We are near the end of the year.  What better time for a final exam?

In my classes I normally give essay exams — they are by far the best way to find out how much a student actually knows (as opposed to testing them for what they don’t know) and how well s/he can express thoughts in writing and develop an argument.

I’ve pulled out an exam that I once gave to my students in a class called Jesus in Scholarship and Film.  It’s a terrifically interesting course: we examine ancient Gospels, mainly but not exclusively the ones in the New Testament, to see what each of them is trying to teach about the life, teaching, and meaning of Jesus; then we use the Gospels as historical sources to see what we can say about the actual man himself, the life and teaching of the historical Jesus; and then we look at modern films to see how *they* portray Jesus in light of what we’ve already learned (e.g. Infancy and Crucifixion narratives in Ben Hur — both the silent and the Charleton Heston verions; The Greatest Story Ever Told; Jesus of Nazareth; The Passon of the Christ; sometimes the Last Temptation of Christ; always ending with my all-time favorite, the best Jesus movie ever made, Jesus of Montreal;  it’s hard to choose the movies since there are so many options!)

For the exam, I gave the students the following questions two weeks in advance, and told them I would choose two of them for the final. They would not know which two I would choose. (Or how I would choose!  So second guessing would be a very bad idea.) They had three hours to write their essays.

This year I rolled the dice, and chose questions #2 and #6. So –- how would *you* do? 🙂


Want to see if you have a passing knowledge of the Gospels and Jesus?  Join the blog and see how well you can do on the exam!