Category Archives: Religion

The accidental chosen people

In the ancient Near East there wasn’t much of a difference between a tribal community and a religious community. Every ethnic community had its own ethnic god. Thus, argues Reuven Firestone in his lecture Who Are the Real Chosen People? … Continue reading

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Doubt and the New Testament

Yale University religion professor Dale Martin has some words of warning for the students in his course Introduction to New Testament History and Literature (website, iTunes): “De omnibus dubitandum.” Say it loud, he tells his students. Say it with feeling. … Continue reading

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How the Biblical texts became Holy Scripture

After reading Bible scholar James Kugel’s great book, How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now I was thrilled to find his lecture Can The Torah Make Its Peace With Modern Biblical Scholarship? (website). Kugel was … Continue reading

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History of the Early Christian Church lives on

Here’s some good news for ancient history fans. David Miano, teacher of UCSD’s The History of the Early Christian Church has made the lectures available on his own website, giving a second chance for those of you who failed to … Continue reading

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St. Augustine and the Jews

Boston University historian Paula Fredriksen, a specialist in the history of early Christianity, is a longtime fan of the fourth century theologian Augustine of Hippo, a.k.a. St. Augustine. Her new book, Augustine and the Jews , is the fruit of … Continue reading

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Web resources on early Christianity

Here’s a round-up of some interesting lectures and podcasts about early Christianity available around the web. The Early Christian Church (website), David Miano, UCSD. This course gives the historical background to the rise of Christianity, and historical sources on the … Continue reading

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Pondering a leap of faith

If you’ve been following UC Berkeley Professor Ron Hendel’s excellent course The Bible in Western Culture (feed), you know that he’s been looking at understandings of the Bible, beginning in ancient times and moving through the Middle Ages into modernity. … Continue reading

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Dreaming of the Apocalypse

Have you heard the news that the world will end in the year 2011? It’s one more example, says UC Berkeley Professor Ronald Hendel, of apocalyptic thinking: a mode of biblical interpretation that began sometime around the third century BCE … Continue reading

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The Bible Through Literary Eyes

When we are accustomed to a literary genre, such as the Western, we have certain expectations. We expect that a manly hero, who is good with a gun, will defeat some dastardly foe. A writer of the Western can then … Continue reading

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More Jewish studies resourses

Here are some more Jewish studies resources I’ve recently discovered. From Israelite to Jew (iTunes, website), Michael Satlow, Brown University. Satlow, a professor of Religious and Judaic Studies, covers the history of ancient Israel in the Biblical period in these … Continue reading

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