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:

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Eric Cline, 1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed

On February 25, 2015, Professor Eric Cline (The George Washington University) delivered a lecture at The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, on the collapse of civilization at the end of the Late Bronze Age. The lecture was on the same subject as his recent book, 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed (2014).

For more than three hundred years during the Late Bronze Age, from about 1500 BC to 1200 BC, the Mediterranean region played host to a complex international world in which Egyptians, Mycenaeans, Minoans, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Cypriots, and Canaanites all interacted, creating a cosmopolitan and globalized world-system such as has only rarely been seen before the current day. It may have been this very internationalism that contributed to the apocalyptic disaster that ended the Bronze Age. When the end came, as it did after centuries of cultural and technological evolution, the civilized and international world of the Mediterranean regions came to a dramatic halt in a vast area stretching from Greece and Italy in the west to Egypt, Canaan, and Mesopotamia in the east. Large empires and small kingdoms, that had taken centuries to evolve, collapsed rapidly. With their end came the world’s first recorded Dark Ages. It was not until centuries later that a new cultural renaissance emerged in Greece and the other affected areas, setting the stage for the evolution of Western society as we know it today. Blame for the end of the Late Bronze Age is usually laid squarely at the feet of the so-called Sea Peoples, known to us from the records of the Egyptian pharaohs Merneptah and Ramses III. However, as was the case with the fall of the Roman Empire, the end of the Bronze Age empires in this region was not the result of a single invasion, but of multiple causes. The Sea Peoples may well have been responsible for some of the destruction that occurred at the end of the Late Bronze Age, but it is much more likely that a concatenation of events, both human and natural — including earthquake storms, droughts, rebellions, and systems collapse — coalesced to create a “perfect storm” that brought the age to an end.
Lecture by Eric Cline on “1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed

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Professor Cline also delivered a similar lecture to the National Capital Area Skeptics, on October 8, 2016, in Bethesda, Maryland:

 

Mark S. Smith on The Birth of Monotheism

Professor Mark S. Smith (Princeton Theological Seminary) explains the origins of monotheism in ancient Judaism, in an address to the Tangier Global Forum, University of New England, Tangier Campus Auditorium, Morocco, on January 19, 2017 (the talk begins at 5:13).

Monotheism (the belief in only one god), given birth in ancient Israel and known from the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, has been a topic of fascination for centuries. In the modern times, monotheism functioned to advance Christian claims to “western” superiority as colonialist powers came into contact with “non-western” societies. Thus, monotheism has been a colonializing discourse. By contrast, the monotheistic discourse found in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament served as a means to preserve and assert Israelite identity in the face of the colonizing power of the Assyrian and Babylonian empires. This monotheistic discourse was grounded in traditional Israelite practice and thought and developed fully under the impact of both internal socio-political stresses and external influence from the Assyrian and Babylonian empires. This lecture will address the various factors that contributed to Israel’s vision of one god for the world.

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.

The Sefaria Library: Jewish Texts Online

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The Sefaria Library is a developing online collection of Jewish texts, in Hebrew/Aramiac and English translation (in progress).

Thus far, Sefaria includes the following:

The Historical Reliability of the Bible – Francesca Stavrakopoulou

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On January 17, 2017, Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou (University of Exeter) was interviewed by Dan Snow (BBC) on the History Hit podcast. The topic is “The Historical Reliability of the Bible“, and Professor Stavrakopoulou provides a summary of mainstream scholarship on the historicity of the Hebrew Bible / Old Testament.

The interview is available in mp3 audio format (28:56).

Christine Hayes vs. Paula Fredriksen: Divine Law in Judaism and the Christian Latin West

On March 17, 2016, Professors Christine Hayes (Yale University, University of Antwerp) and Paula Fredriksen (Boston University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem) delivered two lectures on divine law, examining Jewish and Christian concepts, respectively. The event was hosted by the UCSIA/IJS Chair for Jewish-Christian Relations at the University of Antwerp.

Christine Hayes, “What’s Divine about Divine Law?” (00:13)

Paula Fredriksen, “Divine Law in the Latin West: Augustine on Paul” (41:20)

Christine Hayes: Moses at Sinai – God’s Partner or Adversary? (Shavuot 5776)

Professor Christine Hays (Yale University) delivered a lecture in the Shalom Hartman Institute 5776 Rabbinic Webinar Series on Shavuot and its commemoration of the giving of Torah. The lecture, “Moses at Sinai: God’s Partner or Adversary?” was given on the first day of Shavuot 5776 (June 1, 2016).

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”

Eva Mroczek: Marginalia Interview on The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity

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Joseph Ryan Kelly (Marginalia) speaks with Dr Eva Mroczek (University of California Davis) about her new book The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity (OUP, 2016). The interview was first broadcast on October 25, 2016.

There was no such thing as the Bible when ancient Jewish literature was composed. With a more expansive view of sources, we can glimpse our way into a completely different picture of how ancient people might have imagined their own literary world.