Class: The Search for the Historical Jesus, Wednesdays, 04/27-05/25

The search for the historical Jesus and what it means in your life today

Wednesdays, April 24 – May 25, 7:00-9:00 p.m.


This exciting, interactive, research-based class begins with the question: “what do we really know about this historic figure called Jesus?” We will then move on to modern scholarly alternative interpretations about the message of Jesus, and relate these understandings to Unity beliefs. The class will be facilitated by Jim Cox, who is currently a Board of Trustees member, sings with Synchronicity, and serves as a YOU leader.
Here’s a rough idea of the course outline:
Week I: Who was Jesus?
  1. First principles: what facts are more or less indisputable?
  2. Original sources and biases:
  1. Perspectives of the three different Christian sects in the early church: Nazareans, Paulians, and Gnostics
  2. Canonical and noncanonical early sources: including Canonical letters, Canonical Gospels, Q, Gospel of Thomas, Hebrew Gospel.
  3. Earliest historical perspectives: Josephus, Clement, Origin, Eusebius, etc.
  1. Techniques used by modern biblical scholars to attempt to extract truth from these disparate sources.
  2. Pass out Jesus Seminar chart detailing their estimates of probability of truth for every saying and event in Jesus life, to whet appetite for week II.

Week II: Separating wheat from chaff about Jesus’ life: What has modern scholarship deduced?

  1. Regarding what Jesus actually said.
  2. Regarding politics of Jesus.
  3. Regarding virgin birth.
  4. Regarding childhood.
  5. Important people in Jesus’ life: and why some of these end up being disguised.
  6. Regarding miracles.
  7. And the big one: regarding resurrection.

Week III: Different Modern Perspectives on meaning of Jesus’ life and teachings.

  1. Jesus as son of God (e.g. William Craig, standard Catholic/Protestant belief).
  2. Jesus as savior of Man through sin atonement (particularly Protestant belief)
  3. Jesus as apocalyptic prophet (e.g. Bart Ehrman, E.P. Sanders, John P. Meier)
  4. Jesus as Revolutionary messiah (e.g. Robert Eisenman, Gerd Theissen)
  5. Jesus as Myth (e.g. Earl Doherty, G.A. Wells)
  6. Jesus as Wisdom Sage (e.g. John Crossan, Robert Funk, Stephen J. Patterson)
  7. Jesus as Man of Spirit  — at very end, whet appetite for week IV.

Week IV: Jesus as Man of Spirit and relating that to Unity beliefs

  1. Process theology
  2. Panentheism
  3. Various viewpoints of scholars who adopt this type of position
  1. Geza Vermes
  2. Stevan Davies
  3. Marcus Borg
  1. Irony: Why two major religions were created after the death of two anti-religious but spiritual men (Jesus and Buddha).
  2. How this relates to New Thought and Unity.



One Response to “Class: The Search for the Historical Jesus, Wednesdays, 04/27-05/25”

  1. Cynthia Klatt Says:

    Sounds terrific!! I’ve been very interested in the historical Jesus. Please sign me up. Thanks!

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