Academic Programs 

Faces of Jesus: Christology from the New Testament to the 21st Century (SC-655)
Fall 2007

An exploration of the portraits of Jesus in the major New Testament writings, the non-canonical gospels of recent Da Vinci Code fame, and in the history of the church and the arts from the first to the twenty-first century, concluding with contemporary Christologies in the writings of Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan, in film, and in the newer psychological approaches of John Miller and Don Capps, exploring their implications for faith in the church today.


Meeting Day, Time and Dates:
Wednesdays from 4:30 to 6:50 p.m., beginning September 12

Wayne Rollins
Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies

Contact Information:
(860) 509-9500


Course Syllabus

“Through the centuries the portraits of Jesus have varied from age to age and place to place: ‘Good shepherd’ during the early church persecutions; ‘cosmic ruler’ during the triumph of Christianity in the Roman Empire; ‘the crucified’ in the guilt-ridden late Middle Ages.” - John Miller

“Jesus is a much underrated man. To deprive this man of his humanity is to deprive him of his greatness.” - Albert Nolan

“Jesus Christ, his son, who is his word proceeding from silence.”
- Ignatius of Antioch (ca. 100 C.E.)

“’There was a great teacher, and gathered around him was a small group of faithful followers. They listened to his message and were transformed by it. But the message alienated the power structure of his time, which finally put him to death but did not succeed in eradicating his message, which is stronger now than ever.”’ That description would apply equally to Jesus and Socrates. But nobody’s ever built a cathedral in honor of Socrates. -Jaroslav Pelikan

“There is no historical task which so reveals someone’s true self as the writing of a Life of Jesus.” - Albert Schweitzer

“Who do you say that I am?” -Jesus of Nazareth (Mark 8:29)

Books for Purchase

• Ehrman, Bart D. Lost Scriptures: Books That Did Not Make It into the New Testament. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003 (forthcoming in paperback)
• Kärkkäinen, Veli-Matti. Christology: A Global Introduction. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003.
• Pelikan, Jaroslav. Jesus Through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture. Yale University Press, 1985.
• Powell, Mark Allan. Jesus as a Figure in History: How Modern Historians View the Man from Galilee. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998.
•Tatum, W. Barnes. Jesus at the Movies: A Guide to the First Hundred Years. Polebridge Press, 1998.

Course Objectives:

1) To develop an appreciation of (a) the distinctive Christology of each of the New Testament authors, with special attention to the Synoptic Gospels, John, and Paul; (b) the Christology of the Early church with special attention to the Apostolic Fathers and the apocryphal Gospels; c) a survey of the Christology of twenty centuries of Christian devotion and theology; (d) the Christology of the arts, with special attention to the novel and film; (e) the Christology of contemporary Jesus historians.

2) To develop an acquaintance with the present state of biblical scholarship over the past half century. Special attention will be given to the work of Jesus historians, Borg and Crossan, and psycho-historians Capps and Miller, within the perspective of the constructive critique offered by Hal Childs in The Myth of History and the Evolution of Consciousness.

3) To take a step forward toward understanding how the words, acts, person, and presence of the “historical Jesus” relate to twenty centuries of Christological art, architecture, theology, music, literature, creeds, educational institutions, hospitals, and agencies of human service.

4) To work toward a better understanding of why it is that Jesus of Nazareth has exercised such a catalytic effect on the human psyche/soul , as evident not only within the Christian church and its institutions, but in world religious tradition and the arts.

5) To sort out one’s own perspective on Jesus and the Christological tradition and to consider the implications this might have for the way I get out of bed tomorrow.

Course Requirements

The following requirements apply especially to students taking the course for credit or for CEU’s. Non-credit students may elect to participate in the class reports and special exegetical studies, given consultation with the instructor. Consult with instructor on “make-ups” if absences are unavoidable.

1. Regular attendance and weekly reading assignments (see “Books for Purchase”). (1/8 of the grade).

2.*One Book Review presentation. Select two or three titles from the attached list of books available in the library, from which you will select one in the “raffle” assignment at the first class session, when the date of your review will be assigned. The review is to include the following: (a) a clear précis or overview of the book in relation to this course, (b) a brief discussion of up to ten ideas you have found helpful or informative, explaining why, and (c) the presentation of one important issue for class discussion. The reviewer is encouraged to prepare some “visuals” (hand-outs, chalk-board outlines, overhead projector transparencies, etc.) to enhance communication. (Proposed length: 5 pages) (3/8 of the grade)

3. A one-page, single-spaced amplification of the symbol (essay, story, poem, picture, icon, logo) that most aptly answers for you the question “Who do you say that I am?” Due the third last session of the semester (December 1). (not graded)

4. *A Final Project on a theme of the student’s choice, due last class session. (4/8 of the grade) (proposed length, 15- 20 pages).

*All academic papers are to conform to conventional technical, grammatical and stylistic standards referred to in the General Guidlines for a Research Paper. The Hartford Seminary Grading Guidelines will be the standard of evaluation for work in the course.


Readings listed below are drawn from the required texts for the course; they provide background for the topic listed or for the course in general. In addition, a worksheet will be distributed each week anticipating the issues to be discussed at the following class session, with required primary source readings and questions for reflection.

Sept. 12   Prospectus :

Sept. 19   The Gospel According to Mark: God’s Son of Man and Wounded Healer
•Pelikan, Jesus. . . . (a) Introduction: “The Good, the True and the Beautiful,” pp. 1-8 and (b) Chap. 6. “The Son of Man,” pp. 71-82.
•Kärkkäinen, Christology. (a) Introduction, pp. 9-16; (b) Chap. One . “The Many Faces of Christ in the Bible,” pp. 17-29 (c) “The Suffering Servant in Mark,” pp. 30-33.

Sept. 26   The Gospel According to Matthew: A New Moses, a Higher Wisdom
•Pelikan, Jesus. . . . (a) Chap. 1. “The Rabbi” (9-20)
•Kärkkäinen, Christology,”The King of Jews in Matthew, “ 33-36

Oct. 3    The Gospel According to Luke - Acts: The Spirit-Filled Savior, Then and Now
•Pelikan, Jesus. . .Chap. 2. “The Turning Point of History” (21-33); chap. 3. “the Light of the Gentiles” (34-45)
•Kärkkäinen, Christology.”The Friend of All in Luke”, 36-39.

Oct. 10    The Gospel According to John : The Word at the Heart of Being
•Pelikan, Jesus. . .Chap. 4, “the King of Kings” (46-56); chap. 5, “The Cosmic Christ” (57-70)
•Kärkkäinen, Christology. “The Word of Life in John” 39-43.

Oct. 17    The Gospel According to Paul: Second “Adam,” Image of God, and Lord
•Pelikan, Jesus. . . Chap. 7, “The True Image” (83-94); chap. 8, “Christ Crucified” (95-108)
•Kärkkäinen, Christology. Chap. 3, “Pauline Christology,” 44-60.

Oct. 24    The Gospel according to the Catholic Epistles and Revelation: From Shepherd of the Soul to the Invincible Lamb
•Pelikan, Jesus. . .Chap. 9, “The Monk Who Rules the World” (109-121)
Plus special reading on the Apocalypse and Christology.

Oct. 31    “The Other Gospels:” Gnostic Christology and the DaVinci Code
•Pelikan, Jesus. . . Chap. 10. “ The Bridegroom of the Soul” (122-132)
• Ehrman, Lost Scriptures, Introduction, 1-8. All read the Coptic Gospel of Thomas (19- 29; The Gospel of Peter, 31-34; The Gospel of Mary 35-38; The Gospel of Philip 38-44; The Proto-Gospel of James 63-72, and two others of your choice.

Nov. 7    The “Great Church”: From the Apostolic Fathers to Nicea and the Trinity
•Pelikan, Jesus. . . Chap. 11. “The Divine and Human Model” (133-144)
•Kärkkäinen, Christology. Chap. 4, “Early Christological Disputes,” 61-71; Chap. 5, “From the Council of Nicea (325) to Chalcedon (451)”, 72-78.

Nov. 14    Jesus Through the Centuries: From Nicea to the Twentieth Century
•Pelikan, Jesus. . . Chapters 12-18, Assignments to be parceled out in class
Chap. 12. “The Universal Man.” 145-156
Chap. 13 “The Mirror of the Eternal” 157-167
Chap. 14. “The Prince of Peace” 168-181
Chap. 15. “The Teacher of Common Sense” 182-193
Chap. 16. “The Poet of the Spirit 194-205
Chap. 17 “The Liberator” 206-219
Chap. 18 “ The Man Who Belongs to the World” 220-233
•Kärkkäinen, Christology.Chap. 6, “Subsequent Developments” 79-84; Chap. 7, “A New Christological Style” 85-90, plus selected reports on chapters on specific theologians (Barth, Bultmann, Tillich, Rahner, Moltmann, Pannenberg, and Hick), and on contextual Christologies (Process, Feminist, Black, Postmodern, etc.)

Nov. 28    Jesus at the Movies: Christology through the Camera’s Eye
• Tatum, ….Movies. Skim introduction, 1-14. Read “The Cinematic Jesus: Retrospect and Prospect” 227-240. Appendix B. Jesus-Story Films and Christ-figure Films” 245-52.. Chaps. 7-14 for Special individual reports.
Chap. 7. Pasolini, “The Gospel According to St. Mathew” 105-118
Chap. 8. Jewison, “Jesus Christ Superstar” and Greene “Godspell” 119-136
Chap. 9 . Zeffirelli “Jesus of Nazareth” 137-148.
Chap. 10. Monty Python, “Life of Brian” 149-164
Chap. 11 Heyman, “Jesus” 165-178
Chap. 12, Scorsese, “The Last Temptation of Christ” 179-194
Chap. 13 Arcand, “Jesus of Montreal” 195-208
Chap. 14, Mel Gibson, “The Passion of the Christ” 209-226.

Dec. 5    Revisioning the Quest for the Historical Jesus: Crossan, Borg, Capps, Miller
• Powell, Jesus as a Figure in History , Introduction , 1-10; Chap. 1 “Historians Discover Jesus” 11-30; Chap. 3. “snapshots: Contemporary Images of Jesus” 51-64, plus a chapter of your choice, either on Crossan, Borg, Sanders, Meier, or Wright.

Dec. 12   Jesus at Christmas: A Time for Christological Re-conception
• Handouts on John Miller, Jesus at Thirty: A Psychological and Historical Portrait (Fortress, 1997), plus time for Christological re-conception.


Book Selection List and Bibliography
(Asterisk * = Titles for book review selection. # = Resources on Reserve)

*Bauckham, Richard. The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006.
*Baugh S.J., Lloyd. Imaging the Divine: Jesus and Christ Figures in Film. New York: Sheed and Ward, 1997.
. Blair, Edward. Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. New York: Abingdon, 1960.
*Borg, Marcus J., Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time (HarperSanFrancisco, 1994)
. Borg, Marcus, and John Dominic Crossan. The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus's Final Days in Jerusalem. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2007.
# Bousset, Wilhelm. Kyrios Christos: A History of the Belief in Christ from the Beginnings of Christiainty to Irenaeus. Nashville: Abingdon, 1913 [1979].
. Broadhead, Edwin K. Naming Jesus: Titular Christology in the Gospel of Mark, JSNTSUP. 175. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999.
#Brown, Raymond E. An Introduction to New Testament Christology. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist 1994.
. Brown, Dan. The DaVinci Code. Doubleday, 2003.
. Bultmann, Rudolf. The Christology of the New Testament. In Faith and Understanding: Collected Essays,, 262-85. London: SCM Press, 1969.
. Buechner, Frederick. The Face of Jesus: A Life Story. Brewster, Massachusetts: Paraclete Press, 2005 [1974].
. Carter, Craig A. Rethinking Christ and Culture: Brazos Press 2007.
* Charlesworth, James H., and Loren L. Johns, eds., Hillel and Jesus (Fortress, 1997)
Charlesworth, James H., ed. Jesus and Archaeology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans
* Cobb, John. Christ in a Pluralistic Age. Philadelphia: Westminister, 1975.
.*Cohen, Jeremy. Christ Killers. The Jews and the Passion. From the Bible to the Big Screen. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.
*Corley, Kathleen E. and Robert L. Webb, editors. Jesus and Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ: The Film, The Gospels, and the Claims of History. London: Continuum, 2004.
*Crossan, John Dominic, and Jonathan L. Reed. Excavating Jesus: Beneath the Stones, behind the Texts. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001.
* Crossan, John Dominic, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography (Harper, 1994)
. #Cullmann, Oscar. The Christology of the New Testament. Translated by Shirley C. Guthrie and Charles A. M. Hall. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1959.
.Due, William J. La. Jesus Among the Theologians: Contemporary Interpretations of Christ: Trinity Press International, 2001.
*Dumm, Demetrius R. A Mystical Portrait of Jesus: New Perspectives on John's Gospel. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2001.
Dunn, James D. G. Christology in the Making: A New Testament Inquiry into the Origins of the Doctrine of the Incarnation. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1980.
* Edinger, Edward. The Christian Archetype: A Jungian Commentary on the Life of Christ. Toronto: Inner City Books, 1987.
.# Ehrman, Bart D. Lost Scriptures: BooksThat Did Not Make It into the New Testament. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
* Ehrman, Bart D. The Truth Behind the Da Vinci Code: A Historian Explores What We Really Know about Jesus, Mary Magdalene and Constantine. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
*Elliott, J. K., ed. The Apocryphal Jesus: Legends of the Early Church. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.
# Elliott, J. K., ed. The Apocryphal New Testament. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993.
.Evans, Craig, and Paul Copan. Who Was Jesus?: A Jewish-Christian Dialogue. Louisville: Westminster John Knox,, 2002.
. Fitzmyer, Joseph A. A Christological Catechism: New Testament Answers. New Revised and Expanded ed. New York: Paulist, 1991.
*Flusser, David. The Sage from Galilee. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007.
. Fortna, Robert T. , and Tom Thatcher. Jesus in Johannine Tradition. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001.
. Fredricksen, Paula. Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews: A Jewish Life and the Emergence of Christianity. (Alfred A. Knopf, 1999)
* Furnish, Victor Paul. Jesus According to Paul. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
.Gieschen, Charles A. Angelomorphic Christology: Antecedents and Early Evidence. Vol. 42, AGJU. Leiden: Brill, 1998.
.Green, Joel B., and Max Turner, ed. Jesus of Nazareth, Lord and Christ: Essays on the Historical Jesus and New Testament Christology. Grand Rapids:: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1994.
. #Grillmeier, Aloys. Christ in Christian Tradition: From the Apostolic Age to Chalcedon. 2nd ed. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1975.
* Haight, Roger. Jesus Symbol of God. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2000.
. Hengel, Martin. The Atonement: The Origins of the Doctrine in the New Testament. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1981.
.Hengel, Martin. The Charismatic Leader and His Followers. New York: Crossroads, 1981.
.Hengel, Martin. The Son of God. The Origin of Christology and the History of
Jewish-Hellenistic Religion. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1976.
#Hennecke, Edgar, ed. New Testament Apocrypha, I. Edited by Wilhelm Schneemelcher. Two vols. Vol. One. Gospels and Related Writings. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1963.
#Hennecke, Edgar, ed. New Testament Apocrypha, II. Edited by Wilhelm Schneemelcher. Two vols. Vol. Two: Writings Relating to the Apostles; Apocalypses and Related Subjects. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1963.
* Horsley, Richard A., and Neil Asher Silberman. The Message and the Kingdom: How Jesus and Paul Ignited a Revolution and Transformed the Ancient World. (Fortress, 2002)
*Hurtado, Larry W. Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003.
. Inbody, Tyron. The Many Faces of Christology. Nashville: Abingdon, 2002.
Jervis, L. Ann. At the Heart of the Gospel: Suffering in the Earliest Christian Message. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007.
.Johns, Loren. The Lamb Christology of the Apocalypse of John: An Investigation into its Origins and Rhetorical Force. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2004.
*Johnson, Elizabeth. Consider Jesus: Waves of Renewal in Christology. New York: Crossroad Publishing Co., 1990.
* Johnson, Luke Timothy. The Real Jesus: The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and the Truth of the Tradition of the Gospels. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1996.
.#Kärkkäinen, Veli-Matti. Christology: A Global Introduction. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003.
*Khalidi, Tarif, ed. The Muslim Jesus: Sayings and Stories in Islamic Literature. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001.
Kingsbury, Jack Dean. The Christology of Mark. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1983.
Kingsbury, Jack Dean. Matthew: Structure, Christology, Kingdom. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1981.
. Kolbell, Erik. What Jesus Meant. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004.
* Krieg, Robert A. Story-Shaped Christology: The Role of Narratives in Identifying Jesus Christ. New York: Paulist, 1988.
Lapham, Fred. An Introduction to the New Testament Apocrypha. New York: T&T Clark, 2003.
Lee S.M., Bernard J. Jesus and the Metaphors of God: The Christs of the New Testament:. Vol. 2, Conversation on the Road Not Taken Series. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist, 1993.
*Longenecker, Richard N. The Christology of Early Jewish Christianity. Oxford: Blackwell, 1970.
#Matera, Frank J. New Testament Christology. Louisville: John Knox/ Westminster, 2000.
* McGarry CSP, M. Christology After Auschwitz. New York: Paulist, 1977.
. Merrigan, T., and J. Haeers. The Myriad Christ: Plurality and the Quest for Unity in Contemporary Christology. Vol. 152, Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensiuim. Herndon, VA: Peeters, 2000.
. Meyer, Marvin and Charles Hughes, editors. Jesus Then and Now: Images of Jesus in History and Christology. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 2001.
* Miller, David L. Christs: Meditations on Archetypal Images in Christian Theology. New York: Seabury, 1981.
* Miller, John W., Jesus at Thirty: a Psychological and Historical Portrait. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1997
*Nelson-Pallmeyer, Jack. Jesus Against Christianity: Trinity Press International, 2001.
*Neville, Robert Cummings. Symbols of Jesus: A Christology of Symbolic Engagement. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
#Neyrey SJ, Jerome H. Christ is Community: The Christologies of the New Testament. Edited by Robert J. Karris OFM. Vol. 13, Good New Studies. Wilmington, DE: Michael Glazier, 1985.
.Neyrey, Jerome H. An Ideology of Revolt: John’s Christology in Social-Science Perspective.Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1988.
* Niebuhr, H. Richard. Christ and Culture. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1951.
.O'Collins, Gerald. Christology: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Jesus Christ. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.
* O'Collins SJ, Gerald. What Are They Saying About Jesus? New York: Paulist, 1977.
* Pagels, Elaine. The Gnostic Gospels: A Startling Account of the Meaning of Jesus and the Origin of Christianity Based on Gnostic Gospels and Other Secret Texts. New York: Random House, 2004.
* Parrinder, E. Jesus in the Qur'an. London: Faber and Faber, 1965.
* Patterson, Stephen J., The Gospel of Thomas and Jesus (Polebridge, 1993)
*Peterson, Eugene H. Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2004.
*Peterson, Eugene H. The Jesus Way: A Conversation on the Ways That Jesus Is the Way. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007.
* Phipps, William E., The Sexuality of Jesus (Pilgrim, 1996)
*Placher, William C. Jesus the Savior: The Meaning of Jesus Christ for Christian Faith. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2001.
*Prothero, Stephen. American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004.
*Rieger, Joerg. Christ and Empire: From Paul to Postcolonial Times. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2007.
*Riley, Gregory J. One Jesus, Many Christ's: How Jesus Inspired Not One True Christianity, But Many: The Truth About Christian Origins. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1997.
# Robinson, James M., ed. The Nag Hammadi Library. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1977.
.Rollins, Wayne G. The Gospels, Portraits of Christ. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1964.
.Sanders, J. T. The New Testament Christological Hymns. Their Historical Religious Background. New York-London: Cambridge University Press, 1971.
. Schaberg, Jane. The Resurrection of Mary Magdalene: Legends, Apocrypha, and the Christian Testament. New York: Continuum, 2002.
. Schillebeeckx, Edward. Christ: The Experience of Jesus as Lord. New York: Crossroad, 1981.
. Sloyan, Gerard. The Jesus Tradition: Images of Jesus in the West. Mystic, CT: Twenty-Third Press, 1986.
*Spencer, F. Scott. What Did Jesus Do? Gospel Portrayals of Jesus' Personal Conduct: Trinity Press International, 2003.
. Stern, Richard C. Savior on the Silver Screen. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist, 1999.
*Stewart, Elizabeth-Anne. Jesus the Holy Fool. Franklin, WI: Sheed & Ward, 1999.
* Swidler, Leonard and Paul Mojzes, eds., The Uniqueness of Jesus: A Dialogue with Paul F. Knitter (Orbis, 1997)
#Taylor, Vincent. The Names of Jesus. London: MacMillan and Co., Ltd., 1959.
# Taylor, Vincent. The Person of Christ in New Testament Teaching. London: MacMillan and Co., Ltd., 1959.
. Tuckett, Christopher. Christology and the New Testament: Jesus and His Earliest Followers. Louisville: Westminster, 2001.
. Vermes, Geza. The Changing Faces of Jesus. New York: Penguin Putnam, 2001.
*Walsh, Richard. Reading the Gospels in the Dark: Portrayals of Jesus in Film. Harrisburg, Pa.: Trinity Press International,, 2003.
*Wills, Gary. What Jesus Meant. New York: Penguin, 2006.
*Wink, Walter. The Human Being: Jesus and The Enigma of the Son of the Man. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2001.
* Wink, Walter The Powers That Be: Theology for a New Millennium (Doubleday, 1999)
* Witherington, Ben. The Christology of Jesus. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1990.
* Zelensky, Elizabeth, and Lela Gilbert. Windows to Heaven: Introducing Icons to Protestants and Catholics: Brazos Press, 2004.
* Ziolkowski, Theodore. Fictional Transfigurations of Jesus. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1972.

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