The world in which Jesus lived & out of which Christianity emerged was not a 21st century western culture, but rather a complex cultural melting pot in which the ideologies, social standards, religious movements, and politics of Jews & non-Jews interacted, often with explosive results. One cannot properly understand Christianity in isolation from the elements, which cultivated its formation. Nor can we truly appreciate the flavor of Jesus' teachings outside of its context.
Phillip Yancey in his book, The Jesus I Never Knew, (Zondervan, 1995) and other valuable sources will help us discover the social and political environment of 1st Century Palestine. We will look at the culture of the Christ and attempt to put into perspective the life and words Jesus the Nazarene in a way that will stimulate our preaching and teaching.
The following will be achieved by completing this course:
Who was Jesus in relation to his cultural surroundings? What was it like being a Jew in a very pluralistic and religiously diverse environment? What was Jesus' intent; Reformer or Revolutionary?
How do we read Jesus' teachings and life stories in relation to his cultural surroundings? How did Jesus use the common language and current metaphors to teach? What was the response to his "upside down kingdom" motif and why was he opposed? What are some of the significant aspects of the Passion Week we never realized before?
What did Jesus leave behind? How did the disciples respond? What difference did he make? Why did Jesus choose the leave? What difference does he make today?