This course provides a general introduction through the Quest of the Historical Jesus to the life and activity of the first century revolutionary prophet. Who was Jesus before he became an object of belief and worship? Why did his movement happen right there and then? What was the “good news” that turned the ancient world upside down?
We will consider the best available canonical as well as non-canonical literary and other evidences, will examine assumptions underlying the discipline (politics of interpretation), discuss methodologies and the limits of the historical investigation and also consider and evaluate several fascinating scholarly reconstructions. We will keep a heavy emphasis on the social sciences in this class, which will help us understand how Jesus himself was embedded in a specific history and culture, and how he and his counter cultural message are relevant today in a postcolonial setting.