June 22, 2012 – History of God, Satan & Early Christianity

My guest on the next edition of “Consider This” is Eric Thompson, Ph.D. He is a professor of religious studies at Santa Rosa Junior College, where he teaches such courses as the History of God, History of Satan, Introduction to Religious Studies, Early Christian Literature, The Hebrew Bible, & Comparative Mythology. He can read many ancient, “dead” languages (no longer spoken by any communities), such as Ancient Greek, Ancient Hebrew, & Aramaic. This means he can read all the Jewish and Christian Scriptures in their original languages, and he is also competent in several other dead languages, as well as German & French, and he is working on Arabic. Recommended reading list below.

One of his current interests is myth-making, its social function, and religious institutionalization: where do myths (stories of the gods/goddesses) come from? What forces and impulses shape the making of myths? How do myths work in societies? How are myths canonized and interpreted by later generations of people who inherit them as sacred but live in a different “world” than those who formed them?

Professor Thompson mentioned on the show that he will be appearing in a play, Peaseblossom by Patrick Devon, and I wanted to provide some more information for anyone interested. Patrick Devon is a pen name. The author is Tom Chapman who is a member of OSF (Oregon Shakespeare Festival) in Ashland. He has a company of his own that creates comedic material. Peaseblossom is a comic, behind-the-scenes look at Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream from the point of view of the fairies. It is produced by The Sebastopol Shakespeare Festival which is an arm of Main Stage West, formerly Sonoma County Rep. The show has a very stellar cast including both local actors and members of the Ashland company.

It will run July 13-29 at Ives Park in Sebastopol, Thursday thru Sunday @ 7:00 p.m.
For more info and to get tickets: mainstagewest.com or (707) 823-0177

Recommended Reading:

Universal God by Eric Thompson, Ph.D. (free download in Acrobat format)

A History of God & The Battle for God by Karen Armstrong
The Evolution of God by Robert Wright
The End of Faith by Sam Harris
Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth by Bart Ehrman
Christology In the Making by James Dunn

Adam, Eve, and the Serpent & The Origin of Satan by Elaine Pagels
The History of Hell by Alice Turner
The Origins of Biblical Monotheism by Mark S. Smith
Who Were The Ancient Israelites and Where Did They Come From? by William Dever
What Did The Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It? by William Dever
The Bible Unearthed by Israel Finkelstein and Asher Silberman
Forged: Writing in the Name of God–Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are by Bart Ehrman
Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman
Lost Christianities by Bart Ehrman
The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant by John Dominic Crossan
Honest to Jesus by Robert Funk
The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man by Robert Price
Satan: A Biography by Henry Ansgar Kelly
Evil Incarnate by David Frankfurter (a fantastic work of scholarship!!!!)
Satan in America by Scott Poole