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New Perspectives on Christianity’s Beginning

By Gerd Lüdemann

The synagogue in the Diaspora was not only a major source of persecution for the ancient church but also an important prerequisite for the birth and growth of the Christian community in the Roman Empire. The network of synagogues provided both routes and centers for the spread of Christian propaganda. Thus, the mission of the new religion, carried out in the name of the God of Abraham and Moses, found a field ready for it. See complete essay


The Final Days of Jesus and the Realities of Roman Capital Punishment: What Happened to All Those Bodies?

By Mark D. Smith

In 1968, archaeologists discovered “The Crucified Man of Giv’at ha-Mivtar,” whose skeleton was unearthed in a rock-cut cave tomb on Mt. Scopus in Jerusalem.[1] This tomb was typical of many inhabited by the elite of the region in the first century CE, with chambers and niches (Kokhim in Hebrew), cut into the walls, like drawers in a morgue. Bodies placed in the Kokhim were often left to desiccate for a year or so, and then, at least for those who could afford it, the bones were commonly transferred to ossuaries.[2] This particular tomb housed an ossuary which contained a 24-28 year old male. His Hebrew name was scratched into the side: Yehohanan ben Hagkol. See complete essay


Outsider designations in the New Testament

By Paul Trebilco

How did the early Christians speak about ‘outsiders’? What language did they use? Group identity or group definition involves the group understanding both who they are, and who they are not. For a group, understanding ‘them’, those people who are ‘not us’, is just as important as understanding who we are See complete essay


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