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History in the Bible
68 minutes | a month ago
Bonus 29: Deuteronomy Fun Time With Bernie from the Fan of History podcast
This is a bonus episode for season two. Bernie Maopolski from the Fan of History podcast and I have fun with the book of Deuteronomy. And jellyfish.
48 minutes | 2 months ago
Bonus 28: The Book of Joshua
In this co-production with Steve Guerra of the History of the Papacy podcast, we tackle the morally difficult book of Joshua
57 minutes | 3 months ago
Bonus 27: With Bernie from the Fan of History podcast
This is a bonus episode for season two. Bernie Maopolski from the Fan of History podcast and I talk history podcasting and the archaeology of ancient Israel.
20 minutes | 4 months ago
2.60 An Epilogue and a Prologue: Season Two Finale
I finish season two and invite you to season three, which will launch early in 2021. The third season will explore the tumultuous history of the two children of Second Temple Judaism: the rabbinic movement, and Christianity. Both were sent spinning into the void after the cataclysm of the destruction of the Temple and the annihilation of the age-old religious and political structures of the Jewish state.
30 minutes | 4 months ago
2.59 The Fates of the Apostles
Of all the apostles, the New Testament only describes the fate of James the Just. For all the others, we have only stories written decades or even centuries after the deaths. I also discuss the letters 1st Peter, James, and Jude.
25 minutes | 5 months ago
2.58 Paul's Fate and Final Letters
The final chapters of Acts are a rollicking adventure where Paul endures storms and shipwreck on his way to trial in Rome. Paul spends two years in Rome, insulting the local Jews to their faces. So abruptly ends the Book of Acts. In his letter to the Phillipians, Paul changes his mind about the afterlife. According to the 2nd letter to Timothy, Paul spends his last days embittered and abandoned. The Acts of Paul fabricates an account of Paul's life after Italy.
35 minutes | 6 months ago
2.57 Paul's Arrest and Trial
After decades preaching to the gentiles in Asia Minor and Greece, Paul returns to Jerusalem for a final time. James the Just humiliates Paul by demanding Paul demonstrate his adherence to the Jewish law. The story is unlikely. James suddenly vanishes from the narrative when the Romans save Paul from a Jewish lynching. They place Paul into protective custody. Paul surprises the Romans when he declares his Roman citizenship. In a confusing series of trials, Paul is dragged before the Jewish council, defends himself against charges that no one has laid against him, is rescued by his nephew, and is tried twice by Judean procurators. He is dispatched to Rome for trial on vague charges.
30 minutes | 6 months ago
2.56 Paul's Third Mission: To the Corinthians and Romans
In 1st Corinthians, Paul struggles to impose his authority on his foundation. He denounces other preachers. He attacks the Corinthians for tolerating sexual immorality, and for favouring the rich members.He has to explain the resurrection. 2nd Corinthians is believed to be a composite of at least two other letters. In the first part of the letter, Paul buries the hatchet, and makes nice with the previously rebellious Corinthians. In the second part, Paul turns into Mr Hyde, and lashes into the Corinthians for listening to others, others who say that Paul is no apostle. In his letter to the Romans, Paul introduces himself, sets out some theology, and ass for help for his Spanish mission.
25 minutes | 7 months ago
2.55 Paul's Third Mission: To the Galatians
Paul has been on the road for 20 years. In his third and final mission, Paul travels from his base in Antioch in Syria through his earlier foundations in Turkey and Greece. He re-unites with Priscilla and Aquila. He spends a few years in the great city of Ephesus in Asia Minor. We meet Apollos, who is spreading the word of John the Baptist. As usual, Paul is violently ejected from Ephesus. This time, the pagans are to blame. Paul tells all and sundry that he has the monopoly on religious trinkets. That really upsets all those making a fortune selling relics of the great goddess Artemis. Paul barely makes it out town with his skin intact. He travels through Macedonia and Greece, then back to Asia Minor. He delivers a melancholy speech at Miletus, and reluctantly turns toward Jerusalem. I finish the episode with a letter Paul wrote during the mission, his angry letter to the Galatians, where he denounces the circumcision party of James and Peter.
63 minutes | 7 months ago
Bonus 25: The Mysterious Q Source
The three synoptic gospels are markedly different from John. It is clear that both Matthew and Luke used Mark. But Matthew and Luke have much material in common. Most scholars think they have a common source, the mysterious "Q". Others think one evangelist copied the other. Steve Guerra of the History of the Papacy podcast and I tackle the issue.
15 minutes | 8 months ago
After-dinner Mint for 2.54: A Pagan visits Paul's Club in Thessalonica
This is an addendum to episode 2.54, Paul's Second Mission: To The Greeks. It is a repeat of part of an earlier episode. I imagine a curious pagan's reaction to hearing Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians.
33 minutes | 8 months ago
2.54 Paul's Second Mission: To The Greeks
Paul’s 2nd mission is much more extensive than his first. He starts from his base in Antioch. Before he even begins, Paul has a face-off with Peter in Antioch, and Paul’s first backer and friend Barnabas. Paul acquires Timothy as a companion. He then gallivants across the province of Asia. Paul takes ship to Thrace in Europe, where he establishes a church at Philippi. After an unfortunate misunderstanding with the local authorities, he treks down through Macedonia, where he establishes a church at the capital of the province, Thessalonica. Paul travels south into Achaia, modern Greece. A grand speech fails to impress the Athenian philosophers. He has better luck at Corinth, settling there for eighteen months. Again he falls afoul of the Jews, who bring him before the Roman governor. Thankfully, the governor has no interest in petty squabbles and dismisses the case. Paul arrives back at his base in Antioch, after a whirlwind three years.
39 minutes | 9 months ago
2.53 Paul's Lost and First Missions
Paul's letters say that he spent 17 years in Arabia Nabatea, in Damascus, and in what is now southern Turkey. In all those long years, he met the disciples precisely once, and then only Peter and James the brother of Jesus. I call this Paul's lost mission. The Book Acts ignores it. The chronology of Acts is impossible to reconcile with Paul's letters.
37 minutes | 9 months ago
2.52 The Many Puzzles of Paul's Epistles
Paul's letters are puzzles. Why do we have so few? Paul loved to write. We should have 90 or more letters, not the scant dozen we have. And why don't we have letters from Paul's contemporary missionaries? How do we reconcile the vast differences between the three Pauls shown in his letters?
34 minutes | 10 months ago
2.51 We Need To Talk About Paul
Paul is the major protagonist in the Book of Acts. His letters comprise almost half the books in the New Testament. After Jesus, Paul dominates the New Testament. His letters are the earliest Christian documents we possess. But that is only thanks to the accidents of history. The overwhelming personality of Paul tramples that of the disciples into the dust. Not even Peter and James, brother of Jesus, can withstand the force of nature that is Paul. Paul is the first to launch a systematic campaign to bring Jesus to the pagans, in the face of opposition from the Jerusalem Jesus club. Paul accidentally constructs a theology of sin and death, and invents the sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist. Yet Paul seems to know almost nothing about the life of Jesus. What gives?
28 minutes | a year ago
2.50 The First Jesus Club II: Tribulations
The first chapters of Acts describe the perfect community of the Jerusalem Jesus club. Events take a dark turn after the first five chapters. The club is beset by tribulations. The disciples decide to appoint a set of deacons, middle-managers. That turns out not so well for the deacon Stephen. Stephen is accused of blasphemy, and delivers the longest speech in the book. He is the first to die for his faith after Jesus. Wemeet Simon Magus. Peter converts Cornelius, a pagan Roman. In his last major appearance in Acts, Peter is arrested, released by an angel, and disappears for parts unknown. And the disciple James the son of Zebedee, brother of the Beloved Disciple, is killed by King Herod Agrippa I.
38 minutes | a year ago
2.49 The First Jesus Club I: Perfect Community
I introduce the book of Acts. The book tries to harmonise the deeds of the two great apostles: the pro-Jewish Peter and the pro-gentile Paul. Paul's letters say that Acts is telling porkies. The first third of the book is centred on the Jerusalem Jesus club. The book of Acts describes the disciples' earliest Jesus club as a golden age, a hippie commune, but a commune with a dark side. The disciples are arrested, but keep escaping from prison. The authorities eventually give up, letting them go after a light flogging. The Saducees appear in a rare cameo.
23 minutes | a year ago
2.48 Do You Think You’re What They Say You Are?
What solid statements can we make about the life of Jesus? Who did Jesus think he was? We can never know, but we can make some guesses. Certainly, he thought he was like an Old Testament prophet. He believed that God's kingly rule was about to intervene. Jesus believed that his mission was to prepare the Jews for God’s imminent intervention in the world. Did Jesus intend to found a new religion? I doubt it.
27 minutes | a year ago
2.47 The Resurrection
None of the gospels recount the resurrection. They tell of the discovery of the empty by Mary Magdalene and some other women, and then move to Jesus post-resurrection appearances. The resurrection happens off stage. The Gospel of Peter is the only document that describes the actual moment of resurrection. The gospels present differing accounts of Jesus' appearances after his death. Did he appear in spirit, like an angel, or as real fleshly human? How many people did he appear to, and when, and where?
60 minutes | a year ago
Bonus 24 The Whacky Book of Daniel
This is a bonus episode for season two. Steve Guerra and I tackle the the book of Daniel. We all know the book's stories of Daniel: the lion's den, the fiery furnace, and the writing on the wall. We discover a book of two parts, one of which claims to be a reliable history of Babylonian times. Spoiler: It's not. The second half is the only apocalypse in the Old Testament.
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