Embark on the quest for the historical Jesus.
For nearly 2,000 years, Christians have followed the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, called Messiah or Christ in the New Testament. Indeed, no other person has had such a wide-ranging and powerful impact on the history of the Western world. This has compelled scholars and the faithful alike to undertake the quest for knowledge about his life.
Now you, too, can take this quest. In The Historical Jesus, you will explore the ways in which contemporary scholarship, Scripture, and culture have approached the life of Jesus. Your guide, Prof. David Zachariah Flanagin, is both a historical scholar and Catholic educator, providing a singular and faithful perspective into this fascinating and inspiring subject.
First, you will consider the major issues surrounding knowledge about Jesus' life. Next, you will look at three well-known reconstructions of Jesus in the work of contemporary scholars. Finally, you will explore the most fruitful line of inquiry into the historical Jesus: research that situates him firmly within the world of first-century Palestinian Judaism. The portraits of Jesus do not end here. This course, however, will help you to understand the key issues, the illuminating insights, and the problematic uncertainties that surround the fundamental question, "Who is Jesus?"
As you embark on this journey, you will deepen both your faith and understanding. Begin this quest today.
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excellent for beginners
This is an exceptionally good audiobook for anyone who wishes to be introduced to the academic pursuit ( more on this phrase later....) of "The quest for the historical Jesus".
As a preliminary, should any find it adds "credibility" to my review, one of my undergraduate degrees [back in the day] is in Religious Study ( which is not theology,and is not dependant on belief- it is a university degree) focusing more specifically on the study of Jesus as he has been interpreted in various academic circles. That was many many years ago, but I continue to be fascinated by the topic to this day and have many books in this field ( including many mentioned in the audiobook). I purchased the book to see how Prof. Flanagin measured up to others I've read. Well, I was surprised by how good he was.
The lectures ( which do not sound like lectures, by the way; there is a flow not present in the Great Courses audiobooks Audible offers) covers all of the usual topics, the explanation of the various genres of Scriptures; an overview of first century Palestine, the historical times in which Jesus lived; and the various interpretations given to Jesus over the years and more particularly in the last few decades or so.
To be clear, this is academic series of lectures. It is not a faith based book, or designed to convince the listener to believe in Jesus. It is, rather, a study of the literature of the Bible, what we can and cannot know from history about who Jesus was and what he did,
I found Prof. Flanigin an articulate, organized and reasonable lecturer.
If you have any familiarity with the topic, you may want to give it a pass, because he really covers nothing new. But I enjoyed it, and I have lots of familiarity with a topic simply because of the manner in which Prof Flanagin presents the topic(s). For anyone new to the area, I highly recommended it
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The book is a defense of different biases.
As an introduction, I am lucky to be close to three universities with theology programs, so I have logged many hours in discussions with faculty and students on the historical Jesus. These discussions look at the available data, much of which is biblical text analysis, and see what it adds up to. But most books on the historical Jesus do what is termed (a mistake) in medicine as anchoring, when the physician locks on to one line of thoughts rather than analyzing data like Sherlock Holmes. This author admits it and discusses different groups and their starting assumptions. In my studies and what I have gained from scholars, I believe, for example, that the nativity story needs to be believed on Faith but the data strongly supports Jesus rose from the dead. I also currently believe that Jesus was not 'special' until his Baptism. So I don't follow the 'party line'. I have come to look at the New Testament, with the exception of Mark, as a book of different people in close proximity to the events trying to give their interpretation of what the rising from the dead means. This is one of the many pieces of data support that it occurred. This is how you would approach problems in medicine, analyzing the data and not starting with a bias. But this book looks at different views starting from a prejudice, rather than an analysis of what data is available, Again the author admits this. Why is it so hard to find a book or course that just unbiasly analyzes the data when it is easy for me to walk into a university Starbucks and find this type of analysis. As a side not, I am also skeptical of religious works coming out of Northern California. I have gone to Catholic masses throughout the US and abroad (many not in English). In silicon valley and Berkeley, they were the only places were I had to go find something to confirm it was a Catholic Mass. I was not the only person walking out. So why do so many Christianity come out of an area known to be agnostic.