Category Archives: Podcast

The Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast (by Philip A. Harland, York University) explores social and religious life in the Greco-Roman world, especially early Christianity including the New Testament. Half-hour episodes are released monthly. These episodes are not scripted; they are edited versions of improvised lectures from point-form notes.

There are several series in the podcast:
Series 1: Paul and his communities (2007 – 2008).
Series 2: Early Christian portraits of Jesus (2008).
Series 3: Diversity in Early Christianity: “Heresies” and struggles (2009)
Series 4: Honouring the Gods in the Roman Empire (2009-2010)
Series 5: The Historical Jesus in Context (2011)
Series 6: Associations in the Greco-Roman World (2011)
Series 7: Visions of the End (2012)

Podcast 8.24: Satanic Imagery and Conspiracies in Modern Culture

This final episode in the series looks at some ways in which Satan still finds a place within modern culture.  After discussing the importance of the film Nosferatu (1922), I discuss Satanic imagery within the country blues (1930s) and rock and roll.  Then I conclude with a discussion of two Satanic conspiracies of the 1980s, the Satanic ritual abuse scare and the notion of backmasking in rock and roll.

Podcast 8.24: Satanic Imagery and Conspiracies in Modern Culture (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 8.23: Goethe’s Ironic Mephistopheles (ca. 1800)

This episode looks at the modern, ironic portrayal of Mephistopheles in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust (ca. 1800), which suggests some future directions for a relatively harmless and even powerless Satan in the modern period.

Podcast 8.23: Goethe’s Ironic Mephistopheles (ca. 1800) (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 8.22: Milton’s Traditional Satan in Paradise Lost (1600s)

This episode looks at the way in which John Milton (in Paradise Lost) pulled together many different elements into an early modern epic of a traditional Satan with some notable twists.

Podcast 8.22: Milton’s Traditional Satan in Paradise Lost (1600s) (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 8.21: The Devil and Internal Struggles of the Reformation Period (1500s)

In this episode, I explore how Devilish images and stories were used to combat enemies during the Reformation period (1500s), finishing with a discussion of Menno Simons’ piece on identifying the Antichrist.

Podcast 8.21: The Devil and Internal Struggles of the Reformation Period (1500s) (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 8.20: Witchcraft Accusations and Pacts with the Devil (1400-1600)

This episode looks at the place of Satan or the Devil in witchcraft accusations of the period 1400-1600, building on Robin Briggs’ theory expounded in Witches and Neighbors: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft (London: Penguin Books, 1998).

Podcast 8.20: Witchcraft Accusations and Pacts with the Devil (1400-1600) (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 8.19: Satan and Demons in Everyday Life in the Middle Ages

This episode considers some Medieval perspectives on Satan and demons, considering stories of everyday interactions between humans and demons and looking at the role of Satan within one particular movement, the Cathars.

Podcast 8.19: Satan and Demons in Everyday Life in the Middle Ages (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 8.18: Satan’s Home, part 5 – Medieval Depictions and Dante’s Inferno

This episode discusses some medieval images of Satan and Hell with a special focus on Dante’s Inferno.

Podcast 8.18: Satan’s Home, part 5 – Medieval Depictions and Dante’s Inferno (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 8.17: Satan’s Home, part 4 – Tortures in Hell and Christ’s Descent

This episode looks at images of torture in hell that are first seen in the Apocalypse of Peter before going on to the notion of Christ’s descent into hell to rescue prisoners in other writings, including the so-called Gospel of Nicodemus.

Podcast 8.17: Satan’s Home, part 4 – Tortures in Hell and Christ’s Descent (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 8.16: Satan’s Home, part 3 – Developments among Early Jesus Followers

This episode looks at how certain followers of Jesus, including the authors of Revelation and the gospels, expressed their notions of Hell and the afterlife.

Podcast 8.16: Satan’s Home, part 3 – Developments among Early Jesus Followers (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 8.15: Satan’s Home, part 2 – The Birth of Judean Hell in 1 Enoch

This episode situates the emergence of Hell and notions of an afterlife within Judean apocalypticism in light of the earliest reference to the punishment of fallen angels in 1 Enoch (ca. 225 BCE).

Podcast 8.15: Satan’s Home, part 2 – The Birth of Judean Hell in 1 Enoch (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 8.14: Satan’s Home, Part 1 – Cultural Origins Of Hell

This episode looks at cultural predecessors of Hell and the afterlife in the Ancient Near East, Israel and Persia, setting the stage for discussion of Judean and Christian developments in the following episodes.

Podcast 8.14: Satan’s Home, Part 1 – Cultural Origins Of Hell (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 8.13: Satan as Father of Lies and Heresy in the Church Fathers

This episode looks at how the rhetoric of Satan and demons played a role in internal debates and the construction of “heresies” in the era of the so-called Church Fathers (2nd-4th centuries).

Podcast 8.13:  Satan as Father of Lies and Heresy in the Church Fathers (2nd-4th centuries CE) (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 8.12: Satan’s Demons and the Greco-Roman Gods in the Church Fathers

In the first of two episodes dealing with the Church Fathers, here I look at how Justin Martyr and Origen contribute to the story of Satan and his demons in countering external opponents.

Podcast 8.12: Satan’s Demons and the Greco-Roman Gods in the Church Fathers (2nd-3rd centuries CE) (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 8.11: The Jealous Creator and the Serpent of Wisdom in Gnosticism (2nd century CE)

Here I examine “On the Origin of the World” (one of the writings found at Nag Hammadi), which attributes to the creator God (Yaldabaoth) of the Hebrew Bible many of the negative attributes and motivations found in developing stories about Satan.  The result is a Satanic creator god and a wise serpent in the garden who brings knowledge (gnosis) and salvation.

Podcast 8.11: The Jealous Creator and the Serpent of Wisdom in Gnosticism (2nd century CE) (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 8.10: Jealous Satan, the Image of God, and the Serpent in the Life of Adam and Eve

Here I discuss the expanded story of Adam and Eve that emerged around the turn of the common era as a way of explaining the motivations of Satan (primarily jealousy) in connection with both the creation of humans in the image of God and the serpent in the garden.

Podcast 8.10: Jealous Satan, the Image of God, and the Serpent in the Life of Adam and Eve (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 8.9: A Satanic Empire in John’s Apocalypse (ca. 80-100 CE)

Here I discuss Satan in John’s Apocalypse (Revelation), pointing out how this author pulls together many strands of the story of Satan and does so to demonize an external power: the Roman empire.

Podcast 8.9: A Satanic Empire in John’s Apocalypse (ca. 80-100 CE) (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 8.8: Internal Functions of the Rhetoric of Satan in Paul and John (ca. 50-110 CE)

Here I introduce Paul’s apocalyptic worldview and go on to discuss the way in which some early Christian authors or leaders (e.g. Paul and the elder John) used the language or rhetoric of Satan or evil personified figures (e.g. Antichrist) to label and combat internal opponents within the Christian communities.

Podcast 8.8: Internal Functions of the Rhetoric of Satan in Paul and John (ca. 50-110 CE) (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 8.7: The Devil and Beelzebub in Early Biographies of Jesus (70-100 CE)

Here I discuss how the authors of the synoptic gospels portray Jesus in conflict with demons and with the Devil.

Podcast 8.7: The Devil and Beelzebub in Early Biographies of Jesus (70-100 CE) (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 8.6: Mastema in Jubilees and Beliar in the Dead Sea Scrolls (ca. 100 BCE)

Here I continue to trace the development of evil personified figures in Judean literature around the turn of the first century BCE, focussing on Mastema (Enmity personified) and Beliar or Belial (Worthless One).  I also discuss the Prince of Darkness in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Podcast 8.6: Mastema in Jubilees and Beliar in the Dead Sea Scrolls (ca. 100 BCE) (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 8.5: Fallen Angels in 1 Enoch (ca. 225 BCE)

Here I discuss 1 Enoch’s expanded story of the fallen angels headed by Azazel and Semyaz (based on an interpretation of Genesis 6), which came to play a crucial role in the emerging story of Satan.

Podcast 8.5: Fallen Angels in 1 Enoch (ca. 225 BCE) (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 8.4: Other Predecessors of Satan from the Hebrew Bible

Here I explore other building blocks of Satan’s story from Israelite culture by looking at arrogant foreign kings and angels or messengers of God in the Hebrew Bible.

Podcast 8.4: Other Predecessors of Satan from the Hebrew Bible (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 8.3: Predecessors of Satan from Persia (Zoroastrianism)

Here I discuss the battle between Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu in Persian Zoroastrianism in relation to the role of Satan within Judean apocalypticism.

Podcast 8.3: Predecessors of Satan from Persia (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 8.2: Predecessors of Satan from Canaan and Israel

This episode continues to consider the centrality of the “combat myth” for the subsequent origins of Satan, considering Ugaritic (Canaanite) and Israelite examples of a god slaying a chaos monster, such as Leviathan.

Podcast 8.2: Predecessors of Satan from Canaan and Israel (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 8.1: A Cultural History of Satan – Predecessors from Mesopotamia

This series of the podcast investigates the origins, history and functions of personified evil from ancient Judean (Jewish) and Christian culture to modern, Western culture.  We begin with what you might call the pre-history of Satan by exploring the building blocks of what ultimately became the story of Satan within Judean and Christian circles.  The first among the predecessors of Satan are monsters (who are also gods) found within Mesopotamian mythology in the second and first millenia BCE.  The so-called “combat myth” is a fundamental building block of Satan’s story.

Podcast 8.1: A Cultural History of Satan – Predecessors from Mesopotamia (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 7.8: Introduction to Daniel’s Historical Apocalypse

Here I introduce the “historical apocalypse” of Daniel, including a discussion of the kingdoms in king Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (ch. 2) and the historical context of chapters 7-12 (the visionary apocalypse proper) during the time of the Hellenistic king Antiochus IV Epiphanes (in the 160s BCE).

Podcast 7.8: Introduction to Daniel’s Historical Apocalypse (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 7.7: 1 Enoch – Fallen Angels in Early Apocalypticism

Here I examine the importance of the story of the fallen angels in 1 Enoch 1-36 for Judean apocalypticism, dealing with the literary genre of the otherworldly or cosmic journey apocalypse.

Podcast 7.7: 1 Enoch – Fallen Angels in Early Apocalypticism (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 7.6: 1 Enoch – An Introduction to the Earliest Apocalypse

Here I begin to introduce our earliest example of the Judean apocalyptic worldview and our first example of an otherworldly journey apocalypse as a type of literature, 1 Enoch (which most likely dates to about 225-200 BCE).  The next episode examines the so called “Book of Watchers” in 1 Enoch chapters 1-36 in more detail.

Podcast 7.6: 1 Enoch – An Introduction to the Earliest Apocalypse (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 7.5: Origins part 3b – Israelite Prophets 2

Here I continue to discuss the importance of the prophets in the Hebrew Bible for the subsequent development of apocalypticism, dealing with Zechariah and Isaiah 24-27 (sometimes known as the “Apocalypse of Isaiah”).

Podcast 7.5: Origins part 3b – Israelite Prophets 2 (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 7.4: Origins part 3a – Israelite Prophets 1

Here I discuss the importance of the prophets in the Hebrew Bible for the subsequent development of apocalypticism, beginning with a survey of important events in the history of Israel and discussion of a passage in Ezekiel (chs. 37-39).

Podcast 7.4: Origins part 3a – Israelite Prophecy 1 (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 7.3: Origins part 2 – Zoroastrian apocalypticism

Here I turn to Persia (Iran) in order to examine Zoroastrian apocalypticism and its relation to Judean apocalypticism.  This is part of series 6 (Visions of the End: Apocalypticism) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 7.3: Origins part 2 – Zoroastrian apocalypticism (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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