20 Sep

Currently Reading

Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene, the followers of Jesus in legend… etc. By Bart Ehrman.

I just realized I hadn’t posted this yet, even though I finished it a while ago.

Describing the Acts of Peter:

”The Roman emperor has a friend named Albinus, whose wife, Xanthippe, hears Peter preach and decides to abstain from having sex with her husband. At that point “many other women delighted in the preaching concerning chastity and separated from their husbands, and men too ceased to sleep with their wives, because they wished to serve God in chastity and purity.” With uncharacteristic understatement, the author describes the result: “And there was a great commotion in Rome.”

”Christ was crucified. Those who are his followers will lead lives of pain and suffering. It may not be the kind of message that converts the hordes in our day, but it was this message Paul proclaimed. It’s no wonder that some of the Corinthians started following other spiritual leaders.”

“For Paul, it was not the mere fact that Jesus had been crucified that mattered. Lots of people were crucified. … As we have seen, what made Jesus’ death different for Paul was his belief that Jesus was the Christ of God. The death mattered because God vindicated Jesus by raising him from the dead, showing that he had suffered his fate not because of something that he himself had done to offend God (or the Romans), but because of the sins of others.”

“A friend of mine once pointed out that there are two kinds of people in the world: those that think there are two kinds of people in the world and those who don’t.”

“When Christians no longer expected Jesus to be returning sometime next week, the emphasis shifted from the kingdom that would arrive in the future to the kingdom that was above. … In other words, a horizontal dualism that was sketched in time – this age and the age to come – was transformed into a vertical dualism sketched in space: this world and the world above.”

“She is called Magdalene because she came from Magdala. … The town was located on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee and was best-known for two things: being a major center for the fishing industry – it was especially known for its pickled sardines – and a very large tower. The word for tower in Aramaic (the language of Jesus, Peter, Mary, and other Jews in the region) is in fact magdala, hence the name of the place itself. In some ancient sources it is called Migdal Nunya (Tower of Fish).”

“The Bible was written in a particular time and place, and to rip it out of its context and pretend that somehow its words automatically apply to our own time and place, without remainder, is – not to put too fine a point on it – sheer lunacy.”


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