I will be doing several speaking gigs hither and yon in the coming fall. These are the ones that are set in stone, if all goes to plan. All of them are open to the public, but may require tickets. I’ve included websites when I have them. I ope to see some of you at them. I’d like to schedule a blog event at the ones that will be in the States, if possible, probably a lunch or dinner. But I’ll let you know!
Smithsonian Associates, Washington DC
Four Great Controversies in Early Christianity
Description of Seminar
The growth of the Christian church from a tiny sect of Jesus’ close followers to a major world religion was not smooth and seamless. Christians faced controversy on every front—externally with both pagans and Jews and internally with various Christian groups holding diverse theological views struggling for dominance. Bart Ehrman, a leading authority on early Christianity, the New Testament, and the life of Jesus, explores four major controversies encountered by the early Christians, each of which influenced the religion’s shape for centuries to come.
9:30–10:45 a.m. Why did the Romans Hate the Christians?
Ehrman discusses how early Christians were not widely seen as upstanding Romans, but were condemned as anti-social atheists who engaged in flagrantly immoral and dangerous ritual practices. He also considers the persecutions they experienced as a result.
11 a.m.–12:15 p.m. When Did Christianity Become Anti-Jewish?
Although Jesus and his disciples were Jewish, later followers entered into antagonistic relations with Jews who refused to acknowledge him as the messiah. Explore how a Jewish sect eventually became a virulently anti-Jewish religion.
12:15–1:30 p.m. Lunch (participants provide their own)
1:30–2:45 p.m. Did Early Christians Worship Three Gods?
Some of the theological disputes that wracked the early Church went to the very heart of the Christian faith. Was Christ God? Was the Spirit also God? If so, weren’t there three Gods? How does one make sense of the ultimate resolution: a doctrine of the Trinity comprising the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all God and yet only one God?
3–4:15 p.m. How Did Christians Get the Bible?
Numerous books allegedly written by apostolic authorities were in circulation in the early church, including Gospels connected with Jesus’ brothers Thomas and James, and another connected with Mary Magdalene. A discussion of why, when, and how the church finally settled on which books to include in the New Testament.
September 17, 7:00 pm
South Dakota State University, Brookings SD
Lecture: Misquoting Jesus: Scribes who Changed the Scriptures and Readers Who May Never Know.
Tour of Israel (“Timeless Wonders”) (Mainly Tel Aviv, Tiberias, and Jerusalem)
UNC General Alumni Association (But open to the public)
3-5 lectures on topics TBA.
Biblical Archaeology FEST.
Lecture: Heaven and Hell: The Invention of the Afterlife
A recent Pew Research showed that 72% of Americans believe in a literal heaven, 58% in a literal hell. The common view is that when a person dies their soul goes to one place or the other, for eternal joy or torment. But this view is not found in the Old Testament and it is not what Jesus taught. So where did it come from? This lecture will try to explain how later Christians “invented” heaven and hell.h