What you'll learn
- Understand the story of Jesus, not as a 'religious figure', but as a person who lived, taught, and carried out his mission within a 1st Century 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.
- Embrace an understanding of the Jesus of history and not simply the traditions which emerged centuries after his death.
- Examine the story of Jesus to see his works within a Jewish context as a fulfillment of the work of the God of Israel.
- Students may wish to acquire the book, 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.
Who this course is for:
- 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 does not enter debates about the existence of the historical Jesus.
N.T Wright received his BA, MA and D.Phil. from Oxford University. He taught New Testament at Cambridge, McGill and Oxford Universities 1978-1993. He was Dean of Lichfield, then Canon of Westminster, then Bishop of Durham (Church of England), 1994-2010. Prof. Wright is Professor Emeritus of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, and is currently Senior Research Fellow at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University. He has published over 85 books and hundreds of articles. In 2014 Prof. Wright received the Burkitt Medal from the British Academy for services to New Testament scholarship. He enjoys music, golf the Isle of Harris, and spending time with his family in the midst of a busy schedule of writing and travelling.
David Seemuth has a Ph.D. from Marquette University in the field of Religious Studies with an emphasis on New Testament Theology. He has taught at the graduate level for over 30 years at numerous universities and seminaries. He also has 21 years of on-line teaching experience. His passion is to see that people not only understand the Scripture, but also apply them to daily life.
Jennifer Loop is currently a doctoral candidate at Durham University. She is the Director of Ministry Engagement for the Wisconsin Center for Christian Studies, and plays a critical role in the online education, both organizational and theological, by guiding the online student experience. Jennifer enjoys engaging with a ‘virtual community’ of diverse students and learners to explore how theology, faith and practice intersect.