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- Understand the story of Jesus of Nazareth, not as a 'religious figure', but as a person who lived, taught, worked, and carried out his mission within a 1st Century A.D. historical context.
- Explain the role of Jesus within his context and understand the difficulties and resistance to who he was and to what he said.
- Understand some of the key biblical texts which speak of the life, teachings, and work of Jesus within the literary and cultural setting of his day
- Discern the various political and philosophical movements that provided the backdrop for the actions of Jesus and which provide further meaning to Jesus' life story.
- Embrace an understanding of the Jesus of history and not simply the traditions which emerged centuries after his death.
- Examine the narrative of the story of Jesus to see his works within a Jewish context as a fulfillment of the work of the God of Israel and the vindication of that work through the resurrection from the dead.
- Students should obtain the textbook, Simply Jesus, by N.T. Wright (HarperOne, 2011) ISBN: 0062084399. The book is available in print, digital and audio formats.
In this course Simply Jesus, students will be immersed in the 1st Century A.D. context of the life, work, teachings, and actions of Jesus of Nazareth. The goal of the course is to look at the story of Jesus from the perspective of a historian. Too many times Jesus of Nazareth becomes interpreted as simply another 'religious figure' among many religious figures. But this so often eliminates the understanding of a man who lived in time and space at a critical time of history.
This course is meant for all audiences. No previous theological study is required or expected. In this way it is meant to give a basic understanding of Jesus as a figure in history primarily.
Prof. Wright will lecture on key biblical texts to walk the student through the different elements that constitute the story of Jesus. In addition, there will be quizzes and discussion questions to help the student think more intently about the material presented.
This course tries to focus on essential biblical texts and non-biblical historical material to embrace the larger story of a Jesus of history. This course is to be taken in tandem with the reading of Prof. Wright's book, Simply Jesus. In Simply Jesus, bestselling author and leading Bible scholar N.T. Wright summarizes 200 years of modern Biblical scholarship and models how Christians can best retell the story of Jesus today. In a style similar to C.S. Lewis’s popular works, Wright breaks down the barriers that prevent Christians from fully engaging with the story of Jesus.
We trust that the material and the dialogue with other students will be encouraging and enlightening for all.
- This is an entry level course for anyone wishing to understand the story of the life of Jesus from the point of view of a historian examining the 1st Century A.D. context.
- This course is not for those who wish to debate the existence of the historical Jesus or for those who wish to enter into religious debates.
Prof. Wright reads the biblical text from Luke 4:14-30 describing a dramatic encounter which Jesus has in his home town of Nazareth. This forms the basis for Prof. Wright's upcoming lecture.
Prof. Wright presents the description where Jesus enters his hometown, Nazareth, to deliver a message to which his hearers object. Initial amazement leads to rejection of Jesus and his message.
Luke 15 contains a collection of parables further explaining the nature of the Kingdom of God. This section also includes the 'Parable of the Lost Son', often represented in paintings as well as in sermons. This parable is one of the most emotive stories in the Gospels, yet its fuller meaning is often lost.