Bible Talk: Lent Series - Chester Cathedral

Bible Talk: Lent Series

20 March 2024 at 1:10pm

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People of the Passion: Bible Talk Lent Series 2024

During Lent, the Church focusses on Jesus’ Passion (suffering), leading up to his crucifixion and death. This year’s Lent Bible Talk series focusses on some of the other characters who feature in this story – the People of the Passion. Each week, a Biblical Scholar will speak on a character who plays a prominent role in the Passion story: Judas, who betrays Jesus; Peter, who denies Jesus; Caiaphas, the High Priest who conducts Jesus’ Jewish trial; Pilate, the Roman Governor who sentences Jesus to death; and Joseph of Arimathea, who offers his own tomb for Jesus’ burial. The series will explore each of these characters, their portrayals, possible motivations, and how they help us understand the Passion as a whole.


Wednesday 21 February. In the Cloister Room

Judas has gone down in history as the archetypal villain for his betrayal of Jesus. But the earliest accounts of the Judas tradition are sketchy about his motives. Professor Paul Middleton examines the figure of Judas in the gospels and subsequent interpretation, exploring the tension between an act of treachery that became a theological necessity in the story of salvation.

Paul Middleton is Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of Chester.


Wednesday 28 February. In the Cloister Room

While Peter is called the Rock on which Jesus will build his Church, the Passion for him appears to be a story of failure when he denies and abandons Jesus. Dr Michael Gilbertson examines the role of Jesus’ chief disciple in the Passion; a story of failure and redemption.

Michael Gilbertson is the Archdeacon of Chester.


Wednesday 6 March. In the Cloister Room

Caiaphas was High Priest at the time of Jesus’ death, and the gospels presented him as a chief instigator in the arrest and trial of Jesus, raising questions about the way in which Jewish figures are portrayed in the gospels and subsequent Christian history. Professor William Horbury examines this important first century Jewish figure and his role in the Passion.

William Horbury is Professor Emeritus of Jewish and Early Christian Studies at the University of Cambridge, and Honorary Professor of Biblical Studies at the University of Chester.


Wednesday 13 March. In the Song School

It is remarkable that a Roman Governor of Judea should be remembered in the major creeds of the Church. Yet the fact that Jesus ‘suffered under Pontius Pilate’ is affirmed in most churches each week when either the Apostles’ Creed or Nicene Creed is recited. Professor Loveday Alexander explores the man behind the creeds and examines the gospel presentation of Pilate—the man who sentenced Jesus to death—alongside what we know of him from other sources.

Loveday Alexander is Professor Emerita of Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield, and Honorary Professor of Biblical Studies at the University of Chester.

Joseph of Arimathea 

Wednesday 20 March. In the Song School

In the gospel tradition, with all the male disciples gone, and the female followers of Jesus watching on at a distance, Joseph of Arimathea steps in to bury Jesus’ body. However, information about Joseph is sparse, and legends develop about this figure in subsequent centuries. In the final talk of the series, Professor Philip Alexander explores what can be known about the man who is said to have buried Jesus.

Philip Alexander is Professor Emeritus in Post-Biblical Jewish Literature at the University of Manchester, and Honorary Professor in Biblical Studies at the University of Chester.

Event Type
20 March 2024
Chester Cathedral

St Werburgh St

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