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History in the Bible Podcast by Garry Stevens

History in the Bible Podcast

by Garry Stevens

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This podcast showcases the latest research in the archaeology of Israel and Judah, the findings of biblical criticism, and studies in early Israelite religion. I move between three endeavours. First, is the discipline called biblical criticism, which seeks to understand how the biblical texts were formed. The second is that of Biblical archaeology. The third is the study of the ancient religion of the Israelites, the attempt to reconstruct just what those who wrote the bible believed. In series one, I follow the Israelites to the Exile, discussing the history in each book, and how each book is located in history. In series two, I continue the story; from the Return to the emergence of Christianity and the travels of St Paul. For forthcoming episodes, show notes, maps and charts, visit my site www.historyinthebible.com. If you are joining the show for the first time, you might want to check out the keynote episodes I list on my site. These provide the background info and concepts used in later episodes. Episodes are released every second Sunday.


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1.55 Four Prophets of the Babylonian Crisis


Sun, Apr 23, 2017


Four prophets lived in the last decades of the kingdom of Judah. In his short and miserable book, Zephaniah rails about the destruction to come. Jeremiah is a foreign policy advisor, and spreader of doom. We are all going to die! Surrender to your new overlords: Babylon! In a short and nasty work, Nahum gloats at the fall of the Assyrian capital of Nineveh, a victory he did nothing to accomplish. Habakkuk is a contemplative philosopher, with an important question for God.



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1.54 The Babylonian Conquest of Judah


Sun, Apr 09, 2017


The Egyptians kill Josiah, who is acting on behalf of Babylon against Egypt. They remove his pro-Babylonian son Jehoahaz from the throne, replacing him with the pro-Egyptian Jehoiakim. After the Egyptians are defeated, the Babylonians capture Jehoiakim and the city of Jerusalem, placing on the throne Jeconiah. King Nebuchadnezzar soon tosses him aside, settling on Zedekiah as the Babylonian puppet king. In a bad move, Zedekiah rebels. Nebuchadnezzar destroys Judah. The Jewish exile has begun.



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1.53 Evil King Manasseh and the Reformation of Josiah


Sun, Mar 26, 2017


The Bible tries to explain why the evil King Manasseh reigned for more than 50 years in peace and solitude, while his sublimely virtuous grandson, Josiah, was slaughtered in his prime. Josiah conducts a religious revolution and discovers the book of Deuteronomy.



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Bonus 16: After Life - Surviving the Apocalypse


Sun, Mar 19, 2017


In this co-released episode, Steve Guerra of the History of the Papacy podcast and I finish (for now) our series on the apocalyptic literature, with a discussion of how views on the afterlife changed in the Second Temple period.



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1.52 Isaiah and Micah, Prophets of the Assyrian Crisis


Sun, Mar 12, 2017


Isaiah's ambiguity has made him a crowd-pleaser for over 2,500 years. He introduces a bunch of shiny-new theological ideas previously unknown in the Bible. Christians read into his book prophecies of the Christ. Micah is his counterpoint.



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1.51 King Hezekiah, Father of Biblical Religion


Sun, Feb 26, 2017


In 722 BC, Hezekiah of Judah faced his first great crisis: a mass of Israelite refugees fleeing from the Assyrians. He turned adversity into opportunity, strengthening his authority and using the Israelite intellectuals to create a nationalistic religion: Biblical religion. His second crisis was the invasion of Sennacherib of Assyria. The king saved his city, but lost the countryside.



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1.50 The Fall of Israel


Sun, Feb 12, 2017


King Ahaz of Judah calls on Assyria to save him from King Pekah of Israel and the kingdom of Aram-Damascus. That works out a treat: Aram-Damascus is left in ruins, and Israel left a rump state. The prophet Isaiah puts his oar in, to no effect. Pekah is followed by his son Hoshea, who makes a bad diplomatic move and is annihilated by Assyria. So begins the Jewish diaspora.



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Bonus 15: Revelation- Apocalypse by Numbers


Sun, Feb 12, 2017


In this co-released episode, Steve Guerra of the History of the Papacy podcast and I continue our series on the apocalyptic literature, with the second of two episodes on the earliest Christian apocalypse, the Book of Revelation. We find lots of magical numbers.



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1.49 The Assyrian Storm


Sun, Jan 29, 2017


In Judah, we meet a bunch of kings: Uzziah, Jotham and Ahaz. Uzziah gets leprosy when he offends the priests. Jotham's reign is confused, just like I am. Ahaz is threatened on all sides. Back in Israel, Jeroboam II is followed by Zechariah, then in quick succession by Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah, and Pekah. Israel is falling apart. King Retzin of Aram-Damascus hammers the Hebrews, but is squashed by the Assyrians.



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1.48 Amos and Hosea, Hammers of the House of Jehu


Sun, Jan 15, 2017


Amos and Hosea are the first two prophets who get their own books. They are also the last of the four northern Israelite prophets. Amos is the perfect prophet, the template for all later prophets. He launches a socialist critique on the Israelite upper-classes, and calls on the people to be righteous, and not just rule-followers. Hosea uses uncomfortable crazy sexual imagery to denounce the Israelites' worship of Baal. Hosea is nuts.



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Bonus 14: What a Revelation! The Apocalypse of St John the Divine


Sun, Jan 08, 2017


In this co-released episode, Steve Guerra of the History of the Papacy podcast and I continue our series on the apocalyptic literature, with the first of two episodes on the earliest Christian apocalypse, the Book of Revelation. It barely made it into the New Testament.



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1.47 Calamities of the Two Kingdoms


Sun, Jan 01, 2017


Under the house of Jehu, the northern kingdom of Israel is assailed by the big bully Assyria and the little bully Aram-Damascus. I follow Jehu's dynasty for 90 years, through the reigns of Jehoahaz and Joash to Jeroboam II. The famous Tel Dan stele has a lot to say about that. The kings of Judah get a big helping hand from the Assyrians in their squabbles against Israel. Meanwhile, in Israel, Athaliah, only queen regnant of a Hebrew kingdom, gets killed by the patriarchy. The priests destroy their own puppet King Jehoash when he stops the gravy train. But his son Amaziah gets his revenge.



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1.46 Conundrums of the Kings Jehoram


Sun, Dec 18, 2016


Two kings called Jehoram ruled in Israel and Judah at the same time. Many scholars think they were the same person. Their reigns were extinguished by the coup of Jehu, agent of God against the evil house of Omri. One of the few strong women in the Bible, Ahab's widow Jezebel, also meets her end. Athaliah becomes the only woman to rule Judah. Elisha works miracles.



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Bonus 13: Satan and the Origin of Evil


Sun, Dec 11, 2016


In this co-released episode, Steve Guerra of the History of the Papacy podcast and I talk about Satan (ha'Satan, the adversary). In the Old Testament he is God's faithful prosecuting attorney. Only in the apocalyptic literature does he transform into the source of all evil. That is the Satan we find in the New Testament.



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1.45 Last of the Omrides


Sun, Dec 04, 2016


The Israelite King Ahab and the Judean King Jehoshaphat join in an ill-fated war against the kingdom of Aram-Damascus. One battle not mentioned is the Battle of Qarqar, which we know from Assyrian records. Ahaziah follows Ahab on the throne. We start the second book of Kings. Elijah dies and passes his legacy to Elisha. I discuss Elijah's importance to Jews and Christians.



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1.44 The House of Omri: Pinnacle of Power


Sun, Nov 20, 2016


The House of Omri reigned for 140 years with four kings: Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah and Jehoram. They created the first sophisticated Hebrew state, and brought the kingdom of Israel to the height of its power and prosperity. During this period, the first great prophets, Elijah and Elisha, created the religion of Yahwism. We also meet Ahab's wife Jezebel, the painted lady. Assyria makes an unwelcome appearance.



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Bonus 12: A Very Merkabah Jubilee


Sun, Nov 13, 2016


In this co-released episode, Steve Guerra of the History of the Papacy podcast and I talk about the obscure Jewish movement known as Merkabah mysticism, and the influential and popular Book of Jubilees.



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1.43 Forty Years of Trouble


Sun, Nov 06, 2016


In the first decades after Solomon's united kingdom split, the two kingdoms spent their time in brush wars. The kingdom of Judah went through three kings: Rehoboam, Abijam (or Abijah), and Asa. In the northern kingdom of Israel, Jeroboam's dynasty came to an end with his son Nadab, overthrown by general Baasha. This was not a happy time.



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Bonus 11: Apocalypses of Daniel and 1st Enoch - Hiding in Plain Sight


Sun, Oct 30, 2016


In this co-released episode, Steve Guerra of the History of the Papacy podcast and I launch into the earliest apocalypses: 1 Enoch and the Book of Daniel. The Book of 1 Enoch, older than Daniel, hid in plain sight in the Ethiopian Orthodox canon for centuries. Europeans only re-discovered it in the early 19th century.



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1.42 The Kingdom Sundered


Sun, Oct 23, 2016


The policies of King Solomon's idiot son Rehoboam split the united kingdom in two: Israel and Judah. The fracture was permanent. I introduce the Biblical sources we have for this period, Kings and Chronicles and a few prophets; and the Assyrian and Babylonian records. I also introduce the archaeological evidence we have (such as the Moabite stone, the black obelisk of Shalmaneser III, and the Tel Dan stele), and the very difficult chronological problems. What would we know about the Hebrew kingdoms without the Bible? Not much.



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Bonus 10: Gnosticism: Gnowing me, Gnowing You


Sun, Oct 16, 2016


In this co-released episode, Steve Guerra of the History of the Papacy podcast and I introduce the rich apocalyptic literature that flourished after the canon of the Old testament closed. We get into Gnosticism, evil, and dualism.



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1.41 Modern Debates: David and Solomon


Sun, Oct 09, 2016


In this ripper episode I tackle the great raging debate in contemporary biblical archaeology. Traditionalist scholars believe that modern archaeological discoveries confirm the Bible's account of David and Solomon. Modernist archaeologists believe the exact opposite. Who has the evidence on their side?



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Bonus 9: Portents of the Apocalypse


Sun, Oct 02, 2016


In this co-released episode, Steve Guerra of the History of the Papacy podcast and I introduce our new series on the apocalypse. We talk about the little-known but rich literature that flourished between the closing of the Old Testament, and the opening of the New Testament; and how it crucially influenced Judaism and Christianity.



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1.40 Puzzles of the United Kingdom of the Hebrews


Sun, Sep 25, 2016


Solomon, it is said, wrote books of Wisdom, Psalms, Odes, and a Testament. I discuss these, and then begin my survey of what modern scholarship has to say about the united kingdom. I start with Saul, and wonder why he is treated so differently in the books of Samuel and Chronicles.

 



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1.39 Solomon's Legacy


Sun, Sep 11, 2016


Solomon spends big time on his Temple and Palace. Hiram of Tyre bankrolls him. Solomon dies on the verge of a major rebellion led by his own slave-master, Jeroboam. I also discuss the two most important books attributed to Solomon: Proverbs, and the Song of Songs.



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1.38 Solomon's Magnificence


Sun, Aug 28, 2016


David's son Solomon is the first Hebrew king we can assign reliable dates to. Or maybe not. Solomon is a dazzling glitter-ball on the international stage; the richest, wisest, and most awesome king in the entire Middle East. He marries an Egyptian princess. I go through the legends of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, and investigate the role of Solomon's benefactor, King Hiram of the Phoenician city of Tyre.



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Bonus 8: Yochi Brandes' The Secret Book of Kings


Fri, Aug 26, 2016


My special guest is Dan Libenson of the Judaism Unbound podcast. We talk about Israeli author Yochi Brandes' novel The Secret Book of Kings, set in the period of Saul, David, Solomon, and then the divided monarchy. It has been recently translated into English from the Hebrew. The novel was a smash hit in Israel. We discuss the novel and its impact in israel, and how it bears on Dan's quest to forge the next Jewish future.



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1.37 David and the Psalms


Sun, Aug 14, 2016


I finish my survey of the Book of Psalms. The psalms are replete with references to God as but one member of the pantheon of the ancient Canaanite religion, a god fighting the ancient sea monsters of the Canaanites: Rehab, Leviathan, and Behemoth. Boney M. sings psalm 137.



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1.36 The Last Days of David


Sun, Jul 31, 2016


God commands David to conduct a census. God then punishes David for conducting a census. Like the rest of us, the Chronicler was mystified by this, and rewrote the story to introduce Satan. Modern archaeologists disgree with the numbers. Bathsheba, mother to Solomon, conducts a palace coup to put her son on the throne, allied with the prophet Nathan, the priest Zadok, and David's mercenary praetorian guard. David charges Solomon to dispatch David's most loyal servants, Joab and Abiathar. I also introduce the Book of Psalms.



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1.35 Treachery in the House of David


Sun, Jul 17, 2016


The final portion of David's story is told in the court narrative or succession history. Who will follow David as king? In this story of intrigue, David's woes start with his murder of Uriah, followed by familial violence, rape, and the terrible deaths of two of his sons, Amnon and Absalom. The Book of Chronicles mentions none of that.



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1.34 David Triumphant


Sun, Jul 03, 2016


David and his field marshal Joab defeats Saul's son Ishbosheth and his general Abner. David retrieves the ark from the Philistines, to the displeasure of his wife Michal. God forges his fourth and final contract with humanity, promising David and David's city of Jerusalem eternal divine protection. Scholars call this the Royal Zion theology. I also discuss David's special protection squad, and the sudden appearance of a new high priest, Zadok.



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1.33 From Bandit to King


Sun, Jun 19, 2016


With the support of the Philistines, David turns his bandit gang into a disciplined mercenary force. After Saul's death fighting David's patrons in battle at Mt Gilboa, David is made king of the southern tribes, but not the northern.



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1.32 The Complicated Rise of David


Sun, Jun 05, 2016


Samuel manufactures reasons to condemn King Saul, and supplant him with David. Our two great sources, the Septuagint and the Masoretic text, have very different versions of David's complicated rise.



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A Brief Guide for the Occasional Listener


Mon, May 30, 2016


For new listeners, and those who just drop in sometimes, I list the six keynote episodes that will help you follow the others, and explain all the goodies on my website, www.historyinthebible.com.



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1.31 Samuel and the Tragedy of King Saul


Sun, May 22, 2016


King Saul becomes king of the Israelites, in four different ways. Samuel moves from being the last judge to the first prophet. I take the opportunity to introduce the Hebrew prophets, showing they were not fortune-tellers and sooth-sayers. They responded to political crises, and spoke about the here and now.

 



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1.30 Eli and Samuel, Last of the Judges


Sun, May 08, 2016


The priest Eli, guardian of the sacred Ark, sees his sacred charge captured by the Philistines. The Israelites are at their lowest point. Now arises Samuel to lift them from their moral depravity. In spite of his misgivings, God instructs Samuel to give the people a king: Saul. I alo discuss the many textual problems in the books of Samuel, comparing the Septuagint to the Massoretic text.



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1.29 The United Kingdom of Saul, David, and Solomon


Sun, Apr 24, 2016


I set the stage upon which the Hebrew united kingdom of Saul, David, and Solomon was created. I explain the geopolitical situation, and the Biblical sources we have: the books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles.



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1.28 Modern Debates: Judging Joshua and the Judges


Sun, Apr 10, 2016


In the 1970s, scholars demolished the credibility of the Biblical stories of the patriarchs. In the decades following, archaeologists threw out the Biblical history of Joshua and Judges. I present the current theories on the origins of the Israelites.



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1.27 Judges II: Victory into Defeat


Sun, Mar 27, 2016


The Book of the Rescuers was the heroic story of the northern Israelites. The later editors of Judges were all southern Judeans. They inverted the northern stories, turning triumph into disaster.



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Bonus 7: Steve and Garry Talk Heresy


Sun, Mar 20, 2016


In this co-released episode, Steve Guerra of the History of the Papacy podcast and I talk about Gnosticism and its origins in the Jewish apocalyptic literature. We have a few rants. I also have an announcement and explanation.



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1.26 Judges I: The Book of Rescuers


Sun, Mar 13, 2016


I wrap-up the Book of Joshua, and rush right into the dark times of the Book of Judges. I start with the central and oldest chapters, called the Book of the Rescuers, the heroic epic of the northern kingdom of Israel.



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1.25 Joshua Conquers Canaan


Sun, Feb 28, 2016


The book of Joshua recounts the conquest of Canaan, the land promised to Abraham. For a few short years, the Israelites achieve a perfect relationship with their god.



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1.24 Modern Debates: Disappearing the Patriarchs


Sun, Feb 14, 2016


In 1970 most scholars thought that Genesis and Exodus were reliable guides to the history of the Israelites. Today, even the most traditionalist of archaeologists agree that the narratives of the Israelites' history told in Genesis and Exodus are just stories. In this episode I explore how the consensus of 1970 was overthrown.

 



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1.23 God's Historian: The Deuteronomist


Sun, Jan 31, 2016


Modern scholars have identified a single school behind all the books from Deuteronomy to Kings. This school wrote the histories of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, putting its own theological slant on that history.



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Bonus 6: Priest-King Melchizedek, International Man of Mystery


Sun, Jan 24, 2016


In this co-released episode, Steve Guerra of the History of the Papacy podcast and I discuss the mysterious figure of Melchizedek, and try to work out how he figures in the Jewish and Christian priesthoods. Check out Steve at the Agora Podcast Network.



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Bonus 5: Ten-minute mini-episode: James the Just in the Late Second Temple Period Part 3


Sat, Jan 23, 2016


In this co-released episode, Steve Guerra of the History of the Papacy podcast and I conclude our three-part discussion of James the Just. Steve is launching a bunch of new podcasts. Check him out at the Agora Podcast network.



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1.22 Deuteronomy II: The Death of Moses


Sun, Jan 17, 2016


In the last half of Deuteronomy, Moses lays out laws on family matters. I compare these to the Mesopotamian law codes. He sets out a splendid set of curses on those would disobey, modeled on Assyrian curses. Polytheism sneaks through a few times.



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1.21 Deuteronomy I: Moses Farewells His people


Sun, Jan 03, 2016


Deuteronomy is the last book of the Torah, the Pentateuch, the books holiest to Jews. To many Jewish scholars, the Torah is where study of the bible stops. I discuss how Deuteronomy was modeled on Assyrian vassal treaties.



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1.20 Numbers II: Out of the Wilderness


Sun, Dec 20, 2015


While the Israelites are stuck in the wilderness they meet Balam and his talking donkey. They defeat King Og and the Midianites, and will never stop talking about it. Moses' siblings Aaron and Miriam die, and in a vicious plot-twist God tells Moses that he will never cross the Jordan



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1.19 Numbers I: Into the Wilderness


Sun, Dec 06, 2015


It should have been but a few days march from Mt Sinai to the promised land. But the Israelite's kvetching annoys God so much he condemns them to spend 40 years in the wilderness.



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1.18 Leviticus II: The Holiness Code


Sun, Nov 22, 2015


The first half of Leviticus is preoccupied with the priests and the Tabernacle. The second half of Leviticus radically extends the idea of holiness to the whole people of the Israelites. It lays down a mass of laws, from what an Israelite can eat, to laws on menstruation.



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Bonus 4: James the Just in the Late Second Temple period Part 2


Mon, Nov 16, 2015


In this co-released episode, Steve Guerra of the History of the Papacy podcast and I conclude our discussion of James the Just, and talk about blood pudding.



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1.17 Leviticus I: God's Barbecue


Sun, Nov 08, 2015


The first part of Leviticus, which comes from the P source, sets out the complex system of sacrifices that God demands of the Israelites, and describes how the Israelites must maintain the sanctity of God's holy abode, the Tabernacle.



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Bonus 3: James the Just in the Late Second Temple period (Part 1)


Sun, Oct 18, 2015


Steve Guerra and I discuss James the Just, how he got to be called James rather than Jacob in English, why he was James the Awesome, his relationship to Jesus, how the Catholics and Orthodox think about him, and Jesus' family life and economic situation. You can visit Steve at the History of the Papacy podcast



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1.16 Exodus IV: Origins of the Old Israelite Religion


Sun, Oct 11, 2015


The major festivals of Judaism are created, the Tent of Meeting is designed, and the priesthood under Aaron established. God is outraged when the feckless Aaron makes two idols, but in an astonishing display of nepotism, Moses lets Aaron off the hook and instead consigns 3,000 Israelites to death. We also find the real Ten Commandments: they are not what you think.



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1.15 Exodus III: The Contract with God at Sinai


Sun, Sep 27, 2015


This is the defining moment in the history of the Israelites, where they swear allegiance to God in return for a special relationship with the divinity. I discuss how this contract follows the suzerainity treaties of the Hittites and Assyrians. I also throw in a discussion on the Ten Commandments, and how the Jews and various Christian denominations slice and dice them.



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1.14 Exodus II: Leaving Egypt


Sun, Sep 13, 2015


After ten rounds of unpleasantness, Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt towards Mt Sinai. They don't yet know it, but they have begun 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.



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1.13 Exodus I: Egypt, Ho!


Sun, Aug 30, 2015


We conclude the story of the patriarchs with a happy reunion between Jacob and his son Joseph, now an important minister in the Egyptian government. His family move to Egypt for a few centuries, a passage of time that passes in the blink of an eye. That concludes our survey of Genesis. We move on to the book of Exodus, amd introduce the great hero of the Hebrews, Moses.



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1.12 Genesis V: Jacob and Joseph


Sun, Aug 16, 2015


Jacob is the great trickster in the Bible, outwitting his father Isaac, his brother Esau, and even his own children. The P, E, and J sources have several different versions of Jacob's stories. For example, Jacob visits and names Bethel twice. There is the unsavoury incident of the rape of Jacob's daughter Dinah, met with a brutal and horrendous over-reaction from her brothers. We also have another unpleasant story about Jacob's son Judah and his daughter-in-law Tamar. We conclude with an introduction to Joseph.



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1.11 Genesis IV: Trouble in the Family


Sun, Aug 02, 2015


Abraham swindles the Philistine king Abimelech just as he did Pharoah, and almost kills his son Isaac, following God's commands. At the very last minute, God says it's all been a test. Was this a remnant of ancient Israelite child sacrifice? After a perfunctory chapter or two on Isaac, Genesis forgets about him to talk about the Bible's greatest and least repentant con-man: Jacob, later known as Israel. We meet yet another scheming wife, Rebekah.



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Bonus 2: The Second Temple period, with Stephen Guerra


Sun, Jul 26, 2015


This is the second of an irregular series of bonus episodes, in addition to my fortnightly installments. In this bonus episode, Stephen Guerra of the History of the Papacy podcast and I talk about the Second Temple period.  This was the time between the return of the Jews from the exile in Babylon in 538 BC to the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70 AD.

You can visit Steve and the History of the Papacy podcast at http://atozhistorypage.com, or you can listen to him on iTunes. Again, thanks to Steve for doing all the editing and recording work.



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1.10 Genesis III: Abraham is Called


Sun, Jul 19, 2015


After the primeval stories, Genesis introduces the man who dominates and forms the very heart of of book, Abraham. He is the first of the patriarchs. God makes a real-estate deal with Abraham, giving him Canaan in return for eternal fidelity. Abraham has many adventures, meeting and swindling the Pharoah of Egypt; and encountering the mysterious Melkizedek, priest and king of Jerusalem. We also meet his scheming wife Sarai, his slave-wive Hagar, and his first-born son Ishmael.



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Bonus 1: Talking with Stephen Guerra of the History of the Papacy Podcast


Sun, Jul 12, 2015


This is the first of an irregular series of bonus episodes, in addition to my fortnightly
installments. In this bonus, I talk about history podcasting with Steve Guerra of the History of the Papacy podcast. Steve and the others at the history podcasters network have been a great help to me in getting this podcast going. You can visit Steve at http://atozhistorypage.com, and the history podcaster network at http://historypodcasters.com/. Thanks to Steve for doing all the heavy lifting in recording and editing this episode.



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1.9 Genesis II: Tales of the Flood


Sun, Jul 05, 2015


Flood epics were a dime a dozen in ancient Mesopotamia. Genesis has its own version. This section of Genesis is full of puzzles: Cain's gift of tabouleh is rejected; the dating system is a complete mess; Noah was alive in Abraham's time; Enoch goes to heaven; the mysterious Nephilim make an appearance; Canaan is cursed for no reason and the slavery of blacks is justified.



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1.8 Genesis I: Stories of Creation


Sun, Jun 21, 2015


The opening chapters of Genesis recount two stories of creation, neither of which involves Satan. One is from the J source, the other from the P source. I compare these to the creation stories from ancient Mesopotamian sources. Genesis has always been more important to Christians than to Jews, who regared Exodus as telling the central story of Judaism.  Naturally, that leads to a discussion of Jewish attitudes to IVF.



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1.7 Writing the Pentateuch


Sun, Jun 07, 2015


Work by scholars from the late 19th century had established that five sources lay behind the Pentateuch. They came to be known by letters: J, E, P, and D. These theories were a mainstay of biblical studies until recently. Although questioned in the past 20 years, the theory known as the Documentary Hypothesis is still accounted a firm starting place for any sort of examination of the text of the Pentateuch. I also find out why the Bible is divided into chapters and verses.



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1.6 Canaan of the Patriarchs


Sun, May 24, 2015


This potted history of the Middle East in the Bronze Age sets the background for the episodes that follow. It traces the story of Canaan as it was uncovered, and then reinterperted, by archaeologists from the 1930s to the present day. I introduce William Foxwell Albright, the most influential Middle Eastern scholar of the 20th century. I also cover the greatest catastrophe of antiquity, the Bronze Age Collapse, and how scholars construct chronologies.



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1.5 The Names of God


Sun, May 10, 2015


The finds at the ancient city of Ugarit in Syria provided us with our knowledge of the religion of Canaan, the land conquered by the Israelites. Some of this religion, such as the god El and the monsters Leviathon and Bohemoth found their way into the ancient religion of Israel and into the Bible. I also discuss the most common names of god found in the Bible (Yahweh, El, Elohim, Adonai), and what they mean.



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1.4 Recovering Ancient Israel


Sun, Apr 26, 2015


I trace the beginnings of biblical archaeology, from Carsten Niebuhr to John Garstang, the man who thought he found Joshua's city of Jericho.



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1.3 Canons and Criticism


Sun, Apr 12, 2015


I conclude my tour of the canons, finishing with the zaniest of them all. I also get into  the lesser known textual traditions: those of the Samaritans, and the Aramaic and Syriac translations. With that under my belt, I begin to explore the history of the history of the bible. I start with Rabbi Abraham ibn Ezra and end up with Johann Semler. Along the way, I meet Archbishop Ussher, he who decided the world was created in 4004 BC,  and decide he is not only over-rated, but a complete ditz.



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1.2 What is the Bible?


Wed, Mar 25, 2015


The Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, and Church of the East all have different versions of the Bible, with dissimilar books, based on different ancient texts. I explain why. For a handy summary chart, check out my chart Canons of the Old Testament at www.historyinthebible.com.



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1.1 All the History, in all the Books, in all the Bibles


Tue, Mar 24, 2015


Introducing the History in the Bible Podcast, from www.historyinthebible.com. I will present the latest research in the archaeology of the Holy Land, discuss every single book in all the various canons of all the Bibles, presenting the history in each book, and how each book is located in history. I will also explore the current state of Biblical criticism, and investigate what we know about the ancient Israelite religion.



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