Joining NASSCAL’s Board of Directors and Westar’s Fellows

Heard yesterday from Tony Burke at York University (Canada) that I’ve been voted onto the Board of Directors as a Member-at-Large for the North American Society for the Study of Christian Apocryphal Literature starting this Fall. NASSCAL has been an intellectual home for a significant amount of my scholarship. It’s been especially delightful to see the eClavis Digital Humanities project (co-developed by me, Tony, and Brad Rice) take root and flourish as a leading, trusted source of academic knowledge for Christian fictions/legends. Tony’s tireless work and the formation of an editorial board of experts have made all the difference. I’m looking forward to participating in the governance of this academic association and seeing what the future holds!

Heard today that my application to become a Fellow of the Westar Institute was accepted. While the organization is new to me, many of its members are friends, including Dennis MacDonald at Claremont and Ben Hubbard here at Fullerton. David Galston graciously allowed me to organize a Westar session at SBL in Denver in 2018, and it looks like David and I might be able to bring together a Westar session on the Gospel of Marcion and Q at SBL 2021. I’m honored to be part of this group of scholars committed to honesty, rigor, public transparency, humanistic inclusivity and inter-religious peer-review in scholarship about sacred texts and traditions.

Erastus as Timothy’s Lover? A Possibly Positive Homoerotic Allusion in Acts 19.22 in Light of the Orestes-Pylades Mythological Paradigm of Friendship

A quick follow-up to the previous post. As part of our forthcoming article in Harvard Theological Review, there is a footnote (p26n68 in the Green Open Access archived version) that should be surfaced and not buried.

The Greek word ἐραστής means “lover,” “admirer,” or “adherent.” See LSJ s.v. ἐραστής. In antiquity, the love between Orestes and Pylades was commonly seen as more than platonic friendship. See, e.g., Lucian, Erotes 47 and Augustine, Confessions 4.6, both quoted in Hall, Adventures with Iphigenia, 107–108. Given the etymology of the name and its intertextual indebtedness, Erastus and his pairing with Timothy may suggest an homoerotic interpretation. Regarding the paradigmatic status of the friendship of Orestes and Pylades, see esp. Lucian, Toxaris.

First and Third Gospel v1.22 uploaded

Finished reconstructions and tagging of Early Luke / Gospel of Marcion through most of chapter 9. I’ve also improved numerous prior passages by breaking out more of Late Mark (Mk2, 140s CE) and Late Matthew (Mt2, 140s CE), as well as splitting up the Johannine strata (e.g., Jn1, 100-110; Jn2, 110-117). This scientific signals synthesis and triangulation method actually works! My fresh analysis is confirming much of what Vinzent, Klinghardt, Knox, Tyson and others have found about the Gospel of Marcion and its relationship to the synoptic Gospels.

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First Gospel LODLIB v1.18 now uploaded

Available at the usual spot: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3927056

Lots of fresh signals analysis and textual reconstructions of content of the First Gospel and the Third Gospel (Early Luke or the Gospel of Marcion) from chapters 6-8, 11, and 13 now available in the latest version (1.18). Readers/scholars/fans: always be encouraged to download and read the latest edition, since substantive additions are now being made and self-archived on a weekly basis.

Also of note: I’ve removed the access restriction on version 1 of the book on Zenodo, so everyone can now see what this book proposal and five hypotheses looked like when it was first uploaded on July 1, 2020. From 50 pages to 350 pages in six weeks is pretty good progress!

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The Lukan Centurion was Jesus’ Personal Body Man

Dibs again. Highlight reel! Claimed it. First time ever in history. Jesus’ public ministry in Qn started with him getting a body man, before his first women disciples/patrons joined the movement. And this was no ordinary body man. This was a hunky hunk of a Roman Centurion body man. Cuz if you’re gonna be a world-class rhetorical ass kicker, you need some official, state-sponsored muscle in your posse.

I just did a Digital Gospel Science (DGS) DUNK all up on the faces of New Testament scholars… again!

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Theorem of Three-Way Signaling: The Key to Charting the Historical Strata of the Gospels

[Revised July 10]

A big part of the challenge we face, especially in the study of Gospel texts, is that:

1) the main content does not offer clear, external historical references as to time of composition and/or editing (very unscientific of them, not to date and time stamp and version control their work!); and

2) manuscripts tend to fabricate and improvise anachronistic historical references, such as putting the names of legendary leaders, “Mark,” “Matthew,” “Luke,” “John,” “Peter,” etc., at the beginning (incipits) of texts within manuscripts.

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Qn Jesus: Aesop for the Poor

The opening mythical/literary frame that identifies and defines Jesus in the newly rediscovered first Gospel (Qn, 50-65 Judea) was none other than the notoriously ugly slave, randy philosopher, and witty fabulist Aesop.

We’ve laid out the basic details of this opening material in our iterative, Open Access book proposal. We’ll definitely need specialists on Aesop to help us fill in what we expect to be many, many overlaps (some previously discovered and perhaps many not yet discovered) between the fables of Aesop and the reconstructed content of Qn. Even the closing story about Zacchaeus may point to an Aesop-influenced inclusio.