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Ethnic Relations and Cultural Life in the Ancient Mediterranean Podcast

Philip A. Harland

The "Ethnic Relations and Cultural Life in the Ancient Mediterranean" podcast (by Philip A. Harland, York University) explores sociocultural life and ethnic relations in the Greco-Roman world, including ancient Judeans (Jews) and Jesus adherents.

Episodes are released in the official podcast feed but are available earlier here on These episodes are not scripted; most are edited versions of improvised lectures from point-form notes.

There are several series in the podcast so far:

Series 1: Paul and his communities (12 episodes, Oct 2007 - Feb 2008 release)
Series 2: Early Christian portraits of Jesus (11 episodes, Feb 2008 - Sept 2008)
Series 3: Diversity in early Christianity: "Heresies" and struggles (16 episodes, Oct 2008-June 2009)
Series 4: Honouring the gods in the Roman Empire: Asia Minor (8 episodes; Sept 2009-Dec 2009)
Series 5: The Historical Jesus in context (14 episodes, Jan 2010-April 2011)
Series 6: Associations in the Greco-Roman World (14 episodes, April 2011-Oct 2012)
Series 7: Visions of the End 1: Origins of Judean Apocalypticism (Oct 2012-Oct 2013)
Series 8: A Cultural History of Satan: Evil Personified in Early Judaism and in Christianity (Nov 2013- )

Series 9: Ethnic Relations and Diaspora in the Ancient World (coming soon, in 2020)

Browse episodes starting with recent additions

Subscribe to the official podcast feed through iTunes or another podcatcher

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This episode looks at images of torture in hell that are first seen in the Apocalypse of Peter before going on to the notion of Christ's descent into hell in other writings, including the so-called Gospel of Nicodemus .
Topics: satan, hell, apocalypse of peter, gospel of nicodemus, torture, lex talionis, law of retaliation,...
This episode considers some Medieval perspectives on Satan and demons, considering stories of everyday interactions between humans and demons and looking at the role of Satan within one particular movement, the Cathars.
Topics: Satan, demons, medieval, inquisitions, cathars, heresies
This final episode in the series looks at some ways in which Satan still finds a place within modern culture.  After discussing the importance of the film Nosferatu (1922), I discuss Satanic imagery within the country blues (1930s) and rock and roll.  Then I conclude with a discussion of two Satanic conspiracies of the 1980s, the Satanic ritual abuse scare and the notion of backmasking in rock and roll.
Topics: Satan, devil, backmasking, film, country blues, rock
This episode looks at the place of Satan or the Devil in witchcraft accusations of the period 1400-1600, building on Robin Briggs' theory expounded in Witches and Neighbors: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft (London: Penguin Books, 1998).
Topics: satan, devil, witchcraft, witches, trials, sabbat, black mass, pact, Percy
This episode looks at how certain followers of Jesus, including the authors of Revelation and the gospels, expressed their notions of Hell and the afterlife.
Topics: satan, hell, gospels, revelation, apocalypse of john, afterlife
This episode looks at the cultural predecessors of Hell and the afterlife in the Ancient Near East, Israel and Persia, setting the stage for discussion of Judean and Christian developments in the following episodes.
Topics: hell, sheol, satan, judaism, zoroastrianism
This episode looks at the modern, ironic portrayal of Mephistopheles in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust (ca. 1800), which suggests some future directions for a relatively harmless and even powerless Satan in the modern period.
Topics: Satan, Goethe, Faust, Mephisto, pact with the devil
This episode discusses some medieval images of Satan and Hell with a special focus on Dante's Inferno .
Topics: satan, hell, dante, inferno, judas, medieval culture
This episode situates the emergence of Hell and notions of an afterlife within Judean apocalypticism in light of the earliest reference to the punishment of fallen angels in 1 Enoch (ca. 225 BCE).
Topics: Satan, hell, 1 enoch, judaism, judean culture, afterlife, heaven, apocalypticism
This episode looks at how the rhetoric of Satan and demons played a role in internal debates and the construction of "heresies" in the era of the so-called Church Fathers.
Topics: satan, church fathers, justin martyr, heresies, heretics
In this episode, I explore how Satanic images and stories were used to combat enemies during the Reformation period (1500s), finishing with a discussion of Menno Simons' piece on identifying the Antichrist.
Topics: Reformation, satan, devil, papacy, martin luther, Menno Simons
This episode looks at the way in which Milton (in Paradise Lost ) pulled together many different elements into an early modern portrayal of a traditional Satan with some notable twists.
Topics: Milton, Paradise Lost, Satan, devil, beelzebub, belial, poetry, early modern