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Historical Jesus

By Stanford Continuing Studies Program

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Who was the historical Jesus of Nazareth? What did he actually say and do, as contrasted with what early Christians (e.g., Paul and the Gospel writers) believed that he said and did? What did the man Jesus actually think of himself and of his mission, as contrasted with the messianic and even divine claims that the New Testament makes about him? In short, what are the differences—and continuities—between the Jesus who lived and died in history and the Christ who lives on in believers’ faith? Over the last four decades historical scholarship on Jesus and his times—whether conducted by Jews, Christians, or non-believers—has arrived at a strong consensus about what this undeniably historical figure (born ca. 4 BCE, died ca. 30 CE) said and did, and how he presented himself and his message to his Jewish audience. Often that historical evidence about Jesus does not easily dovetail with the traditional doctrines of Christianity. How then might one adjudicate those conflicting claims? This is a course about history, not about faith or theology. It will examine the best available literary and historical evidence about Jesus and his times and will discuss methodologies for interpreting that evidence, in order to help participants make their own judgments and draw their own conclusions. Presented by the Stanford Continuing Studies Program. Released with a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license.

Customer Reviews

At last

This was a most informative series of talks and I came to a clearer understanding of the Historical Jesus. I agree that the institutional church is guilty of malpractice by keeping this information in the academy. Perhaps our congregations would not be shrinking if the youth were taught like this!


I am not Catholic but evidently they are taught according to the Professor in this series that Jesus mother was Mariam not Mary ? Very different than I have been taught. Also personal comments about Republicans should not be apart of his teaching.
I could go on but not worth my time. I am just really tired of professors twisting truths around when dealing with highly impressionable minds that are formulating their political, religious, etc. views and trust them to tell them not their personal opinions but the truths of the subject being taught.


Flawed Group Think Sewn Together

This series is chock full of fallacies upon fallacies. I truly feel sorry for any person that had to sit through this torturous course. This professor would’ve hated me from day one until he failed me. My classmates would have got endless joy out of listening to me and this douche argue.😅😅😂😂😂🤣🤣🤣🤣