Worldviews, the Bible, and the Believer

Critical to understanding the New Testament world and our world is an understanding of worldview-- the lens of living.
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  • Lectures 43
  • Length 5.5 hours
  • Skill Level Intermediate Level
  • Languages English
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About This Course

Published 8/2015 English

Course Description

This course, taught by Professor N.T. Wright, is designed to take students into the realm of what a 'worldview' is. While most people think about 'beliefs' and 'actions', the real power behind each is the interplay that occurs within a person's or society's worldview. Understanding this worldview, particularly of the world of the New Testament, will assist students of the Bible in understanding what a New Testament text meant in its own context. Prof. Wright will describe the worldviews of the first century Romans, Jews, and Christians. He will then move through history to describe the Western worldview as a way of helping students discern where they fit and how to look at and through their own lenses in the 21st century. Prof. Wright will be joined by Prof. David Seemuth who will look at the U.S. worldview of the early 21st century as an outgrowth and reaction to the Western worldview that emerged from the Enlightenment period.

What are the requirements?

  • Students should acquire the textbook 'Subversive Christianity' by Brian Walsh, 2nd edition (Wipf and Stock, 2014). ISBN: 9781498203401

What am I going to get from this course?

  • describe what makes up the lens called a 'worldview'
  • describe the worldviews of the Ancient Roman world, the Jewish world of the 1st Century AD, and the world of the emerging 'in Messiah' people
  • discern narratives within a culture that often dictate behavior and beliefs
  • explain how symbols reinforce and create fertile ground for a worldview to develop
  • discuss what role questions play in the development and strengthening of a worldview
  • articulate how 'praxis', or automatic behaviors, show how a worldview works
  • develop a reflective perspective on one's own worldview as described by Prof. N.T. Wright
  • process how the biblical text of the New Testament may be better understood when the worldviews at play are understood
  • articulate what an 'in Messiah' worldview might look like in this present day within your own culture
  • examine the journey from the pre-Modern Age to the present day through examining the Western culture from the perspective of the underlying worldviews of each era

What is the target audience?

  • This course on Worldviews is designed specifically for students of the New Testament as well as for those who wish to understand how cultures work from a high level perspective. This course does not require any prerequisites. However, high level, critical thinking abilities will help students achieve success in this course.
  • One unique aspect of this course is the corollary benefit of seeing how a person's own worldview affects behavior, beliefs and attitude.
  • The course will be best for those who wish to think deeply about their own worldviews and who wish to interact with students and the professor about one's own worldview in a way that encourages analysis and questioning of fundamental assumptions which exist underneath the outward stated beliefs and demonstrated practices of a person.

What you get with this course?

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Curriculum

Section 1: Welcome to the Course, Worldviews, the Bible, and the Believer
Welcome to Worldviews, the Bible, and the Believer and to Udemy!
Preview
06:16
Introduction: Worldviews-- What are they? by N.T. Wright
Preview
19:53
Quiz from the Introduction of Worldviews, the Bible and the Believer
7 questions
2 pages

This is a summary description of the Worldview Diagram that will be used during the course. It will help set the stage for further study. In Lecture 4, the diagram is expanded to show more detail. But here the basics are given to show the interplay between Story/Symbols/Praxis/Questions.

Section 2: Worldviews: How They Work
Worldview Diagram: Your Own Culture-- A Starting Point
Article
2 pages

In this Worldview Diagram, the concept is expanded to show more of the specifics under each of the main headings. It may seem a bit repetitive from the previous diagram, but in this diagram we wish you to notice the elements that make up the main themes in the diagram. It is also a good diagram to print off if you wish to follow along as the video lectures describe the individual items.

Worldviews: An example-- Britain by N.T. Wright
Preview
12:30
Worldviews Diagram: Great Britain Example
2 pages
Quiz from Worldviews: An example-- Britain by N.T. Wright
6 questions
Section 3: Worldviews: The Ancient World-- The Roman Empire
Worldviews: The Roman Empire by N.T. Wright
22:44
Worldview Diagram: The Roman Empire
2 pages
Quiz from Worldviews: The Roman Empire by N.T. Wright
11 questions
Article

This is the first of many activities to help us understand how the ideas raised in our discussion of worldview will help inform our understanding of the Bible. This is a starting point. Here we look at Matthew 2:1-18 to see how we can view a text with the help of the worldview diagram to better understand the meaning of the text.

Section 4: Worldviews: The Ancient World-- The Jewish Culture of the New Testament Era
Worldviews: Ancient Jews by N.T. Wright
10:28
Worldview Diagram: First Century Jewish Culture
2 pages
Quiz from Worldviews: Ancient Jews by N.T. Wright
5 questions
Article

This is our second look at the biblical text with the viewpoint of allowing our understanding of worldviews to add light to the meaning of the text. Here we look at two points where Luke shows Jesus at the Temple. The first is as an infant; the second is when he was twelve years old. Again, some of our questions we ask will directly relate to the worldviews diagram.

Worldviews: Jewish Symbols by N.T. Wright
16:47
Quiz from Worldviews: Jewish Symbols by N.T. Wright
9 questions
Article

The third encounter with Scripture is a brief one, though full of significance. We look at John 5:39-40. In this section we see how important Torah is for the Jew and how Jesus confronts a narrow-viewed idea of Scripture. Again, we allow our understanding of worldview help discern the meaning of the text in proper context.

Worldviews: Jewish Story by N.T. Wright
14:34
Quiz from Worldviews: Jewish Story by N.T. Wright
10 questions
Article

Our next encounter with Scripture is the narrative of Jesus in Nazareth after his temptation in the wilderness in Luke 4:14-30. We will find various aspect of worldview entering into view as we try to understand the biblical text.

Worldviews: Jewish praxis by N.T. Wright
18:47
Quiz from Worldviews: Jewish praxis by N.T. Wright
15 questions
Article

In this look at the biblical text, we look at John 7:1-52. This is our largest selection of the biblical material thus far. There are several aspects of worldview at work. The challenge is to separate them and see how the different worldviews of the characters in the narrative provide insight into the overall narrative of Jesus as Messiah.

Section 5: Worldviews: The In Messiah Shift
Worldviews: Pliny and Philemon, a Powerful Illustration by N.T. Wright
13:21
Quiz from Worldviews: Pliny and Philemon, a Powerful Illustration by N.T. Wright
9 questions
Encounter with Scripture: Paul's Epistle to Philemon
Article
Worldview Diagram: The In Messiah People
2 pages
Worldviews: Paul and the New Social Reality by N.T. Wright
17:03
Quiz from Worldviews: Paul and the New Social Reality by N.T. Wright
14 questions
Article

In this section of Encounter with Scripture we look at Paul's letter to the Galatians. In this, what some consider Paul's earliest letter, the assertion is made the the make-up of the 'family of God' has been more properly explained in light of Jesus' death and resurrection. As a result, the worldview one is urged to have is an 'in-Christ' or 'in-Messiah' worldview.

Worldviews: Reconciliation and the New Social Order
16:06
Quiz from Worldviews: Reconciliation and the New Social Order
12 questions
Article

This selection of Scripture, 2 Corinthians 5:11-21, provides a wonderful glimpse into how Paul sees as an in-Christ worldview. We can continue to fill out our understanding of how this new reality of what it is to be in Christ should impact our lives.

Section 6: Worldviews: The Movement of Worldview from Paul's day to the 21st Century
Worldviews: 21st Century by N.T. Wright
14:00
Worldview Diagram: The 21st Century Western World
3 pages
Quiz from Worldviews: 21st Century by N.T. Wright
11 questions
Worldviews: 21st Century (cont.) by N.T. Wright
11:07
Quiz from Worldviews: 21st Century (cont.) by N.T. Wright
8 questions
Worldviews: Western Materialism by N.T. Wright
12:44
Quiz from Worldviews: Western Materialism by N.T. Wright
6 questions
Section 7: Subversive Christianity by Brian Walsh, 2nd Edition, Chapter One
5 pages

In the first chapter of Brian Walsh's book, Subversive Christianity, Brian compares and contrasts the modern Western worldview with the idea of the in Messiah people being a subversive force in the culture. He also presents a comparison of the ancient Babylonian story of origins with the Genesis story. The goal here, again, is to identify the worldviews at work to better diagnose where we are in the comparison and contrasts.

4 pages

In Chapter Two you will continue to interact with the Worldview Diagram for the Western diagnosis worldview and for the subversive Christian worldview. You will include the insights obtained from the diagnosis Brian makes in Chapter Two.

4 pages

In Chapter Three we now Include the insights obtained from the comparison Brian Walsh makes in his discussion between Francis Fukuyama and the prophet Jeremiah. Again, this helps us refine our understanding of 'What time it is' for the in Messiah people.

4 pages

In this description of Chapter Four, we gain insights obtained from the input Brian Walsh makes while highlighting Paul and Silas along with the prophet Jeremiah.


4 pages

In the postscript to the original book, Brian Walsh adds words of encouragement and hope for people who see themselves living in exile in the present day. In this way we can add further to the diagrams of what it means to have a worldview of an in Messiah person.


Section 8: Worldviews: The 21st Century United States Perspective
Worldviews: 21st Century United States by David P. Seemuth
14:01
Worldviews: 21st Century United States by David P. Seemuth
Article
Worldviews: 21st Century United States (cont.) by David P. Seemuth
09:54
Worldviews: The 21st Century United States Symbols by David P. Seemuth
Article
Worldviews: 21st Century United States Symbols and Praxis by David P. Seemuth
10:22
Worldviews: 21st Century US Praxis
Article
Worldviews: 21st Century United States Summary by David P. Seemuth
12:58
Section 9: Final Project
Article

Here you will find a description of the final project for the course. This is optional, but we encourage you to engage in a thoughtful manner to consider the implications of this material. The goal is transformation by the renewing of the mind.

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Instructor Biography

N.T. Wright, Professor

N.T Wright received his BA, MA and PHD 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. Since 2010 Prof. Wright has been Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. He has published over 75 books and hundreds of articles. Prof. Wright recently received the Burkitt Medal from the British Academy for services to New Testament scholarship. He enjoys writing, lecturing, mentoring students and an occasional round of golf. He delights in spending time with his family in the midst of a busy schedule of writing and traveling.

Instructor Biography

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 25 years at numerous universities and seminaries. He also has 16 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.

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