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The First New Testament: Marcion’s Scriptural Canon

The earliest version of the New Testament, now in English for the first time!

History preserves the name of the person responsible for the first New Testament, the circumstances surrounding his work, and even the date he decided to build a textual foundation for his fledgling Christian community. So why do so few people know about him? Jason BeDuhn introduces Marcion, reconstructs his text, and explores his impact on the study of Luke-Acts, the two-source theory, and the Q hypothesis.

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God Says Different Things to Different People: A Midrash on St.Paul

The sermon is based on a performance of the lectionary reading from Galatians and other central texts that tell the story of Paul in his own words: Galatians 1:1-17; 2Corinthians 12:1-12; and 1Cornthians 15:1-11 with short quotes from other letters as well. As this Early Christian practice was supposed to be unscripted and is mostly based on Paul’s own words, there is no written version of the sermon on the website. You are invited to watch the video recording of the performance.

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Evolution of the Word:

The New Testament in the Order the Books Were Written

the full-text of the New Testament—and one of the only Bibles organized in chronological order and including explanatory annotations that give readers a more informed understanding of the Scripture

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“Christian” A-theism, Part I

The God I Don't Believe In

When it comes to religion, Atheism is as good as any, since religion is simply about how you put some order in your otherwise chaotic world, and come up with a list of things you believe or disbelieve. The atheist and the theist both want to ask the same basic question: Do you believe in God or not? Often they are not interested in going much deeper than that. The oft-repeated response a famous preacher once gave to a religious skeptic went, “Tell me about the God you don’t believe in. Chances are I don’t believe in that kind of God either.”

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God is Love: The Daily Lessons of God in Parenting

I try to carry God into all I do including parenting. This does not translate into threats or punishment about God watching but into teaching about kindness and love.

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Win, Lose or Draw?

Jesus' Way of Confounding the Trophy-centric Ways of this World

The ancient Olympic games were a series of athletic competitions between city-states. The results determined who were the winners, and who were the losers. But during the games, any conflict between the warring states was forbidden. If ever there was a time when that Olympic torch should be lit and never be extinguished, perhaps this is it. But how? It seems international good sportsmanship inside the stadium can only be assured by heavy security on the outside; where unruly competing self-interests would seek to turn winning at all cost into a blood sport. The previous Words & Ways commentary explored a foolish kind of wisdom once espoused by a Galilean sage through his teaching, the parables he told, and even the seeming absurdity found in his miracles (see “The Foolishness of Jesus”). It is this same Jesus tradition that also proposes such counter-cultural notions that one can “win by losing,” and “the last shall be first.” Here’s John Bennison’s latest commentary from Words & Ways.

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How to Read the Bible

2) The Hebrew scriptures, or the Old Testament, represent a religious tradition that is independent of the later Christian faith. The Hebrew scriptures aren’t about Jesus, although the Christian scriptures include many references to the Hebrew scriptures. To honor the fundamental differences between the two sets of scriptures doubles the spiritual significance of the entire Bible.

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Gay Marriage and the First Amendment

There is much discussion in the public arena about homosexuality, access to birth control and access to abortion. I have not heard one person say anything about First Amendment Rights in connection with homosexuality or access to birth control.

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Projecting Power or Promoting Peace: The Prophetic Call for Justice, Kindness, Humility

In times of political and economic, cultural and ecological crisis, Jensen asks us to evaluate the risks we are willing to take to work for social justice and ecological sustainability. He discusses his personal experiences and view points of recent political events and presidential actions. Urging us to listen to our own hearts, he calls us speak our truth to defend against evils of established systems, and practice a balance of passion and humility in order to cope and promote positive change.

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Paul Among the People: The Apostle Reinterpreted and Reimaged in His Own Time

In Paul Among the People, Sarah Ruden explores the meanings of his words and shows how they might have affected readers in his own time and culture. She describes as well how his writings represented the new church as an alternative to old ways of thinking, feeling, and living.

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Sound Mapping the New Testament

In the Hellenistic world, writings were read aloud, heard and remembered. But modern exegesis assumes a silent text. The disjuncture between ancient…

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