Early Textual Transmission of the Gospel of John

Larry Hurtado's Blog

I’m pleased to learn of the publication of an important study of the earliest extant evidence for the textual transmission of the Gospel of John:  Lonnie D. Bell, The Early Textual Transmission of John:  Stability and Fluidity in its Second and Third Century Greek Manuscripts (Leiden:  Brill 2018).  The publisher’s online catalog entry is here.

We have more early manuscript evidence for the Gospel of John than any other NT writing, including remnants of manuscripts dated to the third century, and in some cases the second century.  I’ve referred to Bell’s study in earlier postings, e.g., here.  Using an innovative approach that allowed him to measure the extent and nature of textual variation among the earliest witnesses to GJohn, Bell demonstrates that they exhibit an impressive stability in the transmission of this text.

Indeed, in another innovative step, Bell also compares the extent and nature of textual variation…

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Quote of the Day

zwingli834…  Since the universe must come from something else, we are brought, whether we will or no, to the one and only source of all things [i.e., God, our Creator], from which everything runs forth as if from the starting place of a race course.– Huldrych Zwingli

Not the Onion: Liberty University is Making a Film About Trump’s Divine Choice as President… And the Illuminati Creating Hurricanes…

Mark Taylor is a former firefighter who claims that while he was watching Fox News back in 2011, God personally told him that Donald Trump would become president of the United States. Taylor initially thought that meant that Trump would challenge President Obama when he ran for re-election in 2012, but when that didn’t happen, Taylor realized that was because it was God’s plan to keep Obama in office for a second term so that Americans could “build a righteous anger” necessary to elect Trump and thereby save the world.

When Trump was elected president in 2016, Taylor penned a book titled “The Trump Prophecies: The Astonishing True Story Of The Man Who Saw Tomorrow… And What He Says Is Coming Next” and quickly made a name for himself as a modem-day prophet and radical conspiracy theorist.

In the last year, Taylor has claimed that God told him that Trump will replace five members of the Supreme Court, three of whom will be removed from the bench after being indicted for corruption, and that two of the five currently living former presidents will die as punishment for criticizing Trump, while the other three will be imprisoned and possibly executed for treason.

Taylor, who claims that Trump will release the cures for cancer and Alzheimer’s disease during his second term in office and asserted that God made journalist Megyn Kelly ill as a “warning shot” to all those who would dare to criticize Trump, believes that thousands of elite satanic pedophiles have been secretly arrested and that we will soon start seeing them prosecuted via military tribunals that will “make Nuremberg look like a cakewalk.” Taylor actually predicted that we’d see mass arrests in February, but the fact that that obviously didn’t happen doesn’t seem to have harmed his standing as a “prophet” in any way.

Last year, Taylor asserted that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which devastated parts of Texas and Florida respectively, were created and controlled by the Illuminati to punish the areas of the country that voted for Trump and to serve as a “training run” for a massive witchcraft attack against the president. On top of that, Taylor warned that the Freemasons and the Illuminati are using a special frequency to change people’s DNA in order to make them hate Trump so that they are unable to see how God is using him to save America.

Lunatics.  And worse, heretics.

Second Temple Early Career Academy (STECA)

A new undertaking that will interest many.  I’m adding it to the blogroll.  You’ll want to check it out.  Here’s what it’s about:

STECA is an international network for doctoral students and early career researchers, run by a Steering Committee, and currently based at the University of Birmingham. Our aim is to create a virtual common room to support early career researchers wherever they are based. STECA is dedicated to support and nurture a new generation of researchers in a challenging Higher Education and external environment, both in the UK and internationally.

No, The 2017 Edition of the Luther Bible is NOT Racist

Good grief

Die feministische Theologin Eske Wollrad (Hannover), hat den Übersetzern der revidierten Lutherbibel 2017 Rassismus vorgeworfen, weil in Jeremia 13,23 der Begriff “Mohr” benutzt wird. Hier wird mit zu großem Besteck hantiert, findet Thies Gundlach in seinem Gastkommentar. Gundlach ist einer der drei theologischen Vizepräsidenten des Kirchenamts der EKD. Er leitet dort das Referat “Theologische Grundsatzfragen”

Ridiculous.  This is simply political correctness gone mad.

The De-Christianization of Europe, and America Is Next

These telling statistics from The Guardian:

“Europe’s march towards a post-Christian society has been starkly illustrated by research showing a majority of young people in a dozen countries do not follow a religion. The survey of 16- to 29-year-olds found the Czech Republic is the least religious country in Europe, with 91% of that age group saying they have no religious affiliation. Between 70% and 80% of young adults in Estonia, Sweden and the Netherlands also categorise themselves as non-religious. The most religious country is Poland, where 17% of young adults define themselves as non-religious, followed by Lithuania with 25%.”

America is next up for De-Christianization.  If you doubt it, just show up at any Church on a Sunday evening or Wednesday evening (if the churches in your area even bother with such services) and take note of the lack of participation.

For many Christians, their Christianity simply doesn’t matter.  Not only do most have no time for worship or study, they also have even less time for evangelism and ministry.  It is, therefore, frankly, no surprise at all that America, like Europe, has fewer and fewer Christians.  And the downward trend shows no sign of turning around.  And, again, if you don’t believe it, just show up at any church anywhere that has an Evening service.

Divine Permission: Or, Why Do We Do Things God Doesn’t Wish Us To Do?

“Permission is an act of governing Providence, by which God does not employ hinderances which no finite agent can overcome, or knows how to overcome, to restrain rational creatures, inclining themselves of their own accord to sin, from an evil forbidden by the law, but, for just reasons, permits them to rush into sins, Ps. 81:12; Acts 14:16; Rom. 1:24, 28.” – Quenstedt.

Fun Facts From Church History: A Little Known Influence on Luther

You may not be familiar with Johann Hilten, but he was a strange little Monk with some fairly bizarre apocalyptic inclinations who was fairly influential on Luther in terms of the latter’s self understanding.

In the Franciscan Convent at Eisenach, in Thuringia, was a monk named John Hilten. He was a careful student of the Prophet Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John; he even wrote a Commentary on these Books, and censured the most crying abuses of monastic life. The enraged monks threw him into prison. His advanced age, and the filthiness of his dungeon, bringing on a dangerous illness, he asked for the friar superintendant, who had no sooner arrived, than, without listening to the prisoner, he began to give vent to his rage, and to rebuke him harshly for his doctrine, which (adds the chronicle) was at variance with the monk’s kitchen.

The Franciscan, forgetting his illness, and fetching a deep sigh, exclaims, “I calmly submit to your injustice for the love of Christ; for I have done nothing to shake the monastic state, and have only censured its most notorious abuses. But,” continued he, (this is the account given by Melancthon in his Apology for the Confession of Augsburg,) “another will come in the year of the Lord one thousand five hundred and sixteen; he will destroy you, and you will not be able to resist him.”

John Hilten, who had announced the end of the world in the year 1651, was not so much mistaken in the year in which the future Reformer was to appear. He was born not long after at a short distance from Hilten’s dungeon, commenced his studies in the same town where the monk was prisoner, and publicly engaged in the Reformation only a year later than the Franciscan had mentioned.*

When Luther learned of Hilten, and discovered his anti-monastic vitriol, and most especially his ‘prophecy’ of a destroyer of the Monastic orders, it was hardly a stretch for Luther to see himself as the prophesied one. Which he did.

Funny, isn’t it, how people we barely know anything about somehow manage to be some of the greatest ‘influencers’ in Church History.
*J. H. Merle D’Aubigné, History of the Reformation in the Sixteenth Century (trans. Henry Beveridge and H. White; vol. 1; 1862), 70.

I Dearly Love This Text

Καὶ τί ἔτι λέγω; ἐπιλείψει με γὰρ διηγούμενον ὁ χρόνος περὶ Γεδεών, Βαράκ, Σαμψών, Ἰεφθάε, Δαυίδ τε καὶ Σαμουὴλ καὶ τῶν προφητῶν, οἳ διὰ πίστεως κατηγωνίσαντο βασιλείας, εἰργάσαντο δικαιοσύνην, ἐπέτυχον ἐπαγγελιῶν, ἔφραξαν στόματα λεόντων, ἔσβεσαν δύναμιν πυρός, ἔφυγον στόματα μαχαίρης, ἐδυναμώθησαν ἀπὸ ἀσθενείας, ἐγενήθησαν ἰσχυροὶ ἐν πολέμῳ, παρεμβολὰς ἔκλιναν ἀλλοτρίων.

Ἔλαβον γυναῖκες ἐξ ἀναστάσεως τοὺς νεκροὺς αὐτῶν· ἄλλοι δὲ ἐτυμπανίσθησαν οὐ προσδεξάμενοι τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν, ἵνα κρείττονος ἀναστάσεως τύχωσιν·  ἕτεροι δὲ ἐμπαιγμῶν καὶ μαστίγων πεῖραν ἔλαβον, ἔτι δὲ δεσμῶν καὶ φυλακῆς·   ἐλιθάσθησαν, ἐπρίσθησαν, ἐν φόνῳ μαχαίρης ἀπέθανον, περιῆλθον ἐν μηλωταῖς, ἐν αἰγείοις δέρμασιν, ὑστερούμενοι, θλιβόμενοι, κακουχούμενοι,  ὧν οὐκ ἦν ἄξιος ὁ κόσμος, ἐπὶ ἐρημίαις πλανώμενοι καὶ ὄρεσιν καὶ σπηλαίοις καὶ ταῖς ὀπαῖς τῆς γῆς.  (Heb. 11:32-38)

The Commentary: Tuesday Book Notes

Everyone needs a commentary on the Bible that they can understand and that answers their questions about the meaning of the text.  So I wrote one for lay people on the whole Bible.

The set runs $75.  This very low cost has been decided upon because I’m very keen to make it accessible to a lay audience.

At $75 it’s less than any other commentary on the entire Bible, so a bargain indeed.

So if you or someone you know has wanted to get a copy of the collection in PDF format, you can do so from yours truly for $75 by clicking my PayPal Link.


This commentary set is written and designed exactly for the average person. The person who hasn’t spent years in book learning and writing papers. Rather, it’s for a person who feels a yearning to know a bit more so they can grow spiritually and intellectually in the faith. The average person might not know where to start on the journey. This set does it beautifully. – Doug Iverson

Someone At Fox Has Had Enough


A retired United States Army lieutenant colonel and Fox News contributor quit Tuesday and denounced the network and President Donald Trump in an email to colleagues.

“Fox has degenerated from providing a legitimate and much-needed outlet for conservative voices to a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration,” wrote Ralph Peters, a Fox News “strategic analyst.” “Over my decade with Fox, I long was proud of the association. Now I am ashamed,” he wrote. Peters, who was also a heated critic of Barack Obama’s foreign policy, once described him as having been “date raped” by Vladimir Putin. He didn’t respond to an email about his missive. “Ralph Peters is entitled to his opinion despite the fact that he’s choosing to use it as a weapon in order to gain attention. We are extremely proud of our top-rated primetime hosts and all of our opinion programing,” Fox News said in a statement.

Click the link above for the full letter.  It’s great.