The Hebrew Republic: Eric Nelson on the Influence of the Hebrew Bible on Early Modern European Politics

Professor Eric Nelson (Harvard University) lectured on Jewish sources and the transformation of European political thought for the Israel Democracy Institute’s Human Rights and Judaism project, on July 9, 2012. The respondent is Professor Arye Edrei (Tel Aviv University). Nelson’s lecture concerns some of the same material covered in his book, The Hebrew Republic: Jewish Sources and the Transformation of European Political Thought (2010).

Marc Brettler: A Jewish Perspective on the New Testament

Professor Marc Brettler (Brandeis University) presented the 2015 David S. Lobel Visiting Scholar Lecture on May 12 at Stanford University, “A Jewish Perspective on the New Testament”. The lecture discusses the book he co-edited (with Amy-Jill Levine), The Jewish Annotated New Testament (2011).

The New Testament began as a largely Jewish book, but it is mostly ignored by the Jewish community. As co-editor of The Jewish Annotated New Testament, the speaker will explore the importance of the New Testament to Judaism and how Jewish perspectives on the New Testament are relevant to contemporary Christianity.

The lecture begins at 5:00.


Marty Michelson – Complex Characters in the Book of Samuel

Professor Marty Michelson (Southern Nazarene University) presented a lecture on the characters in the book of Samuel, in Oklahoma City on April 23, 2015, as part of the Museum of the Bible’s lecture series.

Mark Leuchter on the Devil and Evil

On February 24, 2014, Professor Mark Leuchter (Temple University) presented “The Devil Made Me Do It: The Ancient Mythology Behind Personal Moral Struggle in Early Judaism” at Temple University.

The lecture delves into the familiar image of the “angel” and “devil” on either shoulder, each arguing for the individual to make a particular moral choice, which is derived from ancient Jewish ideas of a moral struggle against an individual’s “evil inclination.” This trope is often seen as derived from the Jewish encounter with ancient Greek philosophy, but the roots of this concept are far older, and reflect a centuries-long development of ancient Israelite mythology regarding the Divine Warrior’s struggle against the forces of chaos and evil. Over time, this mythology evolved into different iterations until the battleground became internal and personal, with the struggle against evil directed to the enemy within.

Gospel of Jesus’ Wife a Forgery

New Testament Studies has released a thematic issue on the so-called Gospel of Jesus’ Wife for its July 2015 issue (61.3). The articles are freely available online.

Editorial Francis Watson

Simon Gathercole
Christian Askeland
Andrew Bernhard
Myriam Krutzsch and Ira Rabin
Christopher Jones
Gesine Schenke Robinson

See also this talk by Dr Simon Gathercole, also provided by Cambridge University Press:

h/t: Mark Goodacre

Karl Barth and the Gospels: The 2015 Annual Karl Barth Conference


The 2015 Annual Karl Barth Conference took place on June 21-24, 2015 at Princeton Theological Seminary. Participants discuss the reception history of the Gospels in the theological speculations of Karl Barth, and contribute to the further reception history of theological interpretation of the Gospels.

Sunday, June 21

Opening Lecture, Jürgen Moltmann—“Predestination: Karl Barth’s Doctrine of the Election of Grace” (Miller Chapel)

with Q&A session

Monday, June 22

Eric Gregory—“‘The Gospel within the commandment’: Karl Barth on the Parable of the Good Samaritan” followed by a panel discussion with Eric Gregory, Jürgen Moltmann, and Daniel L. Migliore (Auditorium);
Willie Jennings—“A Rich Disciple? Karl Barth on the Rich Young Ruler” (Auditorium)

Conclusion of Willie Jennings’ paper

Paul Dafydd Jones—“The Riddle of Gethsemane” (Auditorium)

Karlfried Froehlich—“Karl Barth and the Isenheim Altarpiece” (Auditorium)

Tuesday, June 23

Bruce L. McCormack—“The Passion of God Himself: the Cry of Dereliction in Barth’s Theology” (Auditorium)

Beverly Gaventa—“Reading Karl Barth’s Reading of the Road to Emmaus” (Auditorium)

Richard Bauckham—“Karl Barth’s Interpretation of the Prologue to John’s Gospel” (Auditorium)

Elaine Pagels on The Influence of the Book of Revelation on Modern Conceptions of Evil

Professor Elaine Pagels (Princeton University) delivered a talk on April 11, 2014, at the Facing History and Ourselves’ Day of Learning, “Confronting Evil in Individuals and Societies”.

Pagels explains that many interpretations of evil throughout history are inspired by the Book of Revelation, and she uses artistic depictions to describe the events of the story. She then illustrates examples of people using the imagery from the Book of Revelation at different times of war to justify their position and vilify their enemy.



Introduction to the Dead Sea Scrolls, with Andrew B. Perrin


Trinity Western University have made public a series of videos developed primarily for students enrolled in the “Introduction to the Dead Sea Scrolls” (RELS 320) course, lectured by Dr Andrew B. Perrin in 2015.

The course provides an introduction to the Dead Sea scrolls within the context of early Judaism.


Welcome to RELS 320, Introduction to the Dead Sea Scrolls, at Trinity Western University

1.1 Orientation to Ancient Judaism

1.2 Survey of Qumran Library

  1.3 Qumran Archaeology

1.4 ReDiscoveries in the Judaean Desert: New Dead Sea Scrolls Finds

2.1 Jewish Groups and Qumran Identity: Pharisees, Sadducees, or Essenes?

2.2 A Sketch of Qumran Practice and Belief

3.1 The Scope and Shape of Scripture among the Dead Sea Scrolls

3.2 Insights on the Evolution of Scriptural Commentary from the Dead Sea Scrolls

4.1 Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha at Qumran

4.2 The Dead Sea Scrolls, Jesus, Paul, and the New Testament


A Genealogy for Judaism: Daniel Boyarin’s 2015 Bampton Lectures in America

Professor Daniel Boyarin (University of California at Berkeley) delivered the 2015 Bampton Lectures in America, at Columbia University. In these lectures, Boyarin examines the use and applicability of the term “Judaism” in the pre-modern period. Much of the content of his lectures will be published in his forthcoming book, Judaism: A Genealogy, Key Words in Jewish Studies (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press).


In this series of lectures, Daniel Boyarin proposes that scholarship ought to resist using the term “Judaism” with reference to the pre-modern period. As has been argued by several scholars already, there is no “native” term with this meaning in antiquity or the Middle Ages. There is, moreover, no evidence that Jews divided off one category of their experience and practice and named it their religion. It is, therefore, a falsification of the evidence to pick out an entity and name it “Judaism.” A theoretical argument against using modern categories to analyze ancient realities will be advanced as well.

The first two lectures are available in mp3 audio format.

Monday, March 23
Was There Judaism in Pre-modernity?: The Terms of the Debate
 (lecture begins at 10:00)

Wednesday, March 25
Can a Word Exist if No one Says it or Writes it? (lecture begins at 2:57)

Monday, March 30
What do Jews Talk About When They Don’t Talk About Judaism? 

Wednesday, April 1
Can a Concept Exist Without a Word?

In thinking about the terms of the debate, one of the first questions that needs to be asked is: ‘what is the term about which we are debating?’ What do scholars mean when they are referring to ‘Judaism’ in antiquity. The most obvious and immediate answer is that Judaism is the religion of the Jews. One clear proponent of this idea is L. Michael Bird [sic], who has written,“Yet I remain unconvinced that it was Christianity that instigated the separation of cult from culture and then fostered the origin of ‘religion’ upon which the religion of Judaism was signified over and against Christianity and foistered upon Jews. Ioudaismos was considered a religio or a thrēskeia in the pre-Christian era long before Jesus, Paul, Luke, or John.” It is remarkable to me that a scholar writing in the twenty-first century, and in a journal called The Bible and Critical Theory, no less, is so incredibly self-unconscious in his deployment of the term ‘religion’…. No such concerns trouble Bird, as he defines Judaism as a religion, because, as he claims, something called Ioudaismos allegedly was referred to as a religio or as a thrēskeia in the pre-Christian era. The logic seems to be that there is something essential called ‘religion'; its names in the classical languages are known: thrēskeia in Greek, religio in Latin; and something called Ioudaismos is called by those names; ergo: Ioudaismos, now renamed ‘Judaism’, was a religion. Every single one of those premises, as well as the mode of inference which leads to the conclusion, is flawed.
– Daniel Boyarin (16:40-)

See also: Daniel Boyarin’s review of Philip Davies, The Origins of Judaism

Alan Garrow: The Didache is One Part of ‘Q’

GarrowDr Alan Garrow presents a studio version of his paper presented at the Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies (SIIBS) at the University of Sheffield, on Monday 13 April, 2015.

In this paper, Garrow argues that the Didache provides one part of the material which makes up Q (the source of material shared by Luke and Matthew which is not in Mark). The paper, which is scheduled for publication in New Testament Studies in July 2016, follows on from Garrow’s earlier paper in which he argues for Matthew’s dependence on Mark and Luke (and on a smaller assemblage of Q material).

The presentation is available on Alan Garrow’s website, in four videos: didache-qh/t: James F. McGrath

Sexuality and the Bible: What the Texts Really Say

In an event organized by Swissnex San Francisco, Thomas Römer, Sarah Shectman, Konrad Schmid, and Steven McKenzie discussed views on homosexuality and sexuality in the Bible and ancient Near Eastern texts. Sexuality and the Bible: What the Texts Really Say was held on November 17, 2011 at Swissnexx San Francisco, and the video is available on Daily Motion.

What does the Bible tell us of the roles of men and women in ancient society and about the importance of gender? From a literary standpoint, do the texts necessarily condemn or condone certain behaviors and lifestyles? In conjunction with the Annual Conference of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature, swissnex San Francisco invites top scholars to discuss the role of sexuality in the Bible and answer some of these questions.

The evening features Thomas Römer, Professor of Hebrew Bible at the Faculty of Theology and History of Religions at the University of Lausanne. His book L’homosexualité dans le Proche Orient ancien et la Bible (Homosexuality in the Ancient Orient), focuses on the Bible as a historical source for analyzing how ancient societies viewed relations between men.

Konrad Schmid, Professor of Old Testament and Early Judaism at the University of Zurich and author of Genesis and the Moses Story: Israel’s Dual Origins in the Hebrew Bible (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2010), presents the Paradise Story in Genesis 2-3 and its view of sexuality and immortality. And Sarah Shectman, author of Women in the Pentateuch: A Feminist and Source-Critical Analysis (Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2009), looks at the varied attitudes toward women’s sexuality in different parts of the Bible, such as the laws in the Pentateuch that treat women’s sexuality as a possession, belonging either to a father or husband, versus the freer view in the Song of Songs where the protagonist appears more in control of her own body.  Steven McKenzie moderates the discussion.


Did God Have a Wife? William Dever on Mrs God

Professor William G. Dever (Lycoming College; University of Arizona) presented the 2014 Tenenbaum Lecture on February 3, 2014 at Emory University.

His illustrated lecture showcases recent archaeological evidence that reveals the differences in beliefs and practices of ordinary people in ancient Israel compared to the elitist, idealist portrait in the Bible, particularly the ongoing veneration of the Canaanite Goddess Asherah.

The lecture begins at 16:05.

Douglas Thompson: How whites and blacks interpreted biblical passages on slavery in Antebellum America

Professor Douglas Thompson’s Mercer University course Biblical Texts and American History looks at historical uses of the Bible in U.S. history. One of the lectures in that course examines the impact of the Bible and religion “on the relationship between slaves and their owners during the Antebellum period”.

He cited Nat Turner’s 1831 slave rebellion and Frederick Douglass’ 1845 memoir as examples of how whites and blacks interpreted biblical passages on slavery.

A video of his lecture (February 11, 2015) is available on C-Span American History TV:


The Apocalyptic Paul – The Creation, Conflict, and Cosmos Conference

apocalyptic-paulThe Creation, Conflict, and Cosmos Conference was held at Princeton Theological Seminary on May 2-5, 2012. The papers were later developed for publication in Apocalyptic Paul: Cosmos and Anthropos in Romans 5-8, ed. Beverly Roberts Gaventa (Baylor University Press, 2013).

The Conference includes a paper from the late J. Louis Martyn (October 11, 1925 – June 4, 2015).

All of the conference papers are available in mp3 audio format on the PTS site.

Wednesday, May 2

Opening Worship sermon by Luke Powery, “Groaning with Love”


Thursday, May 3

Plenary 1
Stephen Westerholm: “Righteousness Cosmic and Microcosmic”

Plenary 2
Benjamin Myers: “Christ, Adam, and the Self: Revisiting Augustine’s Interpretation of Romans”

Plenary 3
Susan Grove Eastman: “Double Participation and the Responsible Self in Romans 5–8”


Friday, May 4

Plenary 1
Martinus de Boer: “Paul’s Mythologizing Program in Romans 5–8”
Plenary 2
Beverly Roberts Gaventa: “The Shape of the ‘I’: The Psalter, The Speaker, and the Audience in Romans 7”
Plenary 3
Neil Elliot: “The Spirit and Creation in Romans 8”


Saturday, May 5

Plenary 1
John M.G. Barclay: “Under Grace: The Christ-Gift and the Construction of a Christian Habitus”

Plenary 2
Philip G. Ziegler: “Love Is a Sovereign Thing”

Plenary 3
J. Louis Martyn: “Reflections on the Conference”