The Paroikos Bible Blog exists as a resource to those interested in Biblical studies and Koine Greek. It is hoped that this blog will simultaneously provide food-for-thought to the reader while pointing him or her in the direction of valuable resources, both in print and on the internet, that will further help his or her studies in the Word.

Nov 10, 2011

Some resources for studying "Jesus and the Gospels"

This weekend I have the privilege of teaching the hybrid class "NT Intro 1: Jesus and the Gospels" at an extension site (11 hours of lecturing over two days, yikes!!) In my own research for this weekend's lectures, here are some helpful sources that I've drawn on and hope to introduce to the class.

To begin with, I actually assigned the class to read two interesting articles. The first is N. T. Wright's “Christian Origins and the Resurrection of Jesus: The Resurrection of Jesus as a Historical Problem” (originally published in   Sewanee Theological Review 41.2 [1998] but now available online). Whatever you may think about Wright on justification, he remains one of the best writers on the resurrection and Jesus' role as Messiah. This discussion is very accessible and a pleasure to read and has, in my opinion, some apologetic value for any discussion of Jesus' resurrection. In addition, I had the class read Michael Bird's somewhat more technical article "The Peril of Modernizing Jesus and the Crisis of not Contemporizing the Christ” in Evangelical Quarterly 78 (2006): 291-312. I'm hoping that, among other things, this article will lead to a discusson of what Jesus should represent to us today.

In addition, for my lectures I'm drawing from Bird's Are You the One Who is to Come? (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2009). While this doesn't add much unique material to the overall discussion, it is a good overview of Jesus' role as Messiah from a solid conservative view.

Since we'll be discussing the historical Jesus and the Jesus seminar somewhat, I'm introducing them to the works of Bart Erhman and John Dominic Crossan, as well as Dan Brown's fictional The DaVinci Code because your average co-worker in the factory actually reads Dan Brown and related material and may be quite eager to dialogue with you on the "vast conspiracy" behind Jesus' "marriage" to Mary Magdalene  (I speak from experience)! In addition, I'm drawing from Craig Evens' excellent conservative rebuttal entitled Fabricating Jesus ( Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2006) as well as my fellow SEBTS ph.d. student Josh Chatraw's recent article in JETS 54 (September 2011): 449-465 entitled " Disunity and Diversity: The Biblical Theology of Bart Ehrman.”

Since we're dealing with the genre of the gospels somewhat, I'm also hoping to discusss the recent fascinating article by Craig Keener, “Otho: A Targeted Comparison of Suetonius’s Biography and Tacitus’s History, with Implications for the Gospels’ Historical Reliability” BBR 21 (2011): 331-355. Keener does an in-depth analysis of Suetonius, Tacitus, and Plutarch on the emperor Otho and demonstrates how such works used sources, including eyewitness interviews, and thus differed markedly from mere historical fiction.

We will also be briefly discussing both Gospel orgins and textual criticism. For the former I'm hoping to introduce them to some of Mark Goodacre's arguments in The Case Against Q (Harrisburg, Penn.: Trinity International, 2002) For the latter, there's a ton of material to draw on, but one of the things I want to emphasize is how little impact textual criticism actually has on theology (contra Ehrman and co.). I will be drawing on the relatively little-known yet surprisingly original work of  Mark Minnick in his essay “How Much Difference do the Differences Make?” (pages 229-277 in God’s Word In our Hands; The Bible Preserved for Us. James B. Williams and Randolph Shaylor, eds. Greenville, SC.: Ambassador Emerald, 2002) Dr. Minnick actually goes through all the textual varients in Jude and discusses the theological significance of each. I'm hoping to do the same thing with my class by looking at the first 3 chapters of John.

Finally, if we have time, we make take a look at Larry Hurtado's recent provacative post called "'Historical Jesus' Debate: An Unexamined Premise?" online at  http://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/historical-jesus-debate-an-unexamined-premise/ (accessed November 10th, 2011)

This will be 11 hours of lecutring over two days, the first time I get an entire class all to myself for face-to-face lecture (I did teach half a semester last year, though). Looking forward to it, and planning on drinking a lot of Red Bull to keep me going!