1. What does it mean to say the gospels are kerygma? How does kerygma differ from history? What is meant by distinguishing the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith? What are the differences among the pre-quest, old-quest, no-quest, second quest, and third quest for the historical Jesus? Who were some of the pivotal figures associated with each quest? (In particular, know who Reimarus, Schweitzer, Bultmann, Kasemann, and Bornkamm are.) What were the reasons that Schweitzer gave for arguing that it is impossible to know the historical Jesus? What does Bultmann mean by saying that the gospels are primarily mythological?
2. What did each quest say about the methodological possibility and the theological necessity of the historical quest? You should know the material in the charts on pp. 109 and 139 in Tatum as well as the modifications introduced in class.
3. What are the four criteria the second quest uses to determine the historicity of an event, saying, teaching, etc. of Jesus? What criterion was added by the third quest?
4. What are the five biblical sources of the resurrection stories? Which is the oldest? What types of resurrection stories are found in the New Testament? What type is not found? What view of the resurrected body do we get from the New Testament stories? What are the five major theological positions about the nature of the resurrection? Be able to discuss the similarities and differences between Wright and Borg on the resurrection. Which do you agree with and why?
5. What are the primary purposes of the stories surrounding the virgin conception? What are the major theories about the reason that Matthew and Luke mention a virgin birth? Be able to discuss the similarities and differences between Wright and Borg on the virgin conception. Which do you agree with and why?
6. Be able to define the historical background of the primary titles of honor used for Jesus: Christ (messiah), prophet, son of God, son of man. Using the criteria of the 2nd and 3rd quests, what historical conclusions can we draw about each of theses titles? Especially be prepared to talk about the various meanings "son of man" might have in first century Palestine and what ways it is used in the gospels. Based upon the scholarly discussions about the son of man sayings, which of the meanings and ways do you think Jesus most likely used for himself?
Return to Syllabus