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Historical Jesus

Unit Overview
This unit provides an introduction to the sources, methods and conclusions of historical Jesus research, with a view to equipping us to better engage with contemporary society around those questions.

Please visit the timetable by clicking here for the current dates on when this unit is offered.

Unit Details

Mode On-campus / Online
Workload 1 semester, 12 credit points
Status Intermediate
Unit Code NT049-712-812
Prerequisites None
Teacher John Dickson

Unit Content

  • Who really was Jesus?
  • Can the New Testament sources about Jesus be trusted?

This unit introduces the sources, methods, and conclusions of historical Jesus research, with a view to equipping us to better engage with contemporary society around these questions. We’ll be learning about historical method and applying some of the historical-method approaches to aspects of Jesus’s life for which we have historical evidence.

This is a unit in which we consider the historicity of Jesus. It’s different to some other units you might take at Ridley. While it refers to biblical texts, particularly the Gospels, it approaches these primarily as historical evidence (rather than looking to exegete them or read them devotionally). If you have studied history at university level, the approaches used in this unit may be familiar to you; but you don’t need to have studied history to undertake this unit.

While this unit does mount a case for the historicity of Jesus, it is also different to an Apologetics course, since the primary intent here is not apologetic but to learn more about the historicity of Jesus. (If you are interested in apologetics, an online Christian Apologetics unit PE007D is available as a Ridley elective and includes teaching from Scott Harrower and John Dickson.)

Study Expectations
In this unit, you can expect to be guided through a variety of weekly learning activities which are designed to develop your understanding of and skills in the themes and passages related to this unit. For online students, these usually include watching videos, reading, completing set learning tasks and contributing to online seminars and interacting with your peers. Students should allow 10 hours of study time per week for this Intermediate unit.

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