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Peter and Paul and the Christian Revolution Previous Broadcasts

The Rock and the River (Episode #101)

KQED Plus: Wed, Jan 20, 2010 -- 8:00 PM

With their Messiah executed, their dreams crushed and their cause deemed subversive by the strongest empire the world had ever seen, Jesus' followers faced a bleak future. Their movement seemed destined for extinction. Incredibly, though, Jesus' survivors turned defeat to victory; devastation to jubilation. By one account, it happened on the shores of the Sea of Galilee where Simon Peter and others envisioned the risen Jesus. Re-infused with hope and determination, Peter became an indomitable figure who would unite his group into a tight community of ardent believers. Dark days were coming however - days of persecution, imprisonment and dispersal. And when they arrived, Peter found support from an unexpected source. His name was Paul. Paul had a startling revelation that led him to embrace Peter's faith as his own. It was a turning point in history. For once inspired, Paul turned his formidable talents to the task of spreading his new cause around the Roman Empire. Paul was educated, passionate and determined. But he was also dogmatic. And soon, he would be at the center of the most divisive conflict yet to face the young Jesus movement.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED Plus: Thu, Jan 21, 2010 -- 2:00 AM

The Empire and the Kingdom (Episode #102)

KQED Plus: Wed, Jan 20, 2010 -- 9:00 PM

Spread outside Judea by missionaries like Peter and Paul, the Jesus movement caught on quickly among Jews and non-Jews around the Roman Empire. With success, however, came challenges: challenges from hostile locals, imperial forces and from conflicting ideas within the movement itself. Paul - adamant that there was no time for conversions - fell into open and angry confrontation with some of the oldest Jesus followers. Peter, it seems, tried to mediate the conflict. "The Rock" became a stepping stone between the camps and, for a crucial period, helped keep the movement together. But the center could not hold. Paul struck out on his own, planting churches in his image around the Mediterranean and writing letters that would become central to all later Christian theology. Finally, in 70 CE, disaster struck the headquarters of the Jesus followers. After decades of rising tension, Judea erupted in revolt against Rome. War had been raging for four years. And when Rome finally established control, it destroyed much of Jerusalem; it torched the sacred Temple and enslaved the population. The scorched ground of Judea could no longer nurture a Jewish Jesus movement. And in the end, it was Paul's communities that would grow and change into the churches we know today.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED Plus: Thu, Jan 21, 2010 -- 3:00 AM
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