Associate Professor of New Testament and Greek
Queen's Theological College
229 Theological Hall
Theological Hall 203
Theological Hall 203
This course provides an introduction the methods and conclusions used in the modern quest to understand the historical facts of Jesus life. We will look closely at selected ancient and secondary sources and evaluate their utility in constructing an understanding of the historical Jesus. Particular attention will be given to understanding the historical Jesus in his first-century socio-cultural context.
Prerequisite/Co-requisite(s): THEO 516 The New Testament or an equivalent course.
All of the course readings are from articles online or distributed in class.
You will need to bring a Bible to class. Almost any version will do, although the New Revised Standard Version or the Revised Standard Version are recommended for study purposes. Do not use the King James Version or the Living Bible (or any other paraphrase). See my guide to English Versions of the Bible (http://post.queensu.ca/~rsa/English_Versions.htm).
Expose students to the complexity of social construction and theological reflection embedded in the study of the historical Jesus
Development of students’ analytical abilities in reading biblical and other ancient texts
Advancement of students’ facility in constructing ancient socio-political contexts.
Engagement with various learning styles through content input, interactive tasks, and graded assignments.
Students will come to every class prepared to discuss the assigned reading material, particularly the ancient texts, and will participate fully in assigned learning tasks.
Students will demonstrate an ability to engage critically and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of evidence for the ‘historical Jesus.’
Students will evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of the literary and archaeological sources used to construct a particular picture of the historical Jesus.
Students will submit assigned work in a timely manner, in accordance with the course policies.
Comprehend how scholars use evidence to compose their understanding of Jesus.
Be familiar with the nature of the sources for Jesus and his context.
Understand the complexity of the evidentiary basis of historical biography.
TASK I (30% of the final grade): Class Participation.
TASK II (20% of the final grade): Book Review.
TASK III (50% of the final grade): Choose one of two options for written assignments.
Due Dates: All assignments are due at the beginning of class on the stated day. There will be an automatic grace period of one week in which late assignments will be accepted without penalty. No assignments will be accepted after that date unless negotiated before the initial due date and supported by documentary evidence to support the request (e.g., a medical note or a funeral notice).
Course Completion: Students wishing to negotiate a course grade of "Incomplete" (IN) must submit a request in writing (using the proper QTC form) before the end of classes (i.e., before the examination) and must provide documentary evidence to support the request (as per the “disability policy,” below). Failure to do so will result in the submission of a final grade based on work completed by the end of the course.
Grading: For an indication of how I grade written assignments see my “Assignment Evaluation Criteria” (http://post.queensu.ca/~rsa/evaltion.htm). For an indication for how I grade class participation see my “Grading Criteria for Class Participation” (http://post.queensu.ca/%7Ersa/participation.htm). Other help can be found on my Course Resources page (http://post.queensu.ca/~rsa/resources.htm).
General Statement on Academic Integrity: Students are expected to abide by the values and practice of Academic Integrity. Departures from Academic Integrity are serious academic offences and may result in a range of penalties. Students are advised to acquaint themselves with Queen's University's Policy on Academic Integrity (www.queensu.ca/secretariat/senate/policies/AcadInteg.html).
Disability Policy: If you have a physical, psychological, or learning disability and might require accommodations in this course, please contact immediately Queen's Health Counseling and Disability Services (HCDS), located in the LaSalle Building, 146 Stuart Street (613-533-6467), in order to receive documentation identifying needs requiring accommodation by the instructor.
Akenson, Donald Harman. Saint Saul: A Skeleton Key to the Historical Jesus. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
Allison, Dale C., Jr. Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1998.
Chilton, Bruce. Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography. New York: Doubleday, 2000.
Crossan, John Dominic. Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography. New York: Harper San Francisco, 1994.
Ehrman, Bart D. Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
Fiorenza, Elisabeth Schüssler. Jesus: Miriam’s Child, Sophia’s Prophet: Critical Issues in Feminist Christology. New York: Crossroad, 1994.
Fredriksen, Paula. From Jesus to Christ: The Origins of the New Testament Images of Jesus. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1988.
Funk, Robert W. Honest to Jesus: Jesus for a New Millenium. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1996.
Kaylor, R. David. Jesus the Prophet: His Vision of the Kingdom on Earth. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1994.
Levine, Amy-Jill. The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus. San Francisco: HarperOne, 2007.
Lüdemann, Gerd. The Resurrection of Christ: A Historical Inquiry. Amherst: Prometheus, 2004.
McClymond, Michael J. Familiar Stranger: An Introduction to Jesus of Nazareth. Grand Rapids and Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2004.
Meier, John P. A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, vol. 1, The Roots of the Problem and the Person. Anchor Bible Reference Library. New York: Doubleday, 1991.
Sanders, E. P. The Historical Figure of Jesus. London: Penguin, 1993.
Tatum, W. Barnes. In Quest of Jesus. Nashville: Abingdon, 1999.
Vermes, Geza. The Changing Faces of Jesus. London: Penguin, 2000.