NT6/713 – Creating Jesus: The Historical Jesus in Scholarship, Film and Fiction
View outline (PDF) Instructor(s): Dr. Harry O. Maier
This course will take up the figure of Jesus from three different angles: historical scholarship, film, and fiction. In each case we will consider the role of culture and context in accounts of the historical Jesus. The interest is as much in the historians, directors, and authors of Jesus as it is in the historical person, Jesus of Nazareth.
From a historical perspective, reconstruction of the past is always a product of the questions, interests, and location of historians. In film and fiction this is most obvious. Less, obvious, however, is how the twentieth and twenty-first century questers for the historical Jesus have been similarly embarking upon a quest from their own location, and have, in varying degrees, “unearthed” a Jesus meaningful to their own socially embedded identities.
The course, then, will take up representative studies about Jesus, films, and fictional narratives, to consider the role of culture and identity in both the reading of Jesus and the production of material about him in contemporary culture. We will examine how Jesus is as much created as “discovered” through various media and how we, in the guise of culture, find ourselves in a continuing process of production that has accompanied the faithful for two millennia in their quest for a life of and from Jesus.