Top Ten Blog Posts of 2018

I thought my readers might be interested in the Top Ten posts on my blog during 2018 judged by number of page views.

It looks like the total page views for 2018 will top 300,000 by midnight tonight and the global reach includes almost every country in the world as you can see from this map. The gray areas are the only ones with no traffic to my blog and the red have the most–beginning with the Unites States.

Here is the breakdown with the number of page views and my comments. How many do you remember? How many have you read?

One: Who Was the Mysterious “Disciple Whom Jesus Loved? (12,118)
Despite the good evidence to the contrary it seems that most people continue to hold to the view that the “Beloved Disciple” was the John, brother of James, sons of Zebedee. This is a view that could only arise once Jesus’ brother James and his family as a whole was marginalized or even written out of the picture. See my book, The Jesus Dynasty: The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the History of ChristianityI consider this my most important and enduring book. If you have heard about it but never read it give it a try in the New Year. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Two: Did John the Baptist Eat Bugs, Beans, or Pancakes? (10,106)
Everyone knows of John’s diet of “locusts and wild honey,” but is this what our ancient texts in fact say? The story is a bit more complicated and the significance has to do much more with a simple dietary choice. In fact his dietary regime opens for us the subject of what came to be called “Ebionite” or “Jewish” Christianity–though both terms as misnomers.

Three: Jesus Died on a Thursday not a Friday (9,269)
This is one of my most controversial post, pleasing neither the Good Friday/Easter Sunday folk or those who hold to the Wednesday crucifixion/Three Days & Three Nights interpretation made popular by Bullinger’s Companion Bible and picked up by many Sabbatarian and other groups.

Four: Was Jesus a Carpenter? (8743)
This one surprises me. It is fairly recent, very short and simple, but it has proven to be enormously popular with my readers.

Five: Sorting out the Jesus Family: Mother, Fathers, Brothers, and Sisters (8728)
This is a perennial favorite, first posted in 2015 but consistently drawing traffic. It is perhaps my most controversial post, often dismissed as overly speculative, as if dealing with the many unknowns regarding the family of Jesus can ever be free of speculation. I try to deal with all the evidence we have in a balanced way, using the methods of a historian who has to sift through diverse sources.

Six: The Surprising Ending of the Lost Gospel of Peter (6639)
If you have never read this one or don’t remember it too well you are in for a surprise. This ancient texts upsets quite a few apple carts that assume that our New Testament gospels narrate the same basic story regarding the “sightings” of Jesus and the rise of faith in his resurrection from the dead.

Seven: Jonathan Z. Smith has Died (5908)
I am so very pleased that this post written upon hearing news of the death of my beloved University of Chicago teacher, Jonathan Z. Smith, pulled so much traffic. There is more on the blog about his death and his legacy. If you are not familiar with his monumental influence in our field of the history of ancient Mediterranean religions, and for that matter the “history of Religions” more generally, I recommend, as a start, Reading J. Z. Smith, edited by Willi Braun and Russell T. McCutcheon (Oxford University Press, 2018).

Eight: Ebionites & Nazarenes: Tracking the Original Followers of Jesus (5179)
This is another perennial favorite with just a most basic summary of these lost and nearly forgotten steams of earliest Christianity–before it was “Christianity.”

Nine: The Last Supper, Passover, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday: Digging into our Sources (4690)
This one goes well with number three above but with much more details added and links to fourteen additional posts! That is what I mean by “digging in.”  Again, a subject of much controversy but here I present my own reconstruction that I think best fits the facts we know.

Ten: Top Seven Fateful Verses from the New Testament (4137)
This is in fact the first of seven posts on verses in the New Testament that have had an enormous influence, often without a proper historical reading or attention to context, but in some cases assertions that prove through the ages to reap horrible results. The seven posts are linked so you can begin with this first one.