Francesca Stavrakopoulou tells the Truth about Easter

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On April 16, 2017, Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou (University of Exeter) was interviewed by Dan Snow (BBC) on the History Hit podcast. The topic is “The Truth About Easter“, and Professor Stavrakopoulou discusses the origins of the Easter holiday.

The interview is available in mp3 audio format (26:09).

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Sandra Huebenthal – Another Jesus Remembered: How The Third Gospel Narrates Jesus

On March 9, 2017, Professor Sandra Huebenthal delivered the lecture, “Another Jesus Remembered: How The Third Gospel Narrates Jesus,” at New College, Edinburgh University.

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:

Memory and the Reception of Jesus in Early Christianity

The Memory and the Reception of Jesus in Early Christianity Conference was held on Friday 10th to Saturday 11th June 2016, at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. Some of the lectures from this conference are now available on YouTube:

Day 1

Chris Keith (read by Steve Walton), “The Memory Approach and the Reception of Jesus”

Christine Jacobi, “The Reception of Jesus in Paul”

Discussion after Keith and Jacobi

Richard Bauckham, “The Psychology of Eyewitness Memory”

Helen Bond, “The Reception of Jesus in the Gospel of John”

Discussion after Bauckham and Bond

Jens Schroeter, “Memory and Theories of History” [lecture is incomplete: cuts off early]

Day 2

Samuel Byrskog, “Memory and Narrative”

Sandra Hübenthal, “The Reception of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel”

Discussion after Byrskog and Hübenthal

Alan Kirk, “Memory and Media”

Joan Taylor, “The Reception of Images of Jesus Prior to Constantine”

Discussion after Kirk and Taylor

Ruben Zimmermann, “Memory, Identity, and Mimetic Ethics”

James Crossley, “The Reception of Jesus in Talmudic Literature”

Discussion after Zimmermann and Crossley

Rafael Rodríguez, “Memory and Liturgy”

Anthony Le Donne, “Reflections on the Past, Present, and Future of the Memory Approach”

Panel Discussion

Bart Ehrman speaks in Church on How Jesus Became God

Professor Bart Ehrman (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) delivered a series of three lectures on January 29-31, 2016, on the subject of his book, How Jesus Became God (2014). The lectures were held at Coral Gables Congregational Church, Coral Gables, Florida.

Lecture 1

Lecture 2

Lecture 3

Daniel Boyarin: Enoch or Jesus? The Quest of the Historical Metatron

Professor Daniel Boyarin (University of California, Berkeley) presents the 2016 Shaffer Lecture in Theology, at Yale Divinity School, in three parts, on March 8, 9, and 10. The topic of his series is “Enoch or Jesus? The Quest of the Historical Metatron”.

In the series, Professor Boyarin furthers his defence of the ancient roots of a greater and subordinate second god within Judaism, the “two powers in heaven”. In the lectures, he lays out the development of a complex binitarian theology in both early Judaism and early Christianity. He also disagrees with Peter Schäfer.

While there is nearly incontrovertible evidence for the interchange between Christian and Jewish circles in late antiquity, there is also good evidence for the circulation of apocalyptic traditions among Jews through the rabbinic period, independent of specific Christian contexts.

  • Daniel Boyarin, 2016 Shaffer Lecture 1, 23:55ff

Lecture 1 (March 8, 2016)

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Lecture 2 (March 9, 2016)

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Lecture 3 (March 10, 2016)

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How Did Jesus Become God? The NOB Theological Seminary Debate between Bart Ehrman and Michael Bird

bart-bird-debateOn February 12-13, 2016 at New Orleans Baptist (NOB) Theological Seminary, Professor Bart Ehrman and Dr Michael Bird debated the content of and issues surrounding Ehrman’s recent book, How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Preacher from Galilee (HarperOne, 2014). Michael Bird is the co-editor of a response volume, How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins Of Belief In Jesus’ Divine Nature—A Response To Bart D. Ehrman (Zondervan, 2014). The debate took place as part of the annual Greer-Heard Point-Counterpoint Forum in Faith and Culture.

On the second day, further papers were delivered by Simon Gathercole, Dale Martin, Larry Hurtado, and Jennifer Wright Knust, with responses from Bart Ehrman and Michael Bird.

Friday, February 12, 2016

“HOW DID JESUS BECOME GOD?” Bart Ehrman and Michael Bird in Dialogue + Q&A”

Dr. Robert B. Stewart, Dr. Charles Kelley, Introductions (21:10)

Bart Ehrman (33:40)

Michael Bird – response (1:09:55)

Michael Bird (1:25:50)

Bart Ehrman – response (1:57:34)

Q&A (2:07:25)

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Simon Gathercole, “Monotheism among Jews and Christians” with responses from Bart Ehrman and Michael Bird (from 19:10)

Dale Martin, “The Theological Inadequacy of Historiography: the Empty Tomb in History and Theology” with responses from Bart Ehrman and Michael Bird (from 1:38)

Larry Hurtado, “The Significance of Earliest Devotional Practices” with responses from Bart Ehrman and Michael Bird (from 5:10)

Jennifer Wright Knust, “Modernity’s Vanishing Point: Histories of Jesus and the Retreat of Authenticity” with responses from Bart Ehrman and Michael Bird (from 15:35)

Concluding Comments from Bart Ehrman and Michael Bird (from 1:55)

 

On James Crossley’s Redirection of the Life of the Historical Jesus: A Syndicate symposium

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There is a symposium at Syndicate on James Crossley’s book, Jesus and the Chaos of History: Redirecting the Life of the Historical Jesus (2015).

The following critical responses to the book are available on the Syndicate website:

Symposium Introduction, by Chris Tilling.

“Historical Jesus, Epistemic Modesty”, by Helen Bond, November 23, 2015

Response by James Crossley, “Rethinking Upheaval: A Response to Helen Bond”, November 23, 2015

“How Chaotic is the Kingdom Tradition?” by Brent Driggers, November 25, 2015

Response by James Crossley, “The Dictatorship of God Is among You? A Response to Ira Brent Driggers”, November 25, 2015

Reply by Brent Driggers, “Clarifications and Further Questions”, November 25, 2015

Reply by James Crossley, “Imperialism or Liberation?”, December 12, 2015

“A Man in His Time”, by Rafael Rodríguez, November 30, 2015

Response by James Crossley, “Jesus and the Permanent Revolution? A Response to Rafael Rodriguez”, November 30, 2015

Sin, the Law, and Purity“, by Paula Fredricksen, December 2, 2015

Response by James Crossley, “Living Legally in End Times: A Response to Paula Fredriksen”, December 2, 2015

The Historical Jesus, His Illiteracy, and a Memory Approach: A Syndicate Symposium on Chris Keith’s Jesus against the Scribal Elite

Chris-Keith-Symposium-Header

There is a symposium at Syndicate on Chris Keith’s book, Jesus against the Scribal Elite: The Origins of the Conflict (2014).

The following critical responses to the volume are available on the Syndicate website:

Symposium Introduction, by Chris Tilling.

“Put into Perspective By an Illiterate Jesus”, by Dagmar Winter, October 10, 2015.

Response to Chris Tilling and Dagmar Winter by Chris Keith, “Jesus, Scribal Illiteracy, and Conflict: In Grateful Dialogue with My Respondents”, October 12, 2015.

“Text-Brokering and Social Upheaval”, by Tobias Hägerland, October 14, 2015.

Response by Chris Keith, “Understating the Significance of Jesus’ Success: A Response to Tobias Hägerland”, October 14, 2015.

“Literacy, Iconoclasm, and a Maddening Portrait of Jesus”, by Christopher Skinner, October 19, 2015.

Response by Chris Keith, “Embarrassment and the Unpalatably Illiterate Jesus: A Response to Christopher Skinner”, October 19, 2015.

“Will the “Real” Jesus Stand Up?”, by Jason Lamoreaux, October 21, 2015.

Response by Chris Keith, “‘Perspective’ and the Debateable Legitimacy of Putting Humpty Dumpty Together Again: A Response to Jason Lamoreaux“, October 21, 2015.

Steve Moyise on ‘Reimagining the Jewish Jesus’

From the Dead Letters and Living Words conference at Newman University:

Prof. Steve Moyise encouraged us to re-examine the Jewish Jesus in the paper ‘Reimagining the Jewish Jesus‘ which he presented at the Dead Letters & Living Words conference at Newman on 6th June 2015…

It is difficult to overstate the impact of Geza Vermes’ Jesus the Jew (1973) and E.P. Sanders’ Jesus and Judaism (1985) on New Testament and Historical Jesus studies. Although an awareness of Jesus’ Jewish background had long been a part of our consciousness, it was their work that drove it to our attention. Jesus could no longer be seen as being distinct from his Jewish background. In order to be fully understood, his life, work and teaching needed to be studied within the context of late Second Temple period Judaism.

In a typically entertaining and accessible paper, Moyise took three elements of Jesus’ teaching that are traditionally seen as being distinctively Christian in character and a discontinuity from the Judaism of his time:

  • The Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath
  • Jesus and the Food Laws
  • Jesus and the Second Coming

Moyise explored each in the light of their Jewish rather than Christian context, throwing light on how they would probably have been understood by the contemporaries of Jesus and, in doing so, challenging our assumptions and traditional understanding of them.

PowerPoint slides are available here.

Larry Hurtado on Early High Christology and the New Testament God

Larry-HurtadoProfessor Larry Hurtado (University of Edinburgh) discusses his views on the development of Christology and the concept of God in the New Testament, in two podcasts on Trinities.org.

1. (Podcast 99) “Dr. Larry Hurtado on early high christology” (begins at 10:50)

mp3 Stitcher iTunes

Dr. Hurtado explains the term “early high christology” and what it means when applied to his own work. He discusses various angels and men who in various ancient Jewish writings are in some way exalted and honored in God-like ways, and how these cases differ from that of Jesus. Dr. Hurtado has argued that in the early years of Christianity we suddenly see a distinctive pattern of Jesus-worship, as evidenced by the earliest books in the New Testament. Such practices don’t derive from a second or third century, Gentile Christian context, but rather from the earliest, largely Jewish Christian context.

Hurtado discusses this in light of various passages in the gospel according to John, and also the statements of 1 Timothy that God is immortal. (1:17,6:16) The New Testament, he observes, emphasizes that Jesus was a genuine human being, a man, although in his view it also presents Jesus as existing even when the world was made, in a pre-human phase of his existence. God and Jesus, in his view, are closely linked, but also distinguished in the New Testament. God exalts Jesus to divine glory, which is why we must worship Jesus, according to early Christians. Worship of Jesus, he argues, has a theocentric (God-centered) justification or basis.

He also comments briefly on James Dunn’s Did the First Christians Worship Jesus?, the idea that “worship” by definition can be given only to God, and whether we should start our christological thinking with fourth century or with first century sources.

2. (Podcast 100) “Dr. Larry Hurtado on God in New Testament Theology

mp3 Stitcher iTunes

I talk with Dr. Hurtado about his book God in New Testament Theology. He talks about

  • the theocentric basis of New Testament christology
  • what the New Testament adds to the theology of the Old Testament
  • God as “Father”
  • the way Christians view God in relation to Jesus
  • whether we need to interact with God through a mediator
  • the New Testament picture of God as love and yet as dangerous, and of Jesus as both savior and judge – and both as sources of agape love
  • how the NT picture of God differs from the theologies of pagan deities
  • how recently, and even in ancient times, in popular thinking Jesus can eclipse God in Christians’ minds, becoming a friendlier, less threatening god than the Father
  • ho theos vs. theos in early Christianity, and how the NT and early texts distinguish between Jesus and the one God (aka the Father)
  • whether or not the NT authors rethink how Judaic monotheism should be understood
  • the “dyadic devotional pattern” we see in NT-era worship practice, and whether this violated the first commandment
  • the sense in which Yahweh is unique, according to the Bible
  • whether Dr. Hurtado would agree with the suggestion that Jesus is “a part of” God
  • how the NT as it were “redefines” God with reference to Jesus
  • whether or not in his view Dr. Hurtado’s work supports “social” (three-self) Trinity theories
  • that contemporary theology has tended to neglect the literature of the first three Christian centuries in favor of the “classics” of the 4th and 5th centuries
  • Dr. Richard Bauckham’s “christology of divine identity” as an attempt to make sense of the NT apart from later “ontological” ways of approaching the matter

BSO Podcast: Chris Keith on Social Memory and Historical Jesus Studies

The latest BSO online interview is now available for download from iTunes or streaming from here. In BSO5 James Crossley interviews Chris Keith. Chris Keith is Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity and Director of the Centre for the Social-Scientific Study of the Bible at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London.

BSO interviews Chris Keith, discussing some of the most contentious areas in historical Jesus studies today. This include: social memory, the so-called criteria of authenticity, form criticism, and various issues in historical Jesus studies.

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

2015-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)

Notre Dame edX Course: Jesus in Scripture and Tradition

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The University of Notre Dame is offering a free 8-week course called Jesus in Scripture and Tradition, available from June 1, 2015.

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The instructors are Professor Gary Anderson (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament) and John C. Cavadini (Theology). The course can either be taken for free (audited), or at certificate level (at US$50), and in either case you will receive full access to the course materials.

About this course
The Bible says that Jesus was identified as God’s beloved son at his baptism. The same identification was made about Israel in the Old Testament and the disciples of Christ at their baptism. The striking similarity of these titles establishes a tight interrelationship between the people Israel, the person of Jesus Christ, and the church.

In this course, we will explore how a close reading of the book of Genesis, the Gospels, and early Christian writers can shed further light on these relationships and, in so doing, deepen our understanding of the figure of Jesus Christ. Unlike many other treatments, this course does not presume that Jesus’ character can be plumbed solely by an examination of the Gospel stories. The witness of the Jewish scriptures and the lives of the saints are also important sources for this task.

The course will be eight weeks in length and organized around three topical questions:

  • Who is Israel? (primary source material: the book of Genesis)
  • Who is Jesus? (primary source material: the Gospels and the Creeds)
  • Who is the Church? (primary source material: a selection of post-Biblical Christian writers)

No matter what your background in the study of theology, this course will provide a fresh approach to the identify of Jesus Christ that will reveal how the church has explored the unmeasurable depths of his person.

What you’ll learn

  • Recognize major people, places, and events of the Old and New Testament as related to the narratives of Israel and Jesus
  • Reflect on the mysteries of Christ
  • Examine the Church’s relationship to Christ
  • Explore religious questions through study of themes and selected biblical passages
  • Reflect on ways major biblical themes apply to modern life

 

Enroll here.

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Amy-Jill Levine on Jesus, Judaism and Christianity: The Sherman Lectures 2015

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In April 2015, Professor Amy-Jill Levine (Vanderbilt University) delivered the Sherman Lectures at the Centre for Jewish Studies, the University of Manchester. The lectures are now available on YouTube. Her lectures address both the historical Jesus and his Jewish context and also contemporary Jewish-Christian relations.

Lecture 1. Jesus in His Jewish Context: The Importance of Recovering History(April 27, 2015)

Jesus and his first followers were Jews, thoroughly grounded in Jewish Scripture, Jewish ethics and theology, and Jewish hopes. To understand the New Testament materials is thus to recover part of Jewish history. This presentation explores how knowledge of this common history not only became lost, but how Christian interpretation began to bear false witness against Jesus’ Jewish context by characterizing it as legalistic, elitist, obsessed with ritual purity, misogynistic, vengeful, and xenophobic. It then shows how the Gospels themselves can be used to correct these false and noxious stereotypes.

Lecture 2. The Mistakes Jews and Christians Make About Each Other (April 28, 2015)

Although both Jews and Christians share a common ancestry in the Scriptures of Israel, the parting of the ways between Synagogue and Church has led to ignorance and stereotyping of the other. This presentation addresses the major misconceptions Christians and Jews have of each other.

Lecture 3. Is the New Testament Anti-Semitic? (April 29, 2015)

What does the New Testament say about Jews and Judaism? Is it appropriate to call it “Anti-Semitic” or “Anti-Jewish”? What are the major problematic passages, and what explanations are typically made by pastors, priests, and theologians to defuse them of doing harm? How do anti-Jewish interpretations arise, and what can be done to prevent them?

Lecture 4. Messianic Judaism, Conversion to Christianity, Intermarriage, Inter-religious Households: Disputes for the Sake of Heaven (April 30, 2015)

Jews who believe in Jesus of Nazareth as Lord and Savior have, from the first-century to the present, been regarded by the majority Jewish community as at best misguided and, at worse, as apostates and traitors. Jews who marry Christians have been rejected by their family and community; intermarried couples today may struggle with how to raise their children: as Jews, as Christians, as neither… Inter-religious dialogue has been regarded by some Jews as a waste of time, if not as a dangerous pretence designed to encouraged Jews to convert to Christianity. What are the major issues facing Jewish-Christian relations today, and how do we achieve shalom bayit (peace in the household) without sacrificing the particulars of our own traditions on the altar of inter-religious sensitivity? While answers that will satisfy all are not possible, addressing these questions should make us all better informed about twenty-first century Jewish communal issues.