“Who Do People Say that I Am?”: Biblical Contexts for Responses to Jesus

Oriel College

Course Description

  • Course Name

    “Who Do People Say that I Am?”: Biblical Contexts for Responses to Jesus

  • Host University

    Oriel College

  • Location

    Oxford, England

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    “Who Do People Say that I Am?”: Biblical Contexts for Responses to Jesus 

    Whatever one might think of Jesus today, the New Testament attests on almost every page that his contemporaries didn’t know what to make of him. The Gospels depict Jesus as a character so elusive that no single description suits him; any title or designation people apply to him has to be altered for it to fit him, and even then he seems to be more than the sum of his attributes. Far from Jesus fulfilling popular expectations, careful examination shows plenty of reasons that the crowds might have been baffled by this Galilean wonderworker.

    Lectures will work with prominent christological epithets, illustrating their history in the traditions of Israel, their currency during Jesus’s own lifetime, and the use to which authors of New Testament texts put them. Along the way, we will encounter richness where we might have expected banal obviousness, obscurities where we assumed self-evidence, and enigmas where we expected… well, we might have expected a few enigmas from the beginning. At the end of the course, students should have a finer, better grounded, more articulate sense of what people such as Herod, Pilate, Annas, Caiaphas, Peter, Mary Magdalene, Joseph of Arimathea and their anonymous friends evidently thought of Jesus.


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