Scholarly Perspectives
on Historical Christianity

by E. J. Campfield, H.S.


I developed a 15-topic series of historical-critical talks titled Scholarly Perspectives on Historical Christianity which I presented in years past to Unitarian Universalist congregations. They focused on the distinctly human character of early Jewish and Christian literature and the human processes at work in the unfolding of Judaism and Christianity historically.

I have completed all of the following graduate level lecture series courses in Religious Studies produced by The Great Courses while following the printed study guides for each course prepared by the professors. Each lecture is approximately 30 minutes. I’ve repeated many of these lecture series a second and even a third time:

Prof. Bart D. Ehrman, M.Div., Ph.D., (Princeton Theological Seminary)
Chairman, Department of Religious Studies
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

  • New Testament - 24 lectures
  • The Historical Jesus - 24 lectures
  • From Jesus to Constantine: A History of Early Christianity - 24 lectures
  • Lost Christianities: Christian Scripture & Battles over Authentication - 24 lectures
  • History of the Bible: Making of the New Testament Canon - 12 lectures
  • After the New Testament: Writings of the Apostolic Fathers - 24 lectures

Prof. Jodi Magness, Ph.D., (University of Pennsylvania)
Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

  • The Holy Land Revealed - 36 lectures

Prof. Amy-Jill Levine, Ph.D. (Duke University)
Professor of New Testament Studies
Vanderbilt University Divinity School

  • Great Figures of the New Testament - 24 lectures
  • Old Testament - 24 lectures

Prof. Isaiah M. Gafni, Ph.D., (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Sol Rosenbloom Professor of Jewish History
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

  • Beginnings of Judaism - 24 lectures

Dr. Shai Cherry, Ph.D., (Brandeis University)
Lecturer in Jewish Studies
University of California at Los Angeles and American Jewish University

  • Introduction to Judaism - 24 lectures

Prof. Glenn S. Holland, Ph.D., (University of Chicago)
Professor of Religious Studies
Allegheny College

  • Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean World - 48 lectures

Prof. Mark W. Muesse, Ph.D., (Harvard University)
Chair of the Department of Religious Studies
Rhodes College

  • Religions of the Axial Age - 24 lectures

Prof. Luke Timothy Johnson, Ph.D., (Yale University)
Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins
Emory University

  • Jesus and the Gospels - 36 lectures
  • Story of the Bible - 24 lectures
  • The Apostle Paul - 24 lectures
  • Early Christianity: Experience of the Divine - 24 lectures

Prof. Gary A. Rendsburg, Ph.D., (New York University)
Professor of Jewish Studies
Rutgers University

  • The Book of Genesis - 24 lectures
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls - 24 lectures

Prof. David Brakke, Ph.D., (Yale University)
Joe R. Engle Chair in the History of Christianity
The Ohio State University

  • Gnosticism: From Nag Hammadi to the Gospel of Judas - 24 lectures
  • The Apocryphal Jesus - 24 lectures

Prof. Cynthia R. Chapman, Th.D., (Harvard Divinity School)
Associate Professor of Biblical Studies
Oberlin College of Arts and Sciences

  • The World of Biblical Israel - 24 lectures

Prof. Patrick Allitt, Ph.D., (University of California, Berkeley)
Professor of History
Emory University

  • American Religious History - 24 lectures

Prof. Thomas Williams, Ph.D., (University of Notre Dame)
Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies
University of South Florida

  • Reason and Faith: Philosophy in the Middle Ages - 24 lectures

Prof. Phillip Cary, Ph.D., (Yale University)
Professor of Philosophy
Eastern University

  • Augustine: Philosopher and Saint - 12 lectures
  • The History of Christian Theology - 36 lectures

In connection with the above studies, I have read all of the following titles:

  • Josephus: The Complete Works, William Whiston, translator, 1998
  • New Testament Apocrypha, Vol. 1 & 2, R. M. Wilson, translator, 1963-64
  • Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why, Bart D. Ehrman, 2005
  • The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration, Bruce M. Metzger & Bart D. Ehrman, 2005
  • Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament, Bart D. Ehrman, 2003
  • Lost Christianities: Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew, Bart D. Ehrman, 2003
  • The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, Bart D. Ehrman, 1993
  • Jesus, Interrupted, Bart D. Ehrman, 2009
  • Forged, Bart D. Ehrman, 2011
  • Forgery and Counterforgery, Bart D. Ehrman, 2013
  • How Jesus Became God, Bart D. Ehrman, 2014
  • The Other Gospels, Bart D. Ehrman & Zlatko Plese, 2014
  • Jesus Before the Gospels, Bart D. Ehrman, 2016
  • Orthodoxy & Heresy in Earliest Christianity, Walter Bauer, 1934
  • Jesus the Magician, Morton Smith, 1978
  • The Secret Gospel: Discovery and Interpretation of the Secret Gospel According to Mark, Morton Smith, 1973
  • The Mystery of Mar Saba, J. H. Hunter, 1940
  • The Secret Gospel of Mark, Robert Conner, 2014
  • The Lost Books of the Bible, William Hone, 1988
  • Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas, Elaine Pagels, 2005
  • The Origin of Satan, Elaine Pagels, 1995
  • The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels, 1979
  • The Gnostic Paul: Gnostic Exegesis of the Pauline Letters, Elaine Pagels, 1975
  • The Christian Myth, Burton L. Mack, 2001
  • The Lost Gospel: The Book of “Q” & Christian Origins, Burton L. Mack, 1993
  • Jesus: A Life, A. N. Wilson, 1992
  • Paul: The Mind of the Apostle, A. N. Wilson, 1998
  • The Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason, Charles Freeman, 2002
  • St. Paul Versus St. Peter: A Tale of Two Missions, Michael Goulder, 1994
  • Secular Christianity, Ronald Gregor Smith, 1966
  • Christian Faith at the Crossroads: A Map of Modern Religious History, Lloyd Geering, 2001
  • Christianity without God, Lloyd Geering, 2002
  • Biblical Literalism: A Gentle Heresy, John Shelby Spong, 2016
  • The Sins of Scripture: Exposing the Bible’s Texts of Hate, John Shelby Spong, 2005
  • Why Christianity Must Change or Die, John Shelby Spong, 1998
  • Liberating the Gospels: Reading the Bible with Jewish Eyes, John Shelby Spong, 1996
  • The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason, Sam Harris, 2004
  • American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon, Stephen Prothero, 2003
  • Holy Writ as Oral Lit: The Bible as Folklore, Alan Dundes, 1999
  • The Laughing Jesus: Religious Lies and Gnostic Wisdom, Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy, 2005
  • The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man: How Reliable is the Gospel Tradition?, Robert M. Price, 2003
  • A Greek Fragment of The Diatessaron of Tatian of Dura, Carl H. Kraeling, Ph.D., 1892
  • Fragments of an Unknown Gospel and Other Early Christian Papyri, H. Idris Bell & T. C. Skeat, editors, 1935
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible, Martin Abegg Jr., Peter Flint & Eugene Ulrich, 1999
  • The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English, Geza Vermes, 1962
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation, Michael O. Wise, Martin Abegg Jr. & Edward Cook, 2005
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered, Michael Wise and Robert H. Eisenman, 1992
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls and the First Christians, Robert H. Eisenman, 2004
  • James the Brother of Jesus, Robert H. Eisenman, 1998
  • The Jordan Lead Codices: The Gospel of Abgar, Critical Edition, Daniel Deleanu, 2012
  • Beyond the Essene Hypothesis: Parting of the Ways between Qumran and Enochic Judaism, Gabriele Boccaccini, 1998
  • The Jesus Dynasty: The Hidden History of Jesus, James D. Tabor, 2007
  • The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle, Karen L. King, 2003
  • A Brief History of English Bible Translations, Laurence M. Vance, 1993
  • With Jesus through Galilee According to the Fifth Gospel, Bargil Pixner, 1996
  • The Gnostic Bible, Willis Barnstone & Marvin Meyer, editors, 2003
  • The Ancient Mysteries: A Sourcebook of Sacred Texts, Marvin W. Meyer, editor, 1987
  • The Apostolic Fathers in English, Michael W. Holmes, trans. & editor, 2006
  • The Nag Hammadi Library in English, James M. Robinson, trans. & editor, 1978
  • The Text of the New Testament, Kurt Arland & Barbara Aland, 1981
  • The Complete Gospels, Robert J. Miller, editor, 1992
  • The Jesus Family Tomb, Simcha Jacobovici & Charles Pellegrino, 2007
  • The Lost Gospel: The Quest for the Gospel of Judas Iscariot, Herbert Krosney, 2006
  • The Gospel of Judas, Rodolphe Kasser, Marvin Meyer & Gregor Wurst, editors, 2006
  • The Older Testament, Margaret Barker, 1987
  • The Lost Prophet, Margaret Barker, 1987
  • On Earth as it is in Heaven, Margaret Barker, 1995
  • The Great High Priest, Margaret Barker, 2003
  • Temple Theology, Margaret Barker, 2004
  • An Extraordinary Gathering of Angels, Margaret Barker, 2004
  • The Hidden Tradition of the Kingdom of God, Margaret Barker, 2007
  • Temple Themes in Christian Worship, Margaret Barker, 2008
  • Christmas, The Original Story, Margaret Barker, 2008
  • Temple Mysticism, Margaret Barker, 2011
  • The Mother of the Lord, Margaret Barker, 2012
  • King of the Jews: Temple Theology in John’s Gospel, Margaret Barker, 2014
  • Jacob’s Tears: The Priestly Work of Reconciliation, Mary Douglas, 2004
  • Leviticus As Literature, Mary Douglas, 1999
  • In the Wilderness: The Doctrine in the Book of Numbers, Mary Douglas, 1993
  • Thinking in Circles: An Essay on Ring Composition, Mary Douglas, 2007
  • Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo, Mary Douglas, 2002
  • The Samaritan Problem, John Bowman, 2004
  • The Keepers: History and Culture of the Samaritans, Robert T. Anderson & Terry Giles, 2001
  • Tradition Kept: Literature of the Samaritans, Robert T. Anderson & Terry Giles, 2005
  • The Lost History of Christianity, John Philip Jenkins, 2009
  • The Jesus Wars, John Philip Jenkins, 2011
  • The Lives of Ordinary People in Ancient Israel, William G. Dever, 2012
  • The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jodi Magness, 2002
  • Stone and Dung, Oil and Spit: Jewish Daily Life in the Time of Jesus, Jodi Magness, 2011
  • The Archaeology of the Holy Land, Jodi Magness, 2012
  • Fragments of a Faith Forgotten, G. R. S. Mead, 1900
  • Simon Magus, G. R. S. Mead, 1892
  • The Gnostics: Myth, Ritual, and Diversity in Early Christianity, David Brakke, 2010
  • Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion, Alain de Botton, 2012
  • Jesus: Mything in Action, (Vol I & Vol. II), David Fitzgerald, 2016
  • Josephus and the New Testament (2nd edition), Steve Mason, 2003
  • Orientation to the History of Roman Judaea, Steve Mason, 2016



The Humanist Conundrum
and other

by E. J. Campfield, H.S.


For a number of years, I was a secular Humanist celebrant and invocator, certified by the Humanist Society (HS) of the American Humanist Association. Humanist chaplains/ministers and celebrants are the ordained clergy of the AHA and authorized as such to attend to the pastoral and ceremonial needs of Humanists and others seeking these services, legally recognized in all states and many countries and accorded the same rights and privileges granted by law to priests, ministers, and rabbis of traditional theistic religions.

During the summer of 2007, I addressed the congregation of the Fairhope Unitarian Fellowship and both congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Mobile on the topic The Humanist Conundrum: What Humanism Means Today. Additionally, I moderated the Secular Humanism topic discussion at a four-part colloquium on Alternatives to Traditional Religions at the Fairhope Unitarian Fellowship in October 2007. I have given quite a number of other talks and presentations to Unitarian congregations, a sampling of which are also represented below.

· The Humanist Conundrum: What Humanism Means Today
Talk first given June 10, 2007

E. J. Campfield is a secular Humanist minister. Formerly a literature and language teacher, writer and literary translator, he has pursued intense personal study of early Christian literature and the writings of Second Temple Judaism. He addresses a topic of interest to many Unitarian Universalists.


· Apocalypse Now & Then
Talk first given September 14, 2008

As it was at the turn of the millennium in 2001, apocalypticism is again in the headlines with mystic dates in 2012 looming large in the public imagination. Join us as we look at several ancient and modern cultic movements from both Jewish and Christian traditions that have touted specific prophecy about "the end of the world" and discover the one significant trait all of them have had in common.


· Luke's Nativity Story as Early Christians Might Have Experienced It
Presentation first given December 13, 2009

Join us as we look behind the familiar Nativity Story in Luke's gospel, revealing its literary origins and artistic devices at work. Early Christians perceived and enjoyed this narrative much differently than it is understood today. We explore a revolutionary new theory about the specific purpose for which Luke's gospel was composed and how it was actually used in synagogues and early Christian liturgy.