There is ample evidence that anti-Christian polemicists asserted that Jesus’ true father was neither God nor Joseph, but a Roman soldier named Pantera. This was long dismissed as ahistorical, but for the past century, some interlocutors have argued that there may be credibility to the polemic, with some going so far as to identify Pantera with a certain Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera, a Roman archer. The present article addresses various misconceptions of Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera by those both asserting his parentage of Jesus and those arguing against it. The article concludes that the possibility that the soldier under question was Jesus’ father is remote.
One of the less controversial points among Jesus scholars is the importance of Capernaum to the historical Jesus, variously described as his ‘hub,’ ‘headquarters,’ ‘centre,’ etc. This article instead suggests that the importance of Capernaum may be understood as a specific to Mark’s depiction of Jesus and that Mark’s redactional interest in Capernaum prematurely treated as a datum concerning the historical Jesus. Indeed, exegetical insights about Mark’s interest in Galilee have more recently developed into arguments that the Second Gospel was composed somewhere in that region. This article will survey Mark’s characterization of the region to not only argue that Capernaum is a distinctively Markan point of interest, but that there is ample reason to believe that the Gospel was composed in that village.
The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife (GJW) was announced in 2012, but was effectively declared “dead” in June 2016 when it was shown beyond doubt to be a modern forgery. This article, rather than discussing the content or authenticity of GJW, considers the role of gender in scholarly discourse on GJW. While conversation about GJW began as one would expect for a newly announced Gospel fragment, its subtext soon evinced preoccupations with gender in the field of biblical studies. Particularly troubling was the sexist intonation of scholarly discourse, which came to associate GJW and its advocates with “hyperfeminism” and deemed the fragment’s owner’s spouse an “eccentric wife.” This article is an effort to both describe the texture of scholarly discourse as well as identify factors contributing to the sexist discussion that ensued. These problems are representative of pervasive issues that are often ignored in the field of biblical studies.
It is commonplace in New Testament scholarship to assume that Judaism at the turn of the Era univocally condemned same-sex intercourse among men, whether scholars use this supposition to argue that Jesus felt likewise or was uniquely accepting of the practice. The present article provides the original-language text, English translation, and brief commentary for evidence of same-sex intercourse involving Jewish men around the turn of the Era, pointing to the varying testimonies of Josephus, Martial, a graffito, Tacitus, and the Warren Cup. The paper concludes with a reflection on the relevance of the study for understanding Jesus’ sexual politics. This article contains graphic literary and visual depictions of sexual intercourse.
Since 9/11, there has been a surge in interest in the topic of violence both among scholars of religion and in the humanities more broadly. This article suggests that such works operate with a “hermeneutics of the spectacular” that functions to legitimate the liberal status quo by concentrating its focus upon the most visibly heinous forms of state violence under the aegis of a politics of “resistance.” This article uses the New Testament and its depiction of the military as a site for thinking about how folk definitions come to classify certain activities as “violent” and not others, both today and in antiquity. If biblical scholarship—or the study of religion more broadly—is to be something other than an ideological repository for late capitalism, it is necessary to reconsider the issue. This article, by point of contrast, discusses three theoretical approaches to violence that may be useful: Objective-Structural Violence, Symbolic Violence, and Violent Subjectivities.