Monthly Archives: June 2016

Sympathy for the Judaizers

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curse_you_light_bulb__by_leif_j-d2zljf4[1]“If any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed [anathema].” The Apostle Paul dropped that rhetorical atom bomb early in his Epistle to the Galatians as part of his verbal combat with the Judaizing Christians (probably from the church in Jerusalem) who had gone behind Paul and convinced the Gentile believers that they must keep the Torah (receive circumcision, observe the Sabbath, eat only “clean” foods, etc.) as well as believe in Jesus if they were to participate fully in the new covenant community and enjoy its benefits. To declare someone “anathema” (accursed) was a devastating condemnation. Anathema is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew term hêrem meaning “devoted to destruction.” A curse found among the Dead Sea Scrolls captures the force of the curse Paul was pronouncing on his foes: Read more

What is Truth?

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blog-eccehomo[1]Around the year AD 30 a confrontation took place between Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect of Judea, and Jesus of Nazareth, a seemingly innocuous Jewish peasant accused by his own leaders of treason against Caesar.  When Pilate asked Jesus if he was a king, Jesus replied, “For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth.  Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.”  Pilate responded with the question that has occupied men in the ancient world and continues to trouble contemporary philosophers, “What is truth?”  (John 18:37 – 38a) Read more