REL 320 Calendar

 

Part One: Why is Jesus a Historical Problem?

 
Aug 21 Introduction to the Course
This course uses Blackboard for announcements, assignments, grades, etc.

Abbreviations:

HB/OT: Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
HSB: HarperCollins Study Bible
NOAB: New Oxford Annotated Bible (4th ed.)
NT: New Testament

Supplemental Resource: NABRE on BibleGateway (this is a true academic study Bible free to the public!)

Handel, "Total Eclipse" from Samson

Aug 23 Did Jesus Exist?

Reading: Powell, 251-4; Bart Ehrman & Robert Price Debate Did Jesus Exist?

Read the brief intro, watch the first link, i.e., the "Preview," and then the first hour and five minutes of the debate, i.e., Ehrman and Price's opening statements.  You are welcome to watch the rest, but that's not required.

Supplemental readings are not required.  They are resources to go further into any subject that interests you.

Supplemental Reading: Search for the Historical Jesus

Aug 25

History and Faith: An Indelicate Balance

Reading: Powell, ix-xii, 1-9; 255-60; The Interpretive Spectrum Handout (available in Course Content)

Supplemental Reading: The 2003 Hayward Lectures (Lecture 1): "The First Faith"

These lectures contain many of the leading ideas in Dunn, Jesus Remembered

Aug 28

Scientific and Historical Complications I: Enlightenment and Modernity

Reading: Powell, 10-19

Supplemental Reading:

Origen on the Differences Between the Gospels

David L. Holmes, The Faiths of the Founding Fathers

Holmes is praised for presenting a "balanced and scholarly portrait of a very diverse spiritual landscape" (Philip Jenkins).  He makes a strong case that various founders were either Deists, Christian Deists, or Orthodox Christians.

The Jefferson Bible

More on Albert Schweitzer: Albert Schweitzer; The Most Famous Schweitzer Quote; More Schweitzer Quotes

Aug 30

Scientific and Historical Complications II: Jesus and the Supernatural

Reading: Powell, 237-44

Supplemental Reading:

Sep 1 Class Cancelled
Sep 4 Labor Day Holiday
Sep 6

The Ongoing Quests for a Lost Jesus

Reading: Powell, 19-33

Supplemental Reading: Harris, "The Continuing Quest for the Historical Jesus" (On Blackboard)

Sep 8



Sources Overview I: Archaeology, Roman and Jewish Literature, and NT Epistles

Reading: Powell, 34-43

Supplemental Reading: The House of Peter: The Home of Jesus in Capernaum?

Sep 11

Sources Overview II: John and Noncanonical Sources

Reading: Powell, 52-59

Supplemental Reading: The Gnostic Archive; Heracleon: Fragments from his commentary on the Gospel of John; The Gospel of Thomas.  For more, click here.

Sep 13

Paper 1
Sources Overview III: The Synoptic Gospels

Reading: Powell, 43-52

Discussion Paper Assignment: Re-marking Mark and the Consequences of Dispensing with Q

Supplemental Reading:

Three Gospel Synopsis

This link takes you to an online synopsis of the gospels.  For example, find "The Temptation" in chapter 1 of Mark and click on the little color-coded Bibles at the beginning of the account.

More Supplemental Reading: "A Table of Parallel Passages in the Gospels" (HSB, 1653-63); "Introduction to the Gospels" (NOAB, 1743-45); The Two Source Hypothesis; The Synoptic Problem; More Supplemental Synoptic Problem Reading; Supplemental Synoptic Problem Exercises; Harris, "The Continuing Quest for the Historical Jesus" (See Course Content, Supplemental Reading); Licona, "Why are there differences in the Gospels? Ancient biography, Plutarch & the Gospels"; McKnight, The Jesus We'll Never Know; Search for the Historical Jesus

The first two links take you to lots of info supplementing the basics you get in the textbook and presenting alternative theories.


Part Two: The Gospels and Their Contexts


Sep 15
Authors and Genre
Reading: Carter, xi-xii, 1-23

Supplemental Reading:
Sep 18

Setting and Form

Reading: Carter, 25-40

Supplemental Reading:

Sep 20
Orality and Performance

Reading: Carter, 40-48

Supplemental Reading: The 2003 Hayward Lectures (Lecture 2): "Behind the Gospels" (These lectures contain many of the leading ideas in Dunn, Jesus Remembered.)

Papias; Q Resources Online; Q according to Luke's Wording

The Papias link takes you to the earliest surviving traditions concerning Papias (ca. 135 C.E.), including his comments about the writing activities of Mark and Matthew.  Since what he ascribes to Matthew here does not sound like the book of Matthew we know but rather a collection of Aramaic "sayings" later "translated" (or "interpreted"), some scholars think that the disciple Matthew could have been the author of the earliest edition of Q.

Sep 22

The Tale Mark Tells I

Reading: Carter, 49-63

Supplemental Reading:
Sep 25

The Tale Mark Tells II

Reading: Carter, 63-74

Supplemental Reading: Atonement of Christ; Atonement in Christianity; How Are We Saved: 4 Theories of At-One-ment Slideshow;

Sep 27
Mark and Rome I

Reading: Carter, 75-86

Supplemental Reading:

Sep 29
Mark and Rome II

Reading: Carter, 86-98

Oct 2

The Tale Matthew Tells I

Reading: Carter, 99-110

Supplemental Reading:

Oct 4
The Tale Matthew Tells II

Reading: Carter, 110-22

Supplemental Reading:
Oct 6
Matthew's Makeover of Jesus and the Disciples

Reading: Carter, 123-35

Oct 9
Matthew and the Synagogue

Reading: Carter, 135-49

Oct 11
Mid-term Exam
Oct 13 Fall Holiday
Oct 16
The Tale Luke Tells I

Reading: Carter, 151-64

Oct 18
The Tale Luke Tells II

Reading: Carter, 164-77

Oct 20 Luke and Kingdom I
Reading: Carter, 179-93

Supplemental Reading:

Oct 23
Luke and Kingdom II

Reading: Carter, 193-212

Oct 25 The Tale John Tells I

Reading: Carter, 213-226

Supplemental Reading:

Oct 27 The Tale John Tells II

Reading: Carter, 226-38

Supplemental Reading:

Oct 30 John and Wisdom I

Reading: Carter, 239-48

Supplemental Reading:

Nov 1 John and Wisdom II

Reading: Carter, 248-60

Supplemental Reading:

Nov 3 Gospels and the Canon

Reading: Carter, 261-72

Supplemental Reading:


Part Three: Finding Jesus/Jesus Findings


Nov 6 Criteria

Reading: Carter, 272-81; Powell, 59-71

Supplemental Reading:

Nov 8 Snapshots of Jesus I

Reading: Powell, 72-87

Supplemental Reading: Kirby, Historical Jesus Theories

Nov 10 Snapshots of Jesus II

Reading: Powell, 87-97

Supplemental Reading:

Nov 13

Paper Two
The Roots of the Radical Jesus

Reading: Q (See Course Content)

A strong majority of NT scholars believe that the writers of the Gospels we call Matthew and Luke used a lost written source made up mostly of sayings of Jesus.  This source is referred to as "Q," an abbreviation for the German word "quelle" which means source.  Plausible dates for composition of this source range from the 40s to the 60s C.E., making these materials common to Matthew and Luke among the earliest surviving traditions about Jesus.  Though written in Greek when incorporated into Matthew and Luke, it may have been composed originally in Aramaic, the language of Jesus and his disciples.  Even if the Q source theory were ever proven wrong, the inclusion of these materials in two Gospels would seem to confirm their importance for understanding the message of Jesus.

Discussion Paper Two: Who Was Jesus? An Investigative Report

Supplemental Reading: Papias; Q Resources Online; Q according to Luke's Wording

The Papias link takes you to the earliest surviving traditions concerning Papias (ca. 135 C.E.), including his comments about the writing activities of Mark and Matthew.  Since what he ascribes to Matthew here does not sound like the book of Matthew we know but rather a collection of Aramaic "sayings" later "translated" (or "interpreted"), some scholars think that the disciple Matthew could have been the author of the earliest edition of Q.

Nov 15 The Jesus Seminar

Reading: Powell, 98-117

Supplemental Reading: Funk: Jesus for a New Millennium;

Nov 17 Crossan

Reading: Powell, 118-39

Supplemental Reading: J.D. Crossan: 2000 UNI lecture on the historical Jesus

There are many videos of Dom Crossan on the web, but this is a good first watch.

Nov 20 Class Cancelled
Nov 2226 Thanksgiving Break
Nov 27 Borg

Reading: Powell, 140-57

Supplemental Reading: Marcus Borg: "Why Jesus Matters"

There are many videos of Marcus Borg on the web, but this is a good first watch.

Nov 29

Sanders

Reading: Powell, 158-77

Supplemental Reading: Jesus and Judaism with Duke University Professor E.P. Sanders; Is Paul's Legacy Relevant Today?

Dec 1 Meier

Reading: Powell, 178-99

Supplemental Reading:

John P. Meir: Jesus the Jew - But What Sort of Jew?

Jesus Christ Superstar (1970)

Good transfer of the recent film restoration, but you do have to put up with ad interruptions.  Also available on DVD and Blu-ray. 

Dec 4
Wright

Reading: Powell, 200-224

Supplemental Reading: Simply Wright: "The Jesus We Never Knew"

There are many videos of Tom Wright on the web, but this is a good first watch.

Dec 6
The Continuing Quest: Issues and Concerns

Class Reading: Powell, 225-37, 244-49

Supplemental Reading: The 2003 Hayward Lectures (Lecture 3): "The Characteristic Jesus"

Dec 8 Study Day

Final Exam

REL 3201 Final Exam (Wednesday, December 13, 1:15 pm to 3:15 pm)

For final exam preparation instructions, see Assignments.

 

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