Continue Reading →

The Weekly Roundup – 12.14.18

"I think we have to allow that John’s Gospel differs from the Synoptic Gospels in this fundamental respect: it is not an attempt to remember the historical Jesus; it is an attempt to restate the significance of the historical Jesus from a later theological vantage point, shaped in particular by a bitter controversy with the... Continue Reading →

Michael D. Coogan: Embellishment in the Exodus Story

Michael D. Coogan, The Old Testament: A Literary and Historical Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures, third edition (OUP, 2014), 108. Given the importance of the Exodus, it is not surprising that the tendency to embellish what had originally occurred is evident among the accounts we have of this central event. For example, how many people escaped... Continue Reading →

SJ Thomason Gets It Wrong (As Usual)

Last year I posted a seven-part series refuting a blog post pop-apologist SJ Thomason had written on how the Bible demonstrates God keeps his promises. It became readily apparent by the only comment she made on the series that she had not read them because, as she is wont to do, Thomason doubled down on... Continue Reading →

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