People & Cultures in the Bible

People & Cultures in the Bible

Pieter Bruegel Bethlehem Painting

Dec 3

How December 25 Became Christmas

By: Andrew McGowan

Theological scholar Andrew McGowan examines how December 25 came to be associated with the birthday of Jesus and became Christmas, a holiday celebrated by Christians around the world.

Lucas van Leyden, Maccabees

Dec 3

Hanukkah, 1 and 2 Maccabees, and the Apocrypha

By: Jonathan Klawans

Every year, Jewish families the world over  celebrate the festival of Hanukkah. And how dramatic it is: Just as the nights are starting earlier and […]

Nov 26

The Edomite Stronghold of Sela

By: Glenn J. Corbett

King Amaziah of Judah (c. 801–783 B.C.E.), after having slain nearly 10,000 Edomites in battle near the southern end of the Dead Sea, is said to have thrown another 10,000 captives from the top of nearby Sela.

Paul the Apostle. Detail of the mosaic in the Basilica of San Vitale. Ravena, Italy.

Nov 17

The Great Paul Debate

By: BAS Staff

Was the apostle Paul an early convert to Christian belief, or did he remain steadfastly committed to the Judaism of his day? Biblical scholar David […]

Saint Paul Writing His Epistles, Valentin de Boulogne

Nov 17

The Apostle to the Nations

By: David Christian Clausen

It is self-evident that Paul’s letters were addressed to Gentiles (note: all translations given in this article are my own): “We received … apostleship for […]

The Preaching of St. Paul at Ephesus, Eustache Le Sueur. Public Domain, via Web Gallery of Art.

Nov 17

Paul’s Religious Revolution

By: Nijay Gupta

Ancient religions came in all shapes and sizes, but by and large they had in common association with a particular ethnic group, ties to a […]

Apostle Paul, Rembrandt van Rijn. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Nov 17

Paul and the New Covenant

By: Ben Witherington III

David Clausen’s article, “Five Myths About the Apostle Paul,” in the Summer 2023 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, strikes some familiar and correct notes about […]


Nov 9

Jesus Was a Refugee

By: Joan E. Taylor

Scholar Joan E. Taylor says that it’s worth remembering that Jesus’ earliest years were, according to the Gospel of Matthew, spent as a refugee in a foreign land.

Ecstasy of Paul, Poussin

Nov 4

If I Ascend to Heaven … Paul’s Journey to Paradise

By: James Tabor

The various types of the heavenly journeys we have reports about can be divided into four basic categories, based upon the fundamental purpose or outcome of the ascent as reported in a given text. Generally speaking, the first two categories are more characteristic of the Ancient Near Eastern, or archaic period, which would include most texts of the Hebrew Bible (OT). The latter two categories are more typical of the Hellenistic period, which reflects the perspective of the NT.

Nov 2

Herod the Great and the Herodian Family Tree

By: Lawrence Mykytiuk

See a visualization of the Herodian family tree and key events in the New Testament related to members of the Herodian family.