Fifteen months ago, in September 2012, a small piece of ancient papyrus (pictured above) caused controversy when a Harvard scholar claimed it was part of a lost Gospel of Jesus’ Wife. The writing on the papyrus contained a conversation between Jesus and his disciples in which Jesus said, ‘My wife…’
The announcement, by Professor Karen King of Harvard Divinity School, kicked off a media stir, since her announcement was timed to publicise a TV documentary about the discovery. And it also stirred up a scholarly debate conducted online.
Just three days after publication, Francis Watson, Professor in the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University, argued that the papyrus fragment might be a modern fake. ‘Most of its individual phrases are taken directly from the Coptic...
Biblical scholar Richard Burridge talks to Philip Halcrow how the four Gospels offer four different perspectives on the one man. ‘We don’t have a one-size-fits-all Jesus’, he says.
Anyone who steps into a cathedral or church – to pray, learn about history or admire architecture – may be able to spot them: an eagle hovering next to a man writing a scroll, as well as similar images of an ox, a winged lion and a man with wings.
The figures appear in stone above the door of Rochester Cathedral and in a stained-glass window at Dundee Cathedral. They can be seen on glass processional doors in St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne. And they are also in the windows of the chapel at King’s College London. Down the corridor from the chapel, the Dean and Professor of Biblical Interpretation, the Rev...
Philosopher, theologian and Anglican priest, Professor Keith Ward has spent his working life wrestling with big ideas. The Professorial Research Fellow at Heythrop College, London, and former Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford University has written more than 30 books on topics including religion, ethics and the Bible. He talks to Nigel Bovey about proof, probability and the role of religion.
Professor, how did you get into theology?
By accident! I went to the University of Wales, in Cardiff, to read music but wasn’t very good at it, so I switched to philosophy. I then discovered that the bits that interested me most were questions about God and the soul, so I gradually moved into theology.
I wasn’t a Christian but I’d always had a sense that there was more to life than just what...
This guest blog post is by the author and blogger Simon Parke
Over the weekend, I read There is a God by Anthony Flew, who died in 2010 after a distinguished and lively academic career.
He was the philosopher and world-famous atheist who arrived at a belief in the existence of God towards the end of his life. And what made him different was this: he arrived there not through religious talk but through evidence of science.
In his Oxford days, he had brilliantly mocked the value and meaning of religious statements. He introduced the phrase ‘death by a thousand qualifications’ to describe theists’ descriptions of God. Theists used fancy words about the Divine such as ‘omnipotent’ and ‘loving’ – but what did they add up to when faced with the world as it is? They had to be...
Interviewer Lauren Green repeatedly quizzed him about why he, a Muslim, had written a book about the founder of Christianity. Clips of the interview went viral – with 5.5 million views clocked up on Buzzfeed alone – which added up to book sales gold. Zealot became Amazon’s No. 1 US bestseller.
Contrary to what Fox was trying to insinuate, the book does not give a Muslim perspective on Jesus. Aslan believes that Jesus was crucified, for instance, where traditional Islamic teaching says he was not. Instead, Aslan argues that Jesus was a messianic revolutionary who sought the violent overthrow of the...
AC Grayling is one of Britain’s best-known atheist thinkers. His new book, The God Argument, claims to refute the key arguments for God and show why humanism is the best way forward.
On a recent edition of the faith debate radio show ‘Unbelievable?’ hosted by Justin Brierley, Christian Philosopher Peter S Williams discussed some of the God issues with Grayling.
Williams believes Grayling has badly misunderstood the arguments for God in his book. In a busy show, they debate several arguments for the existence of God, including the argument from fine tuning, the cosmological argument and the moral argument.
Unbelievable? the Saturday morning radio show where Christians and not-Christians debate issues of faith and ethics, has produced a conference – also called Unbelievable? – which is now in its third year.
We asked Justin Brierley, the host of the radio show and the conference, to tell us what it’s all about.
‘This year is the 50th anniversary of the death of CS Lewis,’ says Justin. ‘Our main theme picks up his famous trilemma, where he says that the logic of the story of Jesus means that you must decide whether he is a liar, a lunatic or Lord.’
The conference title adds a fourth category, though. Says Justin: ‘We’ve also added the question of...
This is a ‘wham-bam, take it or leave it’ book. Professor Grayling issues terse, often idiosyncratic, definitions without considering the extensive philosophical debates surrounding them.
Religions, for example, he says dismissively, ‘derive ultimately from the superstitions of illiterate herdsmen’. Well, I suppose all human institutions do, but most of them have changed quite a lot since then, and it is hard to see why religions should not have done so as well. Secularism says that ‘any view can exist, providing it is tolerant of other views’. Presumably, then, I can believe that the poor should...
Richard Swinburne, a professor of philosophy at Oxford University and the author of The Existence of God, recently talked to journalist Nigel Bovey about whether there is good evidence for believing there is a God.
Professor, what fascinated you about philosophy that made you want to make it your life’s work?
I am interested in big questions, such as: What is the world made of? What is the relation of mind and body? Do we have free will? Are there moral certainties? Among the questions are those of whether there is a God and whether he is interacting with us.
I have always been a religious person and therefore have been only too pleased to apply my philosophical expertise to those questions about God.
A new kind of church opened its doors early in January. The Sunday Assembly met at a deconsecrated church in north London and rather than offer its flock hymns and prayers, instead got them to sing pop songs such as Build Me Up, Buttercup, and to spend time thinking of how they might live better lives in the year ahead.
However, tea and biscuits, that other staple of church life, remained very much on the menu. As did the sermon, which was provided by a children’s book author.
The biggest departure from traditional church, though, is that the Sunday Assembly has no God. Describing itself as ‘part atheist church and part foot-stomping show’, the church is the brainchild of two stand-up comedians, Pippa Evans and Sanderson Jones, who recognise the value provided by local church...
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We are constantly adding to and updating our resources. We produce written and audio materials which we hope will help answer some of the questions you might have about the Christian faith. This site also has resources which offer a Christian perspective on many of today's most challenging issues. Photos above by Taro Taylor and Jon Sullivan