The Story of the Storytellers

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Jesus’s Jewish Lineage
Learn how the expansion of the Hasmonean Kingdom provides a sharp context for understanding the birth narratives of Jesus from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. The authors of these Gospels went to great lengths to establish Jesus's descent from David. The question is: Why?
Jesus as Messiah in Mark
[Mark 1-10] Begin your look the New Testament with the first of several lectures on the four gospels--the narratives of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. In Mark (which was likely the first to be written), you'll be reintroduced to the powerful story that continues to captivate people around…
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 Teachings and Sayings in Context
Close out this insightful course with a pointed consideration of how selected passages from the Gospels can be better understood within their Jewish context. The three passages you explore involve the concept of Hell, Jesus's cleansing of the Temple, and John's account of Jesus's healing of a blind man.
Jesus's Death - What Historians Can't Know
Part of the Series: How Jesus Became God
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 crucifixion, and the matter of his burial. Grasp how Christian writers made changes in the accounts of his death to…
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…
Flavius Josephus: Witness to 1st Century A.D .
One cannot explore Jesus and his Jewish influences without understanding the life and works of Flavius Josephus, the ancient Jewish author who was a witness to the period during and after the life of Jesus. Here, learn how his fascinating historical writings complement what the Gospel authors relate.
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…
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…
Was Jesus a Pharisee?
In this lecture, probe the rise of the Sadducees and Pharisees during the late Second Temple Period. You'll learn how the Pharisaic approach became dominant in Judaism, and you'll spend time investigating what the Gospels say about whether or not Jesus identified as a Pharisee.
Jesus’s Prophecy: Jerusalem’s Destruction
The First Jewish Revolt against Rome culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple. Explore how this cataclysmic event had profound aftershocks for subsequent Jewish history--as well as early traditions surrounding Jesus (for example, the "Parable of the Wicked Tenants" in the Gospel of Matthew).
The First Christians
HOUR FOUR chronicles how the Christian movement - as it became separate from Judaism-would face new challenges--both internal and external. In the period between 100 and 300 C.E., the Christian movement grew throughout the Roman empire. At times there were heated debates about beliefs, worship, and even about Jesus himself.…