“Geologist claims Jesus was married… and had a SON: Expert says he has proof son of God was buried in 'family tomb' along with wife Mary and his brother” screams the headline. The sensational headline, along with the release date on Easter weekend, should be our first warning to take the announcement with a grain of salt.
To understand what these claims are, we need to go back to a (widely discredited) documentary, “The Lost Tomb of Jesus,” released by documentarist Simcha Jacobovichi in 2007.
The message of Easter is much more important than its chronology. Still, people often ask me questions about chronology in the Gospels. In my earlier post, I answered questions related to the date of Easter and the apparent difference between the chronology found in John and in the Synoptic Gospels. Today, I answer a few questions related to the "three days and three nights."
The exact chronology of Easter is not the most important thing to think about during Easter week, but students often ask me questions about chronological issues in the Gospels. Here are two common questions:
What is the probable date of Jesus’ crucifixion?
In the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus dies the day after Passover. But in John, it seems like he dies on the Passover. Can these be reconciled?
Merry Christmas! Today, November 18, is Jesus' birthday, according to a few ancient sources.
A few years ago, I came across an interesting article about the date of Jesus' birth by Paul Meier, a prominent New Testament scholar. Here is a summary:
We celebrate Jesus' birthday on December 25, but it is quite unlikely that he was born on that day. That date was picked out in the fourth century, possibly as a replacement celebration for the winter solstice or other pagan holidays.
Paul Meier suggests a birthday in November. This is based on two pieces of data....
The release of the movie Left Behind has again drawn attention to the Christian belief in the rapture. The movie tries to portray the chaos in the world as millions of Christians suddenly disappear. This image has interested Christians for quite a while. I recall watching the Thief in the Night series of movies back in the 1970s (the Antichrist had sideburns!). But I am interested in a question that is often overlooked: what is the point of the rapture in the Bible?
1The teacher said, “Hear now the parable of the foolish weightlifter. 2A certain man wished to become stronger and to run and not grow weary. So he went to the gymnasium, paying the gymnasium-master three obols.a 3The man began lifting bars with weights upon them, first one talent,b then two. But he was not able to lift three talents. 4So the man said to himself, “Soul, your arms are very sore. You are not able to lift so many talents.”
Reza Aslan’s new book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (Random House, 2013), is in most ways a typical attempt to paint a new picture of Jesus. Because so many hundreds of books of this type have been published, Aslan’s book would most likely not have received significant attention at all, except for two factors. First, a botched interview of the author on Fox News caused a huge surge of interest, making his book an overnight best seller. And second, Aslan is a very good writer. His primary teaching role, after all, is as a professor of creative writing at UC Riverside. Aslan is able to take a lot of important historical background and present it in a riveting manner, accessible to most readers.