Interview: discussing the Apostle Paul with Dr. Michael Barber

Yesterday I had a lengthy conversation with Dr. Michael Barber of the Augustine Institute in Denver, CO. We talked about his new book Paul, A New Covenant Jew: Rethinking Pauline Theology, the Apostle Paul himself, Paul’s letters and theology, and why Paul is meaningful to Catholics, Protestants, and even non-Christians.

Some parts the video are a bit choppy due to Internet connection. For that, I apologize. But overall it’s a great conversation that I hope y’all enjoy.

Here are the questions I asked Dr. Barber during our interview:

  1. Tell us why I’m talking to you about the Apostle Paul. What does Paul have to do with your research? 
  2. Can you provide a short biography of Paul? Who was he? Why is he important? What does he have to do with the eventual shape of Christianity?
  3. A couple weeks ago my students encountered the Resurrection Narratives of the Gospels. Soon they’ll read Paul’s explanation of the resurrection from his First Epistle to the Corinthians. Additionally, they have a basic understanding of Jewish apocalypticism. Can you connect Jesus’ resurrection, apocalypticism, and Paul’s worldview together for us?
  4. Many of my students have spent time learning about the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants. As you explain in your book Paul, a New Covenant Jew (co-authored with Brant Pitre and John A. Kincaid), Paul values these covenants but he interprets then in relation to the ‘New Covenant’. What’s this New Covenant and what does it have to do with the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants?
  5. What’s central to Paul’s theology? What’s the the core of his thought? 
  6. While I teach at an Episcopal high school the religious-majority is Catholic. You’re a Catholic scholar. What’s one thing you wish Catholics understood better about Paul? And then let’s flip it around and tell me what’s one thing you wish Protestants understood better about Paul?
  7. Finally, what’s the relevance of Paul for my students who aren’t religious or who come from religious traditions other than Christianity? Is there anything in Paul’s thought that they can find valuable?

Educating in the Era of COVID-19: Day 16

Is it possible to get a headache from too much video conferencing?

I think it is.

Yesterday was Wednesday which means I checked in on my classes via Google Meet. Most of my students are in good spirits. Many of my students didn’t make an appearance. I’m not sure how to interpret that though. Are they doing so well they don’t need the Meets? Are they doing so poorly that they can’t get themselves to participate? Are they sleeping until 1 PM? Are they tiring of online social interaction?

The highlight of the day was my interview with Dr. Michael Barber. We talked about the Apostle Paul. I’ll be posting that video soon so y’all can watch it.

Day 15
Week 3
Week 2
Week 1

Teaching about Paul and his letters online

Rembrandt’s ‘St. Paul in Prison’ showing Paul being productive while practicing ‘social distancing’ (via Wikimedia Commons)

Students taking my class ‘The Christian Scriptures’ (a.k.a., ‘New Testament’) will spend most of the last few weeks of the semester engaging the Pauline Epistles. Due to COVID-19, there’s a possibility they’ll have to do this from home. Therefore, it’s time for me to begin gathering some online resources. If you think of something to add to this list, please leave a comment (but remember, I teach high school):

  1. Laura Nasrallah of Harvard University has a bunch of short videos on Paul and his letters: The Letters of Paul. I think I may use a lot of this material, especially since the videos are shorter.
  2. BibleProject has overviews of each epistle: New Testament Playlist. And recently they created an introduction to the Epistles.
  3. Some of Religion for Breakfast‘s (Andrew Henry) videos, such as ‘Where Did Ancient Christians Meet?’ and ‘Why Did the Romans Persecute Christians?’, could be useful.
  4. Bible Odyssey has articles such as Davina C. Lopez’s ‘Paul’; Paula Fredriksen’s ‘Paul and Judaism’ and ‘Paul and the Kingdom’; and Cavin C. Concannon’s ‘Paul and Authorship’ that are all bite-size and mostly readable.
  5. And obviously, I’ll have my students read from Paul’s letters themselves via

Also, while students won’t be able to enter class to a ‘Song of the Day’ if we are forced online, I want to continue providing my Slides with one slide containing an embedded link to a YouTube video with what would’ve been the Song of the Day. So, what songs would you choose for Paul and his letters?