The Ptarmigan Foundation Series on Early Christianity and the Ancient World events held October 26 and 27, 2015, featured a lecture and seminar by Professor Daniel Boyarin. Boyarin is the Hermann P. and Sophia Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture, Departments of Near Eastern Studies and Rhetoric, at the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of numerous books, including the following that relate to the subject of his lecture and seminar at Stanford: A Radical Jew: Paul and the Politics of Identity (1994); Dying for God: Martyrdom and the Making of Christianity and Judaism (1999); Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity (2004); The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ (2012).
On Monday, October 26, Boyain gave a public lecture entitled "Moses and Jesus Against the Pharisees: or, Why Mark Isn’t (Always) Paul.” The question of Pauline influence on Mark is hotly debated at the present time. Boyarin doesn’t take an absolute position on this question, but rather defends the claim that Mark 7, at any rate, is distinctly anti-Pauline with respect to the question of the Mosaic Torah.
On Tuesday, October 27, Boyarin led a seminar for faculty and graduates students in Religious Studies, Classics, Art History, and History around the theme, “The Open Esoteric: Christ and the Talmud.” Discussion focused on “The Book of Watchers” from Enoch and an excerpt from the Babylonian Talmud, the tractate that deals with festival sacrifices (Hebr. Hagiga) which is well-known as a chapter that deals with the mystical finitudes of cosmology.