Assignment 1: the Historical Jesus

Re-read the gospel passages for this week and review your notes. After you read each segment, ponder the following questions:

1. How does each gospel segment portray Jesus and his message? Jot down the major characteristics you find in each passage.

2. Based on these passages, do you find one or many Jesuses depicted? Is there a recognizable and consistent character portrayal across all the passages? Can you discern a message or messages that his disciples could all understand and agree upon?

3. Then read Van Voorst, Readings in Christianity, pages 282-283. Why did Schweitzer believe that the quest for "the historical Jesus" was doomed to failure? Was he right? What would be important about to know about the historical Jesus? Does it matter if that aspect could never be known?

Write a two page (typed and double-spaced) short essay responding to Schweitzer's points and using evidence from the gospel passages to demonstrate your point of view.