Constantine and the Christian Faith: My Fourth Smithsonian Lecture

I have found over the years that lots of people have mistaken ideas about Constantine the Great, the early fourth century Roman Emperor who converted to Christianity.  I used to have mistaken ideas myself, until I started reading the sources and examining the scholarship.   For example, Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the empire, right?  (Wrong.)  Constantine is the reason Christianity took over the empire, right?  (Wrong again).  Constantine didn’t really convert to Christianity: it was a political move ...

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Why Did Christianity Take Over the World? Smithsonian Lecture 3.

Here is Lecture 3 (out of 4) that I came at the Smithsonian Associates in Washington DC on Feb. 10, 2018, based, again, on my book The Triumph of Christianity.   This lecture deals with the key aspects of the early Christian movement to try to explain its success.  What was it about Christianity that allowed it to take over the entire Christian empire?   People have all sorts of “common sense” answers to the question — as did I for many ...

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Who Were The “Pagans” Christians Were Converting?

PART TWO of FOUR: Pagan Converts and the Power of God

This is the second lecture I gave at the Smithsonian on Feb. 10, 2018, based on my book The Triumph of Christianity: How A Forbidden Religion Swept the World.  The premise behind the lecture: as Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, it converted almost entirely pagans (after the first couple of decades).   Who were these people, and what were they converting *from*?  And why?

Paganism is not and was ...

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Christianity’s Most Important Convert: Lecture at the Smithsonian

PART ONE of FOUR: Christianity’s Most Important Convert: The Apostle Paul

In February 2018 I gave a series of four lectures for the Smithsonian Associates in Washington DC, based on my book The Triumph of Christianity.   It was a bit tricky, as these things always are, figuring out which parts of the book to focus on, since each lecture could really be only on one thing, not lots of things.  I decided to give the first lecture on the most important ...

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Jesus the Superboy: A Blast From the Past

As is my wont, this time of year, I’ve been thinking about the stories of Jesus’ birth and early life for a few days now.  And just this instant I was looking at some old posts on the blog, from years ago — and this one turned up from 2013.  A matter of ongoing interest: if Jesus was the miracle working Son of God as an adult, what was he like as a kid?  We have stories about that from ...

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Talks at the Smithsonian, March 21

My friends at the Biblical Archaeology Society sent this around to some people on their mailing list, announcing my talks on March 21 in Washington DC – talks not for them (the Biblical Archaeology Society) but for the Smithsonian.   Here is the announcement, with the blurb and description of the talks.  Maybe some of you can come!

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If you plan to be in Washington DC during March you might try to catch his lectures while you are here.

To register ...

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Upcoming Lectures at the Smithsonian

Now that the government is back in business, the Smithsonian Associates has resumed its work; they sponsor lectures and lecture series in Washington D.C., every week, all the time, and I usually do a day long series of lectures for them once or twice a year, based on a book I have coming out.   I’m scheduled for the Spring 2014 in conjunction with my book How Jesus Became God.   But I’ll also be doing one this December for ...

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