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 5.2: Studying the Historical Jesus – Sources and Problems, part 2

This episode is the second of three that introduce key historical sources and problems in reconstructing the life of a peasant from Galilee, the historical Jesus. This is part of series 5 (The Historical Jesus in Context) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 5.2: Studying the Historical Jesus – Sources and Problems, part 2 (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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You may also subscribe to this and subsequent episodes through iTunes or another podcatcher. View credits for my introductory music.

Podcast 5.1: Studying the Historical Jesus – Sources and Problems, part 1

This episode is the first of three that introduce key historical sources and problems in reconstructing the life of a peasant from Galilee, the historical Jesus. This is part of series 5 (The Historical Jesus in Context) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 5.1: Studying the Historical Jesus – Sources and Problems, part 1 (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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You may also subscribe to this and subsequent episodes through iTunes or another podcatcher. View credits for my introductory music.

Podcast 4.6: Honouring the Emperors as Gods

Here I explain emperor worship and the various types of honours for the emperors as gods, including imperial cults at the provincial, civic, and local levels in Asia Minor.  This is the final episode in series 4 (Honouring the Gods in the Roman Empire) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 4.6: Honouring the Emperors as Gods (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 4.5: Justice from the Gods in Lydia

Here I discuss the active role of the gods in punishing transgressors by focusing on indigenous practices in the region of Lydia, particularly the propitiation or confession inscriptions.  This is part of series 4 (Honouring the Gods in the Roman Empire) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 4.5: Justice from the Gods in Lydia (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 4.4: Messages from the Gods – Apollo at Claros and Didyma

Here I discuss messages from the gods, or divination.  One way in which the gods were thought to communicate with individuals, groups, and communities was through oracles such as those of Apollo at Claros and Didyma.  This is part of series 4 (Honouring the Gods in the Roman Empire) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 4.4: Messages from the Gods – Apollo at Claros and Didyma (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 4.3: Salvation from the Gods – Asklepios at Pergamon (Pergamum)

Here I discuss the way in which people in Roman times believed that gods saved them in their daily lives, focusing on the case of the healing sanctuary of Asklepios at Pergamon (Pergamum).  This is part of series 4 (Honouring the Gods in the Roman Empire) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 4.3: Salvation from the Gods – Asklepios at Pergamon (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 4.2: A City and Its Patron Deity – Artemis of Ephesus

Here I discuss civic cults in Asia Minor and Ephesus with a focus on the relationship between a city and its patron deity (in this case Artemis Ephesia).  This is part of series 4 (Honouring the Gods in the Roman Empire) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 4.2: A City and Its Patron Deity – Artemis of Ephesus (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 4.1: Introduction to Honouring the Gods

This is the introductory episode for a series that explores the various ways in which people in the Roman empire, especially in Asia Minor, honoured and communicated with their gods.  This is part of series 4 (Honouring the Gods in the Roman Empire) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 4.1: Introduction to Honouring the Gods (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 3.16: The Gospel of Mary – Secret Knowledge from the Ultimate Disciple

Here I discuss this dialogue gospel in which Mary Magdalene is presented as Jesus’ favourite disciple and the instructor of true knowledge. I explore notions of salvation in terms of the ascent of the soul, as well as the way in which this writing reflects struggles among different groups of Jesus-followers. This is part of series 3 (“Diversity in Early Christianity: ‘Heresies’ and Struggles”) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 3.16: The Gospel of Mary – Secret Knowledge from the Ultimate Disciple (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 3.15: The Gospel of Philip, part 2 – Ritual Enactments of Salvation

Here I finish the discussion of the Gospel of Philip by focusing on the way in which notions of salvation were enacted in the practices of the followers of Jesus who used this writing. In particular, rituals such as the “bridal chamber” illustrate the connections between sex (as a metaphor) and salvation in the mindset of this author. This is part of series 3 (“Diversity in Early Christianity: ‘Heresies’ and Struggles”) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 3.15: The Gospel of Philip, part 2 – Ritual Enactments of Salvation (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 3.14: The Gospel of Philip, part 1 – Ideas of Salvation

Here I discuss the Gospel of Philip (perhaps best known in connection with the Da Vinci Code). This episode deals with the author’s worldview and ideas about the condition of humanity, preparing the way for a second episode on the practices and rituals that enacted salvation. This is part of series 3 (“Diversity in Early Christianity: ‘Heresies’ and Struggles”) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 3.14: The Gospel of Philip, part 1 – Ideas of Salvation (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 3.13: The Wisdom of Jesus Christ and Middle Platonism

Here I use two related Nag Hammadi writings — Eugnostos the Blessed and The Sophia of Jesus Christ — as a window into forms of Christianity that were heavily influenced by Middle Platonic philosophy, particularly in regard to cosmology and the divine Triad. This is part of series 3 (“Diversity in Early Christianity: ‘Heresies’ and Struggles”) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 3.13: The Wisdom of Jesus Christ and Middle Platonism (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 3.12: Secret Book of John, part 2 – Salvation from the Material Realm

Here I continue to explain the worldview of the Apocryphon of John, particularly its notions regarding the material realm, the inferior creator god (demiurge), and salvation from this realm. This is part of series 3 (“Diversity in Early Christianity: ‘Heresies’ and Struggles”) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 3.12: Secret Book of John, part 2 – Salvation from the Material Realm (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 3.11: Secret Book of John, part 1 – The Spiritual Realm

Here I begin to explain the worldview of the Apocryphon of John, one of the Nag Hammadi writings (part 1 of 2). Like other writings in that collection, this author makes a clear distinction between the perfect spiritual realm, also known as the “fullness”, and an inferior material realm created by a jealous god or “ruler” (archon). In this episode I describe the perfect spiritual realm and the process of emanations from the perfect “Invisible Spirit” or “Father”. This is part of series 3 (“Diversity in Early Christianity: ‘Heresies’ and Struggles”) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 3.11: Secret Book of John, part 1 – The Spiritual Realm (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 3.10: Introducing Gnostic Worldviews

Here I set the stage for the study of specific Nag Hammadi and related writings by outlining in broad terms some common denominators in the worldviews traditionally labeled “gnostic”. This includes discussion of the Middle Platonic assumptions of many authors. I also deal with the importance of knowledge (gnosis) in the understanding of how salvation from the material realm, which was created by an inferior god, takes place. This is part of series 3 (“Diversity in Early Christianity: ‘Heresies’ and Struggles”) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 3.10: Introducing Gnostic Worldviews (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 3.9: Marcionites and the Unknown God

Here I explore Marcionite forms of Christianity, which contrast significantly to the Judean forms discussed in the previous episode. Followers of Marcion believed that the legalistic God of the Hebrew Bible was to be distinguished from the loving, unknown Father-God who sent Jesus, and that Law was opposed to Gospel. This is part of series 3 (“Diversity in Early Christianity: ‘Heresies’ and Struggles”) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 3.9: Marcionites and the Unknown God (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 3.8: Jewish Followers of Jesus, part 2 – Pseudo-Clement

Here I continue to explore Jewish followers of Jesus by examining key passages in an apocryphal novel attributed to Clement of Rome, also known as the Pseudo-Clementine writings. In particular, an opening letter claiming to be written by Peter to James and the story of Peter’s debates with Simon Magus (a cipher for Paul) provide glimpses into struggles between Jewish followers of Jesus and others, including Pauline forms of Christianity. This is part of series 3 (“Diversity in Early Christianity: ‘Heresies’ and Struggles”) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 3.8: Jewish Followers of Jesus, part 2 – Pseudo-Clementine Writings (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 3.7: Jewish Followers of Jesus, part 1 – Ebionites

Beginning with James the brother of Jesus and the Jerusalem church, here I trace evidence for Judean followers of Jesus and discuss their gradual marginalization. In particular, I focus attention on Jewish-Christian groups that the patristic sources (e.g. Irenaeus, Epiphanius) label “the Ebionites”, or “poor ones”. This is part of series 3 (“Diversity in Early Christianity: ‘Heresies’ and Struggles”) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 3.7: Jewish Followers of Jesus, part 1 – Ebionites (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 3.6: Sources for the Study of Diversity – Gnostic, Apocryphal, Patristic

Here I sketch out our main sources for the study of various Christian groups or “heresies” in the second and third centuries, including discussion of the early Christian Apocrypha, the Nag Hammadi writings (associated with “gnosticism”), and the Church Fathers. This is part of series 3 (“Diversity in Early Christianity: ‘Heresies’ and Struggles”) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 3.6: Sources for the Study of Diversity – Gnostic, Apocryphal, Patristic (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 3.5: Diversity in Asia Minor – A Regional Case Study

Here I use the region of Asia Minor (Turkey) as a case study that allows me to outline various strands and styles within Christianity in the first and second centuries. I then go on to outline our approach to studying the worldviews and practices of Christian groups and “heresies”. This is part of series 3 (“Diversity in Early Christianity: ‘Heresies’ and Struggles”) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 3.5: Diversity in Asia Minor – A Regional Case Study (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options ).

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Podcast 3.4: Docetic and Judaizing Opponents of Ignatius, part 2

Here I discuss Ignatius’ Judaizing opponents, who advocated certain Jewish beliefs and practices. I also deal with Ignatius’ strategies in combating groups he considered heretical. This is part of series 3 (“Diversity in Early Christianity: ‘Heresies’ and Struggles”) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 3.4: Docetic and Judaizing Opponents of Ignatius, part 2 (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 3.3: Docetic and Judaizing Opponents of Ignatius, part 1

There are two main groups of opponents combated by Ignatius of Antioch in his letters to followers of Jesus in Asia Minor: Docetic and Judaizing opponents (part 1 of 2). This episode introduces Ignatius (who wrote in the early second century) and explains the position of his docetic opponents, who thought that Jesus only appeared to be human when in fact he was a divine being. This is part of series 3 (“Diversity in Early Christianity: ‘Heresies’ and Struggles”) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 3.3: Docetic and ‘Judaizing’ Opponents of Ignatius, part 1 (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 3.2: A Schism in John’s Community, part 2

Here I continue to consider the opponents in John’s epistles (part 2 of 2). These epistles provide evidence of an early Christian schism over how to view Jesus’ humanity. This is part of series 3 (“Diversity in Early Christianity: ‘Heresies’ and Struggles”) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 3.2: A Schism in John’s Community, part 2 (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 3.1: Introduction to Diversity – A Schism in John’s Community, part 1

Here I delve into the issue of diversity in early Christianity by using the opponents in John’s epistles as a starting point (part 1 of 2). These epistles provide evidence of an early Christian schism over how to view Jesus’ humanity. This is part of series 3 (“Diversity in Early Christianity: ‘Heresies’ and Struggles”) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 3.1: Introduction to Diversity – A Schism in John’s Community, part 1 (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 2.11: Hebrews’ Portrait of Jesus – Highpriest Melchizedek, part 2

Here I discuss the way in which the book of Hebrews portrays Jesus both as highpriest Melchizedek and once for all sacrifice (part 2 of 2). In particular, I explore the ways in which this author is saturated by the Hebrew scriptures and influenced by Platonic philosophy. This is the final episode in series 2 (“Early Christian Portraits of Jesus”) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 2.11: Hebrews’ Portrait of Jesus – Highpriest Mechizedek, part 2 (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 2.10: Hebrews’ Portrait of Jesus – Highpriest Melchizedek, part 1

Here I discuss the way in which the book of Hebrews portrays Jesus both as high-priest Melchizedek and once for all sacrifice (part 1 of 2). This is part of series 2 (“Early Christian Portraits of Jesus”) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 2.10: Hebrews’ Portrait of Jesus – Highpriest Mechizedek, part 1 (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 2.9: John’s Portrait of Jesus – Son and Word, part 2

Here I continue to discuss how the gospel of John portrays Jesus as both the Word of God and the Son sent by the Father (part 2 of 2).  This is part of series 2 (“Early Christian Portraits of Jesus”) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 2.9: John’s Portrait of Jesus – Son and Word, part 2 (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 2.8: John’s Portrait of Jesus – Son and Word, part 1

Here I discuss how the gospel of John portrays Jesus as both the Word of God and the Son sent by the Father (part 1 of 2). I also deal with this gospel’s stress on the importance of “signs” pointing to Jesus’ identity and the way in which Jesus (“Lamb of God”) is viewed as a fulfillment of Jewish festivals, especially Passover. This is part of series 2 (“Early Christian portraits of Jesus”) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 2.8: John’s Portrait of Jesus – Son and Word, part 1 (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 2.7: Luke’s Portrait of Jesus – Prophet Elijah, part 2

Here I continue to discuss how the gospel of Luke portrays Jesus as a prophet like Elijah, which also entails presenting Jesus as a saviour to the poor and marginalized of society (part 1 of 2). This is part of series 2 (“Early Christian portraits of Jesus”) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 2.7: Luke’s Portrait of Jesus – Prophet Elijah, part 2 (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

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Podcast 2.6: Luke’s Portrait of Jesus – Prophet Elijah, part 1

Here I discuss how the gospel of Luke portrays Jesus as a prophet like Elijah, which also entails presenting Jesus as a saviour to the poor and marginalized of society (part 1 of 2). In this first part, I provide some important background for understanding this two volume work, Luke-Acts, both as ancient biography and as ancient history-writing. This is part of series 2 (“Early Christian portraits of Jesus”) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.

Podcast 2.6: Luke’s Portrait of Jesus – Prophet Elijah, part 1 (mp3; archive.org page with various downloading options here).

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

You may also subscribe to this and subsequent episodes through iTunes or another podcatcher. View credits for my introductory music remix.