What you knew and did not know about Jesus

As noted in the syllabus, your are writing a progressive paper this quarter. It will be graded twice, once at Midterms and once at Finals, which will be the final product. You will work on pieces of this paper throughout each Module. All of these other pieces will be graded, but simply with a complete/incomplete.

This first assignment is complete/incomplete (10 points) and is has two parts.

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(1) Compose 1-2 paragraphs discussing what you knew and did not know about Jesus when you entered this class. What images did you have? In other words, going back to the Benjamin quote we started this class with, where is the place from which you are starting your dig? This piece will serve as the introduction to your progressive paper. By all means, go back to our first discussion and see what you and others wrote. This will help you compose your piece.

(2) After composing this, on the right hand side of your composition, where you can submit notes to me, do the following. Let me know which of the four topics (below) you are interested in focusing on in your paper. You do not yet need to state specifics. This will just help me mentor you in developing an excellent paper. For the rest of the course, we then can work together in developing a thesis and collecting content to help you write a memorable paper.

  1. What kinds of stories did Jesus tell? What affect do they have on his followers? What can we learn about the art of storytelling from Jesus?
  2. What is a major theme of Jesus’ teaching? How is this theme communicated in the stories Jesus tells? How is this theme uniquely communicated in each Gospel? How is this theme communicated in stories about Jesus in each Gospel?
    • Examples of themes: the kingdom of God, the greatest commandment (love), suffering, apocalypse and the end of evil, miracles, the heroic names of Jesus, etc.
  3. How are we to understand and interpret ancient writings (the gospels) about Jesus?Should we take these writings at face value? Why or why not?Do these writings contain truths that transcend history and science? If so, how do we study these writings as literature?
  4. How can we compare our quest for the truth about Jesus withBig Fish? In this quest, who is Ed Bloom? Who is Will Bloom? How doesBig Fishinform us about the truth of somebody’s life, of Jesus’ life? How does the storytelling inBig Fish compare to the storytelling in the Gospels? Which version of the story do you prefer: Will’s or Ed’s? The authors of the Gospels or a historians?

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