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 life of Jesus. I especially recommend lectures 6 and 7, which analyze the synoptic Gospels, and shows how they provide evidence for the differing beliefs of different early Christian communities. Miano is an energetic lecturer who uses analogies with modern culture to help make the ancient world more understandable. (Note: Miano made this course available on his own website after the end of the spring 2009 quarter. As an extra bonus, you can download the course powerpoint slides.) The syllabus is for Spring 2007 is here. The current course book list is here.
Historical Jesus (iTunes), James Sheehan, Stanford University.
This short course (11 lectures) looks at the historical evidence for the life of Jesus and the historical context for the rise of Christianity.
Messiahs and Resurrection in the Gabriel Revelation (Youtube), Israel Knohl, Hartman Institute.
Last year Knohl’s analysis of an ancient Hebrew inscription, dubbed the Gabriel Revelation, made headlines around the world. (See Time: Was Jesus’ Resurrection a Sequel?) Knohl talks about his controversial theory and his new book in this short YouTube video. He argues that this tablet is evidence that the major theme of the Gospels, the idea of a suffering Messiah who would be executed and then rise from the dead after three days, was an existing motif in Jewish apocalyptic thought even before Jesus of Nazareth was born.