Lecturer brings biblical sect to 21st century
Princeton University professor James Charlesworth took an auditorium full of listeners on a rapid, sometimes dizzying trip to the world of a Jewish sect that flourished in the time of Jesus.
"I promised to be succinct and fast," he said at the conclusion of his lecture and a question-and-answer session Wednesday night. "I hope I was also clear."
He succeeded on all counts. Though his remarks were occasionally quite technical - he would lapse into Hebrew or Aramaic almost unconsciously in the course of explaining some obscure point - he delivered his main points with a thundering clarity.
Charlesworth was the third and final speaker in a three-day symposium at Rocky Mountain College that examined the "Historical Jesus in the 21st Century." Speaking to about 250 people in Rocky's Losekamp Hall, Charlesworth addressed the question of whether, and if so to what extent, Jesus was influenced by the Essenes, the sect whose teachings, beliefs and rules of living were contained in what are known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.
You can also watch a video of a bit of his lecture, if you don't mind watching an ad for a Billings health club first.