Paula Fredriksen on Paul in the Pagan, Polytheistic Ancient World

Professor Paula Fredriksen (Boston University; The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) discusses the pagan background of Paul’s audience in three lectures available on YouTube.

The lecture “Paul, Pagans, and the God of Israel” was given at the Taube Center for Jewish Studies, Stanford University, on October 28, 2010 (the lecture begins at 5:30), and discusses polytheism and monotheism:

The lecture “Gods Run in the Blood, or, Why Paul’s Pagans were not ‘Converts’?” was given at the Center for the Study of Conversion and Inter-Religious Encounters at Ben Gurion University, on March 18, 2014, and discusses the ethnic basis for ancient “religion” and the concept of conversion.

The lecture “Paul, Practical Pluralism, and the Invention of Religious Persecution in Roman Antiquity” was given to the Critical Thinkers in Religion, Law and Social Theory at the University of Ottawa, on October 24, 2013 (the lecture begins at 3:40), and discusses gods and religious persecution.

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Q&A, part 1:

Q&A, part 2:

Adele Reinhartz: “The Gospel of John and the ‘Parting of the Ways'”

Professor Adele Reinhartz (University of Ottawa) presented a paper at Boston College on April 8, 2014 on how the Gospel of John informs the debate about the separation of Christianity from Judaism.

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The question of when and how the Jesus movement—one first-century Jewish group among many—became a separate and distinct set of institutions, communities, beliefs, and practices, is perhaps the most contentious issue in the study of early Christianity.  A key text in this debate is the Gospel of John, which is thought by many to allude to the expulsion of Jewish believers in Jesus from the synagogue.  This lecture examines the ways in which the Fourth Gospel has been used in this debate, and considers the expulsion theory as well as its alternatives in the context of the larger question of the “Parting of the Ways.”