Bart Ehrman on Heaven and Hell

Professor Bart Ehrman (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) discusses Heaven and Hell in the Western tradition.

1. Zoom session facilitated by Clare Castro, Oxford University Press, April 20, 2020

“An author-led discussion of the afterlife in the Classical and Biblical worlds. Oxford author Bart Ehrman (The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to The Early Christian Writings, Seventh Edition; A Brief Introduction to The New Testament, Fourth Edition; and The Bible: A Historical and Literary Introduction, Second Edition) explores a variety of fascinating questions: How did the ancient Greeks and Romans think of life, death, and the afterlife? How are these phenomena depicted in the Old Testament? What were the views of the historical Jesus? How did they change after his death? And how do all these ideas differ from those widely held in the Christian world today?”

2. Discussion with Michael Shermer, Science Salon Podcast # 110, March 31, 2020

“Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife

– What the bible says about the afterlife
– What Jesus really said about heaven
– Myths: their original purpose
– Real meaning of the resurrection

– Is the Kingdom of Heaven within us?”

 

3. Interview with Terry Gross, Fresh Air – Heaven and Hell Book Interview, National Public Radio, March 31, 2020

“She interviews Bart D. Ehrman on March 31, 2020, and centers the discussion to reflect on Bart’s book “Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife.” Bart, the best-selling author of Misquoting Jesus takes on two of the most gripping questions of human existence: where did the ideas of heaven and hell come from, and why do they endure? He recounts the long history of the afterlife, ranging from The Epic of Gilgamesh up to the writings of Augustine, focusing especially on the teachings of Jesus and his early followers. He discusses ancient guided tours of heaven and hell, in which a living person observes the sublime blessings of heaven for those who are saved and the horrifying torments of hell for the damned.”

 

4.  Interview with Seán Moncrieff, Newstalk, January 13, 2020

“Seán Moncrieff hosts an eclectic Irish radio show on Newstalk which is operated by News 106 Limited, a subsidiary of Denis O’Brien’s Communicorp. He interviewed Bart on January 13th, 2020 during a seven-minute spot in brief discussion about his new book, “Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife” to be published by Simon & Schuster. The interview asked questions like: Was Heaven and Hell discussed in the Old Testament? Does Judaism believe in the afterlife? Did the belief in Heaven and Hell exist during Jesus’ lifetime? Did there exist an early belief that a deceased person entered limbo after death? Doesn’t the physical depictions of Hell only make sense if a person is physically tortured? Why do more people in the U.S. believe in Heaven than in Hell? Other thoughts are considered during this succinct segment.”

The talks are based on his recent book, Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife (Simon & Schuster, 2020).

Social Memory Theory and Conceptions of Afterlife

On May 16-17, 2019, at the Husitská teologická fakulta at Univerzity Karlovy in Czechoslovakia, a conference was held on the subject of “Social Memory Theory and Conceptions of Afterlife”.

Many of the papers at the conference were recorded:

Thursday, May 16th

I. Afterlife from Ancient Egypt and Israel to Early Judaism
10:15 – 10:45 Jiří Janák – Weighing of the Heart: Ancient Egyptian Judgement of the Dead and its Later Developments

10:45 – 11:15 Craig Broyles – The Nightmare of Sheol and the Counter-Memories of Yahwism

11:30 – 12:00 Dávid Cielontko – Eleazar Remembered: The Death and Afterlife of the Maccabean Martyr

II. Afterlife in Early Christianity – A
14:00 – 14:30 Sandra Huebenthal – Additional Notes to an Unfinished Symphony. Ressurection and Afterlife according to Mark
14:30 – 15:00 Thomas R. Hatina – When the Saints Go Marching in: Remembering Vengeance and Vindication in Matthew 27:52–53

15:15 – 15:45 Torsten Jantsch – A memory of Hades: The description of the underworld in Luke 16:19–31 and accounts of journeys into Hades in early Jewish and Greco-Roman literature

15:45 – 16:15 Kyle Parsons – From Romans to Colossians: Making Sense of Competing Conceptions of Resurrection

16:15 – 16:45 František Ábel – The Anamnestic Rhetoric of the Eucharistic Tradition Reflected in 1 Cor 11:24–25: Its Meaning and Role in Perspective of Afterlife Conception

Friday, May 17th

II. Afterlife in Early Christianity – B
10:00 – 10:30 Tobias Nicklas – The Apocalypse of Peter and its Otherworldly Landscape of Memories

10:30 – 11:00 Christian Handschuh – Extended Memory? Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis as „Exempla fidei“

11:00 – 11:30 Jiří Lukeš – The Apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla – Sexual Asceticism as a Condition of Eternal Life

III. Hermeneutics and Memory
11:45 – 12:15 Petr Pokorný – Social Memory Theory and Formgeschichte

12:15 – 12:45 Zeba Crook – Form Criticism vs. Memory Theory on Resurrection Belief

14:00 – 14:30 Jan Payne – Program for Hermeneutics – To Understand the Past Is to Understand How the Passed Ones Approached Their Future

14:30 – 15:00 Lukáš Nikl – The Potential and Limits of Social Memory Approaches in Biblical Studies
15:00 Closing Discussion

 

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.

Alan Segal on Life after Death

Professor Alan Segal (then emeritus at Barnard College) delivered a lecture on “Life After Death in Judaism” on November 13, 2008, at Stanford University. Alan Segal discusses near death experiences (NDEs), The Sopranos, Sheol, apocalyptic, martyrdom,  resurrection, and transformation into angels.

Alan Segal was the author of Life After Death: A History of the Afterlife in Western Religion (2010).

 

 

 

 

Yair Zakovitch – Life Beyond Life In The Bible

Professor Yair Zakovitch (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) delivered a talk on “Life Beyond Life In The Bible” as part of the Orange County Community Scholars Program (OCCSP), podcasted January 20, 2005.

The talk is available in m4a audio format:

Zakovitch_Yair

Philip Harland’s Podcasts on Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean

Philip Harland has an ongoing series of podcasts on a wide range of topics relating to religions of the ancient Mediterranean which are available here. These include:

Series 1: Paul and His Communities

Podcast 1.1 Paul in his own words

Podcast 1.2 The situation at Thessalonica

Podcast 1.3 Paul’s response to Jesus-followers at Thessalonica

Podcast 1.4: Paul and the followers of Jesus at Corinth, part 1

Podcast 1.5: Paul and the followers of Jesus at Corinth, part 2

Podcast 1.6: Paul and the followers of Jesus at Corinth, part 3

Podcast 1.7: Paul and the situation in Galatia

Podcast 1.8: Paul’s response to the Galatians

Podcast 1.9: Paul and the situation at Rome

Podcast 1.10: Paul’s response to the Romans

Podcast 1.11: Legacies of Paul – Women’s leadership, part 1

Podcast 1.12: Legacies of Paul – Women’s leadership, part 2

Series 2: Early Christian Portraits of Jesus

Podcast 2.1: Introduction to the Gospels as Portraits of Jesus

Podcast 2.2: Mark’s portrait of Jesus – Suffering Son, part 1

Podcast 2.3: Mark’s portrait of Jesus – Suffering Son, part 2

Podcast 2.4: Matthew’s portrait of Jesus – New Moses, part 1

Podcast 2.5: Matthew’s portrait of Jesus – New Moses, part 2

Podcast 2.6: Luke’s Portrait of Jesus – Prophet Elijah, part 1

Podcast 2.7: Luke’s Portrait of Jesus – Prophet Elijah, part 2

Podcast 2.8: John’s Portrait of Jesus – Son and Word, part 1

Podcast 2.9: John’s Portrait of Jesus – Son and Word, part 2

Podcast 2.10: Hebrews’ Portrait of Jesus – Highpriest Melchizedek, part 1

Podcast 2.11: Hebrews’ Portrait of Jesus – Highpriest Melchizedek, part 2

Series 3: Diversity in Early Christianity: “Heresies” and Struggles

Podcast 3.1: Introduction to Diversity – A Schism in John’s Community, part 1

Podcast 3.2: A Schism in John’s Community, part 2

Podcast 3.3: Docetic and Judaizing Opponents of Ignatius

Podcast 3.4: Docetic and Judaizing Opponents of Ignatius, part 2

Podcast 3.5: Diversity in Asia Minor – A Regional Case Study

Podcast 3.6: Sources for the Study of Diversity – Gnostic, Apocryphal, Patristic

Podcast 3.7: Jewish Followers of Jesus, part 1 – Ebionites

Podcast 3.8: Jewish Followers of Jesus, part 2 – Pseudo-Clement

Podcast 3.9: Marcionites and the Unknown God

Podcast 3.10 Introducing Gnostic Worldviews

Podcast 3.11: Secret Book of John, part 1 – The Spiritual Realm

Podcast 3.12: Secret Book of John, part 2 – Salvation from the Material Realm

Podcast 3.13: The Wisdom of Jesus Christ and Middle Platonism

Podcast 3.14: The Gospel of Philip, part 1 – Ideas of Salvation

Podcast 3.15: The Gospel of Philip, part 2 – Ritual Enactments of Salvation

Podcast 3.16: The Gospel of Mary – Secret Knowledge from the Ultimate Disciple

Series 4: Honouring the Gods in the Roman Empire: Asia Minor

Podcast 4.1: Introduction to Honouring the Gods

Podcast 4.2: A City and Its Patron Deity – Artemis of Ephesus

Podcast 4.3: Salvation from the Gods – Asklepios at Pergamum

Podcast 4.4: Messages from the Gods – Apollo at Claros and Didyma

Podcast 4.5: Justice from the Gods in Lydia

Podcast 4.6: Honouring the Emperors as Gods

Series 5: The Historical Jesus in Context

Podcast 5.1: Studying the Historical Jesus – Sources and Problems, part 1

Podcast 5.2: Studying the Historical Jesus – Sources and Problems, part 2

Podcast 5.3: Studying the Historical Jesus – Sources and Problems, part 3

Podcast 5.4: Scholarly Portraits of the Historical Jesus, part 1 – Crossan

Podcast 5.5: Scholarly Portraits of the Historical Jesus, part 2 – Sanders

Podcast 5.6: Jesus, Galilee, and Israelite History, part 1 – To the Second Temple

Podcast 5.7: Jesus, Galilee, and Israelite History, part 2 – To the Time of Jesus

Podcast 5.8: Jesus, the Galilean and Judean

Podcast 5.9: Jesus in the Context of Educated Groups and Leaders

Podcast 5.10: Jesus and his Mentor, John the Baptizer

Podcast 5.11: Jesus as Teacher, part 1 – Method and Content

Podcast 5.12: Jesus as Teacher, part 2 – Present or Future Kingdom?

Podcast 5.13: Jesus as Healer and Exorcist

Podcast 5.14: Jesus as Prophet

Podcast 5.15: Jesus as Messianic King?

Series 6: Associations in the Greco-Roman World

Podcast 6.1: Introduction to Associations in the Greco-Roman World

Podcast 6.2: Social, Religious, and Burial Activities of Associations

Podcast 6.3: Judean and Christian Groups as Associations

Podcast 6.4: Associations and Greco-Roman Society (The City)

Podcast 6.5: Associations and the Roman Empire

Podcast 6.6: Approaches to Studying Ethnic Associations and Identities

Podcast 6.7: Phoenician Immigrant Associations, part 1

Podcast 6.8: Phoenician Immigrant Associations, part 2

Podcast 6.9: Judean Immigrant Associations, part 1

Podcast 6.10: Judean Immigrant Associations, part 2

Podcast 6.11 Jesus Groups as Associations and Cultural Minorities, part 1

Podcast 6.12: Jesus Groups as Associations and Cultural Minorities, part 2

Podcast 6.13: Cultural Minority Associations and Ethnic Stereotypes, part 1

Podcast 6.14: Cultural Minority Associations and Ethnic Stereotypes, part 2

Series 7: Visions of the End: Origins of Judean Apocalypticism

Podcast 7.1: Visions of the End – What is Apocalypticism?

Podcast 7.2: Origins part 1 – Ancient Near Eastern Combat Myths

Podcast 7.3: Origins part 2 – Zoroastrian apocalypticism

Podcast 7.4: Origins part 3a – Israelite Prophets 1

Podcast 7.5: Origins part 3b – Israelite Prophets 2

Podcast 7.6: 1 Enoch – An Introduction to the Earliest Apocalypse

Podcast 7.7: 1 Enoch – Fallen Angels in Early Apocalypticism

Podcast 7.8: Introduction to Daniel’s Historical Apocalypse

Podcast 7.9: Daniel’s Visions as Veiled History

Series 8: A Cultural History of Satan – Personified Evil in Early Judaism and in Christianity

Podcast 8.1: A Cultural History of Satan – Predecessors of Satan from Mesopotamia

Podcast 8.2: Predecessors of Satan from Canaan and Israel

Podcast 8.3: Predecessors of Satan from Persia

Podcast 8.4: Other Predecessors of Satan from the Hebrew Bible

Podcast 8.5: Fallen Angels in 1 Enoch (ca. 225 BCE)

Podcast 8.6: Mastema in Jubilees and Beliar in the Dead Sea Scrolls (ca. 100 BCE)

Podcast 8.7: The Devil and Beelzebub in Early Biographies of Jesus (70-100 CE)

Podcast 8.8: Internal Functions of the Rhetoric of Satan in Paul and John (ca. 50-110 CE)

Podcast 8.9: A Satanic Empire in John’s Apocalypse (ca. 80-100 CE)

Podcast 8.10: Jealous Satan, the Image of God, and the Serpent in the Life of Adam and Eve

Podcast 8.11: The Jealous Creator and the Serpent of Wisdom in Gnosticism (2nd century CE)

Podcast 8.12: Satan’s Demons and the Greco-Roman Gods in the Church Fathers (2nd-3rd centuries CE)

In Our Time: Online and Podcasts (BBC Radio 4)

In Our Time is a BBC Radio 4 programme on the history of ideas and is presented by Melvyn Bragg. Its range of episodes are classified under the headings ‘Religion’, ‘History’, ‘Culture’, ‘Philosophy’, and ‘Science’. The format consists of Bragg asking questions to, and leading a discussion with, a panel of academics. There are over 600 episodes – either for listening online and/or download – and the full archive is available here. There are numerous episodes covering topics in biblical studies and relevant areas:

Prophecy (13 June, 2013)

Gnosticism (2 May, 2013)

King Solomon (7 June, 2012)

Judas Maccabeus (24 November, 2011)

The Dawn of the Iron Age (24 March, 2011)

The City [Part 1] (25 March 2010)

The Augustan Age (11 June 2009)

St Paul (28 May, 2009)

Miracles (25 September, 2008)

The Greek Myths (13 March, 2008)

Hell (21 December, 2006)

Heaven (22 December, 2005)

Archaeology and Imperialism (14 April 2005)

Angels (24 March, 2005)

Zoroastrianism (11 November, 2004)

Babylon (3 June 2004)

The Fall (8 April, 2004)

The Alphabet (18 December, 2003)

The Devil (11 December, 2003)

The Apocalypse (17 July, 2003)

The Lindisfarne Gospels (20 February, 2003)

The Soul (6 June 2002)

In addition to the episodes listed above, there are episodes on a range of topics and individuals which will be directly relevant to certain areas of biblical studies research (e.g. Plato, Pliny, Roman satire, Wyclif, Erasmus, Milton, historiography, cultural memory).