PCS 507 – After Jesus, Before Christianity
Cohort begins Wednesday, October 5, 2022 at 7pm EDT
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The course begins with a recognition of assumptions of those earliest years after Jesus and which ones we ought to question. The main topics we plan to cover include examples of women in leadership roles, ancient understandings of gender, the painful reality of living with Roman violence; diverse ideas regarding self-identity, suffering, and death among Jesus’s followers; wide-ranging views of Jesus, Paul, and Mary, the Magdalene; the variety of texts available before there was any such thing as a New Testament, and new perspectives on so-called “Gnosticism” and “heresy.”
The content is divided into six sections which include inspirational introductions, lectures, and resources for further study. Throughout the course, there will also be opportunities for reflection and sharing with fellow students.
Dr. Shirley Paulson and Dr. Deborah N. Saxon
Shirley and Deb were active participants in Westar Institute’s Christianity Seminar that led to the production of the book, After Jesus Before Christianity. They bring insider knowledge of the work of the seminar over its eight years and the conclusions that have now come together in book form. This course highlights the most important of these findings—new discoveries regarding the followers of Jesus in the first two centuries C.E. These breakthroughs in understanding have implications for our thinking and practice today. To be forewarned, some of these realizations challenge traditional views, but they also liberate us from outgrown practices that probably never even started with Jesus or his apostles.