Academic Programs 
      

Jesus for the Non Religious:
Seeking the Divine in the Heart of the Human
(TH-696)

Summer 2007

This course is aimed at those who live on the edges of Christianity or even are already alienated from the Church. The goal is to explore the Christologies of the past and chart a Christology for the future. Students will be encouraged to think outside the traditional boxes of the Christian creeds without feeling that they must abandon the formulas of the past. Students will be invited to see the divine in the heart of the human and to see Christianity outside religion.

 

Meeting Day, Time and Dates: 
Monday, June 18 – Friday, June 22 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

John Shelby Spong
Adjunct Professor of Theology and Ethics, retired Episcopal Bishop of Newark, N.J., and author of 14 books, including “Why Christianity Must Change or Die”

Contact Information:
phone: 
(860) 509-9500
email:

 

Course Syllabus



Aims

• To examine the Christologies of the past and chart a Christology for the future
• To encourage students to think outside the traditional boxes of the Christian creeds without feeling that they must abandon the formulas of the past.
• To reflect on how students can see the divine in the heart of the human and to see Christianity outside religion.
• To encourage those who live either on the edges of Christianity or who are completely outside the life of church to look at Christianity through a new set of theological principals.

Student Outcomes

At the end of the course, students will:

• Understand why Jesus still matters to both the church and the world
• Envision new ways for the church to express itself in a post-Christian world
• See that those who are now exiled from the church may be where the church’s future lies.

Course Breakdown

Day 1: Introduction

Session 1: Stating the Problem
Group discussion
Session 2: Approaching the Bible from a new perspective I.
Group discussion

Day 2: Why literalism falsifies

Session 1: A new look at the birth narratives.
Group discussion
Session 2: Why miracles are not supernatural
Group discussion

Day 3: Interpretive images employed in early Christologies

Session 1: New Moses – New Elijah – Son of Man
Group discussion
Session 2: Servant – Shepherd
Group discussion

Day 4: Liturgical images in the Gospels

Session 1: The Passover: Not the context of crucifixion but the way the crucifixion was understood
Group discussion
Session 2: Yom Kippur: The source of atonement doctrines.
Group discussion

Day 5: A New Christology

Session 1: Jesus the boundary breaker
Group discussion
Session 2: Jesus for the non-religious
Group discussion

Requirements:

One six page (double spaced) book review of Jesus for the Non-Religious by John Shelby Spong. A fifteen page research paper on a title linked to one of the themes in the course and agreed with the Teaching Assistant

Bibliography

Required book for purchase:

  • John Shelby Spong, Jesus for the Non-Religious. San Francisco: Harper/Collins 2007

Other recommended books:

  • John Shelby Spong
    The Sins of Scripture
    Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism
    Born of a Woman
    Resurrection: Myth of Reality?
    Why Christianity Must Change or Die
    Here I Stand: My struggle for a Christianity of Integrity, Love and Equality
    A New Christianity for a New World
  • Marcus Borg
    Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time
    The Heart of Christianity
    The God We Never Knew
  • Lloyd G. Geering
    The World to Come
    A Christianity Without God
  • John Dominic Crossan
    Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography
  • Robert Funk
    Honest To Jesus
    A Credible Jesus: Fragments of a Vision.



    Etc.

Hartford Seminary  77 Sherman Street  Hartford, CT  06105   860-509-9500  info@hartsem.edu