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BBC Clip on “The Lost Gospels”

On Tuesday the 21st, September 2010, BBC FOUR aired "The Lost Gospels."   I was one of the talking heads.  The presenter was an interesting fellow, an Anglican priest Pete Owen Jones. The show included several on-location discourses.  They flew me to Egypt for the taping.   Some of it was done near the village of Nag Hammadi, at the spot where the so-called "Nag Hammadi Library" was discovered in 1945.  The fourteen books found in a jar in this wilderness area contain 52 tractates, the famous "Gnostic Gospels."  The most famous of these was and is the Gospel of Thomas.   The clip here includes a shot in a busy market in Cairo, where we are sipping coffee and thinking deep thoughts together. In the clip I talk about the Gospel of Thomas, and I would like to make one point before you watch it.  For over a decade now a lot of scholars of Gnosticism have argued that this Gospel is not actually a Gnostic Gospel.  None of the complicated Gnostic mythology that [...]

Q and The Gospel of Thomas

Before I move on to discuss other lost books from early Christianity that I would love to have discovered (I know, this thread could go on forever, since I would like *every* early Christian writing to be discovered) I need to answer a couple of queries that I have received about the Q source. First, several people have asked me whether it is possible that the Q source is actually what we now call the Gospel of Thomas, one of the books discovered among the so-called Nag Hammadi Library in 1945.   I don’t want to go into great depth about the Gospel of Thomas here since, well, it has been discovered and this thread is about book s that have *not* been discovered.  But I do need to say some basics about Thomas and its relation to Q. By way of background, let me say something a bit more about the Q-hypothesis.   When 19th century German scholars established with a reasonable level of certainty that Mark was the first Gospel written and that Matthew and [...]

2020-04-03T13:54:42-04:00March 18th, 2015|Canonical Gospels, Christian Apocrypha|

My UNC Seminar Tomorrow

Tomorrow I will be doing an all-day seminar at UNC for the Program in the Humanities and Human Values.   This is a terrific organization on campus.  Among other things, it puts on weekend seminars -- usually Friday afternoon/evening; Saturday morning -- that involve four faculty lectures on a set topic.   Scheduling was such that we decided to put all four lectures on a Saturday this time.   I've done these things for 25 years, and love them.  *Most* of the time the program chooses a topic and has four different professors from UNC (and occasionally one from Duke or another school nearby) each giving a lecture, and then at the end the four doing a kind of brief panel discussion of each other's papers.  For some years now I've not done those, but have done a four-lecture seminar on some topic or other on my own.  That will be the case tomorrow. There will be about 130 people there, all adults, many of them senior citizens but younger folk (i.e., my age.  Or [...]

2017-12-09T11:07:21-05:00February 6th, 2015|Christian Apocrypha, Public Forum|

Thomas and the Other Gospels

One of the benefits of teaching at a research university with a graduate program is that – at least where I am – there are periodic reading groups with other faculty members and graduate students. I go to a couple of these a month, including one that I organize. As it turns out, last week I went to two. The first was mine, the (other ) CIA, in which we typically read someone’s work-in-progress. That week’s presentation was a paper by my former student and soon-to-be faculty member in early Christianity at Duke Divinity School, Maria Doerfler, an exceptionally bright and erudite human being, who gave a paper on a virtually unknown letter by the famous fourth-century bishop Ambrose in which he condemns – ready for this? – cross-dressing. I have to admit, I knew nothing about it, or the issues that it raises (about fourth-century understandings of masculinity as they played a role in the then burgeoning Christian church). And the next night there as a New Testament Colloquium at Duke, organized by my [...]

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