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Lecture at Washington & Jefferson College

On March 9, 2017, I gave a lecture at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington PA, called “Who Wrote the Bible? The Surprising Claims of Modern Scholars.”  This was part of a kind of lecture tour that I did for the nation’s oldest honor society, Phi Beta Kappa.  The society’ has a “Visiting Scholar Program”: a dozen or so scholars are chosen each year to visit college and university campuses to meet with Phi Beta Kappa members, teaching some classes, and give a public lecture.  I went to eight campuses over the course of the academic year, usually for two or three days each, teaching a variety of classes and giving lectures on a variety of topics that each school could choose from..

This particular lecture is based on my book Forged.  It deals with how ancient people understood the phenomenon that today we would call “forgery” — when an author writes a book falsely claiming to be some other well-known author.  Would ancient people consider that to be a deceitful practice?  Would they approve of it or condemn it?  Did it happen much?  Could it have happened in early Christianity?  Could some of the books of the New Testament fall into that category?  These are the kinds of question the lecture tries to produce.

The video quality of this lecture, as you will see, is not good.  But the audio works just fine!  I hope you enjoy it.

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Background to The Christian Afterlife: The Maccabean Revolt: A Blast from the (Recent) Past!
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  1. Avatar
    RonaldTaska  July 26, 2017

    Wow! You are an incredibly productive person!

  2. Avatar
    Wilusa  July 26, 2017

    Very enjoyable!

  3. Avatar
    Brian  July 26, 2017

    Wonderful lecture! And an absolutely outstanding Q&A! Really fun.

  4. Avatar
    rivercrowman  July 27, 2017

    Recently, I cautioned my fundamentalist neighbor that Paul may not have authored all of the New Testament books attributed to him. His reply was “That doesn’t matter. It’s the information that counts.”

  5. Avatar
    Loring  July 27, 2017

    It was a great pleasure to meet you at W&J, hear your lecture, and interact with you afterward during the reception! Thanks for coming to our corner of PA! I met some very nice people in the audience that I now recognize on the blog. I like having access to the recording of that evening. Thanks for posting it. Hope you had a nice time away!

  6. Avatar
    maklaka  July 28, 2017

    I was so upset that I missed your visit, Dr Ehrman. I live in Washington PA and had made unalterable plans for that evening. Do you have contacts at W&J in similar fields of research by chance? It just seems to me that we’re a rather unremarkable place to visit when there are such huge research universities in metro Pittsburgh to choose from.

    As an aside, I’m a member of the (presumably) far less prestigious Phi THETA Kappa honor society. :p

    • Bart
      Bart  July 30, 2017

      I was there simply because they invited me as part of the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholars series. I didn’t know any of the faculty before coming for my visit, but enjoyed being there very much!

  7. Avatar
    moose  August 1, 2017

    No doubt the Romans usedvanlig to crucify agitators, but that a Roman cross could witness in favor of Jesus, as we hear in the Gospel of Peter, is highly unlikely. How could anyone come up with such an idea?

    An altar, on the other hand, is more suitable for such a thing! An altar was used for atonement of sins, and could be seen as a witness to God on behalf of the sacrifice.

    • Bart
      Bart  August 3, 2017

      In ancient texts, a material object commonly associated with a person is often used to signify that person (e.g. Hercules and his club; Athena with her shield). The object most closely associated with Jesus wsa his cross. You can see that throughout the texts of the early Christian writings and their use of the term “cross.”

      • Avatar
        moose  August 3, 2017

        But there is a speaking altar in the Book of Revelation 16:7 And I heard the altar respond: “Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.”

        • Bart
          Bart  August 4, 2017

          Yes, there is. But I’m not sure what you’re objecting to.

  8. Avatar
    Poolboyjoe  August 14, 2017

    Dr Ehrman any plans to visit Europe I live in Ireland and enjoy your blogs and books.

    • Bart
      Bart  August 14, 2017

      I come to Europe a good deal — but almost never to give lectures, I’m afraid to say.

  9. Avatar
    Brand3000  December 19, 2018

    Dr. Ehrman,

    Do you agree with this assessment?

    “We cannot say anything about the character of these experiences [of the risen Jesus], but they must have made it possible to overcome the trauma of the death of Jesus and the loss of the expectations that his disciples had in him. The result was a continuation of the Jesus movement, and now not just with the message about the Kingdom of God, as preached by him, but proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah (the Christ) as the central message of the Kingdom.” “A Short History of the New Testament” by Halvor Moxnes, publisher: I.B.Tauris, 2014, p.6

    • Bart
      Bart  December 19, 2018

      Halvor Moxnes is a superb scholar, and I agree with this statement 100%

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