Josh Bowen

From Committed Pastor to Academia to Atheism to Agnosticis

Dr. Joshua Bowen graduated from the Johns Hopkins University in 2017 with a Ph.D. in Assyriology and a minor in Hebrew Bible. He wrote his dissertation on the lamentational liturgies of the city of Kish, and specializes in the Sumerian, Akkadian, and Hebrew languages. Joshua is a Fulbright Scholar, and was also awarded the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (D.A.A.D.) during the 2014-2015 academic year, allowing him to spend the year in Tubingen, Germany, working with Dr. Konrad Volk on his dissertation project.

As well as his Ph.D., Josh holds a B.S. in Religion from Liberty University, a Th.M. in the Old Testament from Capital Bible Seminary, and an M.A. in Near Eastern Studies from the Johns Hopkins University. He has published four books, including the best-selling The Atheist Handbook to the Old Testament, Volumes I & IIDid the Old Testament Endorse Slavery?Learning to Pray in a Dead Language, and Learn to Read Ancient Sumerian: An Introduction for Complete Beginners (co-authored with his wife, Megan Lewis). He also has two books forthcoming: Did the Old Testament Endorse Slavery? Second Edition (2023) andLearn to Read Ancient Sumerian, Volume II (2024).

Josh will be speaking on Christian apologetics and the dangerous ways in which they defend the practice of slavery in the Bible. Many online apologists work very hard to downplay the reality of slavery as presented, especially in the Old Testament. It is regularly asserted that slavery was nothing like what we saw in the antebellum South, but was more like a job or owning a credit card. And, after all, the message of the Bible is one of liberation and freedom from slavery! How could the Bible condone – much less endorse – such a practice?

We will look at the various laws that govern the practice of slavery in the Old Testament, demonstrating that it was not simply akin to having a job in the modern age. We will also examine the idea that God was “meeting people where they were”, slowly nudging them toward a higher sense of morality and the abolition of slavery in the New Testament. In the end, you will know what the Old Testament laws say about slavery, and what – if anything – the New Testament did to bring about its abolition.


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