What do scholars say about how they reconcile their Christian faith with an historical study of Jesus and the Bible?

  1. Watch Flight of Faith:  The Jesus Story  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gU5p6061M34  (This 48-minute video will give you an overview of the landscape in which Jesus lived – and how it looks today.  The narrator tells the traditional story of Jesus’ life, but as we go through the semester, we will see that there are many other ways of understanding Jesus and his teachings.)
  2. Read Frontline:  Jews and the Roman Empire. Judea was the province in which Jesus lived located within the massive Roman Empire.  (Just read down through “Tensions in Judea at the Time of Jesus’ Birth.”)  https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/portrait/jews.html
  3. Read The Human Journey: Jesus and the Origins of Christianity – A Multicultural Story http://humanjourney.ishk.net/ideas-that-shaped-our-modern-world-section/jesus-and-the-beginnings-of-christianity-a-multi-cultural-story/
  4. Read Frontline:  The Tensions Between Faith and History: Can Christian faith be reconciled with an historical approach to Jesus and the Bible?  This article will address the possibility of conducting a historical study of Jesus while holding firm to religious belief in Jesus.  https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/jesus/tensions.html
  5. Read Frontline:   Jesus was born, lived and died as a Jew.  https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/jesus/bornliveddied.html
  6. Read Frontline :  The Complexity of His Religious Identity.  Jesus was viewed as many things: healer, wisdom teacher, apocalyptic preacher, and anointed one (Messiah).https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/jesus/complexity.html
  7. Historical references to Jesus’ life.  There isn’t a lot of outside evidence of Jesus’ life, but there is some.


Over the next 16 weeks, we are going to be looking at the complexity of Jesus’ identity.  There are several resources this week that discuss this complexity, as well as the difficulty of uncovering the historical Jesus (apart from what the church has written about him).  After reading all of the resources for this section – most especially Frontline: The Tensions Between Faith and History – please write a discussion forum post in which you address the following points:

1.  What do these scholars have to say about how they reconcile their Christian faith with an historical study of Jesus and the Bible?

2.  What do the scholars have to say about how an historical/critical study of Jesus benefits and enhances their faith?

3.  What do you see as the dangers of studying Jesus from a historical/analytical approach?

Note:  Please stick to the materials posted for Weeks 2-3 as the resources for your writing.  Please do not quote scripture in this assignment, but please DO use quotes and references from the posted resources.