Book Review: “Mark, Canonizer of Paul” by Tom Dykstra (2012) — Pt. 1

I recently finished an excellent book by Tom Dykstra, a virtually unknown American writer whose work deserves a careful read by those interested in Christian origins. The title, Mark, Canonizer of Paul: A New Look at Intertextuality in Mark’s Gospel (OCABS PRESS, 2012) won’t raise many eyebrows. After all, no one questions that the Gospel of Mark postdates Paul. And most would also agree that Markan theology and Pauline theology are in virtual lock-step: salvation comes through belief that we have been saved by the atoning death of Jesus on the cross. That is the so-called Pauline kerygma. Stated baldly, salvation comes through belief (in salvation). Christianity has managed to flourish for two thousand years based on this circular proposition. … Continue reading

John was Jesus? (Price) Pt. 1

“Was Jesus John the Baptist Raised from the Dead?” by Robert M. Price, Ph.D. Being Chapter Seven of Jesus is Dead (American Atheist Press, 2007) Reproduced by permission, in three parts. With occasional added footnotes in green by R. Salm Part One There are several New Testament passages which over the years have struck me as being pregnant with implications far beyond those scholars usually reckon with. These texts seem to me to be held in check by the conventional ways in which we read the documents in which they occur. They are “anomalous data” (Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions) which somehow seem “left over” in the context of the paradigms which seem to make such excellent … Continue reading

The Acts of Mark: Translation, Chps. 1–5

Note: The only known Greek text of the Acts of Mark is in the library of the Stavronikita monastery in Thrace, northern Greece. As mentioned in the introductory post on this important and still virtually unknown work, the Greek text was published by François Halkin in the journal Analecta Bollandiana 87 [1969]: 346–371. In 1969, Halkin wrote in a footnote: “Once again I am obliged to Mr. M. Richard for a photocopy of this inaccessible text.” Thanks to the offer of Dr. M. A. House, I am able to present here his translation, specifically for this website, of the first five chapters of the Acta Marci. It is my hope that in future a scholar will step forward to complete the … Continue reading

Samaria: The Messiah’s Homeland (Ory) Pt. 6

by Georges Ory Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 11 (1956) Edited and translated from the French by R. Salm (April, 2012) Note: Bracketed editorial additions are in green and signed “R.S.” Followed by a concluding note A little further on in the same book, Josephus recounts the victory of Aretas (Ant. XVIII.5.1). After giving certain details, he writes (§2): “Some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod’s army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment for what he did against John…” Now, until this passage John had not yet been mentioned by Josephus who, we recall, had also not named the Samaritain messiah (for whom he certainly had no admiration). Immediate thereafter, §2 continues … Continue reading

Samaria: The Messiah’s Homeland (Ory) Pt. 2

by Georges Ory Part Two Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 11 (1956) Edited and translated from the French by R. Salm (April, 2012) Note: Bracketed editorial additions are in green and signed “R.S.” Who was the disciple of Beelzebul? From the foregoing, it is not surprising that the doctors and Levites of Jerusalem suspected that this prophet Jesus—either a Samaritan or a friend of the Samaritans—was an heretic. Scribes and Pharisees accuse him of exorcising demons because he is in league with the prince of demons, Beelzebul (Mk 3:22; Mt 9:34; 12:24), and they say that Jesus is himself Beelzebul (Mt 10:25). Even Jesus’ own family accused him of being out of his mind (Mk 3:21). In replying (v. … Continue reading