Jesus Scholar Final Project

By: Hannah Starnes

What do you think is crucial to know or understand about Jesus?

There are a few things that I think is crucial to know and/or understand about Jesus. The first thing to know and/or understand is that one should believe their own beliefs about Jesus and to not let one try to tell them something that they do not believe in, just to change their views about Jesus. I also think that people should, and most do, believe in one and only one Jesus, who was the Son of God. There are many different religions and beliefs, but from what we've read through this semester, though there are many different religions and beliefs, they all believe in one Son of God. The third thing that I think is crucial to know and/or understand about Jesus is that no matter what religion or denomination you are, or what you believe, Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you in any and everything that you do.

Which of the views that we looked at give the strongest support to your own view?

Out of the views that we looked at, the one that is the strongest support to my own view would have to be the Greek views of Jesus. The Greeks are referred to as “Ancient Christians” because of how they believe. Their beliefs are a little different than ours, yet mostly similar as well. When Greeks converted to Christianity, the converted to Christianity by paganism. The Greeks believe in the “Ark of Covenant,” which are the Ten Commandments to them. In front of the Ark of Covenant, there is a washbasin for the Greeks to be baptized in, once they review this Ark of Covenant. To us Christians, during the time of Jesus, the place they were baptized was at the Jordan River. The Greeks also believed that the Word became one, and that “one” was Jesus. The human souls believe that the “Son/Word of God” makes out to be what God wants, and not what the word really is. They believed in two natures, and those two natures are of being divine and of being human. Greeks believed that these two natures were the pre-existence of God, and is the Son of God, as well. In the Old Testament, there are theophany’s, which means the appearance of God, and the Greeks believed in this. The theophany’s involves the Word of God appearing to human characters in the story of the Old Testament, as well as an Angel of the Lord. The Greek’s also had a different view between God and humans. They believe that God is perfect and humans are imperfect, and they believe this because of the Word of God and how they interpret things as.

Which of the views that we looked at offer the strongest challenge to your own view?

Out of the views that we looked at, the one that offers the strongest challenge to my own view would be the Muslim views of Jesus. The Muslim views of Jesus offer the strongest challenge to my own view because they didn’t see Jesus as their Savior, the Son of God, who died on the Cross-to forgive them from their sins; they saw Jesus as a great teacher, hypocrite, and somewhat a Holy man. They also saw Jesus as a Yogi, avatar, and the Brahman-Atman. They don’t “fully understand” who Jesus really is, and what He did for us Christians. They believe that Jesus was incarnated and when he was incarnated he became an avatar. The Brahman-Atman that they refer to Jesus as, is himself and of divine consciousness. They also believe that salvation is karma, and comes from the life that is the cycle of rebirth. I cannot fully grasp the concept of how the Muslim’s believe what they believe, and that they don’t believe in “our Jesus.” This is a lot of information and examples of why the Muslim view challenges my own view, but I know that they believe what they believe about Jesus, and we Christians believe what we believe about Jesus.

Why does that opposing view not convince you as of this moment?

This opposing view does not convince me as of this moment because I was never taught to believe or know of any other religion other than Christianity. Also because of the Muslim's seeing Jesus as and believing that he is a hypocrite. Do they believe this because of him correcting those who did wrong during his time, or is it because of how he acted? Maybe nobody knows, but we Christians do not see Jesus as a hypocrite. The Muslim's believe that Jesus is an avatar because he was "reincarnated on the earth" and is an "unqualified" human being. Nothing will ever be able to change my beliefs, opinion, and views on Jesus no matter how hard one tries.

Areas where you cannot yet explain your own choice, or otherwise you could envision doing further research to plot out your own growth on this topic.

A couple of areas where I cannot yet explain my own choice, would have to be with a few Jesus Scholars. There were some Jesus Scholars that we had read and discussed about, but there was not really one in particular that I could explain my own choice with. Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan are two scholars whom I did not fully understand what they were studying about Jesus, nor their concept on what they believed about Jesus.

Marcus Borg studied or "viewed" Jesus differently than most of the other scholars did. As stated in the opening sentence of his chapter, he prefers not to talk about "the historical Jesus" as a figure of the past who can be studied apart from religious or spiritual concerns. He also presents a vivid and persuasive description of Jesus in fewer words than some expend on prolegomena, and tries to "go with the flow" of mainstream historical criticism, accepting what most scholars would regard as reliable without proposing novel theories regarding sources or criteria of authenticity. He portrayed Jesus in a few different ways and those few ways were, Jesus as Spirit Person, Jesus as Healer, Jesus as Sage, Jesus as Movement Initiator, and Jesus as the Social Prophet. I do not believe, or understand his ways of studying Jesus this way, all because of how he words and quotes his studies.

At the beginning of the chapter in the "Jesus As a Figure In History" book, it is stated that John Dominic Crossan is one of the most brilliant, engaging, learned, and quick-witted New Testament scholars alive today. He engages in Jesus research for what he calls ethical and theological reasons as well as historical ones. He somewhat and sometimes offers his conclusions "as a challenge within the Christian faith." He studies Jesus in a different way than most scholars do, and he has three levels of operation of studying Jesus. The microcosmic, mesocosmic, and macrocosmic. The microcosmic level involves treatment of literary resources, the mesocosmic level involves historical reconstruction of the place and time in which Jesus lived, and the macrocosmic level involves analysis of the Jesus movement from the perspectives of social and cultural anthropology. These three different levels of operations in studying Jesus should never be taken place. First of all because I do not think that there are these three different ways of studying Jesus, and secondly because all of these things are in the Bible, just not exactly how he words them.

These two scholars really make me want to do further research on them and maybe think about explaining my own choice about if I like and agree with these two scholars or not.

Some readings or research topics you could assign yourself to continue the quest.

To my surprise, there are actually more Jesus Scholars that I believe and agree with than not. E P Sanders, John P. Meier, and N. T. Wright are the three scholars that I would like to continue the Jesus Scholar quest on. These three scholars really interested me in their "quest" and studying about Jesus. I feel that they have somewhat, if not the majority of the same views and beliefs about Jesus as we Christians do. Yes, some of these scholars are different than others when studying Jesus, but I feel that they all say the same, just by wording differently. I will most definitely be looking forward and assigning myself to continue the quest of these Jesus Scholars, and doing more research in how they further more study and view Jesus as.