Jesus and the Gospels : The Great Courses: Christianity

  • by The Great Courses, Luke Timothy Johnson
  • Narrated by Professor Luke Timothy Johnson
  • Series: The Great Courses: Christianity
  • 18 hrs and 30 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

For most of the last 2,000 years, questions about the figure of Jesus have begun with the Gospels, but the Gospels themselves raise puzzling questions about both Jesus and the religious movement within which these narratives were produced. Is it possible to shape a single picture from the various accounts of his life given us by these Gospels?
This far-ranging course examines not only the canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John familiar to us from the New Testament, but also the many other, apocryphal narratives and literary works that have contributed to our perceptions of Jesus, Mary, and Christianity - all of which are encompassed by the word "Gospel." In these 36 engaging lectures, you'll discover the human Jesus that underlies many portraits we have.
After introducing you to the era's volatile mixture of Mediterranean culture, Greek ideals and realities, Roman governance, and the religion of Israel, Professor Johnson turns to the Gospels and provides close analyses of key lines of text, explanations of the significance of language and terminology, and overviews of important issues with which scholars have long grappled. You'll learn about the different issues of faith each Gospel emphasizes, as well as the real-world logistics of spreading that faith during the early Christian era.
But it is the figure addressed by the Gospels who dominates these lectures, sometimes in ways less familiar than the portrayals of Jesus we most often encounter. Beyond the portrayal in the synoptic gospels, you'll study what the apocryphal narratives have to say about the childhood of Jesus. Among other things, you'll also learn about the source of Roman Catholicism's doctrine of Mary and examine the 2nd century faith of Gnosticism.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Thorough wideiranging overview of scholarship

Prof. Luke Timothy Johnson's course about Jesus and the Gospels is wide-ranging and very informative. It starts with the question of the historical Jesus, where-after Johnson deals with each of the canonical gospels, Mark, Matthew, Luke and John helping to get a grip on these texts from a literary perspective. I found this part of the course not always easy to listen to, especially since there is no PDF or other written study guide available from Audible when you buy one of 'The Great Courses' audiobooks. I think it is essential to have it available. After the Canonical Gospels Johnson mode into the Apocryphal Gospels like the Pro-evangellium Jacobi and also the Nag Hammadi texts, like the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Truth. I found the extra-biblical material very interesting.

Prof. Johnson is fairly easy to listen to, very enthusiastic and that is what makes it a great listen. He furthermore speaks with authority. He holds a more conservative stance on various issues, like the dating of the Gospel of Thomas, but gives a fair and well-balanced account of current scholarship.

I would recommend this course to anyone who has some time to just focus on Jesus and the Gospel. It comes highly recommended.
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- Jacobus

I Never Knew About Historical Jesus Writings!

Where does Jesus and the Gospels rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I suppose that students of bible history know of the information supplied in this lecture; but for me it was all new. The Nag Hammadi scrolls especially and their expansion of the life of Jesus and his followers and subsequent "gospel writers" into the 4th century was amazing. Lecture 25, Canonical And Apocryphal Gospels covers material I did know existed. All my life I have read the Bible in part. This lecture lets me see a lot of those misunderstood parts into a whole. So glad I took the course.


What was one of the most memorable moments of Jesus and the Gospels?

Each lecture was beneficial.


What about Professor Luke Timothy Johnson’s performance did you like?

A pleasing voice. He has a very youthful voice and I was surprised to see an older man. No offense Prof!


Any additional comments?

The texts were so helpful for reviewing the lectures.

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- William E. Hendry

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses