Bart Ehrman debates Robert Price and the Milwaukee Mythicists: Did Jesus Exist?

On October 21, 2016, Professor Bart Ehrman (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) debated Dr Robert Price (Centre for Inquiry Institute) on the topic, Did Jesus Exist?

The debate was hosted by the freethought group Mythicist Milwaukee, at their 2016 Mythinformation Conference.

Debate Format:
Opening Presentations:

Speaker for the affirmative: Bart Ehrman
30 minute presentation
Speaker for the negative: Robert Price
30 minute presentation
10 minute break
Discussion:
Bart Ehrman
10 minutes of questions for Robert Price
Robert Price
10 minutes of questions for Bart Ehrman
This repeats 2 times for each speaker for a total of 60 minutes
10 minute break
Audience question and answer period
40 minutes

Immediately following the debate, James Crossley, Daniel Gullotta, David Fitzgerald and James McGrath discussed it with Arick Mittler and Matt Kovacs. The discussion is available in two mp3 files:

Mark S. Smith on The Birth of Monotheism

Professor Mark S. Smith (Princeton Theological Seminary) explains the origins of monotheism in ancient Judaism, in an address to the Tangier Global Forum, University of New England, Tangier Campus Auditorium, Morocco, on January 19, 2017 (the talk begins at 5:13).

Monotheism (the belief in only one god), given birth in ancient Israel and known from the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, has been a topic of fascination for centuries. In the modern times, monotheism functioned to advance Christian claims to “western” superiority as colonialist powers came into contact with “non-western” societies. Thus, monotheism has been a colonializing discourse. By contrast, the monotheistic discourse found in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament served as a means to preserve and assert Israelite identity in the face of the colonizing power of the Assyrian and Babylonian empires. This monotheistic discourse was grounded in traditional Israelite practice and thought and developed fully under the impact of both internal socio-political stresses and external influence from the Assyrian and Babylonian empires. This lecture will address the various factors that contributed to Israel’s vision of one god for the world.

Matthias Henze: The Resurrection of the Dead in Early Judaism and Christianity

Dr. Matthias Henze (Rice University) delivers a lecture on the topic, “In the Company of Angels: The Resurrection of the Dead in Early Judaism and Christianity,” recorded at Trinity University on March 2, 2017 (lecture begins at 4:36).

Jews and Christians share the belief that at the end of time God will raise the dead and make them live again. Some early Jewish and Christian writers went even further and anticipated a life among the angels. What do we know about the origin of this belief? The hope for the resurrection of the dead did not originate with Christianity, as is often claimed, but has deep roots in ancient Judaism. This talk will trace the origins of the belief in the resurrection from the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament through Judaism of the Second Temple period into the New Testament. Only when the New Testament texts about the resurrection are read side by side with the ancient Jewish texts about the end of time can we fully appreciate what the two religions have in common and where they differ.

The Historical Reliability of the Bible – Francesca Stavrakopoulou

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On January 17, 2017, Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou (University of Exeter) was interviewed by Dan Snow (BBC) on the History Hit podcast. The topic is “The Historical Reliability of the Bible“, and Professor Stavrakopoulou provides a summary of mainstream scholarship on the historicity of the Hebrew Bible / Old Testament.

The interview is available in mp3 audio format (28:56).

Christine Hayes vs. Paula Fredriksen: Divine Law in Judaism and the Christian Latin West

On March 17, 2016, Professors Christine Hayes (Yale University, University of Antwerp) and Paula Fredriksen (Boston University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem) delivered two lectures on divine law, examining Jewish and Christian concepts, respectively. The event was hosted by the UCSIA/IJS Chair for Jewish-Christian Relations at the University of Antwerp.

Christine Hayes, “What’s Divine about Divine Law?” (00:13)

Paula Fredriksen, “Divine Law in the Latin West: Augustine on Paul” (41:20)

Christine Hayes: Moses at Sinai – God’s Partner or Adversary? (Shavuot 5776)

Professor Christine Hays (Yale University) delivered a lecture in the Shalom Hartman Institute 5776 Rabbinic Webinar Series on Shavuot and its commemoration of the giving of Torah. The lecture, “Moses at Sinai: God’s Partner or Adversary?” was given on the first day of Shavuot 5776 (June 1, 2016).

Brevard Childs – 1981 Stone Lectures: “The Bible as the Scriptures of the Church”

Professor Brevard Childs (1923-2007) delivered the 1981 Stone Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary, on the topic of “The Bible as the Scriptures of the Church”.

The five lectures are available in mp3 (audio) format:

  1. “The Present Impasse in the Study of the Bible”
  2. “The Canonical Problem of the New Testament”
  3. “The Canonical Shape of the Gospels”
  4. “The Unity of the Fourfold Witness”
  5. “Biblical Theology in the Context of the Christian Canon”

Eva Mroczek: Marginalia Interview on The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity

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Joseph Ryan Kelly (Marginalia) speaks with Dr Eva Mroczek (University of California Davis) about her new book The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity (OUP, 2016). The interview was first broadcast on October 25, 2016.

There was no such thing as the Bible when ancient Jewish literature was composed. With a more expansive view of sources, we can glimpse our way into a completely different picture of how ancient people might have imagined their own literary world.

 

Paula Fredriksen: Jesus, Paul, and the Origins of Christianity

In 2000, Professor Paula Fredriksen (Boston University) delivered a lecture in the Princeton centenary lecture series, Frontiers of Knowledge, on the topic of “Jesus, Paul, and the Origins of Christianity”.

She is introduced by Professor Martha Himmelfarb (Princeton University). Professor Fredriksen’s talk begins at 5:50.

Sidnie White Crawford on the Dead Sea Scrolls and Composition of the Bible

Here is a collection of lectures given by Professor Sidnie White Crawford (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) on the subject of the Dead Sea Scrolls and what they tell us about the composition of the Bible.

 

“The Rewritten Bible at Qumran” (4Q Reworked Pentateuch)

“What Do the Dead Sea Scrolls Teach Us About The Bible?”

“The Dead Seas Scrolls After 60 Years: What Have We Learned?”

“The Qumran Collection of Texts as a Scribal Collection”

Sharon Keller: Sex, Magic, and Death in the Hebrew Bible

Dr Sharon Keller (Hofstra University) delivers talks on Sex, Death, and Magic. The lecture was part of the Orange County Community Scholars Program (OCCSP), podcasted January 5-31, 2016.

The talks are available in m4a audio format:

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Johanna Stiebert on Sex between Brothers and Sisters in the Bible and Rape Culture

Associate Professor Johanna Stiebert (University of Leeds) explores sex between brothers and sisters in “Exploring Connections between Rape Culture and the Hebrew Bible: Brother and Sister and Sex in Biblical Text and Popular Culture”, a paper delivered at the University of Chester on June 1, 2016.

Associate Professor Stiebert is the author of First-Degree Incest and the Hebrew Bible: Sex in the Family (Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2016), which deals in more detail with the same topic.

Larry Hurtado on Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World

On September 10, 2016, Professor Larry Hurtado (University of Edinburgh) delivered a lecture at the Lanier Theological Library in Houston, Texas: “A New and Mischievous Superstition: Early Christianity in the Roman World”.

The lecture covers material from his recent book, Destroyer of the Gods: Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World (Waco: Baylor University Press, September 2016).

In the Roman world in which Christianity first emerged it was viewed as different and dangerous. And Christianity was distinctive. Christian’s were called atheists and regarded as impious, because they refused to worship the traditional gods. Unlike other religious groups of the day, they had no shrines, altars, images or priests. Reading and disseminating texts were central activities. Early Christianity comprised a new kind of religious identity that wasn’t tied to ethnicity. Unlike traditional Roman-era religion, Christianity also made ethics central. But, ironically, all these things that made early Christianity distinctive, even odd, in the ancient Roman world, have become commonplace assumptions about “religion” for us. This lecture addresses our cultural amnesia, showing how early Christianity helped to challenge the ancient world and helped to shape our world.

Destroyer of the Gods was also the subject of a panel discussion at Lanier Theological Library, on September 9, 2016. The panel included Carey Newman (Baylor University Press), Rubel Shelly (Lipscomb University), and Christian Eberhart (University of Houston), with Mark Lanier as Moderator.

Further, Professor Hurtado is interviewed about Destroyer of the Gods by:

Professor Hurtado also notes his article in Catalyst, which draws on some of the material in Destroyer of the Gods: “The Distinctiveness of Early Christianity” (October 5, 2016).

Mark Nanos on the Translation of Romans 11

On March 24, 2014 at Westmont College, Mark D. Nanos (Rockhurst University, Kansas City) probes the identity of the Apostle Paul in a lecture entitled, “Paul’s Relationship to Jews and Judaism in First-Century Context: Revisiting the Translation of Romans 11”.

“Romans 11 continues to be a central text for Christian perceptions of Jews and Judaism,” Nanos says. “Current translations give the impression that Paul was a Christian who perceived Jews who did not believe in Jesus as Christ to be hardened and cut off from the covenants God made with Abraham and Israel, as if Judaism no longer represented Paul’s own identity.”

Nanos will explain why these are not the most accurate choices for interpreting Paul’s message in its original first-century context. He will also explore how a new approach to Paul’s message from within Judaism can contribute to advancing Christian-Jewish relations today.