Public Lectures

L4: The Ancient Near East & the Bible April 30 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm


How often have you visited a major museum and wandered around, staring  at the artifacts, with little clue as to their relevance for your  religious faith? Ever wondered about the Ancient Near East (ANE) where  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lived? What were the contemporary, cultural,  political, and social contexts from which Israel emerged as a nation? 

Understanding the geohistorical contexts of the Old Testament is  instrumental to the study of the Bible. This guide will introduce the  art and science of archaeology, their contributions to biblical studies  as well as their limitations as a tool to reconstruct the past. Learn  about the history of the ANE, their myths and religions, as well as the  contemporary tensions between conservative-confessional and  liberal-critical prejudices and biases in their interpretations of the  Bible in the light of archaeology. It will also examine a selection of  artifacts from the Met’s ANE collection relevant to the Bible with  reference to their geohistorical and theological contexts. 

In this lecture, we shall focus on the Persian Empire: its culture, langauge and influence on the writing of the Bible. 

This event is free but please register for it. You are invited to  make a donation to the ministry to make such public lectures available  at no cost. 

L5.Missions to the Ends of the Earth – The Silk Road September 10 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm


In 431, the 3rd Council of the Church led to great disagreement  so that by the end of the 5th century, there were essentially 3  traditions of Christianity:  

  1. European Christianity based on Latin.
  2. African Christianity based on Coptic.
  3. Asian Christianity based on Syriac.

This lecture will outline how Christians from Persia led missions  that reached China in 635 AD. In 1625, physical evidence of this was  first discovered in Xian, China. Subsequently, more documents were found  in Dunhuang, Gansu province and in the mighty Taklamakan desert of  Xinjiang province. 

How does this very early strand of Eastern Christianity that had  little to do with Rome help us think about the early history of the  faith. 

L6. The Greco-Roman World & the Bible October 15 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Jesus conducted his ministry as a Jew in Galilee and Judea. These areas were influenced by the trade, culture, and political structures of the larger Greco-Roman world. 

The cities of Sepphoris and Tiberias played a major role in spreading  Greco-Roman influence in Galilee. Herod Antipas, the Roman client-king  of Galilee during Jesus’ time, established them. He honored his boss,  the Roman emperor, by renaming Sepphoris as “Autocratoris,” a Greek form  of the Latin imperial designation “Imperator.” Herod also named  Tiberias after the emperor Tiberius. 

Roman cities exhibited and promoted features of Greco-Roman  culture—architecture, teachers and philosophers, roads and bathhouses,  temples and markets, and entertainment such as the Roman theater at  Sepphoris. Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown, was about four miles from  Sepphoris. 

How might Greco-Roman culture have influenced Jesus, Peter, James, John  and Paul? Some have seen connections between Jesus’ actions, such as his  working of miracles, and the broader culture, which included other  miracle workers. There were certainly Jewish miracle workers, both in  older biblical Jewish traditions (Elijah and Elisha) and in  first-century Jewish traditions (Honi the circle drawer; Hanina ben  Dosa). But there were also numerous miracle workers in the Greco-Roman  world—healers and exorcists like Apollonius of Tyana. As with stories  about Jesus, accounts show Apollonius raising people from the dead and  demons crying out in his presence. 

We shall dip into this amazing period in history to better understand the Bible.