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James D. Tabor
James D. Tabor is the author of the recent book "Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity" and the chair of the department of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His previous works included "The Jesus Discovery" (with co-author Simcha Jacobovici), "The Jesus Dynasty," and an award-winning study of the mysticism of the apostle Paul, "Things Unutterable." His popular blog on early Christianity is at He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Entries by James D. Tabor

The Most Important Ten Verses of the Gospels to Read on Easter

(0) Comments | Posted March 28, 2016 | 12:14 AM

In the New Testament gospels we have four rather complex and ofttimes contradictory accounts of what happened Sunday morning after Jesus was crucified (Mark 16; Matthew 28; Luke 24; John 20-21). Embedded in these layers of tradition are ten verses that appear to be the earliest narrative--and one that rings...

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A Different Sort of "Silent Night"

(4) Comments | Posted December 23, 2015 | 8:07 AM

December 25th as the date of the birth of Jesus can be traced back to the early 3rd century CE although it did not achieve more universal recognition until the late 4th century. It is common to hear the charge that "Christmas is pagan," based on the popularity of the...

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Did Joseph Build the Great Pyramid at Gezah?

(2) Comments | Posted November 8, 2015 | 11:11 AM

Dr. Ben Carson has made lots of controversial headlines this week with his assertion, that turns out to be qute common in certain Adventist/Fundamentalist Christian circles, that the biblical Joseph, of the book of Genesis in the Bible, in fact built the Great Pyramid of Cheops--the one that appears on...

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Can Human Consciousness Be Replicated?

(16) Comments | Posted October 30, 2015 | 4:51 PM

Robert Kuhn, an old friend, colleague, and producer of the amazing PBS program "Closer to Truth," has just published a most provocative piece at LiveScience titled: "The Singularity, Virtual Immortality and the Trouble with Consciousness." Will science replicate the human brain and thus produce the phenomenon we all...

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Was Jesus the Son of God? It's Complicated

(1378) Comments | Posted August 13, 2015 | 4:45 PM

Most of us who teach in the field of Christian Origins get asked from time to time by students or in public lectures, "Professor, Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?" As it turns out, the question, like all historical queries, is more complicated than meets the...

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Waiting for the Messiahs? One, Two, or Three?

(0) Comments | Posted June 2, 2015 | 8:48 AM

One of the ideas I explore and develop in my book, The Jesus Dynasty, is the notion of not one but two Messiahs.

I had no idea it would become sensational -- much less controversial. It actually became headline news, with a cover story in USNews and World Report...

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The James Ossuary and the Talpiot 'Jesus' Tomb

(18) Comments | Posted April 6, 2015 | 3:20 PM

Today's New York Times carries a story, "Findings Reignite Debate on Claims of Jesus' Bones," reporting that new chemical tests done on the ossuaries from the Talpiot "Jesus" tomb comparing it with the controversial "James son of Joseph, brother of Jesus" ossuary show a...

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The Day Christ Died -- Was it on a Thursday or Friday?

(9) Comments | Posted April 3, 2015 | 10:24 AM

Later Christian tradition put Jesus' last meal with his disciples on Thursday evening and his crucifixion on what we call today "Good Friday." We now know that is one day off. Jesus' last meal was Wednesday night, and he was crucified on Thursday, the 14th of the Hebrew month Nisan....

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An Authentic 1st Century Jerusalem Burial Shroud

(14) Comments | Posted March 19, 2015 | 10:06 AM

CNN focused on the question of the authenticity of the controversial "Shroud of Turin," in the first episode of its new pre-Easter series "Finding Jesus." Those challenging the authenticity of this ancient relic point to carbon dating tests done at three independent labs in 1988 that dated samples...

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A Married Jesus: Here's the Best Historical Evidence

(554) Comments | Posted November 14, 2014 | 12:37 PM

If you ask most New Testament scholars whether Jesus was likely married the mantra is a firm and dogmatic "no" -- there is not a shred of historical evidence that he was ever married or had children. The very idea is baseless speculation at the best and cheap Holy Blood,...

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Spanking Children: Does the Bible Tell Me So?

(23) Comments | Posted September 26, 2014 | 5:29 PM

The indictment of NFL player Adrian Peterson by a Texas grand jury for reckless or negligent injury to a child has generated an extensive discussion in the media on the topic of disciplining children by "spanking," or corporeal punishment, as commonly practiced in our society. Recent polls indicate that up...

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Discovering a Lost and Forgotten Early Christian 'Gospel'

(39) Comments | Posted September 4, 2014 | 10:51 PM

Imagine discovering a lost and forgotten ancient Jewish/Christian writing, one not included in the New Testament, that dates to the earliest days of the emergence of Christianity. For historians of early Christianity or ancient Judaism, there is nothing more exciting -- think of the amazing significance of the Dead Sea...

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Praying to Jesus: From Jewish Messiah to God Incarnate

(11) Comments | Posted June 19, 2014 | 2:57 PM

For untold millions of Christians, asking the "Lord" for guidance, help, and even salvation is a complex and confusing business. Evangelicals often pray the "sinner's prayer," asking Jesus directly to come into their hearts (Revelation 3:20; Romans 10:13). Alternatively, they might call upon God to save them "in the name...

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Bashers of the Noah Film Should Re-Read Their Bibles

(32) Comments | Posted March 31, 2014 | 12:52 PM

SPOILER ALERT: This review of the Darren Aronofsky film Noah reveals plot details and analysis you may not want to know beforehand if you plan on seeing the film.

Darren Aronofsky's new $100 million blockbuster film Noah opened on Friday in 3,936 theaters to a huge wave of media...

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Mississippi Man Pronounced Dead Revives on Embalming Table -- Is This Resurrection?

(8) Comments | Posted March 3, 2014 | 3:38 PM

Perhaps you read about the Mississippi man who recently was pronounced "dead," put in a body bag and even taken to a funeral home for embalming -- when he suddenly revived, just as the procedure was beginning. You can read the Reuters story here, which is understandably being...

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Hiding in Plain Sight: The Only Two Verses on the Discovery of Jesus' Empty Tomb that Ring True

(8) Comments | Posted December 29, 2013 | 11:51 PM

Here it is, hiding in plain sight: The only two verses in the New Testament gospels that relate the discovery of Jesus' empty tomb that ring true historically.

Given the complexity and hopeless contradictions (see "Sorting out the Traditions") of all our New Testament gospel accounts of the...

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Christmas: What Would Jesus Do?

(10) Comments | Posted December 22, 2013 | 3:21 PM

The well-worn admonition to "put Christ back into Christmas" raises some fascinating issues for those of us who study the origins and history of Christianity. Most know that Christmas as celebrated today has evolved over the centuries, drawing from a diverse and rich assortment of customs, none of which go...

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"Eat My Body, Drink My Blood"-- Did Jesus Really Say That?

(11) Comments | Posted December 17, 2013 | 12:01 PM

The most central of all Christian rites -- the Eucharist or Holy Communion -- involves eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ. However understood -- symbolically or "literally," this practice is at once as familiar as it is strange. Millions participate in some form of this ritual regularly...

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How Christian Is the New Testament Book of Revelation?

(96) Comments | Posted October 14, 2013 | 6:19 PM

Is is possible that the New Testament book of Revelation -- known to millions as "The Revelation of Jesus Christ," and known for its dire apocalyptic language and horrific visions of the "End of time," was originally not a Christian work at all? I have become convinced that this most...

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The Christians as the Romans Saw Them: Superstitious, Depraved, Obstinate, and Foolish

(366) Comments | Posted October 4, 2013 | 3:35 PM

Given my chosen field of study, namely "Christian Origins," I am often asked by students and attendees at my lectures whether there are any reference to Jesus and the early "Christian" movement outside the New Testament. The following references, from a diverse collection of Roman writers around the time of...

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