The New Testament Gospels tell the story of Jesus, a Jewish teacher, healer, and prophet, who came to be acknowledged by his followers as the Messiah and worshiped as God among those who came to be called Christians. Jesus was Jewish, but the Gospel writers as they told their stories, and Christians throughout the centuries as they have heard and read their stories, have not always acknowledged the Jewishness of their Christ. This course introduces course participants to the critical, academic study of Jesus and the Gospels within the context of first century Jewish history, society, and religion. Course participants will learn about the Jewish context out of which Christianity arose and will study the Gospels in their historical contexts. The course highlights the Gospel genre, the literary relationships between the canonical Gospels (and key non-canonical Gospels), and the narrative and theological shaping of each of the Gospels. As a result, the course will orient students to a basic understanding of who Jesus was, and who each of the Evangelists understood Jesus to be, so that we might begin to approach the question of who Jesus is for us today. Along the way we will also read selections from black and feminist interpreters, as well as other marginal voices, to help us consider how we might read the Gospels for the demands of a public church. As an examination of the public figure of Jesus and his legacy, the course is foundational for forming “visionary leaders to bear witness to the good news of Jesus Christ” (LSTC Mission Statement).
Instructor: Andrew Guffey.