Public Presentations

“The 2,001 Year-Old Man”

A "space-time warp" has transported a hapless member of the ancient Judean sect known as the Essenes (Menachem by name) into the 21st century. While trying to find his way Back to the Past, he has been co-opted into disseminating a series of "Desert Disciplines" – straight from the Dead Sea Scrolls – for ordering and maximizing life to its fullest potential. Watch the video “teaser”:

"The Middle East Made ‘Elementary’"

Everybody thinks the Arab-Israeli conflict is about the most confusing issue on earth, and has been from time immemorial. But really, it's not as complicated as we might imagine. In fact, we can unravel the whole thing in just about an hour. Think it's impossible? Well, as Holmes said to Watson, it's "elementary"!

"Hidden Wisdom from the Kabbalah: Ten Spheres for Life"

How can I find personal peace and contentment? How can I appropriate peace of mind? How can I cope with adversity? These are some of questions probed by the great masters of Jewish mystical tradition – called Kabbalah. It is a discipline that is at once deeply esoteric and utterly practical – steeped in ancient tradition, yet thoroughly contemporary.

"A Brief History of God"

An insightful exploration of the joys and perils of monotheism ... covering the three dominant monotheistic faiths of the Western world, Judaism, Christianity & Islam. Explore the evolution of religion, from the "primitive" stage, to the "creative" phase, to the "mystical" era. How did the key concepts of God change, from Patriarchs to Prophets to Kabbalists? Discovering the answer will help us all grow in sensitivity to the world's great religious systems.

"Secrets from the Lost Bible"

Ancient scriptures, hidden from the world for centuries, have recently attracted unprecedented attention. They include the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Kabbalah, the Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha, and the Gnostic texts of Nag Hammadi — collectively, comprising the "Lost Bible." Our challenge is to discover the common truths within these sacred books -- hidden truths that, once grasped, can help us reach our fullest potential.

"The Gender Jumble and Biblical Narrative"

Welcome to a whole new world of scholarship, vis-à-vis the text of the Bible. What understanding can be gained regarding the battle of the sexes from a fresh, critical reading of the Torah? Revisit the Garden of Eden. Were Adam and Eve a "match made in heaven" or sad characters in a love story gone awry? What was the supposed "curse on Eve"? Explore a series of fresh insights from modern textual criticism! You may be surprised!

"The Longest Hatred"

Two thousand years of Jewish dispersion have largely been overshadowed by the horror of the Holocaust. But what of the "roots" of anti-Semitism? Explore the shocking connection between anti-Semitism and Christian Europe through the ages. From the Crusades to Martin Luther, from charges of “blood libel” to the Spanish Inquisition, discover the extent to which excesses of theology laid the foundation for twentieth century terrors. What can we do to bridge the gap of misunderstanding? Dare to know the truth….

“Blood Kin of Jesus”

Dr. Hanson traces a story strangely missing from the Bible yet crucial to our understanding of how both Christianity and Judaism developed in the first centuries after the life of Jesus. Based on the best and latest scholarship and archaeology, he reveals what historians now believe happened to Jesus’ brothers and his mother Mary, the actual “Heirs” of Jesus of Nazareth. Bringing together recent archeological discoveries and the best contemporary scholarship, he tells a fascinating story that goes mostly untold in the New Testament about the ultimate fate of Jesus’ mother, brothers, and sisters. Pulling together the latest research and illustrating his narrative with scores of maps, he picks up the story where the Bible leaves off, answering a question that many have long asked: Whatever happened to Jesus’ family and the original Jerusalem followers? The startling answer reveals much about the historical Jesus and the times in which he lived.

“Athens Meets Jerusalem”

The Israelites were an ancient culture who viewed the world in terms of stark contrasts: good and evil; light and darkness; righteousness and wickedness. The Greeks were a young, progressive race, who gave us universities, libraries, sport (the Olympics), theater, and democracy! The contours of Greek mind were utterly seductive for the proud inhabitants of Jerusalem. The result was a “core-to-core culture confrontation” that ended in a great war between the civilizations of Zeus and Yahweh. The modern world we inhabit is the direct result! Join Dr. Ken Hanson for a multi-media presentation that explores who we are and where we came from.

“Making Murder Legal: The Martin Niemoller Story”

Dr. Ken Hanson, Yad Vashem graduate and assistant professor in the Judaic Studies Program of the University of Central Florida, performs as Martin Niemoller, the famous German theologian who was ultimately arrested by the Nazis and who authored the famous quotation: When they came for the communists, I remained silent; because I was not a communist...When they came for the Jews, I did not speak out; because I was not a Jew. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.

“The New Islamic Anti-Semitism”

Synagogues torched; Jewish cemeteries defaced; Jews attacked on the streets. This isn't Germany in the 1930s; it's continental Europe in the 21st Century. After World War II, anti-Semitism seemed to disappear in Europe. But it's back, to a very disquieting degree. It's not really the same as earlier expressions of anti-Jewish hatred, but it's not different either. The new anti- Semitism adds to the old the demonization of the state of Israel, which many in Europe are now willing to sacrifice on an altar of appeasement, for the sake of easing tensions with the ever-growing Muslim population. What can we do to combat this shocking phenomenon? More than we might imagine! Find out in this dynamic, multi-media presentation!

“The Bible as Politics”

Here is a fresh and unique look at the intersection of the Bible and political theory, coming at a singular juncture in our national history. It makes the case that the sacred text is more than just a “holy book.” It is the living record of ancient debates on the role and size of government, the freedom of the individual, and the threats faced by every generation that individual liberty might be extinguished. It probes the extent to which America’s founders looked to Holy Writ in attempting to avoid the pitfalls to which budding republics invariably fall prey.

“The Lord’s Prayer - in Hebrew!"

An interfaith seminar that proves, once and for all, just how Jewish Jesus really was. What have Jewish/ Israeli scholars discovered about the “man of Galilee”? A “mind-blower”!

More Presentations!

“WHY Judaism, Christianity and Islam?”

So you thought you knew what the “three great faiths” that dominate much of the world today are all about? Think again! This dynamic and insightful multi-media presentation lays out the commonalities and the distinctions with sage wisdom and wry humor in a way that will captivate and inspire! A great rabbi once said: “The whole world is a very narrow bridge.” It’s up to us to build bridges of understanding and inclusion. Let’s start by developing a rich and solid appreciation of one another’s faith perspectives. Can we really grasp the “gist” of Judaism, Christianity and Islam in an hour or less? “It’s elementary!” Check out the video promo.

“Jerusalem Jones & the Dead Sea Scrolls”

Long ago, pieces of leather, inscribed by learned sages, were rolled into scrolls, to be read and studied only by a select few. For reasons still unknown to us, they were hidden in mountainous desert caves. Then, on a fateful day in 1947, when an Arab lad was searching for his lost goat, he stumbled upon what was to become the most important archaeological find of the twentieth century – ancient parchments, depicting the life and hopes of an unknown Judean sect. Follow the adventure saga of Dr. Ken Hanson, as he recounts his odyssey from Chicago, as a wide-eyed undergraduate, to Jerusalem, as an inspired scholar, seeking out the mysteries of the 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls. Changing costume on stage, he morphs into a host of characters, to bring the Scrolls to life. Experience the continuing journey of discovery!

“Judaism 101”

For those who may not be Jewish but wonder what it’s all about. Discover the beauty of this ancient faith, the oldest expression of monotheism in all the world. Think of what Judaism gave us: a day of rest, the Sabbath, the Ten Commandments, the concept of social justice, our hopeful belief in progress and the sense that tomorrow can be better than today. Hardly a lecture, this is an interactive “show & tell” experience, that invites you to get up “close and personal” with an assortment of religious artifacts, including traditional Sabbath candles, Hanukkah menorah, Havdalah spice box, Passover plate and an authentic Shofar (ram’s horn). Then of course, there’s the Torah...

“The Mystery of Job”

The biblical book of Job is certainly a masterpiece of world literature. But it's also an incredible mystery and "detective saga" in its own right. Who wrote it? What does it mean? Does it really provide an answer to human suffering in a world where pain and sorrow is the rule rather than the exception. Here's a multi-media "Sherlockian" look into Job's universal themes and transcendent answers to the ages-old "problem of pain."

“I, Josephus”

The period between the 1st century, B.C.E. and the 1st century C.E. is perhaps the most fascinating in human history. It involves the birth of the three great religious traditions and cultures that have dominated the western half of the planet for the last two millennia. The characters in the drama are the stuff of legend – Jesus, John the Baptist, King Herod the Great, the ancient Essenes, as well as a cast of Greeks, Romans, Syrians, Egyptians and Parthians. Join Dr. Hanson, appearing “as” the ancient historian Josephus, who shares three “life lessons” from history’s most seminal epoch.

“Will the Real Jesus Please Stand?”

What was the relationship of the man named Jesus of Nazareth to the religion of his own people? What do we know about the politics of the age, the anti-Roman agitation that was rampant across the land of Israel, and the “Zealot” movement? What were the various social and religious currents active in the late antiquity, and where might Jesus fall with respect to them? Get ready for a “snapshot” of the hopes and dreams, the pious faith, and the messianic impulses rife among the Jews of Israel during one of the seminal moments in human history.