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:

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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

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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

 

Are the Gospels based on eyewitness testimony? Bart Ehrman vs Richard Bauckham

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On April 9 and 16, 2016, Professors Bart Ehrman and Richard Bauckham engaged in a debate on the radio show Unbelievable about the topic of Bauckham’s most well-known book, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony.

Bart Ehrman’s new book “Jesus Before the Gospels” makes the case that the stories about Jesus would have changed and evolved before they were written down as the Gospels.

Richard Bauckham, author of “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses”, defends the view that the Gospels were written by those with access to eyewitness testimony of Jesus’ first followers. They debate who wrote Mark, whether the the Gospels came from anonymous traditions and how they received their titles.

The shows are available on iTunes:

Saturday 9th April 2016 

Saturday 16th April 2016

Here is a transcript of the end of the discussion from the first episode:

Ehrman: What they’re doing [in the time of Irenaeus, ca. 180 CE] is that they’re naming these gospels in order to provide them with apostolic credentials […]

Bauckham: To maintain this, you have to say that Papias’s discussion of gospels he ascribes to Mark and Matthew are to other gospels, gospels we know nothing about, rather than to the gospels we know as Mark and Matthew’s gospels. I find that a very…

Ehrman: Well one thing we can say about Papias is: he tells us two things about Matthew’s gospel. He says that the Gospel of Matthew is written in Hebrew, and he says that it is a collection of the sayings of Jesus, the logia, the sayings of Jesus. Matthew’s gospel that we have was not written in Hebrew; it was written in Greek. And it is not the sayings of Jesus; it is an account of his words and his deeds and his passion. So what Papias is describing isn’t anything like our Matthew.

Bauckham: Well, I think Papias made a mistake when he thought it was written in Hebrew, certainly. It is a very brief account. Papias calls his own book, “An account of the sayings, logia, of Jesus.” And actually Papias clearly told stories about Jesus, because we have two or three of them. But I think what really interested Papias were the words of Jesus, so he tended to use logia to cover the context of the Gospel, because the sayings of Jesus were what mattered to Papias.

Ehrman: Well that’s right, but he doesn’t call his book “The logia of Jesus”.

Bauckham: Yes he does…

Ehrman: His book is the “Exposition of the logia of Jesus”. He’s giving explanatory comments on the sayings of Jesus. And he says that Matthew wrote logia. Well, Matthew’s Gospel is not a collection of logia. Matthew’s Gospel is a narrative gospel. And so both of the things that Papias said about “Matthew” aren’t true of our Matthew. And so, no, I don’t think he’s talking about our Matthew.

Bauckham: The translation of Papias’s title is debatable, and I think it means “Account of the Sayings of Jesus”. In other words, Papias wrote something like a Gospel book, a collection of sayings and stories about Jesus. And we have some of the stories; it wasn’t just sayings.

Ehrman: I don’t think Papias’s book could be just an account of the logia of Jesus, because it’s five volumes long. He’s actually giving an exposition of the teachings of Jesus.

Judith Lieu: Marcion and the Corruption of the Gospel

Professor Judith Lieu (University of Cambridge) delivered the Kennedy Wright opening lecture at the Centre for the Study of Christian Origins (CSCO), the University of Edinburgh, in October 2013, entitled “Marcion and the Corruption of the Gospel.”

An audio recording of the lecture is available on YouTube:

 

Christopher Hill on the Seventeenth-century English Bible

‘The expressed idea was to have in every parish in the country an educated parson who’d been at Oxford or Cambridge and so hadn’t a dangerous idea in his head who would guide the reading of the Bible’ (Christopher Hill)

christopherhill-guardian

The following is an interview with the historian of seventeenth-century England, Christopher Hill (1912-2003), on BBC Radio Four for ‘Conversations with Historians’. The interviewer is John Miller. No date is given but it must be from the early 1990s as it mentions John Major’s government and that it is ’35, 34 years’ since he left the Communist Party (c. 1956/57).The use of the Bible, including the use of the Bible in the regicide, is found at 5.53-8.22 and 15.35-18.00, and issues of god and religion are present throughout.

Hill was a prolific writer and wrote a lot on the uses of Bible, including The English Bible and the Seventeenth-Century Revolution (1993). There is an extended discussion of Hill’s use of the Bible in his academic work at Harnessing Chaos.

Biblical Studies Online podcast: An interview with Ward Blanton on Paul, politics and philosophy

wardblantonThe latest Biblical Studies Online podcast (BSO06) is now available on iTunes for download here or, for non-iTunes users, here. It is an interview with Ward Blanton, Reader in Biblical Cultures and European Thought, University of Kent. Blanton talks about Paul, politics, philosophy, Jewishness, revolutionary thinking, Pauline studies, and his book, A Materialism for the Masses: St Paul and the Philosophy of Undying Life (Columbia University Press, 2014).

Roland Boer on the Sacred Economy of Ancient Israel

marginalia

In an audio interview with Marginalia‘s Joseph Ryan Kelly, Roland Boer (Professor of Liberal Arts at Renmin University, Beijing) discusses his book The Sacred Economy of Ancient Israel (Westminster John Knox, 2015).

How a Marxist-inspired theory and Soviet-era Russian scholarship help us better understand the world of the Bible. Joseph Ryan Kelly talks with Roland Boer about his new book, The Sacred Economy of Ancient Israel.

 

Daniel K. Falk on Prayer in the Dead Sea Scrolls

Professor Daniel K. Falk (University of Oregon) delivered the 2013 Peter Craigie Memorial Lecture, “Singing With Angels: Prayer in the Dead Sea Scrolls” at the University of Calgary on October 17, 2013.

Why did Jews begin to pray together daily? Prayer as regularized service of the community is one of the profound contributions of Judaism to western civilization, but the origins of Jewish liturgy remain obscure. The most important evidence is to be found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, which include the earliest known collections of Jewish liturgical prayers. Falk explores the significance of these prayers for understanding the distinctive religious life of these particular sectarians, who joined the angels in worship of God and warfare against dark forces, and in their prayer sought to harmonize with God’s created order and rectify disorder. Falk also reflects on what these texts reveal of trends in early Jewish prayer and piety more broadly.

Audio of the lecture is available here, beginning at 20:00.

R.T. France on Mark, Empire, and the Revolutionary Jesus

The late Professor Richard T. France (1938-2012) delivered the 1989 Annual Moore College Lectures, “Divine Government: God’s Kingship in Mark” at Moore Theological College. Professor France was also the author of the New International Greek Testament Commentary, The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Eerdmans Publishing, 2002).

Videos of the lectures in the series are available on Vimeo. All five lectures are also available in mp3 audio format (links below).

1. God rules: the background to the concept of the Kingdom of God

Audio

2. Government secrets: Mark 4 and the mysteries of the Kingdom of God

Audio

3. Revolutionary government: the “upside-down” values of the Kingdom of God

Audio

4. Government and power: Mark 9:1 and the coming of the Kingdom of God

Audio

5. The government on his shoulder: Jesus as King

Audio