June 29 – The Secret Letter of James
Continuing our exploration of the scriptures that were not included in the New Testament, we turn our attention to the Secret Letter, or Apocryphon, of James. This collection of the sayings of Jesus was intended as a private revelation to “the elect,” and not for the broader Christian community. Jesus actually goes so far as to say that the apostles should become more spiritually mature than he is. The Apocryphon concludes with a gnostic account of Jesus’ ascent into heaven.

July 6 – Other Messiahs
The first century of the Christian era was a time of unrest and rebellion in Israel. Jesus was not the only person in his day about whom the claim of Messiah was made. Historians of the times recorded the stories of several other Messianic figures. Their names alone are intriguing – Athronges, Theudas, the Egyptian, Bar Kochba and others. In this session we will take a look at these “other Messiahs” and the movements they led.

Mark Etling, PhD teaches theology at Saint Louis University’s School for Professional Studies.  He also gives presentations on Scripture and Christian history at the Shrine, for Oasis-St. Louis, and at various parishes in the St. Louis and Belleville dioceses. Mark and his wife Alicia live in the Lafayette Square neighborhood in St. Louis. If you would like Mark to speak at your parish or organization, please go to his website: