Jesus and the Gospels


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One semester, 4 credit points
Semester 1, 2019
Anthea McCall and Brian Rosner

Be prepared for this unit to transform the way we read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Be ready to ask questions like: Why did Jesus use the titles Son of Man and Son of God? Did the stories in the Gospels really happen in the order they are set out? How should we understand miracles? How can we account for inconsistencies and consistencies between the different accounts? Through this unit we come to see the accounts of Jesus in the New Testament as theological documents grounded in unique historical, literary and biblical contexts. We appreciate how the four Gospels have distinctive purposes and we become equipped to move beyond using the Gospels simply to moralize, instead learning to interpret sophisticated literary features like parables with a new eye to their structure and purpose. Studying the Gospels and the scholarly debates surrounding them helps us to understand and apply the life and words of Jesus as the Gospel writers (and God) intended.


  • The historical, religious and political setting of Palestine as part of the Roman Empire
  • The Markan outline and emphases
  • Distinctive features of the Gospels of Matthew, Luke and John
  • The kingdom of God in the proclamation of Jesus
  • The parables and their interpretation
  • The ethics of Jesus, including the Sermon on the Mount
  • The miracles of Jesus and their significance
  • The titles of Jesus in the Gospels
  • The passion and resurrection narratives




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