Dating Ancient Papyri

Hurtado Blog

Larry Hurtado's Blog

Further to my recent posts about recent proposals for the dating of certain NT papyri, let me briefly clarify the process of dating papyri, which might well seem a mystery to those not familiar with it.

There are two main types of papyri:  “documentary” (letters, official documents such as land-transfers, marriage contracts, shipping bills, etc.) and “literary” (treatises, poetry, history, fiction, etc.).  Documentary texts are often/typically dated by the writer, which makes dating the manuscript fairly straightforward.  But literary texts are hardly ever dated.  So in their case the only way forward is by estimating the approximate time-frame of the handwriting (often referred to as the “hand” of the manuscript).

Dating ancient Greek handwriting, for example, requires making comparisons with other dated manuscripts, and over the past several decades especially (as more and more papyri has come into view) palaeographers have tried to develop a broad sense of developments in Greek…

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What’s the problem with Evil? (Part 1)


1. EVIL!? What is [it]?

It is most likely a coincidence that some of the most profane and profound words……………… in the English language only have four letters; more than likely several words come to mind — words that, nowadays, form a part of General English Usage. Here are three others that may not have immediately come to mind: ‘evil’ ‘love’ and ‘pain’. All three of these words have a connection. Love can cause both pain and have bad consequences — even evil. Pain is often thought to be the result of evil (NB:Why Pleasure?)— the opposite to good (another four-letter word) i.e. Natural disasters (earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornados, monsoons etc.). We might say: Disease is by or inflicted, by God. We might even conclude that any illness etc. may have been maliciously and unfairly inflicted on us or those close to us. Few of us would consider the possibility that disease was the result another party as an act of malevolence… Continue reading What’s the problem with Evil? (Part 1)

HDS Update on “Jesus’ Wife” Fragment

Larry Hurtado's Blog

The Harvard Divinity School web page on the “Jesus’ wife” fragment now is prefaced with a statement from the HDS Dean referring to the recent Atlantic Monthly article that exposes the character who put the fragment into Professor King’s hands, and that King now admits “tips the balance” toward the item being a fake.  It’s commendable that the HDS has now taken notice of this, although one still wonders that there has been (and still is) scant mention of the various other critical reasons for judging it a fake for over a couple of years.  The statement is here.

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Artificial Intelligence: Machines, Minds or both?

Science and Belief

header-915122_1920 CCO Public Domain. Pixabay

Is your smart phone really smart? Do you ever fear it will get too smart? Will it wake up one morning and decide to start running your life – deleting contacts it doesn’t like, booking holidays online that it wants to go on with you or shifting your calendar appointments to suit its tastes? Perhaps, more realistically, you may be inclined to feel that your printer has a mind and mood swings of its own, seemingly out to get you when you are facing the most desperate deadline. But actually, the more we progress in the field of robotics, the more we are forced to recognise and appreciate that the mind is a unique wonder of the living world. Can technological advances escalate robot intelligence into the personal minds we enjoy as humans? How does this speak into our ideas of human uniqueness and our unique…

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Blind mice ‘Leading’

blind mice

Jesus said that, “Jesus came :to rescue that which was lost.” (Matthew 18:11) Ergo, Humanity per se–is that which is lost—or at least, the people to whom God reveals himself.

However, if that which is lost—which is said to be made (somehow) in the image of God is an illusion—or an unnecessary blip in the ‘natural’ evolution of a blind cosmos—and counts as nothing in the grander schemes of ‘gods’ and demons—or the plans and purposes of an amorphous deity—then all of ‘meaning’ and ‘reason’ is lost—Y OU are lost—at least your ‘individual souls’ (after death) cease to exist.

Should that be the case, we Christian believers are, as the apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15:12ff, “…of all people to be pitied.” That is because it is this existence which is the hope of the Christian believer—especially one of the material (carbon-based) variety. This hope, according to the ‘experts’—whose who, rather than carefully weighing the evidence for such a ‘resurrection hope’—having succumbed to the ideas of mystical-philosophical conjecture—have relegated such notions to the delusional rantings of the ego.

But seriously, “Can a blind man lead a blind man?” (Luke 6:39) To which I add: Who, in their right ‘minds’ would trust such blind guides—when those with the hope of, continued personal existence—a hope based on historical evidence and on the teachings of a reliable narrative are better placed to judge whether or not there is veracity to their beliefs? Scripture tells us that, “…we (Christian believers) have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16) That is the Christ, “Who is, and was and is to come…” (Revelation 1:4). It is in this ‘1’ Triunity (Father, Son and Spirit) that we “live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)


A ‘European Mindset’


John Sentamu: ‘My conscience tells me that I must vote to Remain’

Thu 09 Jun 2016

By Marcus Jones (for Premier)

The Archbishop of York has declared that he will vote to remain in the EU when the UK goes to the polls at the referendum on 23 June.

Writing in the Telegraph, Dr John Sentamu explained how he’s come to that conclusion.

He said: “My conscience tells me that I must vote to Remain in the European Union.

“The possibility of any kind of organised political life depends on successive generations accepting the responsibilities undertaken before them.

“This applies both to the internal stability of nations, and also to the external stability of relations among them.

“The implication of wanting to decide everything afresh in every generation is universal instability.

“If we are serious about supporting either national or international order, we shall have to be prepared to live up to inherited obligations, even if we may sometimes think that they would have been better not incurred.”

A ‘European’ Mindset.

What is conscience? If it is that which has been shaped by the prevailing (European) Social Mores (which is, in the main, Liberal/ Left), it would be exactly that–nothing more and nothing less—though some would argue that it has been influenced by other ‘factors’.

If I were to attempt a definition of a Christian Conscience I would say that such a conscience would be shaped by the Scriptures and, obviously, by the Third Person of The Trinity–The Holy Spirit. If this were the case, one would expect to be able to observe the practical consequences—should that conscience be actively dominant. The consequences would be two-fold—though these two things ought not to be mutually exclusive. They are summed up in the two commandments Christ gave: Love God (The Triune God) and love your neighbour as yourself. Of course, if my love for my neighbour has no concern for that ‘neighbour’s’ relationship with God–but only cares for their present needs–or for the cause of humanism per se–then it could not be considered a God-Shaped-Conscience–but rather a socially aware conscience–a conscience that is the driving force for social change—a change that, seemingly, aids the common cause.

A Christian shaped conscience would not—could not abjure from the command to ‘go and make disciples’. The Christian conscience is one that cares for the body and soul—though it could be argued that the common parlance of ‘body-soul’ is in danger of abuse. It was the apostle Paul who said that, ‘…if for this life [alone] we have hope, we are—of all people—to be the most pitied. Archbishop. I love your heart’s concern but—please don’t let its desire deny the lost their hope of heaven—of HEAVEN—a hope that is in Christ alone.

Derek White

About Me

First and foremost, I became a committed follower of Jesus Christ in 1976, previously having had ‘strong leftish/ atheistic tendencies’.

I have been in Christian leadership in various positions: An elder (eleven years) at Bournemouth Community Church with oversight for mission & apologetics; a deacon at Lansdowne Baptist Church Bournemouth (nine years) –working with international students and co-leading the Young People’s Work [then YPF] with my wife Jackie. I was a founder director of the International Training Network, Bournemouth, training centre for the teaching of English as a foreign language and the principal/director [1996-2010] of the Christian English Language Centre in Bournemouth and Christchurch, England. Since December 2014 my wife and I have been attending St Mary’s Church Ferndown, where we are seeking to use our gifts for the Mission of Christ.


‘Beyond Eden: God, Evolution & The Problem of Evil’, which is an adapted version of my Master’s research degree work (MRes) taken at the University of Exeter (2011-2014), was published in January 2016.I am also the joint author (along with Rosemary Griffiths) of a book entitled ‘Walls that Divide’, which is due to be revised/re-edited–sometime soon.

My ‘academic’ background includes forays into the world of: Sociology,Theology, Philosophy,English-Language pedagogy,linguistics and Philosophical Theology in The Open University, The University of Sheffield, Canterbury Christchurch University, Trinity College, Newburgh USA, and The University of Exeter.

On a more personal note: I’ve been married since September 1963 [one of God’s miracles] and have four [grown] children and nine grandchildren—the  latest born in 2015.Four of the grandkids live, with their parents, in Australia. We also have two great-grandsons…

Whites News 14 thru 1

Some of the family at our son Gerald’s (2014) graduation from Moorlands College

DW & Chris Southgate

My main research degree supervisor, Dr Chris Southgate, July 2015

me & gerald at Graduation

My son, Gerald, also a theology graduate



MONISM [Ellis Potter]

Most people in the world believe that when the world began, it was perfect.  For the most part, humanity stands in agreement that something has gone terribly wrong, so that the world no longer exists in the perfect state it once enjoyed. We are thus in need of an accurate picture which encompasses both what went wrong in the world and how the problem is to be remedied.  Eastern religion teaches that the world will be restored to a state of perfection through perfect unity, thus the foundation of Eastern religion is the concept, “all is one.”  The solution to the problem of the world as revealed in Scripture, however, is that God Himself enters into creation and becomes a part of it.  Salvation is possible because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This seminar will explore how to share the truth of the Gospel with those who hold to the teachings of Eastern religion, by beginning with the common ground our worldview shares with their own. Continue reading ‘Absolutely’