Paul’s Mockery of the Roman Empire as Exposed by Josephus

Paul’s opening salvo in his trial before the Roman leader Agrippa in Acts 26 seems straightforward. But Josephus shows us that Paul is really mocking Rome’s representative. Having been arrested after an altercation with a group of Jews, Paul says (Acts 26:2-3): I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am […]

Valentine’s Day, Love, Free Will, and Evil

“Evil is part of free will” is one of those non-answer answers that most people find infuriating. But perhaps in the context of what a world without choice would be like, and as we are grateful for the choices other people have made, we can wonder if evil really is a necessary part of what we cherish most….

The Joy of Reading the Text for Yourself

There’s something inexplicably exhilarating — at least for me — about reading actual ancient texts. I don’t mean transcriptions, but the texts themselves. To help spread this joy, I’ve put a page of the glorious 6th-century Vienna Genesis manuscript of the Septuagint on The Unabridged Bible. In addition to the fabulous illustration, the Greek text […]

Antiochus — the Great, the Mad, and all the rest

Did you know that the Antiochus who antagonized the Maccabees was nicknamed “the Mad”? Or that he spent time as a Roman prisoner before ruling ancient Syria? Do you know why some people say that the Maccabees fought against the Syrians, while other people call them the Greeks? In honor of Hanukkah, the page on […]