These days there is a wealth of knowledge to be passively acquired by listening to various podcasts. I recently added a few more to my rotation and upon surveying the collection I felt like the subset of podcasts that deal with Biblical studies and related topics are worth highlighting. For whatever reason I find the topic fascinating and enjoy discovering all the insights that you would never hear coming from the pulpit. So without further ado…
- Amatuer Exegesis – “A podcast exploring the most read and least understood anthology the world has ever known”. Excellent series by The Amatuer Exegete that focuses on uncovering what the Biblical author’s really intended with their texts. The first season just completed.
- New Testament Review – A very informative and well done podcast in which two Duke PhD candidates review influential New Testament scholarship. I only discovered this a few weeks ago and this has constituted the entirety of my podcast listening since then as I have been catching up on the full back catalog.
- NT Pod – Podcast by Duke professor Mark Goodacre about the New Testament and Christian origins. There isn’t a consistent release schedule with this, but there’s a substantial back catalog you can work through.
- Bart Ehrman Blog Podcast – Weekly readings from Bart Ehrman’s blog. Each episode reads one new post and one post from several years ago, so even if you subscribe to the blog this is still valuable as a way to learn about things that were covered in the past.
- The ReligionProf Podcast – Podcast by Butler professor and prolific Patheos blogger James McGrath covering “the Bible, science fiction, education, music, and pretty much anything else that happens to grab his surprisingly short attention span”.
- Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean – Philip Harland’s podcast, primarily focusing on Christian origins and the relationship between early Christianity and other religions. I’ve posted on this before and I suspect there won’t be anything new posted to this series (it’s been many years) but the back catalog is still well worth a listen if you haven’t caught it before.
Enjoy! Please also let me know if you have any additional suggestions. I’m constantly struggling to keep up with my podcast queue, but still also always on the lookout for new ways to expand my mind.
A series I found both interesting and useful was ‘The History in the Bible’:
It is produced by Garry Stevens. Although he is not a Biblical Academic (rather an enthusiastic amature) , I was impressed by the knowledge and insights provided. He seems to have a lot of knowledge on the mid Eastern history.
I was raised Christian and studied theology at a post academic level. After I exited Christianity I found this series helpful to make sense of the Bible history as a human construct in the context of the broader mid East culture and history.
Thanks Peter. That looks really good. Not sure how it escaped my radar. It’s going to take a while to get through that back catalog.
Thanks for the shoutout! I have to admit though, if Ehrman, McGrath, NT Review (Robinson and Mills), are major league, I’m tee-ball. 🙂
C’mon, you’re at least A-ball! You’re tearing it up in the farm system and we all know the majors have an academic bias.
Hi Travis, I wonder how you find time to listen to lots of podcasts – are you in the car a lot, for example?
I disagree with the inference (if I understand rightly) that Ehrman and McGrath are somehow not scholars worth listening to. But they do represent the more sceptical or naturalist end of the spectrum, which is fine if that is where you are at personally, but it does mean that you may not be covering the full spectrum. I don’t listen to podcasts, so I don’t know who is podcasting that would provide a balance, but you probably know who to check out – maybe NT Wright ?
One suggestion I do have is Peter Enns, who is an OT specialist.
I usually listen to podcasts in the mornings when I’m getting ready for work, during my commute (preferably by bike), or whenever I’m doing some monotonous task. But that still isn’t typically enough time and I end up skipping a lot of episodes to keep up with the feed.
I’m not sure what inference you’re referring to regarding Ehrman and McGrath. Can you explain that comment?
It’s true that this is geared toward more academic views that generally stick with methodological naturalism. I do like Enns, so maybe I’ll have to give him another shot at making the cut. The NT Wright podcast looks a little heavy on the pastoral side of things for my taste.
I’ve found the Naked Bible Podcast by Michael Heiser to be very interesting and informative. He’s an Ancient Semitics scholar. In everything I’ve listened to from him so far he deals very even-handedly with different sides of an issue, pointing out flaws and strengths in both and rejecting bad arguments.
(See also his website drmsh.com)
Thanks! I’m not sure I’m ready for 40+ hours of discussion on the first 23 books of Exodus, but it seems like there is some good content throughout the back catalog to pick and choose from.
Travis I am so glad you are following so many different sources. Thank you for posting them! I am always interested in scholars who are not afraid of having a discussion with the hoi poloi. I am a paying member of Bart Ehrman’s blog and enjoy and have learned quite a bit from him over the many years. God what I would give to have a discussion with him!
I have been listening to the unbelievable podcast. https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Saturday/Unbelievable/ belief
for a while and they have several guests. But it tends to take an evengelical/fundementalist line too often – almost always. That said I would say it is probably the best podcast on many of the issues I have found so far.
I can’t wait to add a few more podcasts to the que. I have noticed you seem to learn quite a bit about relatively obscure OT scriptures. This is unusual for a non-believer.
I have been listening to Unbelievable for many years and while you’re not going to get much in the way of biblical studies, I agree that it is a great listen. It is one of the many other podcasts listed on my resources page.
I started going through NT pod and I thought he made some good points in his podcast about the “telephone game” and oral tradition. Bart Ehrman uses the telephone game analogy when he teaches classes – at least he did during the classes I had from the teaching company.
But I also wonder why they professors seem to say so much was oral tradition. I mean they tend to contradict themselves when they posit there was a Q document. When was Q written? Was it written? They seem to say well Luke must have just used Q and Mark (or maybe Matthew but that view has problems https://ehrmanblog.org/did-matthew-copy-luke-or-luke-matthew/ ) but they rule out the possibility of any other written material. Now I know written material was rare at the time. But Paul wrote several epistles that still survive and generally people tend to think ancient texts would not survive. So if we had other written information that contained information about Jesus – that were then incorporated into the gospels why would we think those written sources with bits of information about Jesus would be preserved?
Especially wehn Luke seems to refer to written accounts:
“Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”
I mean is “many” supposed to be just mark and Q?
The Q source theory intrigued me. For a long time I found the theory quite odd as there seemed little or no evidence for such a document. Even with Q it is hard to make sense of all of the subtle differences between the Gospels. Part of the argument used in my Theology course was that it was like looking an object described from South, North, East and West, each view is slightly different but all describe the same object.
However once I left Christianity behind I could make more sense of the theory. My conclusion was that it was the only way for scholars to make sense of the contradictions between the three synoptic Gospels, especially between Matthew and Luke. Without a Q source the conclusion starts to become something like one of the Gospel writers (probably Luke) changed bits of the story.
I actually think the existence of a Q source is helpful for Christianity. The existence of such a written source tends to cut against all the arguments we often hear about the oral tradition and the “telephone game” leading to our current gospels.
That Matthew and Luke seem to be drawing on some common written source other than Mark seems likely. The question I have is why do we assume there is only one written source. Luke says “many” have undertaken to draw up an account. So it seems he would have many accounts that people have drawn up not just 2. I am commenting on an older discussion on Bart Ehman’s blog between one scholar who says Luke used Matthew and another that says Matthew used Luke. Ehrman seems to indicate his best guess would be that neither used the other but rather they both used Mark and Q. But Q could have been one source or more than one. We do not know if it also contained any of L or M.
I am also plowing through many of these podcasts as i find the Gospels so beautiful and intriguing on so many levels. The more I listen the more I think I would give my right arm just to know what sources each of the authors really did have to work with. I just tend to think that the earliest body of work they had has been lost and we just don’t know what they had to work with. That is why I think it so odd to teach students it was passed down like the telephone game when that just seems like speculation contrary to what Luke says.
Mark’s secrecy is quite interesting as well. Jesus is always telling everyone not to tell anyone. From a cynical point of view you would think the author is just trying to explain why no one heard of these miracles. But then the author says that the people disobeyed Jesus’s instruction and told the whole town anyway. Its just interesting.
I have been going through many of these resources and they are great.
I have liked all of them but I have listened to the one by Phillip Harland the most so far. Especially his lectures regarding Satan and Hell have been really interesting. The book of Enoch is something I was not that informed about but it (or the traditions it draws on) does seem to be pretty important for shaping our ideas of fallen angels and hell.
Thanks again for sharing.
Awesome. Thanks for letting me know. It’s always nice to hear how others also benefit from these things.