Tuesday, July 31, 2007

historicity of Jesus

Jesus, aged 12, teaching the doctors of the FaithThe historicity of Jesus (i.e., his existence as an actual historical figure), is accepted as a theological axiom by three world religions, Christianity, Islam and the Bahá’í Faith, based on their respective scriptures.

The earliest known sources are Christian writings - the New Testament - which, according to modern historians, were written several decades after he is said to have died.

However, while Christianity and the Bahá'í Faith also consider Jesus to be the Christ (Messiah) and Son of God, and Islam views him as a prophet, secular historians and followers of most other world religions (including Judaism) tend to regard him as an ordinary human. Most scholars, however, agree that Jesus was an historical figure regardless of their perspectives on His teaching, His message of salvation, or statements about Himself.


Monday, July 30, 2007

miracles of Jesus

Resurrection of Lazarus by Juan de Flandes, around 1500.According to the canonical Gospels, Jesus performed many miracles in the course of His ministry. The majority of them are various cures, although there are a large number of exorcisms, three instances of raising the dead, and various other miracles that do not fit into these categories.

Power over death
The Gospels report three cases where Jesus calls a dead person back to life. In one, the daughter of Jairus had just died, and Jesus says she was only sleeping and wakes her with a word. Another case involves a young man being brought out for burial. When Jesus sees his widowed mother, he has pity and raises him from the dead. The third case involves a close friend of Jesus, Lazarus (right), who has been four days in the tomb.

Expelling demons
Belief in supernatural creatures was very common in the first century Judea, as it was nearly everywhere in the world.


Saturday, July 28, 2007


Ruins of the synagogue at CapernaumCapernaum (pronounced k-pûrn-m; Hebrew כפר נחום Kefar Nachum, "Nahum's hamlet") was a settlement on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The site is a ruin today, but was inhabited from 150 BC to about AD 750.

The town is mentioned in the New Testament: in the Gospel of Luke it was reported to have been the home of the apostles Peter, Andrew, James and John, as well as the tax collector Matthew. In Matthew 4:13 the town was reported to have been the home of Jesus himself.

According to Luke, Jesus taught in the synagogue in Capernaum (see John 6:53-59 below), and a building which may have been a synagogue of that period has been found beneath the remains of a later synagogue.


Friday, July 27, 2007


The Taking of Jericho, by Jean FouquetJericho (Arabic أريحا , Hebrew יְרִיחוֹ ) - Holy echo is a town in the West Bank, Palestine near the Jordan River. Jericho has a population of approximately 19,000. It is believed by some to be the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the world. The current mayor of Jericho is Hassan Saleh.

Recent history
The present city was captured by Israel after the Six-Day War in 1967. It was the first city handed over to Palestinian Authority control in 1994, in accordance with the Oslo accords. After a period of Israeli readministration, it was returned to the Palestinian Authority on 16 March 2005.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hezekiah's tunnel

Hezekiah’s tunnel is a tunnel that was dug underneath Ophel in Jerusalem about 701 BC during the reign of King Hezekiah.<br />Hezekiah’s tunnelHezekiah's tunnel is a tunnel that was dug underneath Ophel in Jerusalem about 701 BC during the reign of King Hezekiah. The tunnel, leading from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam, was designed to act as an aqueduct to provide Jerusalem with water during an impending siege by the Assyrians, led by Sennacherib. The curving tunnel is 533m long, and by using a small altitude difference between each end, conveyed water along its length from the spring to the pool.

According to an inscription (the Siloam inscription) found within it, the tunnel was excavated by two teams, one starting at each end of the tunnel and then meeting in the middle. The inscription is partly unreadable at present, and may originally have conveyed more information than this. It is clear from the tunnel itself that several directional errors were made during its construction. Recent discoveries concerning a related tunnel - Warren's shaft - have suggested that the tunnel may have been formed by substantially widening a pre-existing natural karst.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Siloam inscription

the Siloam inscription is a passage of inscribed text originally found in the Hezekiah tunnel--which feeds water from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam in East Jerusalem.The Siloam inscription or Silwan inscription (in reference to Jerusalem neighborhood called Silwan) is a passage of inscribed text originally found in the Hezekiah tunnel (which feeds water from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam in East Jerusalem). Discovered in 1880, the inscription records the construction of the tunnel in the 8th century BCE. It is among the oldest extant records of its kind written in Hebrew using the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet.

History of the discovery
Despite Hezekiah’s tunnel being examined extensively during the 19th century by such eminent archaeologists as Dr. Edward Robinson, Sir Charles Wilson, and Sir Charles Warren, they all missed discovering the inscription, probably due to the accumulated mineral deposits making it barely noticeable.

According to Easton's Bible Dictionary (1897), a youth, while wading up Hezekiah's tunnel from the Siloam Pool end, discovered the inscription cut in the rock on the eastern side, about 19 feet into the tunnel.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone in the British MuseumThe Rosetta Stone is a dark grey-pinkish granite stone (often incorrectly identified as basalt) with writing on it in two languages, Egyptian and Greek, using three scripts, Hieroglyphic, Demotic Egyptian and Koine Greek. Because Greek was well known, the stone was the key to deciphering the hieroglyphs (a system of writing used by the Ancient Egyptians, using a combination of logographic, syllabic, and alphabetic elements).

Ptolemy V assumed the crown at the age of five after a rather turbulent time in Egyptian history. The young ruler was faced with the daunting task of reclaiming lands lost to various invaders and reunifying his country's populace. As an attempt to reestablish legitimacy for the ruler and create a royal cult, Ptolemy's priests issued a series of decrees. The decrees were inscribed on stones and erected throughout Egypt. The Rosetta stone is a copy of the decree issued in the city of Memphis.

The same Ptolemaic decree of 196 BC is written on the stone in the three scripts. The Greek part of the Rosetta Stone begins: Basileuontos tou neou kai paralabontos tén basileian para tou patros... (The new king, having received the kingship from his father...) It is a decree from Ptolemy V, describing various taxes he repealed (one measured in ardebs (Greek artabai) per aroura), and instructing that statues be erected in temples and that the decree be published in the writing of the words of gods (hieroglyphs), the writing of the people (demotic), and the Wynen (Greek; the word is cognate with Ionian) language.

Monday, July 23, 2007

House of David Inscription

Tel Dan SteleThe House of David Inscription (also known as the Tel Dan Stele) is a black basalt stele erected by an Aramaean king in northernmost Israel containing an Aramaic inscription to commemorate his victory over the ancient Hebrews. Although the name of the author of the stele does not seem to appear on the available fragments, it is most likely a king of neighboring Damascus. Language, time, and location make it plausible that the author was Hazael or his son, Bar Hadad II/III, who were kings of Damascus and enemies of the kingdom of Israel. The stele was discovered at Tel Dan, previously named Tell el-Qadi, a mound where a city once stood at the northern tip of Israel . Fragment A was discovered in 1993, and fragments B1 and B2, which fit together, were discovered in 1994.

In the broken part of the stone below the smooth writing surface, there is a possible "internal" fit between fragment A and the assembled fragments B1/B2, but it is uncertain and disputed. If the fit is correct, then the pieces were originally side by side. The inscription has been dated to the 9th or 8th centuries BCE. The 8th-century limit is determined by a destruction layer caused by a well-documented Assyrian conquest in 733/732 BCE. Because that destruction layer was above the layer in which the stele fragments were found, it is clear that it took place after the stele had been erected, then broken into pieces which were later used in a construction project at Tel Dan, presumably by Hebrew builders. It is difficult to discern how long before that Assyrian conquest these earlier events took place.


Saturday, July 21, 2007


An American family Bible dating to 1859.  Most religions have religious texts they view as sacred. Many religions and spiritual movements believe that their sacred texts are wholly divine or spiritually inspired in origin. The names of sacred scriptures are often capitalized as a mark of respect or tradition.
4For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
-Romans 15:4
The word scripture gets its original meaning from Greek word graphe:

which means "writing," "a document," or "Holy Writ." The writings (or documents) of the Old and New Testaments were eventually canonized.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Kingdom of God

A Hubble Space Telescope (HST) image of NGC 3372. The image is 50 light-years wide and a composite of 48 frames. The false color image was created using the following formula: red for sulfur, green for hydrogen, and blue for oxygen emissionsThe Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of heaven seem to be variations of the same idea. A kingdom implies a king. Our king is Jesus. Jesus said His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36). Jesus' authority did not come from man but from God (Luke 22:29).

The Kingdom of God (or the Kingdom of Heaven) is a key concept in Christianity based on a phrase attributed to Jesus of Nazareth in the gospels. The phrase occurs in the New Testament more than 100 times. Basileia tou theou was commonly translated into English as “Kingdom of God” in the New Testament, and refers to the reign or sovereignty of God over all things. This was as opposed to the reign of earthly powers, especially the Roman empire, which occupied Nazareth and Capernaum, where Jesus lived, as well as other cities mentioned in the Bible as visited by Jesus, most notably, Jerusalem.


Thursday, July 19, 2007


Jesus cast his teachings about grace in parables such as the story of the Good Samaritan.The unmerited love and favor of God.

In Christianity, divine grace refers to the sovereign favor of God for humankind — especially in regard to salvation — irrespective of actions ("deeds"), earned worth, or proven goodness (in Christ); hence, free gift.

More broadly, divine grace refers to God's gifts to humankind, including life, creation, and salvation. More narrowly but more commonly, grace describes the means by which humans are saved from original sin and granted salvation. This latter concept of grace is of central importance in the theology of Christianity, as well as one of the most contentious issues in Christian sectarianism.

Grace is enabling power sufficient for progression. Grace divine is an indispensable gift from God for development, improvement, and character expansion. Without uniting with grace, there are certain limitations, weaknesses, flaws, impurities, and faults (i.e. carnality) humankind cannot overcome. Therefore, it is necessary to grow in grace - for added perfection, completeness, and flawlessness.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Francesco de Zurbarin’s Agnus Dei. A lamb on an altar with feet bound together, innocent, trusting and helpless.Salvation refers to deliverance from an undesirable state or condition. In theology, the study of salvation is called soteriology and is a vitally important concept in several religions. Christianity regards salvation as deliverance from the bondage of sin and from condemnation, resulting in eternal life with God.

Christian views of salvationSalvation is arguably one of the most important Christian spiritual concepts, perhaps second only to the deity of Jesus Christ, the lamb of God.

Among many Christians, the primary goal of religion is to attain salvation. Others maintain that the primary goal of Christians is to do the will of God, or that the two are equivalent. In many traditions, attaining salvation is synonymous with going to heaven after death, while most also emphasize that salvation represents a changed life while on Earth as well. Many elements of Christian theology explain why salvation is needed and how to attain it.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Righteousness in this article refers to the important theological concept in Judaism and Christianity. In one sense, it is an attribute of God whereby he is said to be holy and righteous. In another sense it refers to the righteousness of man; either his inherent righteousness (or the lack thereof), or his potential right standing before God or as being "judged" or "reckoned" as righteous by God (as the patriarch Abraham was in Genesis).

Man cannot be righteous in the sight of God on his own merits therefore, man must have God's righteousness imputed, or transferred, to him.

According to the prophet Isaiah:

6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are
like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins
sweep us away. -Isaiah 64:6
And as Paul tells us in his letter to the Philippians:

7-9 The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I'm
tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to
take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought
were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of
knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had
going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I've dumped it all in the trash so that
I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn't want some petty,
inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I
could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God's righteousness.
-Philippians 3:7-9 (The Message)


Monday, July 16, 2007


Moses and Shekhinah Glory (The Burning Bush) 2And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. 3And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” 4When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”Shekhinah (שכינה - alternative transliterations Shekinah, Shechinah, Shekina, Shechina, Schechinah, sometimes spelled Shchinah in Judaism) is the English spelling of a feminine Hebrew language word that means the dwelling or settling, and is used to denote the dwelling or settling presence of God, especially in the Temple in Jerusalem. Shekhinah is the "gentle" or "feminine aspect" of the Divine.

Shechinah is derived from the Hebrew verb 'sakan' or 'shachan'. In Biblical Hebrew the word means literally to settle, inhabit, or dwell, and is used frequently in the Hebrew Bible. (See e.g. Genesis 9:27, 14:13, Psalms 37:3, Jeremiah 33:16), as well as the weekly Shabbat blessing recited in the Temple in Jerusalem ("May He who causes His name to dwell [shochan] in this House, cause to dwell among you love and brotherliness, peace and friendship"). In Mishnaic Hebrew the word is often used to refer to bird's nesting and nests. ("Every bird nests [shechinot] with its kind, and man with its like, Talmud Baba Kammah 92b.) and can also mean "neighbor" ("If a neighbor and a scholar, the scholar is preferred" Talmud Ketubot 85b). The word "Shechinah" also means "royalty" or "royal residence" ( The Greek word 'skene' - dwelling - is thought to be derived from 'shekinah' and 'sakan'. The word for Tabernacle, mishcan, is a derivative of the same root and is also used in the sense of dwelling-place in the Bible, e.g. Psalm 132:5 ("Before I find a place for God, mishcanot (dwelling-places) for the Strong One of Israel.") Accordingly, in classic Jewish thought, the Shekhina refers to a dwelling or settling in a special sense, a dwelling or settling of divine presence, to the effect that, while in proximity to the Shekhinah, the connection to God is more readily perceivable.

The Shekinah is held by many to represent the feminine attributes of the presence of God (shekhinah being a feminine word in Hebrew), based especially on readings of the Talmud.

The Shekhinah is referred to as manifest in the Tabernacle and the Temple in Jerusalem throughout Rabbinic literature. It is also reported as being present in the acts of public prayer, ("Whenever ten are gathered for prayer, there the Shechinah rests" Talmud Sanhedrin 39a); righteous judgment ("when three sit as judges, the Shechinah is with them." Talmud Berachot 6a), and personal need ("The Shechinah dwells over the headside of the sick man's bed" Talmud Shabbat 12b; "Wheresoever they were exiled, the Shechinah went with them." Megillah 29a).


Saturday, July 14, 2007


Noah‘s Ark, Französischer Meister(Hebrew) [from nuah to come to rest, be at rest, reach rest, settle down into repose] biblical patriarch, son of Lamech, connected with the flood which overwhelmed the earth, as related in Gen. 7-9. he and his family alone survived the deluge by means of an ark, which he had been commanded to build and to place therein "...seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth..." (Gen. 7:2).

While the Deluge and Noah's Ark are the best-known element of the story of Noah, he is also mentioned as the "first husbandman" and the inventor of wine, as well as in connection with the somewhat mysterious episode of his drunkenness and the subsequent Curse of Ham.

Some analyses of the text of the story have suggested that its present form combines two originally separate sources, possibly relating to two separate stories, and that it contains elements of earlier Mesopotamian mythology, although both of these points are disputed and controversial.

The story of Noah was the subject of much elaboration in the later Abrahamic traditions, and was immensely influential in Western culture.


Friday, July 13, 2007


Abraham was commanded by God to offer his son up as a sacrifice in the land of Moriah (see Mount Moriah). Proceeding to obey, he was prevented by an angel as he was about to sacrifice his son, and slew a ram which he found on the spotAbraham (אַבְרָהָם "Father/Leader of many", (circa 1900 BCE) Standard Hebrew Avraham, Arabic ابراهيم) is regarded as the founding patriarch of the Israelites whom God chose to bless out of all the families of the earth. He is a critical figure in both Judaism and Christianity, and is a very important prophet in Islam. Accounts of his life are given in the Book of Genesis and also in the Qur'an.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are sometimes referred to as the "Abrahamic religions", because of the role Abraham plays in their holy books and beliefs. In the Hebrew Bible and the Qur'an, Abraham is described as a patriarch blessed by God (the Jewish people called him "Father Abraham"), and promised great things. Jews and Christians consider him father of the people of Israel through his son Isaac; Muslims regard him as the father of the Arabs through his son Ishmael. In Christian belief, Abraham is a model of faith, and his intention to obey God by offering up Isaac is seen as a foreshadowing of God's offering of his son, Jesus. In Islam, Abraham obeyed God by offering up Ishmael and is considered to be one of the most important prophets sent by God.

His original name was Abram (אַבְרָם "High/Exalted father/leader"); he was the foremost of the Biblical patriarchs. Later in life he went by the name Abraham.


Thursday, July 12, 2007


Isaac Blessing Jacob, Govert Flinck, 1638 Isaac or Yitzchak (Hebrew: יִצְחָק "he will laugh") was the only son of Abraham and Sarah, and the father of Jacob and Esau as described in the Hebrew Bible. His story is told in the Book of Genesis. Isaac was the longest-lived of the patriarchs, and the only biblical patriarch whose name was not changed. Isaac was the only patriarch who did not leave Canaan, although he once tried to leave and God told him not to do so. Compared to other patriarchs in the Bible, his story is less colorful, relating few incidents of his life.
"By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. "-Heb 11:20

The New Testament contains few references to Isaac. The early Christian church viewed Abraham's willingness to follow God's command to sacrifice Isaac as an example of faith and obedience.

Isaac is a prophet in Islam. A few narratives of Isaac appear in the Qur'an. The Qur'an views Isaac as a righteous man, servant of God and the father of Jews. The Qur'an states that Isaac and his progeny are blessed as long as they uphold their covenant with God. Some early Muslims believed that Isaac was the son who was supposed to be sacrificed by Abraham.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Mattia Preti, Jacob blessing his grandchildren, Ephraim and Manasseh, in the presence Joseph and their mother Asenath. Whitfield Fine Art Jacob or Ya'akov, (יַעֲקֹב "Holder of the heel"), later known as Israel (יִשְׂרָאֵל "Prince of God") is the third Biblical patriarch. His father was Isaac and his grandfather was Abraham. His story is told in the Book of Genesis.

Jacob was born 20 years after Isaac and Rebekah were married, at which time his father was 60 (Gen. 25:26), and Abraham, 160 years old. He and his twin brother, Esau, were markedly different in appearance and behavior. Esau was a ruddy hunter, while Jacob was a gentle man who "dwelled in tents," interpreted by most biblical scholars as a mark of his studiousness in the "tents" of Torah.

During Rebekah's pregnancy, "the children struggled together within her" (Genesis 25:22).
According to Rashi, whenever Rebekah passed a house of learning, Jacob would struggle to get out; whenever she passed a house of idolatry, Esau would struggle to get out.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007


The Sale of Joseph by Konstantin FlavitskyJoseph, in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), appears in the Book of Genesis (his name Yosef, Hebrew: יוֹסֵף means "The Lord increases", later called Zaphnath-paaneah or Tzáfnat panéach צפנת פענח: Egyptian origin "Discoverer of hidden things"), the eleventh son of Jacob, born of Rachel. (see also: sons of Jacob).

Joseph is one of the best-known figures in the Hebrew Bible, famous for his coat of many colours and his God-given ability to interpret dreams. Owing to jealousy from his brothers, he was sold as a slave, eventually working under the Egyptian Potiphar, but was later freed, and became the chief adviser (vizier) to the Egyptian Pharaoh around 1600 BC.

According to Genesis, Joseph was the elder of the two sons of Jacob by Rachel (Gen. 30:23, 24), who, on the occasion of his birth, said, "The Lord shall add [Heb. yoseph] to me another son" (Gen. 30:24). He was born in Padan-Aram when Jacob was about ninety years old. He was probably six years old when his father returned from Haran to Canaan and took up his residence in the town of Hebron.

Joseph was a favorite son of his father's, who made him a multi-colored coat, and was envied by his half-brothers, who saw the special coat as indicating that Joseph would assume family leadership. Their suspicion grew when Joseph told them of his two dreams (Gen. 37:11) in which all the brothers bowed down to him.


Monday, July 09, 2007


The Taking of Jericho, by Jean Fouquet Jericho (Arabic أريحا , Hebrew יְרִיחוֹ ) - Holy echo is a town in the West Bank, Palestine near the Jordan River. Jericho has a population of approximately 19,000. It is believed by some to be the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the world. The current mayor of Jericho is Hassan Saleh.

Recent history
The present city was captured by Israel after the Six-Day War in 1967. It was the first city handed over to Palestinian Authority control in 1994, in accordance with the Oslo accords. After a period of Israeli readministration, it was returned to the Palestinian Authority on 16 March 2005.

Jericho prison incident
On March 14, 2006, the Israel Defense Forces took captive six inmates from a Jericho prison following a 10-hour siege. The IDF said the reason for taking the prisoners, who were wanted for participation in the assassination of Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Zeevi, was to keep them from being released. Both sides of the siege were armed and at least two people were killed and 35 wounded in the incident.

An ancient synagogue was discovered in Jericho in 1936. It has been controlled by Israel since the Six Day War, but after the Oslo Accords and especially the Al Aqsa Intifada it has been a source of conflict.


Saturday, July 07, 2007


In Christianity, gospel means "good news". Received opinion holds that the word gospel derives from the Old English word for "good news", a translation of the Greek word ευαγγέλιον, euangelion (from this word comes the term "evangelist" see evangelism). However, the word corresponding to "good" in Old English had a long vowel, and would normally develop into a MnE *goospel, leading some scholars to hold that the Old English term was not a translation of the Greek "good news," but rather a fresh coinage, "message concerning God."
Gospel has generally been used in three ways:

  1. To denote the proclamation of God's saving activity in Jesus of Nazareth or to denote the message proclaimed by Jesus. This is the original New Testament usage (see Romans 1.1 or Mark 1.1).

  2. More popularly to refer to the four canonical Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and sometimes other non-canonical works (eg. Gospel of Thomas), that offer a narrative of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

  3. Some modern scholars have used the term to denote a hypothetical genre of Early Christian literature (cf. Peter Stuhlmacher, ed., Das Evangelium und die Evangelien, Tübingen 1983, also in English: The Gospel and the Gospels).

The expression "gospel" was used by Paul before the literary Gospels of the New Testament canon had been produced, when he reminded the men of the church at Corinth "of the gospel I preached to you" (1 Corinthians 15.1) through which, Paul averred, they were being saved, and he characterized it in the simplest terms, emphasizing Christ's appearances after the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15.3–8):

"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born."


Friday, July 06, 2007

Gospel of Matthew

The Gospel of Matthew (literally, "according to Matthew"; Greek, Κατά Μαθθαίον or Κατά Ματθαίον, Kata Maththaion or Kata Matthaion) is one of the four Gospel accounts of the New Testament. It narrates an account of the life and ministry of Jesus, from his genealogy to his post-resurrection commissioning of his Apostles to "go and make disciples of all nations." Bibles traditionally print Matthew as the first gospel, followed in order by Mark, Luke and John. The Christian community traditionally ascribes authorship to Matthew the Evangelist, one of Jesus's twelve disciples, while secular scholarship generally agrees it was written by an anonymous non-eyewitness to Jesus's ministry.

OverviewFor convenience, the book can be divided into its four structurally distinct sections: Two introductory sections; the main section, which can be further broken into five sections, each with a narrative component followed by a long discourse of Jesus; and finally, the Passion and Resurrection section.

Containing the genealogy, the birth, and the infancy of Jesus (Matthew 1; Matthew 2). The discourses and actions of John the Baptist preparatory to Christ's public ministry (Matthew 3; Matthew 4:11).

  1. Containing the genealogy, the birth, and the infancy of Jesus (Matthew 1; Matthew 2).
    The discourses and actions of John the Baptist preparatory to Christ's public ministry (Matthew 3; Matthew 4:11).

  2. The discourses and actions of Christ in Galilee (4:12–26:1).

    1. The Sermon on the Mount, concerning morality (Ch. 5–7)

    2. The Missionary Discourse, concerning the mission Jesus gave his Twelve Apostles. (10–11:1
    3. )
    4. The Parable Discourse, stories that teach about the Kingdom of Heaven (13).

    5. The "Church Order" Discourse, concerning relationships among Christians (18–19:1).

    6. The Eschatological Discourse, which includes the Olivet Discourse and Judgement of the Nations, concerning his Second Coming and the end of the age (24–25).

  3. The sufferings, death and Resurrection of Jesus, the Great Commission (28:16–20).


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Gospel of Mark

Head of St. Mark, Fra AngelicoThe Gospel of Mark (literally, according to Mark; Greek, Κατά Μαρκον, Kata Markon), (anonymous but ascribed to Mark the Evangelist) is a Gospel of the New Testament. It narrates the life of Jesus from John the Baptist to the Ascension (or to the empty tomb in the shorter recension), but it concentrates particularly on the last week of his life (chapters 11-16, the trip to Jerusalem). It portrays Jesus as an exorcist, a healer and miracle worker, the Christ, the Son of Man, and a few times as the Son of God.

Two important themes of Mark are the Messianic secret and the obtuseness of the disciples. In Mark, Jesus is not generally recognized as the Son of God, except by demons (whom he commands to silence) and at his death. Jesus uses parables to obscure his message and fulfill prophecy (4:10-12). At times, the disciples have trouble understanding the parables, but Jesus explains what they mean, in secret (4:13-20, 4:33-34). They also fail to understand the implication of the miracles that he performs before them.

Mark usually appears second in the New Testament after the Gospel of Matthew and traditionally Matthew was thought to be the first gospel to be composed with Mark the second. However most contemporary scholars date Mark to the late 60s or the early 70s, and, contrary to the traditional view, regard it as the earliest of the canonical gospels, and a source for material in the other synoptic gospels, Matthew and Luke.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Gospel of Luke

10th century Byzantine illustration of Luke the Evangelist.The Gospel of Luke is a synoptic Gospel, and the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels of the New Testament, which purport to tell the story of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. The author was also the author of Acts of the Apostles. Like all gospels, the gospel originally circulated anonymously. Since at least the 2nd century, authorship has been ascribed to Luke, named in Colossians 4:14, a doctor and follower of Paul.

The introductory dedication to Theophilus, 1:1-4 states that since many others have compiled an "orderly narrative of the events" from the original eyewitnesses, that the author has decided to do likewise, after thorough research of everything from the beginning, so that Theophilus may realize the reliability of the teachings in which he has been instructed. The main characteristic of this Gospel, as Farrar (Cambridge Bible, Luke, Introduction) remarks, is expressed in the motto, "Who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil" (Acts 10:38; cf. with Luke 4:18). Luke wrote for the "Hellenistic world".


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Gospel of John

The Rylands Papyrus is the earliest manuscript fragment found of John's Gospel; dated to about 125.
The Gospel of John, (literally, According to John; Greek, Κατά Ιωαννην, Kata Iōannēn) is the fourth gospel in the canon of the New Testament, traditionally ascribed to John the Evangelist. Like the three synoptic gospels, it contains an account of some of the actions and sayings of Jesus, but differs from them in ethos and theological emphases. The purpose is expressed in the conclusion, 20:30-31: "...these [Miracles of Jesus] are written that you may (come to) believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

According to Trinitarianism, (see also Trinitarianism— Scripture and tradition), of the four gospels, John presents the highest christology, implicitly declaring Jesus to be God.
Compared to the synoptics, John focuses on Jesus' cosmic mission to redeem humanity. Only in John does Jesus talk at length about himself, and John includes a substantial amount of material that Jesus shared with the disciples only. Certain elements of the synoptics (such as parables, exorcisms, and the Second Coming) are not found in John.
Since the "higher criticism" of the 19th century, historians have largely rejected the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus. "[M]ost commentators regard the work as anonymous."




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