Back to School. I am the only one I know who actually liked the (Rodney Dangerfield) movie….

Anyway, school starts for me on Monday. I’m teaching two seminars (they meet for three hours each, once a week). My undergraduate course is for first-year students only, and deals with how Jesus is portrayed in ancient Gospels, in modern scholarship, and in film.

Here, for your reading pleasure, is the syllabus.


Jesus in Scholarship and Film

First Year Seminar, Reli 070

Fall 2013

Prof. Bart D. Ehrman


Jesus of Nazareth left an indelible mark on Western Civilization. The religion that was founded in his name ‑‑ beginning as the faith of a mere handful of his Jewish followers ‑‑ within three centuries had become a major religion in the Mediterranean. By the end of the fourth century, it was the official religion of the Roman Empire. Ever since, the Christian church has been a major political, socio‑economic, and cultural force. Ultimately, it is a church rooted in a belief in Jesus.

How did Jesus’ followers, after his death, understand who he was? It continues to be a relevant question, as fundamentalist preachers, committed believers, marginalized cult leaders, agnostic historians, outspoken neo-atheists ‑‑ just about everyone in our society ‑‑ seems to have an opinion. And the wide‑ranging views that you can find today, even among people who call themselves Christian (e.g., a TV evangelist, a Greek Orthodox priest, a Mormon missionary, and an Appalachian snake-handler), have their clear counterparts among the ancient Christians, whose variety of opinion is mind‑boggling.

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