The Ark Encounter Creationist Theme Park: James Bielo’s Ethnographic Study

In the New Books in Anthropology podcast, Siobhan Magee interviews Dr James S. Bielo (Miami University), on the Ark Encounter Creationist Theme Park, the subject of his new book, Ark Encounter: The Making of a Creationist Theme Park (NYU Press, 2018).

 

 

“Entertainment has long been understood as important aspect of Christianity in the US, but the theme park, which includes a re-creation of Noah’s ark, provides a striking setting through which to ask questions such as how creationists present their beliefs to the broader public. Ark Encounter is, in part, a workplace ethnography, which describes the entwined conceptual and aesthetic work through which the park’s design team imagine how to most effectively and playfully communicate a controversial religious perspective. Bielo’s findings are situated in discussion with other groundbreaking anthropological work on how categories such as ‘fundamentalist’ have been constructed over time, perhaps most notably Susan Harding’s scholarship.”

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Sean Durbin on How the Christian Zionist movement influences world leaders

On the ABC website, Dr Sean Durbin discusses Christian Zionism, and his new book, Righteous Gentiles: Religion, Identity, and Myth in John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel (Brill, October 2018).

Sean Durbin with Andrew West,
How the Christian Zionist movement influences world leaders,”
ABC, October 24, 2018

(14:34)

Biblical Scholars on the Christmas Story

There are a few podcasts and radio segments about on the biblical accounts of the birth of Jesus. Here are three:

  • Dr Robert Myles (Murdoch University) speaks about the birth of Jesus on the Rev Bill Crews podcast.

“What Does History Say About the Birth of Jesus” (December 24, 2017)

 

 

  • Over the years, Mark Goodacre (Duke University) has provided a number of discussions of the biblical accounts of the birth of Jesus:

Was Jesus born in a stable?” (December 15, 2010; 11 min)

Conflicting Christmas Stories” (December 6, 2012; 14 min)

Is the Virgin Birth based on a Mistranslation?” (December 20, 2012; 12 min)

The Magi in Matthew’s Gospel” (December 18, 2015; 14 min)

Christmas in John’s Gospel”  (December 14, 2016; 13 min)

William Loader on Jesus in John’s Gospel

William Loader, Emeritus Professor of New Testament at Murdoch University, discusses his most recent book Jesus in John’s Gospel: Structure and Issues in Johannine Christology (Eerdmans, 2017) with Dr Robert Myles, current Lecturer in New Testament at Murdoch University (audio: 25:12).

Among other things, we talk about Rudolf Bultmann’s influence on the study of John, the relationship between John and history, and recent political interpretations of John’s Jesus.

h/t: Robert Myles’ Blog

André Gagné speaks on the Gospel of Thomas

André Gagné speaks on the Gospel of Thomas in a series from the Inquisitive Minds Podcast:

June 5, 2017: Introducing the Gospel of Thomas (mp3)

In this week’s episode, André Gagné will be giving a basic introduction to the Gospel of Thomas, a collection of 114 sayings of Jesus attributed to a certain Didymus Judas Thomas. This enigmatic text is part of a series of tractates called the Nag Hammadi Codices and was found in Egypt in 1945. Since its discovery, scholars have endeavoured to uncover the place of writing and the sources of these sayings, which in many cases are similar to those found in the Synoptic gospels and other New Testament writings, as well as in several early Christian texts.

June 19, 2017: Interpreting the Gospel of Thomas (mp3)

This week on the Inquisitive Minds Podcast, André Gagné continues his series on the Gospel of Thomas and will focus on the question of its interpretation. Since its discovery, most scholars have studied Thomas from a diachronic perspective, in order to uncover its sources and milieu. Unfortunately, very little research has been done on the possible meaning of this collection of saying.

Francesca Stavrakopoulou tells the Truth about Easter

dan-snow

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).

Louis Feldman: “Why were the Maccabees opposed to the Greek Religion and Culture?”

On December 9, 2004, Professor Louis Feldman (October 29, 1926 – March 25, 2017) lectured on the question, “Why were the Maccabees opposed to the Greek Religion and Culture?“(mp3; lecture beginning at 1:12).

The talk is made available by Yeshuva University’s YUTorah Online.

 

 

Louis Feldman on Admiration for The Jew in the Ancient and Classical World

Professor Louis Feldman (October 29, 1926 – March 25, 2017) delivered two lectures on “Admiration of the Jews in Ancient and Classical World” on February 25, 1996. The talks are made available by Yeshuva University’s YUTorah Online.

Part One (mp3)

Part Two (mp3)

 

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