Montreat 2021

May 23 - 29, 2021
Montreat Conference Center, Montreat, NC

Excavating Forgotten, Misrepresented, and Marginalized Figures of Earliest Christianity

- Drs. James Tabor, University of North Carolina at Charlotte & April DeConick, Rice University

This spring, BAS Travel/Study is hosting a special week-long program in the marvelous mountains of Western North Carolina. We invite you to join us for expert Biblical scholarship, wonderful company and Southern relaxation at the Montreat Conference Center, nestled in the hills of North Carolina, a stone’s throw from the very interesting town of Asheville. Drs. James Tabor, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and April DeConick, Rice University, will present Excavating Forgotten, Misrepresented, and Marginalized Figures of Earliest Christianity, a series of 20 lectures. This seminar offers you a unique opportunity to learn from two popular, renowned Biblical scholars with like-minded participants in a relaxed setting.


James Tabor

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

April DeConick

Rice University, Houston, Texas


Excavating Forgotten, Misrepresented, and Marginalized Figures of Earliest Christianity

In this unique and intriguing seminar, explore, examine, and excavate key figures of earliest Christianity, many known by name, but nonetheless misrepresented, marginalized, or even branded as heretics. This includes the mysterious Mary Magdalene, James the elusive “brother of Jesus,” and even Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as Marcion, Tatian, Valentinus, and Marcellina—and many more. Our recent research has led us to some new and exciting conclusions about these figures and their pivotal roles in shaping the contours of the emerging Christian movement. Drawing upon a rich trove of textual and material evidence we will seek to reconstruct the most reliable portraits possible of the key historical roles our cast of characters played in the shifting drama of these earliest times.

Tabor Lectures:

1. Sorting out the Marys in the life of Jesus: Mother, Magdalene, and Mary of Bethany

2. In Memory of Her: Sorting out the Women Who Anointed Jesus

3. The Four Key Figures in Mark’s Gospel—All Unnamed!

4. More Than A Prophet: Among Those Born of Women there is None Greater Than John

5. Is the Gnostic Gospel of Mary about Mary the Mother of Jesus or Mary Magdalene?

6. Who is the Mysterious Unnamed “Beloved Disciple” in John’s Gospel and Why it Matters

7. How Did Satan Become the “God of this World”?

8. Mary the Mother of Jesus as a Doubly Royal Princess

9. Mary Magdalene: Disciple, Companion, or Wife of Jesus?

10. How and Why James the Brother of Jesus was Nearly Erased from History

DeConick Lectures:

1. Social Realities: Hermas and Ignatius

2. The Challenge of Marcion and Cerdo

3. Esoteric Christians in Egypt: Valentinus, Basilides, and the Sethians

4. Justin Martyr, Tatian, and Gospel Harmonies

5. Esoteric Christians in Rome: Ptolemy, Flora, Heracleon, and Marcus

6. Carpocrates, Marcellina, and Social Egalitarianism

7. The New Prophecies of Montanus, Priscilla, and Maximilla

8. The Rise of Apostolic Catholicism and the Canon: Irenaeus and Tertullian

9. The Remnants of Jewish Christianity: Elchasai and Mani

10. An Unorthodox History of Early Christianity


Full seminar price includes, six nights lodging and meals starting with dinner on Sunday and ending with breakfast on Saturday.

Located at the heart of Montreat Conference Center overlooking Lake Susan, the historic and newly renovated Assembly Inn has guest accommodations in single and double occupancy rooms. All rooms have a private bath, one king bed, one queen bed, or two twin beds. All baths are tiled and equipped with tubs and showers. Standard guest rooms do not have TV’s, phones, refrigerators, or microwaves.

The Galax Dining Room in Assembly Inn prepares fresh, delicious meals, using quality ingredients. Throughout the year local produce is sourced through Mountain Foods in nearby Asheville. Local honey and stone ground grits from Rutherford County, specialty cakes from Lake Lure, and North Carolina pork products. The meats served are all natural, free of antibiotics, gluten, and MSG. Seafood is wild caught and domestic, and the salads are homemade and fresh cut; no bagged products are used. All meals are served buffet-style in the large dining room.

Four airlines service the Asheville Airport: Allegiant, Delta, United, US airways, American Airlines. Rental car agencies at the airport include Avis, Budget, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Hertz and National/Alamo.

GrandyCo Asheville Area Transportation
Reservations Required: [email protected]/828-691-0504

Marvels Upscale Transportation Service
Reservations Required: [email protected]/828-280-1698

Montreat Conference Center
401 Assembly Dr.
Montreat, NC 28757


  • Non-refundable deposit due at time of registration: $200
  • Full program based on Double Occupancy: $1800
  • Single supplement: $52.50
  • Lectures only: $850
  • Meal Plan: For those registering lectures only. The meal price includes Sunday evening dinner, M-F breakfast, lunch and dinner. Saturday morning breakfast. $191.53
  • Full payment due by April 19, 2021
  • Cancellation: If made up to two weeks prior to the start of the seminar, full refund less $100 per person for administrative costs. Less than two weeks prior to the start of the program, no refund.



If you are unable to fill out the electronic registration form, please contact the Travel/Study department at 1-800-221-4644 ext. 216.

To pay off your balance, click here.


For more information, contact:

Alicia Bregon
202-364-3300, ext. 216
Email: [email protected]
Biblical Archaeology Society
4710 41st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20016