Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Jesus Seminar on the Road in Elizabethton!

We are proud to host another
Jesus Seminar on the Road this coming Fall in Elizabethton!

You, dear Shuck and Jivers, get to help pick the topic! Here are the topics with descriptions for each below:

1) How Archaeology Reshapes Christian Origins
2) Jesus in the First and Twenty-First Centuries
3) The Parables of Jesus
4) Competing Early Christian Voices: The Contest for Authority
5) Peter, Paul and Mary: Three Early Christian Voices
6) Jesus From Cradle to Grave

Cast your vote on the sidebar!

1) How Archaeology Reshapes Christian Origins:
Do the Dead Sea Scrolls, James Ossuary, Da Vinci Code, Bible Code, and Jesus family tomb destroy or vindicate the proverbial pillars of Christianity? Some journalists and scholars have coated the silent artifacts with a theological veneer. When the veneer is wiped away, what does archaeology have to say about the historical Jesus and the origins of Christianity?

2) Jesus in the First and Twenty-First Centuries:
The historical Jesus announced that God's kingdom was already here, not something coming in the future. He challenged others to join this kingdom and to celebrate its presence, without ignoring the harsh injustices forced on them by another kingdom, the Roman Empire, whose victim he became. Jesus' vision of the kingdom put him at odds with the official religion of his day and continues to pose a profound challenge to contemporary Christian theology.

3) The Parables of Jesus:
Lost for ages in the backwaters of allegory and simplistic preaching, the parables of Jesus have emerged in modern scholarship as the creation of a great artist. Brandon Scott will explore what parables are and how they differ from allegories. The parable of the Leaven will serve as the primary focus of the presentation.

4) Competing Early Christian Voices: The Contest for Authority:
In the beginning, orthodoxy was but one of many diverse movements tracing their origins in some way to Jesus of Nazareth. Initially these groups used a Greek form of the Hebrew Bible as their scripture, but that collection proved inadequate to their needs. So they eventually reduced their new visions of faith to writing. Beginning in the fourth century, some self-proclaimed orthodox representatives selected certain religious texts to serve their communities, texts which, centuries later, would become “divinely inspired scripture.” Other texts, from movements competing with orthodoxy, they libeled as “heretical,” or “not genuine.”

The workshop will look at some of the so-called “heretical” texts and competing religious visions that survived from that early period, such as Thunder, Perfect Mind; The Gospel of Thomas; The Treatise on the Resurrection; The Gospel of Mary; The Aprocryphon of John; The Gospel of Judas; The Testimony of Truth; and The Apocalypse of Peter.

5) Peter, Paul and Mary: Three Early Christian Voices:
What can we know about the place of Mary Magdalene in the early Jesus movement? Both the official and unofficial versions of Christian tradition silence and defame this “apostle to the apostles.” Why? Where do the traditions of Mary as repentant prostitute and Jesus’ wife come from? How does the portrait of Mary in the canonical gospels differ from that found in early Christian apocryphal texts? And what, exactly, were Peter and Mary fighting about?

6) Jesus From Cradle to Grave:
In a nearly unanimous vote, the Jesus Seminar agreed that the resurrection proclamations are not reports of an historical event. This session will trace the idea of resurrection from the Book of Daniel to the end of the first century C.E. and discuss why the affirmation that Jesus was raised from the dead is better understood as a claim of faith than a statement of fact. The presenters will conclude by engaging participants in discussion about what meaning the stories of Jesus' birth and resurrection can have for contemporary Christian faith.