The Bible and Beyond Discussions Archive2023-08-20T06:41:58-04:00

The Bible and Beyond Discussions Recording Archive

Monday Textual Study Archives

Once a month, at 8:00–9:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday nights (generally the fourth of the month), Early Christian Texts hosts a presentation and discussion of one of the early Christian texts.  Dr. Shirley Paulson generally leads the sessions by first sharing a well-framed overview of the particular subject and after that providing time for all participants to ask questions or share their own insights.

There is no charge, but attendees are invited to donate or become a Bible and Beyond patron. You may attend any or all sessions — you are welcome any time.  We look forward to your participation.

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2301, 2024

Did Paul Convert to Christianity?

People who know anything about Paul from the Bible generally know the story of Paul's conversion. But is that really what happened? Did he become a Christian or remain a Jew? Presenter: Dr. B. Brandon Scott with host Dr. Shirley Paulson

1912, 2023

How Jesus, a Jew, Got Tangled Up in the Atonement

Christians easily forget the Jewishness of Jesus, but understanding his Jewish life explains more behind traditional Christian teachings. We discuss the origins and meaning of atonement in the context of Jesus’s Jewish heritage. Presenter: Dr. Robert Miller with host Dr. Shirley Paulson

2310, 2023

Wisdom for Today from Extracanonical Texts

Learn about eight of the modern discoveries of ancient, second-century Jesus-oriented texts. They demonstrate both their diversity and their shockingly relevant meaning for today. Presenters: Dr. Hal Taussig, Natalie Perkins, and Dr. Shirley Paulson

2609, 2023

Jewish and Christian Women of Antiquity

It is difficult to learn about the lives of Jewish and Christian women in antiquity because most of the written history was written by men who embodied the prevalent male-dominating attitudes of the era. Presenters: Dr. Sara Parks and Dr. Shirley Paulson

3008, 2023

Augustine, Sex, and the 21st Century Repercussions

Understanding Augustine’s teaching about human sexuality more accurately uncovers his capability of genuinely interrogating our modern cultural assumptions. As we reassess the criticisms, we can understand his cultural assumptions better too. Presenters: Dr. Sarah Morice-Brubaker and Dr. Shirley Paulson

2507, 2023

Where Traditions about Jesus’s Apostles Came From

Cutting-edge research on ancient lists of apostles reveals their connection with the apocryphal acts of the apostles and shows why they (the lists) offer such important new information about the apostles. Presenters: Dr. Tony Burke and Dr. Shirley Paulson

2706, 2023

Jesus, Gender, and the Importance of Christian Art

This discussion focuses on the role of art in our understanding of Jesus. Chad Venters will explore the ancient concepts of gender and how these concepts may surprise us, especially our mental images of Jesus. Presenters: Dr. Chad Venters and Dr. Shirley Paulson

2305, 2023

Why the Gospel of John Is Such a Surprise

The Gospel of John has been overlooked in the historical search for Jesus. Surprisingly, this gospel is a more valuable resource than most scholars have admitted recently. Presenters: Dr. Paul N. Anderson and Dr. Shirley Paulson

2504, 2023

The Impact of Poverty in Antiquity

What does it mean to be poor in antiquity? In addition to the well-known passages in the Bible concerning wealth and poverty, this Bible and Beyond Discussion will also look at the frequent references to “Fullness” and “Deficiency.” Presenters: Dr. Shirley Paulson and Dr. Elli Elliott (with host Hilary Barner)

2803, 2023

What Did Jesus’s Disciples Do after He Was Gone?

Most people know whatever they know about the disciples from the Bible, but not much else. So we’re going to look at some of the other texts of the first couple of centuries. Presenters: Dr. Shirley Paulson and Dr. Christine Shea (with host Hilary Barner)

2802, 2023

New Light on the Sermon on the Mount

New insight into the social realities of Jesus’ day reveals that his instructions call for a more radical vision of God’s Kingdom. Re-thinking familiar writings can challenge us to read them through first-century eyes. Presenter: Dr. Erin Vearncombe (with host Dr. Shirley Paulson)

2401, 2023

Ancient Writings Before the New Testament

There are only 27 books in the New Testament, but over 100 circulated among the early followers of Jesus. Some have been known and available throughout Christian history, but others have been discovered rather recently. Presenter: Dr. Deborah N. Saxon (with host Dr. Shirley Paulson)

2812, 2022

Why Are There Multiple Christmas Stories?

The biblical accounts in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke have some similar features, such as Mary and Joseph attending the birth. But the details in both accounts are actually contradictory. Presenter: Dr. Shirley Paulson and Dr. Robert J. Miller (with host Hilary Barner)

912, 2022

Norea and Sophia: Female Helpers and Saviors

Are we ready to welcome a female savior with the authority, wisdom, and strength we expect from a savior? Or do we still think a savior should properly be male? Presenters: Dr. Shirley Paulson and Dr. Susan Humble (with host Helen Mathis)

2610, 2022

The Threat of Mary Magdalene as a Leader

Even as far back as the writing of the Gospel of Mary in the second century, two of Mary’s fellow disciples had a hard time dealing with her leadership.  Presenters: Dr. Shirley Paulson and Dr. Ally Kateusz (with host Hilary Barner)

1708, 2022

Sophia/Wisdom/Jesus/God in the First Three Centuries CE

We'll examine the key character of Sophia/Wisdom in the development Jesus peoples of the first two hundred years of the Common Era, the development of Second Temple Judaism, and initial development Rabbinic Judaism. Presenter: Dr. Hal Taussig (with host Dr. Shirley Paulson)

2507, 2022

Abortion and the Dialogue of the Savior

In light of the intense national discussion about abortion and all its ramifications, a larger perspective from antiquity may expand our views on the subject and aid in constructive conversation. Presenter: Dr. Shirley Paulson and special guest appearance from Dr. Christine Shea (with host Hilary Barner)

2305, 2022

Healing and Salvation in the Secret Revelation of John

This month, we looked at the plan for healing and salvation in the Secret Revelation of John. This ancient book is arguably the most important book in the Nag Hammadi Library. It appears three times in the entire collection and was well-known in antiquity, having spread at least as far as from France to central Egypt, probably farther. It’s the first Christian writing known to include a complete story of creation and salvation. Presenter: Dr. Shirley Paulson (with host Hilary Barner)

2504, 2022

Proceeding With Consideration of Spiritual Resurrection in the First Two Hundred Years

Following up on the March 28, 2022, Bible and Beyond Discussion, our conversation on April 25 continued a study of articulations of Christ peoples’ consideration and elaboration of spiritual resurrection in the first two hundred years CE. Whereas the March study concentrated on the ways Paul’s letters and the Nag Hammadi “Treatise” laid out spiritual resurrection, in this discussion we expanded on notions of spiritual resurrection in passages about empty tombs and visions. Presenter: Dr. Hal Taussig (with host Dr. Shirley Paulson)

2802, 2022

Conclusions of After Jesus Before Christianity

This is the last of the four Bible and Beyond Discussion studies of the HarperOne book After Jesus Before Christianity. This discussion focuses on the 20th chapter of the book, appropriately called “Conclusion.” Presenter: Dr. Hal Taussig (with host Shirley Paulson, PhD)

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The Letter of Peter to Philip Class.

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