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The Bible and Beyond

Religion & Spirituality Podcasts

The Bible and Beyond podcast is a series of interviews with scholars who are able to unlock mysteries from extra-canonical books, forgotten scriptures, so-called 'gnostic' gospels, as well as the Bible. Host Shirley Paulson, Ph.D., and her guests explore historical and spiritual questions about Jesus, gender, women, salvation, healing, and the meaning of life. The discoveries these scholars share don’t always fit with what we've been told, but time and again they lead us toward a deeper intimacy with Jesus.

The Bible and Beyond podcast is a series of interviews with scholars who are able to unlock mysteries from extra-canonical books, forgotten scriptures, so-called 'gnostic' gospels, as well as the Bible. Host Shirley Paulson, Ph.D., and her guests explore historical and spiritual questions about Jesus, gender, women, salvation, healing, and the meaning of life. The discoveries these scholars share don’t always fit with what we've been told, but time and again they lead us toward a deeper intimacy with Jesus.

Location:

United States

Description:

The Bible and Beyond podcast is a series of interviews with scholars who are able to unlock mysteries from extra-canonical books, forgotten scriptures, so-called 'gnostic' gospels, as well as the Bible. Host Shirley Paulson, Ph.D., and her guests explore historical and spiritual questions about Jesus, gender, women, salvation, healing, and the meaning of life. The discoveries these scholars share don’t always fit with what we've been told, but time and again they lead us toward a deeper intimacy with Jesus.

Language:

English

Contact:

224-661-0884


Episodes

Early Christians Answer "Where Is God When Things Go Wrong?"

10/6/2021
Dr. Jason BeDuhn studies ancient Christian, Jewish, and Manichaean thinkers, and in this podcast interview, he explores their common “tipping point”—the place where all these religious groups struggled to find answers to explain a perfect God who allowed bad things to happen. All of them did so by blurring the idea of monotheism to some degree. There was some other divine influence, commonly known as a ‘demiurge’ who became the source of evil in some manner.

Duration:00:31:22

What Is the Apocrypha and Why Read It?

9/1/2021
Dr. Brandon Hawk’s new book, Apocrypha for Beginners: A Guide to Understanding and Exploring Scriptures Beyond the Bible, is an easy-to-read and indispensable book for people seeking to understand all the extracanonical writings—sometimes called apocrypha, pseudepigrapha, or deuteroncanonical writings. Although they are not in the Bible, they all relate to the Bible in some important way, from the earliest Hebrew texts through the Middle Ages and teach us something about the Bible’s impact...

Duration:00:31:55

Was Adam the Original Sinner?

8/4/2021
Dr. Lance Jenott introduces the idea in early Christian writing that Adam was a victim, rather than the original sinner. As his ‘helper,’ Eve is Adam’s savior. Although the New Testament includes very little mention of Adam, other extracanonical texts envision another source of evil determined to make Adam submissive. Although 4 century Augustine interpreted Genesis differently, earlier writings show how a spiritual marriage to Christ unites “Adam” (humanity) with “Eve” (life in the spirit).

Duration:00:30:31

Who Are All the Marys in the New Testament?

7/7/2021
Bible readers often wonder which Mary the New Testament authors are referring to. Anna Cwikla describes the seven different Marys mentioned in the New Testament (and even more Marys in extracanonical texts). At least one of the New Testament Marys plays a prominent role in some of the books outside the Bible. Cwikla draws our attention to some clues, but no promises, for identifying these Marys. She also warns us to note how our wishful thinking distorts our conclusions.

Duration:00:33:22

Is the Idea of Christian Heresy Still Relevant?

6/2/2021
Chance Bonar thinks Christian accusations of ‘heresy’ will probably last to some degree, but the way many think about such things is changing. Branding someone a ‘heretic,’ and some theological ideas as ‘heretical’ began when different church authorities tried to preserve the status quo and maintain adherence to what they saw as original doctrine. But the discovery of the Nag Hammadi texts (and some new scholarship) are re-defining ‘heresy’ as a discourse, rather than something emerging from...

Duration:00:31:04

Charles Hedrick and Nag Hammadi Manuscripts

5/5/2021
In this interview, Charles Hedrick describes how he became one of the first people to work directly with the ancient manuscripts found near Nag Hammadi, Egypt. His deep religious curiosity led him from his traditional Baptist origins to the Coptic Museum in Old Cairo. There, he worked with scholars putting fragments of the newly discovered texts together and translating them. His questions led him to other hot topics: the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Judas.

Duration:00:30:45

What the Apostles Did after the Resurrection

4/7/2021
Professor Janet Spittler leads us comfortably into the unfamiliar world of apocryphal texts, where we learn what happened to the apostles after the resurrection. The texts are part-history, part-entertainment, part-ethical teaching, but wholly important to our understanding of the development of Christianity. They are fascinating and multi-layered, offering glimpses of Jesus’s teaching as well as later church teaching. The texts are stories that Christians have written, told, read, and...

Duration:00:27:51

Are the Shapira Deuteronomy Fragments Real or Forgeries?

3/17/2021
When Idan Dershowitz broke the news last week that the extremely ancient Shapira Deuteronomy Fragments (aka Shapira Scroll or Valediction of Moses) might not be forgeries, but actually authentic, Tony Burke agreed to discuss some of the public questions and concerns about it with Early Christian Texts. Dershowitz claims the manuscript could be older than Deuteronomy. Although not directly involved in this case, Dr. Burke does have experience with modern forgeries and explains what’s at stake...

Duration:00:43:38

The Gospel of Matthew’s Problematic Prophecies

3/3/2021
Robert J. Miller, New Testament scholar, discusses how it is possible for modern readers to do justice to ancient texts such as the Gospel of Matthew—at home in its own world—while still seeking valuable meaning in our twenty-first century world. Ancient prophecies did not intend to provide accurate predictions of the future but to provide hints about God’s presence in the world. Twenty-first century perspectives are clearer when we understand what prophecies meant in antiquity.

Duration:00:31:43

How the Odes of Solomon Enhance Jewish-Christian Dialogue

2/4/2021
Samuel Zinner and Mark Mattison, translators of the Odes of Solomon, illustrate interrelated elements of Jewish and Christian thought throughout the odes. Some examples from Isaiah demonstrate new ways of thinking about the age-old debates. People often think the Odes are a praise to Jesus. But as Zinner points out, the odes are written to represent words of Jesus in praise to God, not the worship of Jesus.

Duration:00:30:00

Who Is Paul, and What Did He Really Write That’s in the Bible?

1/6/2021
Dr. Nina Livesey, a scholar on Paul and his writings in the Bible, explains what scholars think Paul must have written and what he probably didn’t write. She agrees with recent scholarly consensus that these letters hold together with common theological perspectives, concepts, and vocabulary. But she pushes a bit farther, describing how Paul’s rhetoric is more intentionally strategic than people have thought. His letters also demonstrate his ethical implications for faith.

Duration:00:35:11

Is Practical Theology a Contradiction in Terms?

12/3/2020
Shirley Paulson asks Dr. Stephen Pattison, her PhD supervisor, to discuss how Practical Theology works in our lives today when we read ancient texts. Stephen probes the relationships we establish with tradition, texts from another era, and interpretation. The point of religious faith is to engage meaningfully with the world and to become less frightened of difference. Healing work is about a bigger, better understanding of ourselves and the world.

Duration:00:32:30

Conservative Christian Finds Biblical Egalitarianism

11/5/2020
Marg Mowczko, from an evangelical church in Australia, researches the topic of egalitarianism in the Bible. She holds both a deep faith in the Bible and the essentially equal nature of men and women. She spends many hours each day answering questions about women’s roles in the church. Her primary study is about what Paul and other New Testament writers say concerning Christian ministry and leadership. She concludes that the Bible supports the idea that men and women are essentially equal....

Duration:00:28:35

Jesus Learned from Women, Seriously!

9/30/2020
Dr. James McGrath inverts the usual question about women learning from Jesus. The podcast interview highlights McGrath’s new book, in which he draws on both scholarly rigor and historical fiction to address gaps in historical knowledge. Strikingly, his examples of Jesus learning from women include some women with lower status, such as a poor widow and a girl accused of adultery. McGrath addresses both theological problems and social sensitivities related to the unusual claim for Jesus as a...

Duration:00:37:12

Extracanonical Texts through a Womanist Lens

9/3/2020
Rev. Stephanie A. Duzant is a woman of color and ordained minister utilizing extracanonical texts to inspire congregations to better use the Bible. Her womanist lens allows her to recognize the ways many extracanonical texts challenge culturally-pervasive agendas, especially those involving race, gender, and the meaning of community. Sharing her insights with her listeners affords them an opportunity to understand Christianity in new ways.

Duration:00:31:36

Ancient Household Models Elucidate Philemon

8/6/2020
Paul’s letter to his Roman colleague, Philemon, delicately balances Roman expectations for enslaved people, their masters, and the new egalitarian ideas in the Christ communities. Learning the lifestyle of ancient Rome in families and households, listeners are invited to imagine what Onesimus, Paul’s enslaved friend, must have felt when Paul’s letter was read aloud to his master, Philemon. The tension concerning the authority over a runaway slave is palpable, but not spoken.

Duration:00:30:38

Why You Should Read New Testament Apocrypha

7/1/2020
Dr. Tony Burke, editor of the newly released second edition New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures, explains not only what is fascinating about these ancient texts but why he thinks churches and Christians would benefit by reading them. In this interview, he offers meaning to the very bizarre stories and why they help us understand the history and evolution of the Christian church. He also talks candidly about what they do and don’t do to our faith.

Duration:00:31:50

Odes of Solomon: Contemporary Musical Settings

6/4/2020
In this second podcast in the series on the ‘Odes of Solomon,' Natalie Renee Perkins and Deborah Saxon chat together about Natalie’s contemporary musical setting of some of the odes. Deb, a scholar of ancient Christian texts, explains the feminine imagery, the reference to Sophia (Wisdom), and the purpose of ancient hymns used by both Jews and Christians before they diverged. Natalie, a professional singer, writer, and composer, plays some of her contemporary music settings of the Odes.

Duration:00:38:11

A New Translation of the Odes of Solomon

5/7/2020
In this podcast, Samuel Zinner and Mark M. Mattison tell us why they’re so enthusiastic about their new translation of the first- or second-century Odes of Solomon. This collection of ancient songs, or hymns, are not only real monuments of literature, but they transcend the borders of religious orthodoxy. Written before the early Jesus movements distinguished themselves from Judaism, they are equally at home with Judaism, the Gospel of John, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. The divine Feminine is...

Duration:00:26:54

How Jesus’s Followers Made Sense of His Death by Crucifixion

4/2/2020
In this episode, Professor Arthur Dewey explains why Christians felt so differently about Jesus’s crucifixion long after the event than his immediate followers did. Jesus had taught the presence of God and how to live that, but the shock of his death caused re-thinking and re-evaluating of this shame-inducing passion experience for many decades and centuries. Jesus’s counter-cultural message brought hope to members of the Roman-occupied community, but his crucifixion strengthened their...

Duration:00:30:31