This 9-DVD set, compiled for the avid Bible and archaeology enthusiast, features lectures by world-renowned scholars on such exciting topics as the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Garden of Eden and the Biblical concept of Armageddon.
Jerusalem and the Garden of Eden
Lawrence Stager discusses biblical descriptions of several gardens, including the Garden of Eden. A description in the Book of Ezekiel locates the Garden of Eden close to Jerusalem. Taking his cue from Ezekiel, Stager postulates that the garden in the Valley of Kidron might be Eden. He tests this theory against passages in the Psalms, the Song of Songs and Genesis.
4QMMT and Paul
Scholars have typically interpreted a Dead Sea Scroll document called 4QMMT as contrary to the teachings of Paul. It seems to advocate justification by acts whereas Paul teaches justification by faith alone. N.T. Wright demonstrates that while the arguments in 4QMMT seem to contradict Paul, that is not necessarily the case.
The Dead Sea Scrolls & The New Testament
James VanderKam delivers a point-by-point comparison of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament. He asserts that while the scrolls should not be directly linked to the Bible, they reveal a community living before, during and after Jesus, and cast much light on the early relationship of Christianity to Judaism.
Jewish Reform Movements
Anthony Saldarini characterizes the Qumran community, the Jesus movement and the followers of Matthew as contemporary reform groups within the broad categories of Jews and Christians. He theorizes that Matthew would have been aware of the Qumran community’s beliefs (just as we are aware of various religious beliefs today) and notes similarities between the Matthean community, Qumran and Matthew’s gospel.
A Jesus Hideout in Jordan?
James Tabor combines clues from the Gospel of John, the story of Elijah, the Dead Sea Scrolls and other historical writings that point to the location of a Jesus hideout east of Jordan, near Calim. He demonstrates how the combination of archaeology, historical documents such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the bible texts produces a unique picture of the Nazarene movement and the geography of Jesus’ life.
Challenging the idea that one can fully understand the meaning of a biblical verse based solely on that verse alone, James Sanders explains the concept of biblical intertextuality. Since the Bible is full of inner references, one must study a single verse along with the verses that foreshadow or refer back to it, as well as the verses that deal with common themes. He cites specific examples of biblical intertextuality and discusses the traditions of scholarship that have used the concept in their work.
The Battles of Armageddon
Eric Cline describes in detail the many fierce battles—beginning in 2350 B.C.—that have taken place at Megiddo, which sits at a crucial crossroad in northern Israel. Cline then investigates how this battleground city came to inspire the Biblical concept of Armageddon.
God’s Footstool and Footprints
Many metaphors in the Bible regarding God’s outstretched arms, eyes and heart have been noted by readers of scripture, but less attention has been given to references to God’s lower body. Michael Coogan examines Biblical descriptions of God’s feet as He marches ahead of His people, treads on His domain, and rests His feet on a golden footstool, the Ark of the Covenant.
Honor and Shame
Richard Rohrbaugh elucidates the concepts of honor and shame, which he sees as core values in Mediterranean culture and thus of the Biblical world. Rohrbaugh draws on his experiences of living in both the Mediterranean world and in the West. He concentrates on passages in the New Testament that are influenced by the culture of the region and highlights the important role of honor and shame in those verses.