Historian of Early Christianity waiting for school to start . . . ask me anything!


No we don’t. This is clearly well within the domain of faith.

Again, this really belongs to faith. There isn’t even any solid evidence that Linus did succeed Peter. There are some very early sources that claim Clement I succeeded Peter (the Vatican lists Clement I as the fourth Pope), so the history in this area is murky at best.


What is the first historical reference to Rome’s primacy? I don’t know of one prior to Irenaeus.



Get out of town! Can you share more about how he came to his view on Jesus as libertine magician? Or link to something to read? I’m fascinated at how an educated man could come to this sort of idea.

Didn’t he find it a bit convenient that ‘Magic Mark’ folded so neatly into the canonical Mark account? That “prequel” quality alone just seems so obvious from the content-side of things (even in English translations!), let alone from textual side of things. How did he account for every existing copy of canonical Mark to be missing those bits? It’s not like there was a centralized copying place where official redactions were enforced. What was his reasoning? Was it wishful thinking on his part, hoping to be the discoverer of something profound?


why did the bishop of Rome feel like he could tell the folks in Asia minor what to do during the Easter dating crisis? If they weren’t a unified body, why did the whole crisis even begin (there would be no need for ecclesiastical unity)?

Do you believe in Q? Why over the testimony of those who were in the same time period?

If you do believe in Q, is it a written or oral tradition?


I thought this crisis was supposed to be resolved at the Council of Nicaea precisely because no one bishop had the authority to decide the issue. No?


How much of the Gospel of John is actually historical? Are there any sayings which scholars believe do go back as far as some of the sayings found in the Synoptics/Q source? What would be judged as authentic?

Also, would you characterize Jesus as an eschatological prophet like E.P. Sanders, or as a wisdom teacher like John Dominic Crossan?

(I am not a scholar, but have developed heavy interest in historical Jesus research and the development of the New Testament canon. I have even learned a fair amount of Koine Greek in order to pursue an even greater understanding.)


Well, it’s more they didn’t want to listen to the pope, and instead convened a council. I believe even someone as late as St Thomas More believed a council was more authoritative than a pope.


I’m not aware that Rome tried to dictate the outcome. Do we have any historical evidence that the Roman pope (Sylvester) at the time of the Council had even weighed in on the subject?


John 9:22 relates that the parents of the blind man whose sight Jesus had restored “were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue.” (A similar reference occurs later, in John 12:42, right after Jesus’ final entry into Jerusalem.) Was Jesus’ following really so large at the time this blind man got his sight that the Jewish authorities would have passed such a decree? John’s gospel goes on to suggest that the real impetus for defections to the Jesus camp was the raising of Lazarus, for according to John 12:11 “it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.” But even assuming that John’s gospel is not chronological and that Lazarus’ resurrection preceded the healing of the blind man, is it likely that the chief priests would have already adopted an expulsion edict as a counter measure to widespread acceptance of Jesus as the Christ?

I don’t think so. It seems far more probable to me that such an edict came much later – perhaps more than half a century later, when John wrote his gospel for a community of believers who had experienced precisely such an expulsion, as Jesus reportedly predicted would happen in John 16:2. (James Louis Martyn’s book History and Theology in the Fourth Gospel makes a rather convincing case for this.)

To my thinking, John’s gospel was never intended to be a historical record. Its author’s purpose in writing was not to chronicle but to persuade. He says so himself in 20:31 (“But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.”).


Indeed, I totally agree that the Gospel of John is primarily a theological work. Yet, I have read in some scholarly works that John isn’t entirely without historical value, and that certain descriptions of events or places are very historically accurate, even more so than Josephus. It has been suggested that there are certain sayings in John independent of Mark and Q that do go just as far back and may be regarded as authentic. Clearly, whoever wrote John was writing for a specific community, yet it is also clear that the community responsible for the Johannine works also heavily based itself around the so called “Beloved Disciple.” John 21:24 states,

“This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.”

“Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ μαθητὴς ὁ μαρτυρῶν περὶ τούτων καὶ ὁ γράψας ταῦτα, καὶ οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἀληθὴς αὐτοῦ ἡ μαρτυρία ἐστίν.”


Chapter 21 may be a later addition. 20:31 is rather a natural endpoint, don’t you think?


Yes, but there is little manuscript evidence for this. It seems it was added too early on for this problem to show up in the manuscripts. I believe it was added in by the same community who composed the whole of John not too long after as a kind of appendix.


Makes sense to me.


Earliest record of Marian devotion?

Earliest record of asking saints for prayers?

I know that started with the early church martyrs and people writing notes on their tombs to pray for them but beyond that where is the earliest record?


Rome tried to meddle in the affair prior to the council, for ecclesiastical unity’s sake.


There is Jewish tradition of the saints praying to God


Thanks. Got a cite for me?


Around the 300s, people waited until they were nearly dead to baptize.

The Bible records baptizing whole households, though assuming this included those under the age of reason is an assumption (even if it is a reasonable one).

There was a large debate about the baptism of infants around the 500s if I recall.




Don’t know if this counts but :
I have seen a post recently on here about finding the historical Jesus, and I was intruiged and the studies seem genuine, but what would you say is more likely, that the gospels record historical Jesus or that his divinity was added later ?

And the second one would be that regarding the ressurection, how do we know that that part of the Bible specifically is reliable ? Aspecially the fact that Jesus’s tomb was guarded or if he even had a tomb. Those seem to be pretty rare, especially someone deemed heretic. ( The likely explanation is that they were fearing the disciples would steal the body because of his prophecy, but we can’t know if he made the prophecy in the first place which is the problem )

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