"Christ Cleansing the Temple", 1655 ca., by Bernardino Mei
Numerous significant issues were debated by the followers of Jesus in the decades and centuries after his death. Following the success of two previous great controversies seminars, Bart Ehrman, a leading authority on early Christianity, the New Testament, and the life of Jesus, returns to explore four more questions that continue to intrigue scholars and those who are interested in the history of the Christian tradition.
9:30–10:45 a.m. Does the Old Testament Predict the Coming of Jesus?
Early Christians devised a new way of reading the Jewish Bible (the “Old” Testament) by claiming it was filled from beginning to end with prophecies of the coming Messiah. Is that actually what Moses and the prophets had in mind?
11 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Did Jesus Have a Twin Brother?
The apostle Thomas is commonly said to have been the first missionary to India. But the earliest tradition of his journey came with a peculiar twist: Thomas was said to have been Jesus’ identical twin brother. How could that be? Among other things, how could Jesus have a twin if his mother was a virgin?
12:15–1:15 p.m. Break
1:15–2:30 p.m. Did Paul Despise Peter?
Most readers of the New Testament assume the apostles Peter and Paul were on friendly terms and agreed about what it meant to be a Christian. For many years, scholars have argued otherwise, that Peter and Paul were at each other’s throats. How can we decide the issue?
2:45–4 p.m. Does the Bible Predict the End is Near?
For nearly 2,000 years students of prophecy have declared that the predictions of Scripture were coming to pass in their own day and that the end was near. In light of recent and current world events, is it possible that this time they are right?
Ehrman is the James A. Gray distinguished professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
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