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:

Peter Hawkins – 1995 Stone Lectures: “Dante and the Bible”

Professor Peter Hawkins (Yale University) delivered the 1995 Stone Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary, on the topic of “Dante and the Bible”.

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

  1. “Dante: Theologian and Poet”
  2. “The Old Parchments and the New: Writing Biblical Poetry”
  3. “Descendit ad infernos: The Bible in Hell”
  4. “Reforming the Spirit: The Bible in Purgatory”
  5. “Authors and Authority: The Bible in Paradise”

David Noel Freedman – 1989 Stone Lectures: “The Prophets of the Eighth Century, B.C.E.”

Professor David Noel Freedman (1922-2008) delivered the 1989 Stone Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary, on the topic of “The Prophets of the Eighth Century, B.C.E.”.

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

  1. “Canonical Considerations and Literary-Critical Criteria”
  2. “The Minor Prophets I: Amos of Tekoa”
  3. The Minor Prophets II: Hosea ben-Beeri and Micah the Morashtite
  4. “The Major Prophet: Isaiah ben-Amoz”
  5. “Summary and Summation: the Fifth and Final Prophet–Jonah”

Martin Hengel – 1987 Stone Lectures: “The Johannine Question”

Professor Martin Hengel (1926-2009) delivered the 1987 Stone Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary, on the topic of “The Bible as the Scriptures of the Church”.

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

  1. “The Historical Background of the Author and His Gospel, and Questions of HisIdentification”
  2. “The Elder John and the Second and Third Letters of John”
  3. “The First Letter of John and the Schism of the School”
  4. “The Beloved Disciple, the Johannine School, and the Unity of the Gospel”

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”

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:

keller_sharon

Kwame Anthony Appiah on Scripture and Practice – Reith Lectures 2016

The first of the Reith Lectures 2016, “Mistaken Identities”, was delivered by Professor Kwame Anthony Appiah, and broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

Appiah argues that when considering religion we overestimate the importance of scripture and underestimate the importance of practice.

He begins with the complexities of his own background, as the son of an English Anglican mother and a Ghanaian Methodist father. He turns to the idea that religious faith is based around unchanging and unchangeable holy scriptures. He argues that over the millennia religious practice has been quite as important as religious writings. He provides examples from Jewish, Christian, Islamic and Buddhist texts to show that they are often contradictory and have been interpreted in different ways at different times, for example on the position of women and men in Islam. He argues that fundamentalists are a particularly extreme example of this mistaken scriptural determinism.

The lecture is recorded in front of audience at the London School of Economics and Political Science. The series is presented and chaired by Sue Lawley. Future lectures will examine identity in the contexts of country, colour and culture.

The lecture is available to hear online, and to read in transcript.

h/t: Francesca Stavrakopoulou

Jacob Neusner on Modern Judaism (and Ancient Judaism)

Jacob Neusner (July 28, 1932 – October 8, 2016) delivers a talk on Modern Judaism, in which he claims that it is “not unique”, and in fact repeats changes which occurred from the 7th to the 3rd centuries BCE. The talk was delivered on March 16, 1974, at Temple Beth Sholom, Montreal, and is entitled, “A New Interpretation of the Modern Period in the History of Judaism”.

The talk is available in four parts:

  1. Some music
  2. Introduction (Rabbi Mark Golub), Jacob Neusner from 5:12
  3. Jacob Neusner, cont.
  4. Conclusion

David Tombs on The Rape and Sexual Abuse of Jesus

Professor David Tombs (University of Otago) presented a Public Lecture at the University of Auckland on July 20, 2016 entitled “Acknowledging Jesus as Victim of Sexual Abuse”.

Feminist and womanist theologians have questioned traditional Christian models of atonement that appear to render God complicit in the extreme violence of the cross, likening Jesus’ crucifixion to a form of ‘divine child abuse’. These models of atonement often reinforce unhealthy attitudes towards the acceptance of sexual violence and abuse.

Professor Tomb’s presentation will link the critiques of atonement to recent research on crucifixion, which re-reads the historical and scriptural evidence on Roman crucifixions to suggest that sexual humiliation and sexual violence were prominent features in this event. This will lead to discussion on the theological and ethical relevance of such an understanding of crucifixion, including its significance in light of recent sexual abuse scandals within the church.

The paper may be listened to in mp4 format, with accompanying visuals here, or the mp4 file may be downloaded here.

h/t: Caroline Blyth

Brennan Breed discusses Nomadic Text and Reception History

Brennan-Breed

Dr. Brennan Breed (Columbia Theological Seminary) discusses his book Nomadic Text: A Theory of Biblical Reception History, his contributions to the Old Testament Library Commentary on Daniel, and related topics, on the OnScript podcast with Dr Matthew J Lynch.

“Brennan Breed – Nomadic Text” (mp3; 57:00 | Size: 26.09M)
(OnScript, published May 31, 2016)

Relax in your Yurt and tune in as Brennan Breed joins us to discuss his recent book Nomadic Text: A Theory of Biblical Reception History (Indiana University Press, 2014). This episode is virtual road trip through the world of biblical studies, reception history, and beyond. Along the way, Breed discusses his run-in with a bear, theories about the end of the world, UFOs, and why he thinks biblical texts are more at home on the road.

Eva Mroczek on “The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity”

Dr. Eva Mroczek talks about her landmark book, The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity (OUP, June 2016), in a “Frankely Judaic” podcast from the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies. The host of “Frankely Judaic” is Jeremy Shere.

Mroczek discusses:

  • the importance of the Dead Sea scrolls for understanding the literary production of the works which became the Bible and works which did not become the Bible, such as the books of Enoch;
  • the depiction of David as an angelic scribe or bard in the first century CE;
  • that there is no biblical book of Psalms in the Second Temple Period;
  • the Hellenistic understanding of the writing of Genesis and Exodus evidenced by the book of Jubilees.
  • that the ways ancient Jews thought about scripture “goes far beyond the Bible that we now have”

Robert Alter on Unorthodox Bible: Esther, Song of Solomon, Jonah

Professor Robert Alter (UC-Berkeley) discusses the three books of the Bible which might be considered the “most unorthodox: the two books that never mention the word God (the Book of Esther, the Song of Songs) and the book that pushes back against religious nationalism (the Book of Jonah).” The discussion is with Scott Saul in Chapter & Verse, a books-and-arts podcast from UC Berkeley’s Townsend Center for the Humanities.

In the Book of Esther, a story that veers into sex comedy, a beautiful Jewish commoner joins a Persian king’s harem and contrives to save her people. In the Song of Songs, two lovers engage in a dance of mutual seduction that encourages us, as readers, to “be drunk with loving.” And in the Book of Jonah, a man who refuses to preach to his enemies is swallowed by a giant fish — God working in magical as well as mysterious ways.

Bruce Wells: Sex Crimes in the Laws of the Hebrew Bible

Professor Bruce Wells (Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia) talks about matters discussed in his recent article, “Sex Crimes in the Laws of the Hebrew Bible,” in an ASOR podcast of April 6, 2016.

Although biblical texts identify a range of sexual behavior as illicit, adultery is the only sexual act addressed in the law collections as a crime. Some scholars have argued that the treatment of adultery in biblical law is better and more favorable toward women than that found in the cuneiform law collections; others have argued precisely the opposite. What is more likely is that biblical law is largely in keeping with how ancient Near Eastern societies other than Israel and Judah handled adultery and should not necessarily be evaluated as either better or worse from a modern perspective.

BSO7a-b Interview with Kaya Mar

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The latest BSO podcast is James Crossley interviewing the artist and political satirist Kaya Mar which took place on 3 May, 2016. Due to some minor technical hitches, the interview is in two parts. The first short part (BSO7a) is effectively the intro while the second part (BSO7b) is the bulk of the interview. The interview covers the biblical topics such as Jesus-Corbyn comparisons, a number of political paintings with biblical themes listed below, and José Saramago’s novels on Christian origins, as well as other issues such as the political functions of the artist. The interviews can be streamed or downloaded here and should be available on iTunes shortly:

BSO7a Interview with Kaya Mar (Intro; 2:47)

BSO7b Interview with Kaya Mar (Main; 35:05)

Kaya Mar’s work features on the front of a recently updated version of a book on the Bible in English political discourse since 1968:

9780567669599

Mar’s work ranges from landscapes through portraits to political satire. The Bible and religion feature regularly as plenty of examples from Mar’s website show (including those mentioned in the podcast). Readers might want to look at ‘The Birth of Gideon’, ‘Jeremy Corbyn: Labour’s Unwanted Child’, ‘Crucifying the NHS’, ‘Saint Kate’, ‘Madman Martyred to Imperialism’, ‘Attending King David on His Throne’, ‘The Occupy Tent City at St Paul’s Cathedral’, and ‘The Massacre of the Kurds’ (and many, many more).

Here is some more information on Kaya Mar:

Phyllis Trible on Jacob, Hagar and Sarah

phyllis-trible

Professor Phyllis Trible delivered the 2014 Kellogg Lectures at Episcopal Divinity School, on May 9, 2014. The two lectures are available in audio format, on SoundCloud:

1. Justice for Jacob

2. Justice for Foremothers: Hagar and Sarah