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Australia

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English

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Episodes

2.22 Battle for the New Testament II: Against Marcion

6/3/2018
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The Jesus-clubs reacted against Marcion's tiny list of sacred works. The invention of the codex, the book, brought the issue of the canon to the forefront. Melito, Tatian, Irenaeus, Eusebius, and Athanasius made the first attempts to list a sacred canon. The Christians struggled against Marcionites, Montanists, and Gnostics to define what they believed. I introduce the Shepherd of Hermas.

Duration:00:32:13

2.21 Battle for the New Testament I: Earliest Times

5/13/2018
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Christians in the first two centuries did not have a sacred canon of books. In this first of four parts, I discuss what the earliest church fathers Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp and Papias were reading. Marcion spurred the Jesus-clubs into action.

Duration:00:34:03

Bonus 19: Samson on Trial

5/6/2018
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We all know of the biblical hero Samson, known to his friends as Shimshon ben Manoah, and to his enemies as “that bastard”. Samson of the long hair, Samson who was seduced by Delilah, Samson who brought down the Philistine temple. In this bonus episode, three award-worthy history podcast writers and producers bring Samson to trial for mass murder.

Duration:00:37:55

2.20 Herod's Heirs

4/22/2018
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Herod’s kingdom was divided. The Romans took their own chunk. His sons Archelaus, Herod Antipas, and Philip received portions. Their success was mixed. Judea was never easy to rule, often breaking out into brigandage, even when run by Jews. Race riots between Greeks and Jews were common. Philip does not play a role in the New Testament story. Archelaus has a cameo part. Herod Antipas figures in the lives of Jesus and John the Baptist. Herod’s grandson Herod Agrippa I appears in the story...

Duration:00:28:45

2.19 What Have the Romans Ever Done For Us?

4/1/2018
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Rome created an efficient economic system that enabled even middle-strata Judeans to buy goods from far-distant places. Rome introduced new social structures, the patron-client system, and the household headed by the pater familias. The Jews created their own system of governance under the Roman rulers. They also created the synagogue. Jewish religion transformed itself. God became more numinous, while Satan turned into a person. Jews came up with a definite concept of a life after death.

Duration:00:34:56

2.18 Modern Debates: Scandal of the Dead Sea Scrolls

3/18/2018
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The Biblical find of the century, the Dead Sea Scrolls, were turned over to an international committee for study. Bad idea. The cabal refused to let the wider scholarly community examine the documents, and forced their own interpretations on the world. The cabal bamboozled first the Jordanian authorities, then the Israelis. The cabal's stranglehold was only broken by a bunch of academic freedom-fighters in the 1990s.

Duration:00:31:59

Bonus 18: Yochi Brandes' novel 'The Orchard'- Judaism and Christianity after the fall of the Temple

3/11/2018
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Dan Libenson of the Judaism Unbound podcast returns to the show. This time we discuss best-selling Israeli author Yochi Brandes' novel 'The Orchard'. Dan translated the book into English. The novel centres on Rabbi Akiva, the man who forged rabbinic Judaism after teh fall of the Temple. Along the way we encounter a host of other rabbis and Paul of Tarsus. We also ponder the difficulties of translation and working out what actually happened in history.

Duration:00:59:04

2.17 Recovering the Bible: A Century of Revelations

3/4/2018
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So much to cover: the discovery of the oldest Jewish bible, the Leningrad Codex; and the oldest Christian bible, the Codex Sinaticus. At the Cairo Geniza, finds revealed another thousand years of manuscripts. The Didache was recovered, and another bunch of books discovered in an obscure tomb in Egypt, revealing a Christianity hitherto unknown. The Dead Sea Scrolls then showed that Judaism was not the dessicated religion that the New Testament described.

Duration:00:28:02

2.16 Meet the Neighbours: Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes

2/18/2018
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As the Tanakh tells it, the Jewish nation comprised a united body-politic from the fall of the kingdom of Israel right through the return. The only division in Judaism was between those who followed God’s laws, and those who strayed. From the time of the Seleucids on, the people fragmented into factions and religious renewal movements. Prime amongst these were the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes: maybe.

Duration:00:26:13

2.15 The Rise and Ruin of the Maccabeans

2/4/2018
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The Maccabeans reach their apogee under John Hyrcanus I, and his sons Aristobulus and Alexander Jannaeus. Alexander's widow, Alexandra Salome, became known as a ruler of wisdom and moderation. Her incompetent children and successors John Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II blew it all in a fratricidal civil war. The Romans stepped in, ditched the Maccabean ditzes, and installed more reliable bureaucrats: Antipater, and his son Herod.

Duration:00:33:16

2.14 Grappling with the Greeks V: Jubilees Reconstructs Judaism

1/21/2018
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The Book of Jubilees was preserved by the Ethiopian Orthodox. Until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, it was held to be a parody of Jewish thought. Now we know the book was immensely popular with Jews and Christians until the early Middle Ages. The book re-writes Genesis and Exodus. Jubilees claims a higher authority than those books. It creates a new sacred calendar, and invents the figure we call Satan. I also have something to say about that odious book written at the same time,...

Duration:00:31:03

2.13 Grappling with the Greeks IV: Daniel and the Book of Parables

1/7/2018
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The book of Daniel is one-half comfy folktales, and one-half crazy. It was the only one of the many Jewish apocalyptic books to make it into the Old testament because it was the only book to talk of the resurection of the dead. It gets every historical detail wrong. Nonetheless, it can claim to be the founding document of the USA. Daniel's use of a common Hebrew idiom, "son of man", has created huge theological problems. That part of 1 Enoch called the Book of Parables re-creates the term...

Duration:00:27:39

2.12 Grappling with the Greeks III: The Maccabeans Revolt

12/24/2017
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Rival high priests Jason and Menelaus plunge Judah into turmoil. Many Jews thought that both Jason and Menelaus were too Greek for their own good. Antiochus IV over-reacts and attempts to quash the civil strife. The Maccabeans stage a nationalistic rebellion. Judas Maccabeus reclaims the temple and creates Hanukkah. After Judas' death, his brother Jonathon transforms from insurgent to high-priest.

Duration:00:30:31

2.11 Grappling With the Greeks II: Jerusalem Against Athens

12/10/2017
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The Judeans spent 120 happy years under the Hellenistic rule of the Egyptian Ptolemies. They chafed under the rule of the Hellenistic kingdom of the Seleucids, who faced severe geopolitical challenges. The social and economic tidal wave of international Hellenism challenged every aspect of Judean life and thought. A country Jewish priest called Mattathias revolted against this globalisation: Make Judah Great Again!

Duration:00:30:58

2.10 Grappling with the Greeks I: Josephus and the Books of Maccabees

11/26/2017
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First in a mini-series on the history of the Jews and the province of Judea under the Hellenistic empires, and under the Maccabees. I start with a summary of the history I will expand on in the next few episodes. Then I present our sources for that history, Josephus and Maccabees. I conclude with a few notes about the oddities of the Ethiopian orthodox biblical canon.

Duration:00:28:52

2.9 The Apocalypse to End Them All: 1 Enoch

11/12/2017
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Apocalypses were popular reading amongst Jews in the centuries they spent under Roman rule. Rabbinical Judaism blotted the apocalypses from its collective memory. Christianity incorporated them into its very soul. I cover the greatest apocalypse of them all, 1st Enoch. The book of Tobit is my special guest star.

Duration:00:20:17

2.8 Lost Books of the New Testaments

10/29/2017
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Jews produced a vast number of religious books in the centuries before the birth of Jesus. They had no influence on later Judaism, but profoundly influenced Christianity. We call them parabiblical or pseudipigraphical. Their significance was not appreciated until the discoveries of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Duration:00:28:17

2.7 Farewell to the Tanakh

10/15/2017
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The Jews have a placid existence under Persian rule, and create Judaism. They reconstruct their religion, one now without kings and prophets. From on, the Law is all. I discuss the last of the books of the Tanakh: the romances of Esther and Judith, the hateful but mercifully brief prophet Obadiah, and the funniest book in the canon, Jonah.

Duration:00:28:44

2.6 Leaving Babylon IV: Nehemiah and Ezra Stand Against Ruth

10/1/2017
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Governor Nehemiah and priest-scribe Ezra finally bring the Jews back home from Babylon. Modern scholars reverse the Biblical order of the two, and so do I. The two institute a tax-payer-funded theocracy. Ezra rejects the old Hebrew religion and founds modern Judaism. Intermarriage is forbidden. Against that stance is the Book of Ruth. The prophet Malachi, traditionally ac

Duration:00:31:09

2.5 Leaving Babylon III: The Enigma of Zerubbabel and Joshua

9/17/2017
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After Sheshbazzar's failure, the second wave of returnees are led by the enigmatic figures of the supposed Davidic king Zerubbabel and the high-priest Joshua. Those returning spurn those who stayed behind, implying that the only real Jews are those who were exiled. Zerubbabel inexplicably disappears from the narrative at the moment of his triumph. The book of Esdras Alpha rehabilitates him. The prophets Haggai and Zechariah are sources for the period. Zechariah writes the first...

Duration:00:31:12