Embark on the quest for the historical Jesus.

For nearly 2,000 years, Christians have followed the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, called Messiah or Christ in the New Testament. Indeed, no other person has had such a wide-ranging and powerful impact on the history of the Western world. This has compelled scholars and the faithful alike to undertake the quest for knowledge about his life.

Now, you too can take this quest. In this series, you will explore the ways in which contemporary scholarship, scripture, and our culture have approached the life of Jesus. Your guide, Professor David Zachariah Flanagin, is both a historical scholar and Catholic educator, providing a singular and faithful perspective into this fascinating and inspiring subject.

First, you will consider the major issues surrounding knowledge about JesusÕ life. Next, you will look at three well-known reconstructions of Jesus in the work of contemporary scholars. Finally, you will explore the most fruitful line of inquiry into the historical Jesus: research that situates him firmly within the world of first-century Palestinian Judaism.

The portraits of Jesus do not end here. This course, however, will help you to understand the key issues, the illuminating insights, and the problematic uncertainties that surround the fundamental question, “Who is Jesus?”

As you embark on this journey, you will deepen both your faith and understanding. Begin this quest today.

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Theme I: Introducing the Quest

    • The Historical Jesus Guide

    • 01 So Many Jesuses

    • 02 Looking behind the Gospels: The Oral Window and Translation

    • 03 Genre and Redaction

    • 04 Redaction as Transformation

    • 05 What Do We Mean by the Phrase, “The Historical Jesus”?

    • 06 Understanding the Evidence for Jesus

    • 07 Jesus, the Near-Eastern Sage

  • 2

    Theme II: Radical Portraits of Jesus

    • 08 Double Dissimilarity

    • 09 Multiple Attestation, Coherence, and the Coptic Gospel of Thomas

    • 10 Why Did Jesus Die?

    • 11 Jesus, Social Reformer

    • 12 Why Did Jesus Die?

    • 13 Jesus, Cynic Philosopher

    • 14 Magic and Meal

    • 15 Jesus the Jew

  • 3

    Theme III: Jesus in His Jewish Context

    • 16 The First-Century Jewish Context

    • 17 Diversity and Conflict in First-Century Judaism

    • 18 Jesus in Conflict with the Jewish Leadership

    • 19 Jesus, Herald of the Kingdom, Part I

    • 20 Jesus, Herald of the Kingdom, Part II

    • 21 The Resurrection