Most of these previous lectures are available on DVDs for $5 each upon request. More information here.
Lecture by Larry Hurtado – September 10, 2016
“A New and Mischievous Superstition: Early Christianity in the Roman World”
In the Roman world in which Christianity first emerged it was viewed as different and dangerous. And Christianity was distinctive. Christians were called atheists and regarded as impious, because they refused to worship the traditional gods. Unlike other religious groups of the day, they had no shrines, altars, images or priests. Reading and disseminating texts were central activities. Early Christianity comprised a new kind of religious identity that wasn’t tied to ethnicity. Unlike traditional Roman-era religion, Christianity also made ethics central. But, ironically, all these things that made early Christianity distinctive, even odd, in the ancient Roman world, have become commonplace assumptions about “religion” for us. This lecture addresses our cultural amnesia, showing how early Christianity helped to challenge the ancient world and helped to shape our world.
Lecture by Simon Gathercole – May 7, 2016
“The Journeys of Jesus and Jewish Geography”
The Gospels in the New Testament contain a remarkable amount of geographical information, especially in the quantity of references to areas, towns and villages that Jesus (and John the Baptist) visited. Are these genuine or fictitious? Some Jesus skeptics have doubted the existence of places like Nazareth and Capernaum. Even many New Testament scholars are unaware of the evidence for Gospel sites. Strikingly, however, a huge proportion of the place-names in the Gospels are paralleled in Jewish literature outside the New Testament, even down to some of the small villages. This illustrated lecture examines the historical evidence for the places in the Gospel, some already known, some presented for the first time. It shows how this evidence has clear implications for the reliability of the Gospel narratives.
Lecture by Joseph Shulam – April 2, 2016
“Simply Paul: Who is He and Who are His Opponents?”
Even in the first century the disciples of Yeshua (Jesus) had difficulty understanding Paul and his writings for several reasons. One reason Joseph Shulam proposes is that Paul was a lawyer and wrote like a lawyer. Shulam proposes that we allow Paul’s own words to describe himself and his background in order to define his identity and his theology in the best way and to identify his opponents most accurately. By getting Paul’s clear view of himself we can better understand his battles both inside and outside the church. This lecture will give you fresh insight into some of Paul’s most difficult passages.
Lecture by Michael Bird – February 6, 2016
“An Invasive Story: Paul’s Theology Between Messianic Event and Salvation-History”
One of the current debates in New Testament scholarship is whether Paul’s theology was rooted in an apocalyptic worldview, whereby salvation was a punctiliar and even intrusive event, or whether it was part of an on-going story of promise and fulfillment called “salvation history.” Using Galatians as a test case, the purpose of this lecture is to show how one can bring together both “apocalyptic” and “salvation historical” readings of Paul. Mike Bird argues that the invasive action of God declared in the gospel still stands within a promise-fulfillment scheme that Paul utilizes in his theological discourse.
Lecture by Peter Williams – October 30, 2015
“Does the Bible Support Slavery?”
Over the years the Bible has been quoted in support of both abolishing slavery and keeping slaves. Today people often object to the Bible as a document that supports slavery. In his lecture, Peter Williams examines the key Old Testament and New Testament texts involved and looks at the Biblical words commonly associated with slavery and how their translation has changed over time. He also looks at the logic of the Old Testament world and the way ancient societies were structured quite differently from ours.
Lecture by Lynn Cohick – September 12, 2015
“We are the Circumcision” Philippians 3 and the Christian Life
In her lecture, Lynn H. Cohick explores Paul’s desire to know Christ, as expressed in Philippians 3:1-21. In this passage, Paul contrasts redemption in Christ with both his former way of life as a Pharisee and with Roman imperial propaganda. The lecture discusses how the New Perspective on Paul brings Second Temple Judaism into sharp focus, thereby illuminating Paul’s discussion of righteousness and the Law. Paul’s claims about resurrection challenge Rome’s political ideology. How might Paul’s view of Jewish life shape our understanding of Christian faithfulness? Is Paul’s critique helpful for our engagement with current uses of political and military power?
Lecture by Richard Hays – May 23, 2015
Did Moses Write about Jesus?: The Challenges of Figural Reading
In his lecture, Richard Hays illustrates and explores the surprising ways in which the four Gospel writers interpreted Israel’s Scripture as a witness to the identity of Jesus. He first summarizes and then extends the hermeneutical proposals explored in his recent book Reading Backwards: Figural Christology and the Fourfold Gospel Witness. What might it mean for readers in late modernity to take seriously the interpretative methods employed by the Gospel authors? Are Christian claims about Jesus bound inextricably to these interpretative methods?
Lecture by Dennis Danielson – February 28, 2015
Milton’s Paradise Lost: Epic Lessons in How to Avoid Idolatry
There is no more fundamental biblical imperative than that of avoiding idolatry. St. Paul, recalling the first commandment—“Thou shalt have no other gods …” (Ex. 20:3)—centrally links human unrighteousness with our worshipping and serving “the creature more than the Creator” (Rom. 1:25). Milton’s Paradise Lost offers powerful glimpses of idolatry’s operations and effects—psychological, theological, and cosmological.
Lecture by Benjamin Scolnic – January 17, 2015
The Book of Daniel and the Nature of Biblical Truth
The Book of Daniel has been a major battleground between believers and non-believers for two thousand years. By studying the ancient debate over the prophetic and historical nature of one chapter in Daniel, we may come to our own understanding of issues that are at the very heart of the impasse between different modern scholars and readers of the Bible.
Lecture by Steven Notley – October 25, 2014
“Between the Chairs” New Testament Evidence for the Hebrew Jesus Spoke
The publication of Professor Avi Hurvitz’s A Concise Lexicon of Late Biblical Hebrew (Leiden, 2014) has brought fresh attention to the changing language environment in the land of Israel following the Babylonian Exile. The idiom of the earlier Hebrew prophets was not identical with that of the Chronicler and other post-exilic works at the close of the Hebrew Bible. These developments continued into the first century of the Common Era – as we read in the Hebrew documents from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Unfortunately, too little notice has been given to the contribution of the New Testament (as a first-century witness) to these changes in the Hebrew language, as well as the transition from Late Biblical Hebrew to the Hebrew of Israel’s Sages (i.e. Rabbinic/Mishnaic Hebrew). In this presentation we consider selected examples of Hebraisms found in our canonical Greek Gospels, which reflect the changing linguistic environment. Not only do these shed new light on the idioms Jesus chose to communicate his message, but they also contribute to the recently renewed debate about what language(s) Jesus spoke.
Lecture by Mark Movsesian – September 26, 2014
Religious Freedom for Mideast Christians, Yesterday and Today
In this lecture, Professor Mark Movsesian, Director of the Center for Law and Religion at St. John’s University in New York discusses the religious freedom concerns of Christians in the Mideast. He explores the historical treatment of Christians and describes the situation today. In particular, he explains the current threats to Christians and explains why some observers believe the Christian communities of the Mideast are going through one of the worst periods of persecution in history.
Lecture by Mark Lanier – August 2, 2014
Christianity on Trial
Does the Christian faith hold up under scrutiny? What does science tell us about the plausibility of a god? Can we trust the alleged eyewitness testimony of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus?
These questions are worth investigating in order to find an answer solidified in fact and evidence. Mark Lanier uses his experienced legal eye to examine the plausibility of the Christian faith. Bringing science, current knowledge, and common sense together in a courtroom approach, Mark intends to elucidate a rich understanding of God and a strong foundation for Christian faith.
Lecture by Harvey Floyd – June 7, 2014
Grace and Faith
Dr. Harvey Floyd taught at Lipscomb University from 1955 until 2010 and one of his Greek students was Mark Lanier. Harvey earned his own B.A. degree at Lipscomb, his M.A. at Harding Graduate School of Theology and his Ph.D. at Vanderbilt in Classical Greek. The classes he taught changed lives. Former students agree, “For the first time I truly understood the marvelous grace offered to us in Jesus Christ.” At his retirement, Sandra Collins wrote, “When he talks about God’s abundant grace, his eyes sparkle, his voice is quietly intense, his smile is gracious, his belief is genuine, his delight in students is unmistakable and his transparent, transformed life is his visual aid.” Mark Lanier wanted to honor his beloved professor by having him lecture at his library on one of Dr. Floyd’s favorite passages, Ephesians 2:8-10. Here is that lecture followed by a fascinating Q & A session.
Lecture by N.T. Wright – March 21, 2014
How Paul Invented Christian Theology
N. T. Wright approaches the Apostle Paul as the world’s first, and greatest, Christian theologian. Much of his lifetime study has had Paul, his life and writings, as the focus. He has offered detailed insights into Paul’s life and times for over 30 years, beginning with his dissertation on Pauline Theology and Romans and continuing through his recently released, two-volume Paul and the Faithfulness of God. In between those writings, Wright has produced over 60 books, many of which have dealt with Paul, and another one is soon to be released, Paul and His Recent Interpreters.
Lecture by James Hoffmeier and Stephen Moshier – January 18, 2014
Moses Did Not Sleep Here! A Critical Look at Some Sensational Exodus and Mt. Sinai Theories
Over the past 10-15 years there have been a number of sensational ideas advanced for where and how the Red Sea crossing occurred as the Hebrews deparated Egypt and where Mt. Sinai is located. Many of these are known from popular TV programs on the History, Learning, Discovery and National Channels. Some of these various theories, such as that the Israelites crossed the Gulf of Aqaba and landed in Saudi Arabia where Mt. Sinai is located, will be examined biblically and archaeologically (Hoffmeier) and geologically (Moshier). Was Mt. Sinai a volcano? Is there any basis for identifying Mt. Sinai with the traditional site, Gebel Musa? These and other questions will be treated, using film clips, slides and maps.
Lecture by Richard Bauckham – November 5, 2013
Divine and Human Community in the Gospel of John
In the theology of early Judaism there is “one God” who has “one people.” The Gospel of John takes the remarkable step of including Jesus the divine Son in the unity of the one God. The goal of Jesus’ mission is to include humans within the open unity of the divine love. From the intimate personal communion of the Father and the Son with believers derives the loving unity of the people of God. Thus the revelation of loving intimacy “within” God at the end of the Gospel’s Prologue leads to Jesus’ prayer for the unity of his people in chapter 17. For more information about Bauckham, click here.
Note: The handout mentioned in this lecture is available here.
Lecture by Udo Middelmann – October 5, 2013
The Innocence of God
The Bible teaches us that God is sovereign over all. Does that mean that in his sovereignty and foreknowledge, all events are determined? What about evil and the choices of man to disobey God or not believe in him at all, including the horrors of the 20th century? Do we have to choose between a good but weak God or a bad but strong God? The sovereignty of God, the existence of evil, the responsibility of man … how do these work together to explain human history and the reality of the world around us? Belief in the sovereignty of God has led to extreme forms of determinism, while a rejection of God’s sovereignty has resulted in a view of history which assumes the idea of a God with limited power and knowledge. Udo Middelmann critiques both positions and demonstrates the continuing battle of a good and powerful God for his creation. Instead of blaming God, or his absence, Middelmann presents a startling catalyst for thoughtful dialogue. God admonishes us to seek justice, goodness and mercy in the continuing struggle against evil. For more information about Middelmann, click here.
Lecture by Justice Antonin Scalia – September 6, 2013
Is Capitalism or Socialism More Conducive to Christian Virtue?
*This lecture is not available on DVD.
Lecture by Dr. D. A. Carson – April 27, 2013
Going Beyond Cliches: Christian Reflection on Suffering and Evil
If we live long enough, we will suffer. Christians will therefore be wise if they prepare in advance for the suffering and evil they will face. This lecture does not so much attempt to “answer” the problem of suffering and evil, as establish biblically faithful perspectives that enable us to think about such matters in a godly fashion, thereby forging frames of reference that strengthen us before evil days descend. For more information about lecturer D. A. Carson, click here.
D. A. Carson is the co-founder of The Gospel Coalition (TGC), a fellowship of evangelical churches deeply committed to renewing our faith in the gospel of Christ and to reforming our ministry practices to conform fully to the Scriptures. Matt Smethurst (TGC) wrote a summary of this lecture. Click here to view it.
Lecture by Dr. Alister McGrath – March 23, 2013
C.S. Lewis and the Post Modern Generation: His Message 50 Years Later
C. S. Lewis continues to inspire and fascinate millions of us even though he died 50 years ago. He was a towering intellectual figure, an atheist-turned-Christian thinker and a popular fiction author who inspired a global movie franchise. Alister McGrath will paint a definitive portrait of the life of C. S. Lewis and explore some especially interesting aspects of this creative genius. McGrath has thoroughly examined all his writings, including recently published correspondence. He challenges previously held beliefs about the timing of Lewis’s shift from atheism to theism and then to Christianity. Lewis was an eccentric thinker who became an inspiring, though reluctant, prophet for our times. For more information about lecturer Alister McGrath, click here.
Lecture by Dr. Paige Patterson – January 19, 2013
The Expectation of the Reign of Christ on a Millennial Earth
Dr. Paige Patterson will discuss the rationale for an essentially literal hermeneutic in the interpretation of prophetic literature in the Bible. He will also provide a glimpse of the advantages for the church today to interpret the Scriptures accordingly. For more information about lecturer Paige Patterson, click here.
Lecture by Dr. Alan Millard – November 2, 2012
Did Moses Know the Alphabet? Was There Writing in Ancient Israel?
‘The Lord said to Moses, “Write this in a book”‘ (Exodus 17: 14). Moses is the first person the Bible reports could write. Writing was 2,000 years old by his time, so what script would he have used – Babylonian cuneiform, or Egyptian hieroglyphs, or another one? Many examples of ancient Hebrew writing have been discovered in Judah from the days of Isaiah and Jeremiah but only a smaller number from earlier years. They raise such questions about the use of writing as ‘Did Israelites only write short messages and their names, or did they write books?’ and ‘Who could read and write in ancient Israel?’ Then there is the question of how early in their history the Israelites could write their records, rather than relying on oral tradition. This lecture will explain how discoveries in the Holy Land are helping to answer these questions and consider if it matters whether Moses could write, or not. For more information about lecturer Alan Millard, click here.
Lecture by Dr. Simon Gathercole – September 8, 2012
Did We Get Jesus Right? Jesus in the Canonical and Apocryphal Gospels
A brief sketch of the message of jesus in the four canonical Gospels will show that the key focus is on Jesus dying for sins as foretold in Old Testament Scripture. This lecture will compare that message with four well-known rival Gospels: the Gospels of Thomas, Mary, Judas, and Philip, which present an alternative route to salvation. These rival gospels and other writings contending as “true records” of Jesus cannot compete with the accounts in the New Testament. The four New Testament Gospels are the only ones sufficiently close enough in time to the events to be reliable. Comparing the particular cultural features in the New Testament Gospels with the gospels outside the BIble shows that the Gospels of Thomas, Mary, Judas and Philip come from a cultural environment quite alien from that of Jesus of history. For more information about lecturer Simon Gathercole, click here.
Lecture by Dr. Peter Williams – April 7, 2012
Things Which Ought To Be Better Known About The Resurrection of Jesus
This Easter season lecture will take a serious look at the resurrection accounts in the Gospels and some of the surprises they contain, as well as at some of the best arguments for the resurrection. For more information about lecturer Dr. Peter Williams, click here.
Lecture by Sy Gitin — March 17, 2012
Ekron of the Philistines: From Sea Peoples to Olive Oil Industrialists
The excavations of Ekron radically changed the traditional perception of the Philistines, a tribe of the Sea Peoples who migrated from the Aegean in the 12th century BCE. They settled along the southern coast of modern day Israel, became the chief antagonists of ancient Israel, and after 200 years were assimilated into one of the major ethnic groups like the Canaanites, Israelites, or Phoenicians. The Ekron Excavations have produced dramatic new evidence documenting Philistine history for an additional 400 years until the destruction wrought by the campaign of the Neo-Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar in 604 BCE. It was in the last phase, during the 7th century, that Ekron achieved the zenith of its physical and economic growth, when it became the largest olive oil industrial center known in antiquity. Among the major finds of the period was the Ekron Royal Dedicatory Inscription, one of the three most important documents outside the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in the 20th century in Israel. The excavations also provided an answer to one of the enigmatic questions involving the Philistines, why they eventually disappeared from the pages of history. For more information about lecturer Sy Gitin, click here.
The lecture is followed with responses from Tim Harrison, archaeologist and President of ASOR; Steve Ortiz, archaeologist and professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; and Mark Lanier, Biblical teacher and owner of the library.
Lecture by Dr. John Monson — February 11, 2012
Physical Theology: The Bible in its Land, Time and Culture
God has revealed Himself in time, space, and culture. People of faith from biblical times through today seek to live according to His purposes as reflected in the Bible. In this visual presentation Professor Monson will demonstrate how the original context of Scripture— the land, culture, and language— is valuable for understanding both the message of the Bible and its contemporary relevance. The ancient Israelites and Jews in later periods lived off the land and lived out their response to God through the law, the feasts, and the challenges of life in the land. The land was God’s testing ground of faith, and as we encounter the “physical theology” expressed in Scripture, we are better equipped to grasp the lessons it has for us today. For more information about lecturer John Monson, click here.
The lecture is followed by three 8-minute responses from these outstanding scholars.
Tour the Stone Chapel with Mark Lanier
Lecture by Edward Fudge – September 24, 2011
The Fire That Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment
Around the world today, evangelical Bible scholars are giving hell a serious second look. Would the God who gave his Son to die for sinners finally keep billions of them alive forever to torment them without end? Does Holy Scripture require such a conclusion—or offer a different vision? The story of how the great majority of Christians came to teach unending conscious torment is as fascinating as any mystery or “Who-done-it.” In this lecture, Edward will identify scores of generally-overlooked Scriptures, then lead a tour through some paths of church history that are less well travelled, and which are haunted by pagan philosophy, medieval law and Reformation politics.
One match that helped ignite the current debate about hell was Edward’s book, The Fire That Consumes, first published in 1982, with a foreword by the respected New Testament commentator F. F. Bruce. A revised and updated third edition (June 2011) has a foreword by Professor Richard Bauckham of the University of Cambridge.
Lecture by Dr. James Hoffmeier – May 21, 2011
The Exodus In Light Of Recent Archaeological And Geological Work In North Sinai
The Israelite exodus from Egypt has been the subject of scholarly interest and investigation since the dawn of Egyptology two centuries ago. In this lecture, Hoffmeier reviews the background information from ancient Egypt and focuses on new geological and archaeological data from the work of the North Sinai Archaeological Project, which Hoffmeier directed. When the results of this exciting work are combined with other recent and ongoing excavations in North Sinai, a compelling picture emerges about the route of the exodus and the location of the Re(e)d Sea.
Lecture by Dr. Weston Fields – April 16, 2011
Dead Sea Scrolls: The Significance of the Latest Developments
Who can begin to state the significance of the archaeological discovery that began in 1947 in caves near the Dead Sea? No one better than the director of the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation. Over 100,000 fragments have been pieced together into over 900 separate documents, both biblical and non-biblical. They have been called “the ultimate jigsaw puzzle,” and the oldest fragments date back to the 3rd century B.C. That is about 1,000 years earlier than the oldest manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible we had before 1947. During the past few years, fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls that were previously unknown to most scholars and the general public, have been sold or offered for sale. This lecture will summarize what the Dead Sea Scrolls are, how they were originally saved, why they are important, and why some fragments are only now becoming known.
Lecture by Dr. Peter Williams – March 5, 2011
New Evidences the Gospels were Based on Eyewitness Accounts
The authorship of the first four books of the New Testament has fascinated scholars for centuries. If the authors were eyewitnesses, one could assume greater reliability. If not, then questions are naturally raised about the historicity of details in the writings. Because the first three Gospels are so similar, many theories have been proposed and argued to explain the sources of verbatim sections, as well as the unique material. Did Mark rely on Peter for eyewitness details? Luke admits his use of other sources, but did he use Mark or Matthew or both? What about Matthew and John? New evidence in the discussion of these questions and more will be the focus of this lecture.
Lecture by Dr. Alister McGrath – December 11, 2010
The Lord Is My Light: How the Christian Faith Makes Sense Of Things
In his most recent book, The Passionate Intellect: Christian Faith and the Discipleship of the Mind, McGrath discusses theology as a discipline that not only informs and sustains the Christian vision of reality, but also serves a passion of the mind to understand God’s nature and ways. While proposing that vibrant theology can have a positive impact on Christian life, worship and faith, McGrath also explores other benefits of theology that include a deeper engagement with the culture and concerns of the modern world.
Lecture by Father Justin from St. Catherines Monastery, Mount Sinai – November 6, 2010
St. Catherine’s Monastery: An Ark In The Wilderness
Saint Catherine’s Monastery is the world’s oldest continuously inhabited monastery, with a history extending back over 1700 years. In the mid-nineteenth century, it was at this monastery that what became known as codex Sinaiticus was discovered. It is the only known complete copy of the Greek New Testament in uncial script. Although this codex is now kept in the British Museum, St. Catherine’s library contains manuscripts famous throughout the world for their antiquity and for the range of languages that appear in the collection. Father Justin will show five manuscripts in particular that have been studied by scholars within the last year, as a way of demonstrating the continuing significance of the Sinai manuscripts for our understanding of the Scriptures and of the heritage of the Church.