Lecture 11 World Religion October 23, 2013
Christianity is centered on Jesus. We know very little about Jesus objectively. We
understood he was a Jew and participated in Jewish community. He was born roughly
around 4 B.C.E. we can’t say this with absolute confidence and we get this from the
report of Jesus’ life after his life.
He was born in days of Herod. 2,013 years ago, before the common ear.
The account of his life speak of several siblings, 4 brothers and sister(s) (don’t
know how many) and we know at some point, and have no idea what day he was born
and the month even.
The date that we asthciate with the birth of Jesus is December 25 and for
orthodox it is in January 6 .
We know those dates were evolved 6 centuries after.
In Christian and catholic tradition, we associate these brothers and sisters as
actual ‘cousins.’ Our understand is, Jesus was born into an artistic family.
Around the age of 30, he started his preaching and gathering a following quite
quickly and that the quality of his teaching was quite compelling to his people.
He was a follow of John the Baptist. John the Baptist was a passionate and fiery
speaker and was very concerned with the moral reinvigoration of Jewish society.
During this time, the Jewish nation was under denomination of the Romans.
Early account of Christianity may have been associated with the thinking of the
This expectation of the Jewish society was passionate and boarding on the
Messianic age: idea of the apocalyptic days and that the Messiah was going to
come. There was much discussion what is going to happen with the Messiah. They claim
he was going to be born in the house of King David.
The expectation is that the Messiah will be not only a spiritual leader, who will
lead the moral and spiritual regeneration of the Jewish nation, but who will also be a
political leader, who will effect the independent from the Roman authorities. Jesus’s
followers certainly claim him to be the Messiah. This is a claim that is tested by the
broader Jewish community.
The Messiah is both spiritual and political, so one of the question in the NT (New
Testitmant) is about taxes given to Rome. Jesus’s instructions: “give on to Ceaser what
belongs to Cesar and give onto God what belongs to God.” The Messiah is more spiritual
and not necsisarily trying to take down Rome.
We know that Jesus was apprehended by the Roman authorities and executed by
the Romans and being nailed onto a cross. Jesus’s cruscifiction and was by no means a
unique event as a manner, following the destruction of the second temple. There were
infact many Jews execution and many other people were crucified upside down.
We know now he is executed and his followers came to believe that he did infact
rise from his body and rose to heaven, even this idea of resurrection is not new to
Chrisitianity. It is already common of certain sectors of the Jewish Community. Jesus was
baptized from what we understand. This was common Jewish practice. Christians are
building on from this to understand and interpret the death of their leader. The bulk of what we know and what we can attest with, bitter confidence, with
the birth and life of Jesus.
The bulk of our information comes from various accounts in Jesus’s life after his
death, they came to be in narratives from the Gospels.
Gospels become the backbone of Christian understand and the purpose of his
mission and his life and his death.
By the time we get to about the second century, there are literally hundreds
Gospels, and by the time we get to the 4 centery, that the church begins to pull these
hunders of Gospels together to try and identify to be a foratative account of Jesus’s life.
There are many narritives of Jesus’s life.
The church picks 4. There are 4 gospels that are told to be narrative in Christican
scripture. The New Testiment is what they are called.
The New testiment: a testiment is a whitness account. In Christian understand
over the course of time, it was that, this whitnessing of Jesus’s life and represented an
event that in some sense superseded the Old Testiment before it (The Torah/Hebrew
The Christians came to understand that New events of the birth, life, death of
Jesus had supplemented the information contained in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testiment.)
They provided the Old Testiment provided the back drop and background and the
New Testiment is what is relevant today.
The 4 Gospels are selected relat