Hello, my name is Stephen Pagán. I am very glad that I was able to take Rabbi Dr. Davis’s course because it allowed me to be in an environment where we could critically explore the story of Jesus. I don’t feel that a Christian could objectively do this, because one is naturally very hesitant to critically examine one’s own deity. Yet, we must try to understand the story and who the man may have been, because Jesus has been so influential in world history and in the lives of countless individuals over the past 2,000 years. I’m not a Christian myself, but I grew up as one, and nearly everyone that I know is a Christian (or comes from a Christian background in some way).
That is not to say that he did not give the story the respect it deserved. Even though he is a rabbi, he was very explicit in saying that we would cover material that might be sensitive to some, but that he wouldn’t be trying to offend anyone. We would only be in search of truth, wherever that truth may be found. In this mortal coil, when things are so often muddled, can we afford to do any less? As thinking beings, we have a duty to make use of our mental capacities. We cannot do that if we do not critically examine the important things of our world. Christianity, having affected the lives of so many millions, is most definitely important to our world.
Not only was I able to have a vert good introduction into Jewish theology through study of the Hebrew Scriptures, but I was also able to see new parts of the New Testament narrative that I hadn’t noticed before. As Dr. Rabbi Davis pointed out on the first day of class, most people think of Jesus as the first Christian, but really he was “born a Jew, lived as a Jew, and died as a Jew.” Through our studies, we were able to see the Jewishness in his life and in his teachings. I feel like I understand the man much better now. I would recommend the course to anyone who wishes to critically examine a figure who has been and is influential in the lives of so many throughout history.