Santa Clara University
Religious Studies Department, SCU
Home Page
Course Links
Class Prep
Library Reserve
Extra Credit
Research Link
  Course Description

This course examines the life of Jesus of Nazareth. As straightforward as this sounds, it is actually a complex task. To begin with, each of us brings our own preconceptions, beliefs and interests to project. The ancient literary sources like the Christian gospels are no different; each of them has a particular perspective shaped by experiences and reflections several decades after Jesus’ life. Because our sources are “interested,” some critics have gone so far as to say that early Christians made Jesus up entirely—that there was no man, and that the entire Christian religion is based on a myth. So what precisely is the evidence that we have? In this course, we will work with the available literary and archaeological evidence to see what we can legitimately say about the man from Nazareth. Much of our work will be about learning how to read through literary sources to the history behind them. We will also spend a lot of time studying the archaeological record, which gives us little about Jesus directly but a lot about the world in which he lived. This will allow us to build a picture of his society that will help us to place him in it and to understand what people believed about him, and why.

How to Use this Web Site

The tabs at the left guide you to course resources.  Use them to access directions, schedules, research tools and grades throughout the quarter, as needed.  The Class Prep pages provide introductions to each day's readings and questions you will be expected to prepare in advance of each class. These questions and our discussion of them will help you to prepare for quizzes and exams.
Get Adobe Acrobat