Another brief hiatus as we near the end of my thread on the burial traditions of Jesus, occasioned by the inquiries of several members of the blog, and others not on the blog, about my new course for the Teaching Company (the company is also called The Great Courses).

A couple of days ago my new course on “How Jesus Became God” came out.  It is obviously based (roughly) on the book of the same title.   The Course consists of twenty-four lectures, each thirty minutes in length, and as with all the Great Courses, it is available in numerous formats: on CD for audio only, or DVD for video, or as a download, and so on.  For a quick link:   You’ll see that it is right now being offered at a serious discount.  One hint about the Teaching Company courses: ALWAYS buy them at discount!  (They all get discounted on and off.)

These are the titles of each of the lectures:

      • 1 Jesus—The Man Who Became God
      • 2 Greco-Roman Gods Who Became Human
      • 3 Humans as Gods in the Greco-Roman World
      • 4 Gods Who Were Human in Ancient Judaism
      • 5 Ancient Jews Who Were Gods
      • 6 The Life and Teachings of Jesus
      • 7 Did Jesus Think He Was God?
      • 8 The Death of Jesus—Historical Certainties
      • 9 Jesus’s Death—What Historians Can’t Know
      • 10 The Resurrection—What Historians Can’t Know
      • 11 What History Reveals about the Resurrection
      • 12 The Disciples’ Visions of Jesus
      • 13 Jesus’s Exaltation—Earliest Christian Views
      • 14 The Backward Movement of Christology
      • 15 Paul’s View—Christ’s Elevated Divinity
      • 16 John’s View—The Word Made Human
      • 17 Was Christ Human? The Docetic View
      • 18 The Divided Christ of the Separationists
      • 19 Christ’s Dual Nature—Proto-Orthodoxy
      • 20 The Birth of the Trinity
      • 21 The Arian Controversy
      • 22 The Conversion of Constantine
      • 23 The Council of Nicea
      • 24 Once Jesus Became God


This course was great fun to produce, though really (really!) difficult as well.   I recorded the course during two weekends in the middle of the spring semester, and that was rugged.  Because of my time commitments otherwise, I had to be extremely focused to get through the lectures (my other courses have been taped at greater leisure, in the summer).  It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

But I think the end result is extremely interesting.  The technical aspects of production at the Teaching Company – and their expectations and production values – have grown and grown.    It is an enormously professional organization, at every level and in every way.

This particular course covers the same material as the book, of course (since it’s the same topic).  But that should not deter anyone (ANYONE!) from getting it.  The media are so radically different that even though the material may sound familiar, it is coming at you in a fundamentally altered form.

In lots of ways, the course is even better than the book.   I cannot cover as many of the details as I do in the book, but I am able to go into greater depth on the really key points.

I suppose there are some people who “refuse to see the movie” because they “have read the book.”   I’m a *bit* like that myself, especially since I cherish books more than movies.   But if the movie is really good, I don’t mind a bit.  I love period costume pieces for example, and can’t get enough of seeing Jane Austen reproductions, even though I’ve recently reread all the novels, or George Eliot, or Charles Dickens, and so on.

On a more contemporary level, two nights ago I saw “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” here in London, to a sold-out crowd in a large theatre (the Gielgud).   It was absolutely spectacular.  I had read the book two years ago, and loved it.  But the book didn’t take away a bit from the play: having read it only made the play even more interesting.  Different media, different experiences.

In any event, if you have any academic/intellectual interests at all, I cannot recommend the Teaching Company Courses highly enough.  I don’t mean my courses; I mean *any* of the courses.   I myself get and watch them.  I’ve watched courses on topics as wide ranging as Ancient Rome and Great Classical Music and Human Memory.    Terrific.

When it comes to topics in religion, they have a superb selection by top-flight scholars/teachers.  I myself have done eight courses for them, and in my judgment this one is the best.   So if you’re able to get ahold of one, I strongly urge it!   Or if you’re interested in any of their vast numbers of courses, you should definitely go for it.