#7 Jim Papandrea on Christology, Superheroes, and Science Fiction Films
Date: August 5th, 2018

Modern social media is a wondrous thing.  Without it, this podcast would have never come into being, and it is unlikely that I would have been able to find half of my guests.  Many of my ideas for shows were culled from posts I saw on Facebook, Twitter, or  internet news and scholarly feeds I receive (not to mention emails from listeners suggesting potential guests).  One such guest came to me via Facebook as I was linking to some old high school friends.   Jim Papandrea was two years my senior in school but we knew each other fairly well through a variety of dramatic plays including “The Odd Couple” (where he played Felix Unger).  After connecting with Jim, I realized that he was a professor at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and had written stuff on early Christianity.   I had to get him on the show!  An old friend, Felix Unger, and early Christianity (which holds a particular fascination with me and is an era that I wanted to learn more about). After getting Jim on the show once, he became one of my favorite guests because of his enthusiasm for his topics and his ability to explain rather esoteric history and theology in lay terms.

Jim clocks in with five … count ’em, five … appearances on Research on Religion, each one better than the last.   It was also fun to note that while Jim began life as a Protestant, he converted to Catholicism, whereas I went the opposite direction thereby keeping an equilibrium balance in the world.  While any of his interviews could have appeared in the Top Twelve list, I chose the last one we did back in 2017 because it was a rather “odd” topic that seemed a bit out of his wheelhouse (that wheelhouse being early patristic studies).  It turns out, though, that Jim — a science fiction fan — was able to see linkages between his research in Christology and things such as Superman and Star Wars.  For me, this is indicative of scholarly creativity that reveals many of the fascinating interconnections in the world that we often overlook.  This was one of those interviews that when I stop the recording and hang up the phone I shout out “Wow, that was fun!”  Indeed, during those occasional spells where I became weary of doing these interviews on a weekly basis, I would get an interview like this and it would just energize me to push forward with more gusto.

Original Podcast Link.


Robert Joustra on Zombies, Cylons, Charles Taylor, and the Apocalypse.

Chris Bader on the Paranormal.

John Sweeney on “Its a Wonderful Life.”

Michael Medved on Religion and Hollywood (one of our “big name” interviews).

Tara Moor on Christmas Traditions … and Krampus.

Other podcasts by Jim Papandrea.

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