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    Vassar College
   
 
  Sep 22, 2017
 
 
    
Catalogue 2017-2018
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RELI 283 - A Hundred Gospels and the Confusing, Conflicted Life of Jesus

Semester Offered: Fall
1 unit(s)
(Same as JWST 283 ) Who was Jesus? What does the Bible say about him? How did it come to say what it does? Was he a humble carpenter? A divine being? A revolutionary? A rabbi? Was he learned in ancient wisdom, or simple and charismatic and fresh in his teaching? The sources dance in, about and around the issues as they alternately confirm and confound definitions. The canonical Gospels-accounts of Jesus’ life accepted as authoritative by Christians-number four. But even these four contradict each other and require “harmonization” in the eyes of believing Christians. And they are only four out of ten completely preserved examples. In addition to these ten, there are a further six Gospels describing only the childhood of Jesus, four partially preserved Gospels (including the Gospel of Mary Magdalene), and tens of fragmentary, reconstructed, and completely lost Gospels. Once thing is certain from all of these documents: Jesus wasn’t a Christian. How, then, did he come to be regarded as the founder of a new religion, a religion that would be called Christianity? And how did he come to be understood as God, the Son of God, or both at the same time? Marc Michael Epstein.

Two 75-minute periods.



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