I am back in my real office now, having left the virtual office of Duke's "Online Office Hours" where I answered questions on the New Testament in front of a camera. The studio is actually just around the corner from where I am; it is in the bowels of the Bryan Center, not from from Gray Building. I never knew it was there, nor did the Duke Chronicle photographer, Robin Mi, who snapped the picture here.
These online office hours are a new venture at Duke and I enjoyed being involved. The basic idea is that you sit in front of a camera and people email in their questions. (In theory they tweet and facebook them in too, but I don't think there was much of that in practice). The most difficult question I was asked was the first, about Dan Brown, since I have never read the Da Vinci Code, nor have I seen the film. I enjoyed the chance to talk a little bit about The Passion (BBC/HBO), especially in light of the tragic death of Frank Deasy yesterday. I was also asked about homosexuality and the Bible, penal substitution, the extent of Christian orthodoxy in the first century, the Gospel of Thomas, my recent podcasts on Junia and Mary Magdalene, and a wide range of other things.
No questions on Q or the Synoptic Problem, which is probably a good thing since I might have yabbered on too long about that. In fact in general, I did a bit too much in the way of yabbering on and did not pause often enough, but there is something quite unusual about being in what seems like an empty room, with just a camera for company. James, who asked the questions, was behind a curtain, just like in The Wizard of Oz, but there was no Toto to reveal him and the levers he was pulling, so he stayed there until the end.
It was nice to be joined by several bloggers, with questions from Brian Tucker on Pauline influence on Matthew, Jim West on Biblical archaeology and TC Robinson on the new perspective on Paul.
Apparently the whole thing will be archived and available soon. I'll provide a link at that point.
Many thanks to my colleagues at Duke who invited me to do this, and thanks to those of you who took part.