Study Guide

Final Exam


One question that will be on the exam is the following:

IIn the gospels Jesus asked his disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" This course has explored various attempts at answering that question historically, kerygmatically (as a proclamation of faith), and in relation to our culture today. Drawing clearly and thoroughly upon the resources from this course--The Five Gospels, Tatum, Borg & Wright's book, class discussion, the films you watched, and your paper research – write a thoughtful response to the question, "Who do you say that Jesus is?" Be sure to address explicitly the historical and kerygmatic issues raised about who Jesus is.

Other questions will deal with material covered throughout the course, so studying previous exams will be helpful. Additonal questions will come from those below:

1. What is eschatology? How do Mark, Matthew, and Luke differ on their views of the kingdom of heaven/God? What do the criteria of multiple attestation and dissimilarity suggest about whether Jesus' preaching about the kingdom is historical? What is the Greek word for "kingdom" and how might it better be translated? What are the four main theories covered by Tatum about Jesus' view of eschatology. What does the Jesus Seminar say?

2. According to Tatum, what tensions exist between an ethics of love and of metanoia? Be prepared to give examples from the gospels illustrating the tension. What are the three main Greek words for love, what do they mean, and which is the one used most in the gospels? How does Jesus' ethics differ from Old Testament or Torah ethics? What is metanoia? How is it related to Jesus' eschatological ethics? What is Jesus' view of divorce? How do the New Testament notions of divorce and adultery differ from our time? According to Tatum what are the main interpretations of Jesus' actual, historical ethics? (relate to the tension between love and eschatology) What view of Jesus' ethics do we find in the Jesus Seminar?

3. What is a parable? How does it differ from a simile, metaphor and allegory? What criterion from the new quest leads us to believe that the parables are largely historical sayings of Jesus and why? What are the four adaptations that the parables have undergone in the gospels? Be able to explain such an adaptation in a sample parable discussed in the book or in lecture, e.g., the parable of the great banquet. What is the controversy over the purpose of the parables reflected in Mark 4:10? How can this passage be interpreted? What are the four ways that parables have been interpreted in Christianity?

4. What words are traditionally translated as "miracle" in the synoptics and in John, and what do they mean? How do the gospel terms for miracle contrast with modern understandings of the word "miracle"? According to the criterion of language and environment, what can we conclude about the miracles of Jesus? What is unique about the miracles of Jesus as compared to other miracle stories from that time? What appears to be Jesus' own understanding of the miracles? What are the four historical interpretations of the miracles of Jesus? What world view tends to underlie most modern people's view of miracles? What alternative world view is there and how does it change the way we might interpret miracles in Jesus' day (and in our own)?

5. According to form criticism, why is there so much similarity among the gospel accounts of Jesus' arrest, trial, and crucifixion? What three factors make it difficult to get to the precise history of the events of Jesus' arrest, trial, and crucifixion? What are the main theories about the date of Jesus' arrest and crucifixion? (and why don't we know for sure?) What are Crossan's views of Jesus' crucifixion? According to Tatum, what do the different gospels give as the reasons for Jesus' conviction? What seems to be the historical reason? What are the three major historical theories about what Jesus' thought about his impending death (as indicated in the last supper)?

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