The Magi and the Star
Babylonian astronomy dates Jesus’ birth By Simo Parpola

The wondrous star that hovered over Bethlehem at Jesus’ birth has long mystified Bible scholars and astronomers alike. Attempts to identify the star with historical celestial phenomena have been inconclusive at best, leading many to dismiss the gospel account as a beautiful but imaginative myth. Still others 018keep returning to this question, knowing that […]

Witnessing the Divine
The Magi in Art and Literature By Robin M. Jensen

The magi lend an exotic and mysterious air to the Christmas story. The sweet domesticity of mother and child and the bucolic atmosphere of shepherds and stable are disturbed by the arrival of these strangers from the East. The background music changes from major to minor. Sentiment gives way to awe, perhaps even […]

Was the Early Church Jewish?

In the twenty-third chapter of his gospel, Matthew describes Jesus speaking against the Pharisees and scribes. “Woe to you,” Jesus cries out, labeling these Jews “hypocrites,” “blind fools,” “blind men,” “serpents” and a “brood of vipers” (Matthew 23:13–36).1 In Mark’s account of the cleansing of the Temple, Jesus condemns the Jewish leaders, saying, “My […]

Mad to See the Monuments
How ancient Assyria saved Victorian Bible scholarship By Steven W. Holloway

In August of 1847, the British Museum mounted the first major display of Assyrian antiquities in England. For a year, the public had pored over sketches from Austen Henry Layard’s Mesopotamian excavations in the Illustrated London News. Now, it was possible to inspect the impassive, chiseled faces of the Assyrian kings during a comfortable […]


Speaking of Good and Evil
How can we gain a biblical understanding of the social and political events of our day? By N. T. Wright
Jacob and the angel