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[XTalk] Re: Historical Jesus Syllabus

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  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
    ... Let s take a step back here. The original request for suggestions on books and syllabi for an HJ course came not from me but from Brian Tucker. More ... In
    Message 1 of 25 , Dec 4, 1999
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      gte_enerspace wrote:
      Please see more at the website on more critical scholarship on the subject.
      The examination of the cinematic Jesus, was absolutely critical in realizing
      how influenced most of are of the media and hype surrounding Jesus,
      particularly as we are growing up.  The demything of Jesus...is the first
      step, I am afraid, on anyones' adventure and investigation.  You are talking
      about a first course, aren't you.
      Let's take a step back here. The original request for suggestions on books and syllabi for an HJ course came not from me but from Brian Tucker. More importantly, he asked for suggestions on material such that  (to quote him) it :
      (1) Provides an
      historical overview of the quest. (2) Provides a basic guide to
      historical research methods, (form criticism, redaction, etc.). (3)
      Provides bibliography and copious footnotes. (4) Interacts with
      archaeology and other related disciplines. (5) Provides an even handed
      overview of the differing current thoughts.


      In the light of these criteria, indeed, for anyone who wants to become aquatinted with the history of the quest and the options that serious historians have adopted,  I still maintain that watching a series of Jesus films has no value whatsoever. One or two in a course might help a teacher raise some issues, but a whole course devoted to them tells us little more about the HJ than watching Eroll Flynn's *They Dies with their Boots on* tells us about Custer or the methods that historians use in trying to recover and reconstruct the HC. 

      Moreover, while demythologizing Jesus **might** be a first step towards an interest in investigating the HJ, I think you overstate the case not only that it is the only thing that has or will cause anyone to become interested in engaging in the quest, but that seeing Jesus films -- which actually only serve to remythologize him -- is the best way to go about it. While it may have been so for you, I wonder how far this actually can be universalized? Indeed, I know people for whom particular Jesus films only caused a desire to reaffirm their orthodoxy and become resistant to scholarship..

      And as to your question:

       Are you an academic?
       
      both Oxford University, which conferred upon me a doctorate, and Loyola University, where I teach, seem to think so -- but don't let it get around. For a brief bio, see the "bios" link at the end of the XTalk home page (www.xtalk.org).

      Yours,

      Jeffrey
      --
      Jeffrey B. Gibson
      7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
      Chicago, Illinois 60626
      e-mail jgibson000@...
       

    • gte_enerspace
      Sorry, somehow lost the original author of this thread. Was an interesting dialogue, nevertheless. Film criticism is just as important as Form Criticism in
      Message 2 of 25 , Dec 4, 1999
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        Sorry, somehow lost the original author of this thread.  Was an interesting dialogue, nevertheless.  Film criticism is just as important as Form Criticism in the quest, which you seem to be hooked on.
         
        ----- Original Message -----
        Sent: Saturday, December 04, 1999 1:12 PM
        Subject: [XTalk] Re: Historical Jesus Syllabus

        gte_enerspace wrote:
        Please see more at the website on more critical scholarship on the subject.
        The examination of the cinematic Jesus, was absolutely critical in realizing
        how influenced most of are of the media and hype surrounding Jesus,
        particularly as we are growing up.  The demything of Jesus...is the first
        step, I am afraid, on anyones' adventure and investigation.  You are talking
        about a first course, aren't you.
        Let's take a step back here. The original request for suggestions on books and syllabi for an HJ course came not from me but from Brian Tucker. More importantly, he asked for suggestions on material such that  (to quote him) it :
        (1) Provides an
        historical overview of the quest. (2) Provides a basic guide to
        historical research methods, (form criticism, redaction, etc.). (3)
        Provides bibliography and copious footnotes. (4) Interacts with
        archaeology and other related disciplines. (5) Provides an even handed
        overview of the differing current thoughts.


        In the light of these criteria, indeed, for anyone who wants to become aquatinted with the history of the quest and the options that serious historians have adopted,  I still maintain that watching a series of Jesus films has no value whatsoever. One or two in a course might help a teacher raise some issues, but a whole course devoted to them tells us little more about the HJ than watching Eroll Flynn's *They Dies with their Boots on* tells us about Custer or the methods that historians use in trying to recover and reconstruct the HC. 

        Moreover, while demythologizing Jesus **might** be a first step towards an interest in investigating the HJ, I think you overstate the case not only that it is the only thing that has or will cause anyone to become interested in engaging in the quest, but that seeing Jesus films -- which actually only serve to remythologize him -- is the best way to go about it. While it may have been so for you, I wonder how far this actually can be universalized? Indeed, I know people for whom particular Jesus films only caused a desire to reaffirm their orthodoxy and become resistant to scholarship..

        And as to your question:

         Are you an academic?
         
        both Oxford University, which conferred upon me a doctorate, and Loyola University, where I teach, seem to think so -- but don't let it get around. For a brief bio, see the "bios" link at the end of the XTalk home page (www.xtalk.org).

        Yours,

        Jeffrey
        --
        Jeffrey B. Gibson
        7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
        Chicago, Illinois 60626
        e-mail jgibson000@...
         


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      • Jeffrey B. Gibson
        ... I am rather astounded by this claim. Do you really believe that aesthetic criticism of something (Jesus films) that is often, at best, a third hand
        Message 3 of 25 , Dec 4, 1999
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          gte_enerspace wrote:
          Sorry, somehow lost the original author of this thread.  Was an interesting dialogue, nevertheless.  Film criticism is just as important as Form Criticism in the quest, which you seem to be hooked on.


          I am rather astounded by this claim. Do you really believe that aesthetic criticism of something (Jesus films) that is often, at best,  a third hand interpretation (and which usually involves a rather uncareful and eclectic use) of NT and other ancient sources dealing with the HJ, is really on the same order methodologically and from an historiographic point of view as an historical-critical engagement with the sources themselves? Or that King of Kings is of the same historical and evidentiary value as Josephus' _War_? When did KofK become scripture, let alone an ancient source? Should we not then use the Urantia book, or the Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ by Levi,  as well?

          In any case, I'd be grateful if you'd spare me your aphibolistic speculations of what I'm hooked on. I love Jesus films, owning many myself, and having even tried my hand once at making one. But I know enough not to regard them as anything like primary or useful historical evidence for the HJ.

          Yours,

          Jeffrey Gibson
          ---
          Jeffrey B. Gibson
          7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
          Chicago, Illinois 60626
          e-mail jgibson000@...
           

        • Mark Goodacre
          ... Might I suggest a means by which this debate can be resolved? On the one hand, there are many ways in which the study of Jesus films might help in the
          Message 4 of 25 , Dec 6, 1999
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            On 4 Dec 99, at 19:29, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:

            > gte_enerspace wrote:
            >
            > > Sorry, somehow lost the original author of this thread. Was an
            > > interesting dialogue, nevertheless. Film criticism is just as
            > > important as Form Criticism in the quest, which you seem to be hooked
            > > on.
            >
            > I am rather astounded by this claim. Do you really believe that
            > aesthetic criticism of something (Jesus films) that is often, at best, a
            > third hand interpretation (and which usually involves a rather uncareful
            > and eclectic use) of NT and other ancient sources dealing with the HJ, is
            > really on the same order methodologically and from an historiographic
            > point of view as an historical-critical engagement with the sources
            > themselves?

            Might I suggest a means by which this debate can be resolved? On
            the one hand, there are many ways in which the study of Jesus films
            might help "in the quest", as David Beshore affirms, e.g. they stimulate
            the imagination of the researcher and suggest fresh avenues for
            investigation by the historian. I use Jesus films in historical Jesus
            lectures, for example, to encourage students to think through certain
            themes in Jesus research.

            On the other hand, Jeffrey is of course correct that Jesus films can in
            no way be a primary source of information on the historical Jesus.

            While we are on the topic of Jesus films, I hope I may be excused a
            little shameless self-publicity. I have recently had an article published
            in _The Journal of Religion and Film_ entitled "Do You Think You're
            What They Say You Are? Reflections on Jesus Christ Superstar". It
            is available electronically at:

            http://www.unomaha.edu/~wwwjrf/JesusCss.htm

            Mark
            --------------------------------------
            Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
            Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
            University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
            Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom

            http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
            The New Testament Gateway
            Mark Without Q
            Aseneth Home Page
          • Mark Goodacre
            In addition to all those mentioned, I would want to stress (for the umpteenth time - - sorry everyone) the value of E. P. Sanders & Margaret Davies, _Studying
            Message 5 of 25 , Dec 6, 1999
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              In addition to all those mentioned, I would want to stress (for the umpteenth time -
              - sorry everyone) the value of E. P. Sanders & Margaret Davies, _Studying the
              Synoptic Gospels_ because (a) it has the requisite introduction to source & form
              criticism etc. for which Brian asked. This is rare in books dealing with the
              historical Jesus -- lamentably so -- and (b) it has such a good discussion of the
              criteria for doing Jesus research, ideally pitched for the beginning student. I
              recommend this book for students on my own Jesus course.

              Also not mentioned so far is C. J. Den Heyer's _Jesus Matters_ (ET, London:
              SCM, 1996), again an ideal student introduction. If it helps, I have a brief on the
              web, reproduced from an article I wrote in RRT in 1997,
              http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre/revnt1.htm#den Heyer

              Mark
              --------------------------------------
              Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
              Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
              University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
              Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom

              http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
              The New Testament Gateway
              Mark Without Q
              Aseneth Home Page
            • Gail Dawson
              Message 6 of 25 , Dec 8, 1999
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                > Brian, you may want to check out the following resources for syllabi if
                > someone hasn't directed you to them already:
                >
                > The AAR Syllabi Project web site has a collection of syllabi, some of
                > which are pertinent to the study of the Historical Jesus and Christian
                > origins--go to this link and look under "Christian Origins":
                > http://www.wlu.ca/~wwwaar/course_syllabi.html
                >
                > Additionally, the following link on the AAR page will take you to
                > additional resources on the Web for locating religious studies syllabi
                > (but you'll have to scan through them to find ones that pertain
                > specifically to the Historical Jesus):
                >
                > http://www.wlu.ca/~wwwaar/syllabi_online.html
                >
                > The AAR home page is at this link: http://www.aar-site.org/
                >
                > Hope this helps,
                >
                > Gail Dawson
                > Edinburg, Va.
              • Mark Goodacre
                One or two new web resources may be of interest to the list. John P. Meier has a most interesting article on The Present State of the ‘Third Quest’ for
                Message 7 of 25 , Dec 8, 1999
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                  One or two new web resources may be of interest to the list. John P. Meier has a
                  most interesting article on "The Present State of the ‘Third Quest’ for the
                  Historical Jesus" in the current issue of the now on-line Biblica:

                  http://www.bsw.org/project/biblica/bibl80/Comm11.htm

                  (Good to see that he mentions Steve Davies's book in his section on the
                  importance of healing, though no discussion of it).

                  I have also recently added a section on "Women & Gender" to my NT Gateway,
                  address at:

                  http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre/links.htm

                  Mark




                  --------------------------------------
                  Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                  Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
                  University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
                  Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom

                  http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
                  The New Testament Gateway
                  Mark Without Q
                  Aseneth Home Page
                • Dennis C. Duling
                  This past semester I tried Theissen on my undergraduates. Their first exam was horrible; their second exam was quite good. However, I have worked about as hard
                  Message 8 of 25 , Dec 9, 1999
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                    This past semester I tried Theissen on my undergraduates. Their first
                    exam was horrible; their second exam was quite good. However, I have
                    worked about as hard as I ever have on a course -- a lot of it
                    explaining Theissen. The translation at points needs some improvement,
                    too. So I would say that it is only for the bold and very ambitious, as
                    far as an undergraduate text goes.
                    I'll go back to a simpler text for my undergraduates. W. Barnes Tatum
                    has a new edition of his little classic out, and I'll try it next time,
                    along with one of the newer general books on Jesus, perhaps D. Allison
                    or B. Ehrman on the apocalyptic-millennial side and s.t. from the
                    Q-Thomas axis on the other side (Crossan), or perhaps (again) Borg. If
                    my course evaluations should prove me wrong, I'll let you know.


                    dd

                    Mark Goodacre wrote:
                    >
                    > In addition to all those mentioned, I would want to stress (for the umpteenth time -
                    > - sorry everyone) the value of E. P. Sanders & Margaret Davies, _Studying the
                    > Synoptic Gospels_ because (a) it has the requisite introduction to source & form
                    > criticism etc. for which Brian asked. This is rare in books dealing with the
                    > historical Jesus -- lamentably so -- and (b) it has such a good discussion of the
                    > criteria for doing Jesus research, ideally pitched for the beginning student. I
                    > recommend this book for students on my own Jesus course.
                    >
                    > Also not mentioned so far is C. J. Den Heyer's _Jesus Matters_ (ET, London:
                    > SCM, 1996), again an ideal student introduction. If it helps, I have a brief on the
                    > web, reproduced from an article I wrote in RRT in 1997,
                    > http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre/revnt1.htm#den Heyer
                    >
                    > Mark
                    > --------------------------------------
                    > Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                    > Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
                    > University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
                    > Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom
                    >
                    > http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
                    > The New Testament Gateway
                    > Mark Without Q
                    > Aseneth Home Page
                    >
                    > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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                  • Mark Goodacre
                    ... Thanks for the interesting feedback. I begin a course on Jesus research after Christmas and am contemplating using Theissen & Merz a bit, so this is
                    Message 9 of 25 , Dec 10, 1999
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                      On 9 Dec 99, at 14:12, Dennis C. Duling wrote:

                      > This past semester I tried Theissen on my undergraduates. Their first exam
                      > was horrible; their second exam was quite good. However, I have worked
                      > about as hard as I ever have on a course -- a lot of it explaining
                      > Theissen. The translation at points needs some improvement, too. So I
                      > would say that it is only for the bold and very ambitious, as far as an
                      > undergraduate text goes. I'll go back to a simpler text for my
                      > undergraduates. W. Barnes Tatum has a new edition of his little classic
                      > out, and I'll try it next time, along with one of the newer general books
                      > on Jesus, perhaps D. Allison or B. Ehrman on the apocalyptic-millennial
                      > side and s.t. from the Q-Thomas axis on the other side (Crossan), or
                      > perhaps (again) Borg. If my course evaluations should prove me wrong, I'll
                      > let you know.

                      Thanks for the interesting feedback. I begin a course on Jesus
                      research after Christmas and am contemplating using Theissen &
                      Merz a bit, so this is useful to know. But I'll use a variety of key texts,
                      Sanders, Sanders & Davies, den Heyer, Crossan, Fredriksen,
                      perhaps Powell as well as Theissen & Merz. For another recent
                      (fairly positive) review of Theissen & Merz, see the recent one in the
                      SBL Review of Biblical Literature by James Robinson:

                      http://www.bookreviews.org/Reviews/0800631234.html

                      Mark
                      --------------------------------------
                      Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                      Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
                      University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
                      Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom

                      http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
                      The New Testament Gateway
                      All-in-One Biblical Resources Search
                      Mark Without Q
                      Aseneth Home Page
                    • Dennis C. Duling
                      Many thanks. I reviewed it in Bible Review, though my review was considerably edited down by the editors. dd
                      Message 10 of 25 , Dec 13, 1999
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                        Many thanks. I reviewed it in Bible Review, though my review was
                        considerably edited down by the editors.
                        dd

                        Mark Goodacre wrote:
                        >
                        > On 9 Dec 99, at 14:12, Dennis C. Duling wrote:
                        >
                        > > This past semester I tried Theissen on my undergraduates. Their first exam
                        > > was horrible; their second exam was quite good. However, I have worked
                        > > about as hard as I ever have on a course -- a lot of it explaining
                        > > Theissen. The translation at points needs some improvement, too. So I
                        > > would say that it is only for the bold and very ambitious, as far as an
                        > > undergraduate text goes. I'll go back to a simpler text for my
                        > > undergraduates. W. Barnes Tatum has a new edition of his little classic
                        > > out, and I'll try it next time, along with one of the newer general books
                        > > on Jesus, perhaps D. Allison or B. Ehrman on the apocalyptic-millennial
                        > > side and s.t. from the Q-Thomas axis on the other side (Crossan), or
                        > > perhaps (again) Borg. If my course evaluations should prove me wrong, I'll
                        > > let you know.
                        >
                        > Thanks for the interesting feedback. I begin a course on Jesus
                        > research after Christmas and am contemplating using Theissen &
                        > Merz a bit, so this is useful to know. But I'll use a variety of key texts,
                        > Sanders, Sanders & Davies, den Heyer, Crossan, Fredriksen,
                        > perhaps Powell as well as Theissen & Merz. For another recent
                        > (fairly positive) review of Theissen & Merz, see the recent one in the
                        > SBL Review of Biblical Literature by James Robinson:
                        >
                        > http://www.bookreviews.org/Reviews/0800631234.html
                        >
                        > Mark
                        > --------------------------------------
                        > Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                        > Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
                        > University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
                        > Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom
                        >
                        > http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
                        > The New Testament Gateway
                        > All-in-One Biblical Resources Search
                        > Mark Without Q
                        > Aseneth Home Page
                        >
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