The Historical Jesus on Your iPod


Yes, we’re on a little bit of an iTunes roll here this week. But no one
seems to be complaining. Next up from Stanford, it’s The Historical Jesus. Like the Modern Theoretical Physics course that we previewed earlier, this class was originally taught in Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program, and it’s also aimed at the general public. Right now, you can download the first of ten installments. New installments will come out once a week.

Here is a complete description of what ground the course covers:

"Who was the historical Jesus of Nazareth? What did he actually say and do, as contrasted with what early Christians (e.g., Paul and the Gospel writers)

believed that he said and did? What did the man Jesus actually think of himself and of his mission, as contrasted with the messianic and even divine claims that the New Testament makes about him? In short, what are the differences — and continuities — between the Jesus who lived and died in history and the Christ who lives on in believers’ faith?

Over the last four decades historical scholarship on Jesus and his times — whether conducted by Jews, Christians, or non-believers — has arrived at a strong consensus about what this undeniably historical figure (born ca. 4 BCE, died ca. 30 CE) said and did, and how he presented himself and his message to his Jewish audience. Often that historical evidence about Jesus does not easily dovetail with the traditional doctrines of Christianity. How then might one adjudicate those conflicting claims?

This is a course about history, not about faith or theology. It will examine the best available literary and historical evidence about Jesus and his times and will discuss methodologies for interpreting that evidence, in order to help participants make their own judgments and draw their own conclusions."

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  • shawn says:

    “This is a course about history, not about faith or theology.”

    …not exactly sure how these are discriminate. :) Thanks, however, for the link.

  • illovich says:

    “…not exactly sure how these are discriminate.”

    It’s an unclear statement, but the most likely interpretation is that by “history” the author of the course description meant that if historical record or evidence contradicts the text of scripture (which happens quite frequently), the conclusion that has the most supporting evidence will be afforded more credibility.

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