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Willamette University

900 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97301

503-370-6300 voice

Course Listings

Religious Studies

REL 231 (TH) In Search of the Historical Jesus (1)

Who was Jesus, historically speaking? The question has occupied scholars for more than two centuries, when it became clear that the gospels do not offer straightforward historical accounts of his life. In this course students will learn how to read the gospels critically, come to see the traditions that stand behind them, understand the dynamics of oral culture and oral tradition, and learn about the methods historians use to sift through the traditions about Jesus to gain a glimpse of the historical reality behind the elaborated story. Students will also learn about the ancient world in which Jesus lived and how ancient people might have viewed him on their own terms.

Mode of Inquiry: Thinking Historically

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Patterson