Who is Jesus of Nazareth?

If you study the New Testament profoundly, you will find that Jesus has multiple faces. Unfortunately, we know little about historical Jesus: The only we are sure about him is Jesus was born as a Jew and died as a Jew.

Barrett, Honors College provides a special course, exclusively for honors students, HON 394 Topic: The Jewishness of Jesus. Through this course study, students come to understand the origin of Christianity and find multiple faces of Jesus.

The following are quotes from those scholars’ final research papers.

The New Testament gospels portray Jesus the Pharisee

“The world we see that seems so insane is the result of a belief system that is not working. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds.” – William James.  Religious intolerance is fed by a lack of ignorance. In particular, has been an age old misunderstanding of who Jesus Christ truly was. The great rift between Christians and Jews has resulted from a misunderstanding that Jesus was not Christian, but was born a Jew, lived as a Jew, and died a Jew. By understanding the past, we can clear away misunderstandings and bridge the gap of intolerance.  A comparison of historical and biblical accounts of Pharisaic teachings and the teachings of Jesus, as told in the Gospels, identifies Jesus was a Pharisaic Jew.”

– Jennifer L. Kelper–

Jesus the Messiah

“… The story of his [Jesus of Nazareth] life, death, and supposed resurrection has had a profound effect on the lives of many and has greatly influenced philosophical and theological thought for the past two thousand years. The story of this ancient man also has and continues to color international relations. Many individuals have also found meaning in the message of this man. As such, it is important to understand the myth and who the real man behind it may have been.”

– Stephen Pagan–

Jesus the Brother

“Jesus Christ is one of the most well-known figures in the world. His image is recognizable in a variety of countries. There are things that come to mind when one mentions Jesus: the virgin birth, the crucifixion, the resurrection. There are many stories in the New Testament that tell of his wonders. Yet, this is only the surface of who this man really was. Much scholarship has been dedicated to finding out who Jesus really was, and going beyond what is known of him in religious texts. It is an attempt to find out who Jesus the man was, as opposed to Jesus the Christ.”

– Alvaro Ramiverz–

Reinterpretation early Christianity:  Jesus and his followers around the time of Jesus

“Women are hidden in the history of Christianity and are rarely described in biblical scriptures, especially in the New Testament. Mary Magdalene, the second most famous woman in the Christian world after the Virgin Mary, has been recognized as a sinner for centuries. We tend to evaluate people based on our common sense; however, ignorance of historical and cultural backgrounds behind biblical stories easily misleads us to a wrong conclusion. More than 2000 years of time difference exist between the people living in biblical stories and modern time; therefore, we have to be careful as we read stories in scriptures (Fredriksen, 1999; Yamaguchi, 2002).  Rabbi Dr. Davis said that changing stories is difficult once it is printed (Davis, 2013). …”

– Kiyomi K. Reinhart–

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