How Jesus Became God

The Great Courses
Show More

24 videos in this collection

Jesus - The Man Who Became God
First, consider the huge historical significance of the Christian belief in Jesus's divinity, in terms of its effects on Western civilization as well as today's world. Learn about different scholarly…
Greco-Roman Gods Who Became Human
In the ancient world, there were many accounts of "divine" mortals. Track this phenomenon in the Greco-Roman polytheistic religions, noting the overlap between the human and divine worlds. Explore three…
Humans as Gods in the Greco-Roman World
Delve further into the interface between the human and the divine in pagan cultures. Examine narratives describing people born of the sexual union of gods with mortals, highlighting examples such…
Gods Who Were Human in Ancient Judaism
Here, discover accounts of divine humans and other godlike beings within ancient Judaism. In Genesis and Exodus, explore conceptions of divine beings that appear in human form. In other Jewish…
Ancient Jews Who Were Gods
In ancient Judaism, beings other than the one true God could be considered to be or even called God. Learn about the divine figure of the Son of Man, and…
The Life and Teachings of Jesus
In approaching the historical Jesus, consider why the New Testament Gospels are the only useful early sources on his life, and study the criteria used by scholars for evaluating the…
Did Jesus Think He Was God?
This lecture explores what Jesus said about himself, as well as what he specifically preached. Grasp the nature and purpose of Jesus's ethical teachings, and his view of himself as…
The Death of Jesus - Historical Certainties
Regarding Jesus's final days, review the events that we know about with relative certainty. Learn about his reasons for being in Jerusalem, and the political tensions surrounding the Passover celebration…
Jesus's Death - What Historians Can't Know
Look now at events surrounding Jesus's death that we cannot know about with certainty. Assess the plausibility of the Gospels' accounts of his arrival in Jerusalem, the date of his…
The Resurrection - What Historians Can't Know
Jesus's resurrection stands as the basis for the entire Christian faith. But what can we know historically about the resurrection? Here, dig deeply into the question of what historians can…
What History Reveals about the Resurrection
What was it that caused Jesus's followers to believe he had been raised from the dead? Investigate the disciples' visions of Jesus, alive again after his death, as reflected in…
The Disciples' Visions of Jesus
In exploring the first claims about Jesus's resurrection, this lecture discusses the phenomenon of visionary experience as understood by modern researchers. Learn about the variety of religious and bereavement visions…
Jesus's Exaltation - Earliest Christian Views
What did the earliest Christians believe about Jesus's divinity? Delve into Romans and Acts for what they may tell us about early Christian thought, identifying the "pre-literary" creeds they quote…
The Backward Movement of Christology
Over time, Christian thought pushed the origin of Jesus's divinity further and further back in history. Trace this development by looking at views of Jesus in the New Testament Gospels.…
Paul's View - Christ's Elevated Divinity
Paul's theology represents a transition between early conceptions of Christ as exalted by God upon his death and later views of his innate or eternal divinity. Trace Paul's seminal role…
John's View - The Word Made Human
The Gospel of John differs significantly from the other three canonical Gospels in its conception of Jesus. Investigate John's contention that Jesus had always been the Son of God and…
Was Christ Human? The Docetic View
In the second and third centuries, Christian groups followed radically different beliefs and theologies. Learn about the "docetists", who believed Jesus was not human, but only appeared to be so,…
The Divided Christ of the Separationists
Among early Christian groups, the Gnostics demonstrate yet another view of the divinity of Jesus. Explore the fundamental tenets of Gnosticism, with its notion of secret knowledge as the source…
Christ's Dual Nature - Proto-Orthodoxy
By the fourth century, the theological understanding known as "orthodoxy" became predominant. Investigate the relationship between orthodoxy and "heresy", or conflicting conceptions of the faith, and evidence that orthodoxy was…
The Birth of the Trinity
The doctrine of the Trinity asserts that God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are all individually God. Look into the origins of this mysterious claim, noting that the Trinity appears…
The Arian Controversy
In the third century, sharp divisions existed between Christians, involving how to explain the relation of God the Father to Christ and the Holy Spirit. Examine the proto-orthodox thought of…
The Conversion of Constantine
The Christian conversion of the Roman emperor Constantine was a momentous turning point for the faith. Learn about the relationship of the Roman Empire to early Christianity, and the specific…
The Council of Nicea
Constantine called the famous Council of Nicea in 325 CE, to resolve the conflicting views of Christ's divinity. Examine the theological issues at stake, pitting the Christological views of Arius…
Once Jesus Became God
Conclude by considering the historical ramifications of the Nicean affirmation that Jesus was God. Learn about the growing Christian faith's effects on paganism and the advent of anti-Jewish thought and…

Related videos

Jesus - The Man Who Became God
Part of the Series: How Jesus Became God
First, consider the huge historical significance of the Christian belief in Jesus's divinity, in terms of its effects on Western civilization as well as today's world. Learn about different scholarly views of the historical Jesus, and trace the remarkable diversity of early Christian thought regarding Christian identity, scripture, and theological…
The Council of Nicea
Part of the Series: How Jesus Became God
Constantine called the famous Council of Nicea in 325 CE, to resolve the conflicting views of Christ's divinity. Examine the theological issues at stake, pitting the Christological views of Arius against those of Alexander of Alexandria. Contemplate the political implications of the outcome, and the resulting orthodox creed, establishing Jesus…
The Backward Movement of Christology
Part of the Series: How Jesus Became God
Over time, Christian thought pushed the origin of Jesus's divinity further and further back in history. Trace this development by looking at views of Jesus in the New Testament Gospels. Focus on the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke, noting their differing versions of when Jesus became the Son of…
Jesus's Exaltation - Earliest Christian Views
Part of the Series: How Jesus Became God
What did the earliest Christians believe about Jesus's divinity? Delve into Romans and Acts for what they may tell us about early Christian thought, identifying the "pre-literary" creeds they quote from. Observe how these creeds indicate a view that Jesus was adopted as the Son of God precisely upon his…
Once Jesus Became God
Part of the Series: How Jesus Became God
Conclude by considering the historical ramifications of the Nicean affirmation that Jesus was God. Learn about the growing Christian faith's effects on paganism and the advent of anti-Jewish thought and action. Observe how the theological debates continued, and review Jesus's path to becoming the object of faith for billions today.
The Life and Teachings of Jesus
Part of the Series: How Jesus Became God
In approaching the historical Jesus, consider why the New Testament Gospels are the only useful early sources on his life, and study the criteria used by scholars for evaluating the Gospels as history. Then investigate Jesus's apocalyptic worldview, which envisioned the imminent end of history and a coming kingdom of…
Paul's View - Christ's Elevated Divinity
Part of the Series: How Jesus Became God
Paul's theology represents a transition between early conceptions of Christ as exalted by God upon his death and later views of his innate or eternal divinity. Trace Paul's seminal role within the early church, and his view of Jesus as a divine being whose actions raised him to a higher…
Christ's Dual Nature - Proto-Orthodoxy
Part of the Series: How Jesus Became God
By the fourth century, the theological understanding known as "orthodoxy" became predominant. Investigate the relationship between orthodoxy and "heresy", or conflicting conceptions of the faith, and evidence that orthodoxy was not the original form of Christianity. Learn about early "proto-orthodox" writers, and their contention that Jesus was both fully God…
What History Reveals about the Resurrection
Part of the Series: How Jesus Became God
What was it that caused Jesus's followers to believe he had been raised from the dead? Investigate the disciples' visions of Jesus, alive again after his death, as reflected in Paul and the Gospels. Learn also about the tradition of doubt in the resurrection, and the meaning to early Christians…
Reading Biblical Literature: Genesis to Revelation
Rightly recognized as one of the world's most important spiritual texts, the Bible has shaped thousands of years of faith, art, and human history. Yet for all its importance to believers and nonbelievers alike, we rarely engage with the Bible as a collection of unique narratives that were only later…
Was Christ Human? The Docetic View
Part of the Series: How Jesus Became God
In the second and third centuries, Christian groups followed radically different beliefs and theologies. Learn about the "docetists", who believed Jesus was not human, but only appeared to be so, highlighting Marcion, a docetist who conceived of two distinct gods - a God of the Jews and a God of…
John's View - The Word Made Human
Part of the Series: How Jesus Became God
The Gospel of John differs significantly from the other three canonical Gospels in its conception of Jesus. Investigate John's contention that Jesus had always been the Son of God and the equal of God the Father. Contemplate John's identification of Christ as the embodiment of the word of God, or…