Monday, October 27, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Black Belt Librarian

Brad Matthies carries his discussion of my book a step further at his new blog, Black Belt Librarian.

Aristotle's Feminist Subject

The Burial of Jesus gets a mention on J. K. Gayle's blog Aristotle's Feminist Subject.

Amazon Top 100

The Burial of Jesus made it into the top 100 on Amazon today, hitting #76 in the category
Books > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > New Testament

How Dishonorable Was Jesus' Burial?

I received a question from someone who is reading my book, asking the following:

I'm just curious if you've read two articles that argue against McCane's thesis of a dishonorable burial. William Lane Craig ("Was Jesus Buried in Shame: Reflections on B. McCane's Proposal," Expository Times, 115, 2004, 404-409 ) argues against McCane directly, and Jodi Magness ("Ossuaries and the Burials of Jesus and James" JBL, 124, 2005) 121-54 argues that if Jesus was buried in a criminal burial area he would have been buried in the ground, and a tomb like Joseph's would only have been a private tomb.
Here's what I wrote in reply:

Having decided to write the book for a general audience and not include footnotes, I ended up not interacting with some of the possible objections that could be (and have been) raised. The point that a dishonorable burial would more likely have constituted burial in a trench/dirt grave is an important one. I'd say we don't know quite as much as we'd like about burial practices, as Raymond Brown points out (it was Brown who persuaded me that Mark depicts a dishonorable burial, even before I encountered McCane's work on the subject).

It is, ultimately, the account in Mark (and what later Gospels do to it) that persuades me that Jesus was not buried with the honor his followers believed he was due. The reference to being anointed beforehand and to women seeking to do so after the fact seems to me to be sufficient indication that, if nothing else, anointing was left undone. And it seems from both Mark and John (albeit in different ways) that this fact troubled at least some Christians.

In short, I think it may be possible that there were even less honorable burials one could be given, but the evidence from the Gospels suggests that Jesus' burial was, at the very least, less honorable and less complete than Christians felt he deserved.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Faith and History

The discussion of the book has spread to Bill Heroman's Bible/History blog.


The Burial of Jesus (and a recent review of it) have been mentioned on Lingamish. Just for clarification, the post there says:

"his body later dumped in a common grave" - I think that something like this is what happened.

"where the disciples then retrieved it and gave it a proper burial" - I am persuaded that the disciples wanted to do this but am also persuaded that they were unable to. Had they been able to, I think they would have told a different story than the one found in Mark. Indeed, the way that later Gospels rewrote the story in Mark shows how much they wished they could have done this.
At any rate, if there's one thing that both David and I agree on, it is that there is inevitable uncertainty about some things that we wish we could be certain about.

Resurrection and the Gothic Theologian

I joined briefly in a discussion on Theology Web, and one of the other participants has reposted some things I wrote and his reply on his own blog, The Gothic Theologian. Those interested in talking about 1 Corinthians 15, the resurrection, and related subjects, but who may (like me) not be "orthodox" enough for the discussion on Theology Web, may want to pay a visit to the Gothic Theologian instead!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Review by Nelson Moore on Chrisendom

Nelson Moore has done a guest post on Chris Tilling's blog Chrisendom, a review of The Burial of Jesus. Do take a look! I'll just share his conclusion here, but the whole review provides a nice summary of the book's key points.

"The Burial of Jesus by James McGrath is definitely worth purchasing and reading. For those unfamiliar with how historical work is done in Christian academic contexts, McGrath provides a wonderful primer. If you are a biblical scholar, you may find this book very valuable as a resource to share with friends or students who are looking to understand historical scholarship. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this work."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Comparing Prices

The Burial of Jesus is available through a number of online stores, and using services such as BookFinder4U in the United States, or GetTextbooks in the UK, it is possible to compare prices. Assuming one will be paying for shipping, eCampus has the best price at the moment, but if you purchase $25 or more on Amazon you can avoid paying shipping, and that often works out better.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Lunchtime Discussion at Butler University October 22nd

Pizza Lunch Discussion
Wednesday, October 22nd, 12:00 – 2:00, Jordan Hall 340,
Butler University

What is the relationship between history and faith?
In the rush to get from the story of the crucifixion to the story of the resurrection, have readers tended to miss some important details about what happened in between?
Has contemporary American Christianity become too focused on the afterlife?

Come join us for a discussion of these and other subjects touched on in the new book The Burial of Jesus: History and Faith (BookSurge, 2008) written by Dr. James F. McGrath, associate professor of religion at Butler University.

Dr. McGrath has a limited number of copies available for those wishing to read the book before the discussion. Copies are available for $10 each from Dr. McGrath or $12.99 each on

Pizza and other refreshments will be provided.

New Review on Amazon

There is now another review of The Burial of Jesus: History and Faith on Amazon. I invite you to take a look, and once you've read the book, I hope you'll post your own review there!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Now in Worldcat

Thanks to Butler University's quick acquisition of a copy of the book, it is now in Worldcat, which will facilitate its incorporation into the catalogues of any other libraries that acquire a copy, as well as people looking to get it via interlibrary loan.