AP 420, Spring 2010
Mark Moore
Office: 624-2518 x2711
Home: 782-8379


Synopsis | Objectives | Policies | Textbooks | Term Paper Topics | Schedule | Essential Reading


Seminar in Third Quest is a study of the Historical Jesus, particularly contemporary literature about him. The class is designed to help the student master the critical issues in determining who Jesus was from the historical and sociological data at our disposal. It is a senior level course which will make certain assumptions about the level of ability and interest in the students which will be reflected in the course schedule below. There are two parts to the class. For the first six weeks we will meet together and discuss two topics per week based on the book to be read for that week. There will be a three week interim for students to work on their papers. The remaining seven weeks will be given to reading and evaluating student papers, two per week. (The class is scheduled for Thursdays 1:30-3:30 p.m.).

  1. We will create a research community in which our individual studies will converge in our development of a view of Jesus. This dialogue will become the basis for our praxis, where we live out the implications of our quest for Christ.

  2. The course will provide the student with a graduate-type educational experience which will help him/her transition into the next level of academic work.

  3. The course will create a model for discipleship which will hopefully be exported by each student into their perspective fields of service.

  1. Readings: You are expected to read four of the six books assigned (Wright and Crossan are mandatory). The other books can be substituted for those in the essential reading bibliography marked with an asterisk. If you miss more than two, either by absence or voluntary omission, 15% will be deducted from your final grade. Furthermore, if you come to class without having read the book for discussion, you forfeit the right to participate in the discussion. You will do two things with each book. (1) Make a list of questions based on specific passages from the book that you will bring with you to class for discussion. (2) Find and print a book review on each book.

  2. Paper: You should begin working on your papers immediately. Either choose a topic from the list below or suggest another topic to your professor. No two papers will be written on the same topic, so all must be approved. Papers should be approximately 25 pages in length and reflect the level of spiritual discussion developed in the first six weeks of class. Your edited versions are due via email by Monday, May 17 at noon.

  3. Presentation: Three students per class period will present their papers. Each student will have 15 minutes to defend his thesis. Another student will be responsible to critique each paper in a written form. They will be given 5-7 minutes for their critique. The rest of the class, then, will discuss the paper for the remaining 20 minutes. Based upon this critique, the author will then rewrite the paper for a grade. This final paper is the only grade in this course.


01/28     A Brief History of the Quests

             N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1996.


02/04     Shifting Methodology � Source Criticism to Paradigm

             E. P. Sanders, Jesus and Judaism. Philadelphia: Fortress; London: SCM, 1985.


02/11     The Eschatology of Jesus

             Borg, Marcus. Conflict, Holiness and Politics in the Teachings of Jesus. New York/Toronto:

             The Edwin Mellen Press, 1984.


02/18     Paradigms of the Third Quest

             Evans, Craig. Jesus and His Contemporaries: Comparative Studies. Boston: Brill, 2001.


02/25     History and economics of first century Palestine

            Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospel as Eyewitness Testimony.         Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006.


03/04     Sociology of first century Palestine

             John Dominic. Crossan, The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant.

             San Francisco: Harper, 1991.


Each student will be responsible for producing a major paper, 15-20 pages in length, that develops one of the following topics with the same depth of analysis and application reflected in our class discussions. All papers are due via email on Monday, May 15 by noon:

  1. Did Jesus intend to be King of Israel?

  2. Are king and prophet two distinct paradigms?

  3. Was Jesus a magician?

  4. *Was Jesus influenced by the Cynics? (Or other Greco-Roman philosophers?)

  5. *Was Jesus more of a religious teacher or a social reformer?

  6. *What are the best sources for discovering who Jesus was?

  7. How was Jesus seen outside the New Testament?

  8. What messianic expectations were there in Jesus’ day?

  9. What does the political history of Palestine teach us about Jesus and his aims?

  10. Is it possible to know Jesus’ intentions or can we only know the evangelists? 

  11. What are the assured facts of Jesus’ life and ministry?

  12. What has sociology added to our understanding of the life of Jesus? 

  13. *Was Jesus eschatological? (Did he expect the near end of the world?)

  14. What is John’s relationship to the synoptics?

  15. Was the early church interested in the historical Jesus?

  16. Is Jesus or Paul responsible for Christianity?

  17. What was Jesus and John’s relationship to the Essene community?

  18. Compare and contrast Witherington and Fiorenza or Wright and Borg.

  19. What does “Son of Man” indicate?

  20. How did the early church perceive Jesus' role: Savior, Messiah, Lord?




 Paper Topic



04/15       04/07
04/15       04/07
04/22       04/15
04/22       04/15
04/29       04/22
04/29       04/22


    *Allison, Dale C. Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1998.


    Bock, Darrell L. Studying the Historical Jesus: A Guide to Sources and Methods. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2002.


    *Borg, Marcus. Conflict, Holiness and Politics in the Teachings of Jesus. New York/Toronto: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1984.


    ---. A New Vision: Spirit, Culture, and the Life of Discipleship. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987.


    Borg, Marcus, and Wright, N.T. The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1998.


    Bornkamm, G�nther. Jesus of Nazareth. Translated by Irene and Fraser McLuskey and James M. Robinson. New York: Harper, 1960. Original German, Jesus von Nazareth, 1956.


    *Brandon, S. G. F. Jesus and the Zealots: A Study of the Political Factory in Primitive Christianity. Manchester: Manchester U. P., 1967.


    Bultmann, Rudolph. History of the Synoptic Tradition. Translated by John Marsh. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1963.

    Charlesworth, James H. The Historical Jesus: An Essential Guide. Nashville: Abingdon, 2008.


    ---. Jesus within Judaism: New Light from Exciting Archaeological Discoveries. London: SPCK, 1988.


    Chilton, Bruce. Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography. New York: Doubleday, 2000.


    *Crossan, John Dominic. The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant. San Francisco: Harper, 1991.


    Cullmann, Oscar. Jesus and the Revolutionaries. Translated by Gareth Putnam. New York: Harper and Row, 1970.


    Dawes, Gregory W. The Historical Jesus Question. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001.


    Ehrman, Bart D. Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.


    ---. “Jesus of Nazareth: Who Do Scholars Say That He Is? A Review Article” Crux 23/4 (1987): 15-19.


    Fiorenza, Elisabeth Sch�ssler. In Memory of Her. New York: Crossroads, 1983.


    *Funk, Robert W., Roy W. Hoover, and the Jesus Seminar. The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus. New York: Macmillan, 1993.


    *Guti�rrez, Gustavo. Teolog�a de la Liberaci�n: Perspectivas. Salamanca Ediciones S�gueme, 1985.


    *Horsley, Richard. Bandits, Prophets, & Messiahs. 1985. Repr., Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Trinity Press International, 1999.


    ---. Jesus and Empire: The Kingdom of God and the New World Disorder. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2003.


    *---. Jesus and the Spiral of Violence: Popular Jewish Resistance in Roman Palestine. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987.

    Keener, Craig. The Historical Jesus of the Gospels. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009.


    Linnemann, Eta. Is There a Synoptic Problem: Rethinking the Literary Dependence of the First Three Gospels. Translated by Robert W. Yarbrough. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1992.


    *Malina, Bruce. The Social Gospel of Jesus: The Kingdom of God in Mediterranean Perspective. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2000.


    Martin, Raymond. The Elusive Messiah: A Philosophical Overview of the Quest for the Historical Jesus. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1999.


    *McKnight, Scot. A New Vision for Israel: The Teachings of Jesus in National Context. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1999.


    Meier, John P. Companions and Competitors. Vol. 3 of A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus. New York: Doubleday, 2001.


    *---. Mentor, Message, and Miracles. Vol. 2 of A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus. New York: Doubleday, 1994.


    ---. The Roots of the Problem and the Person. Vol. 1 of A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus. New York: Doubleday, 1991.


    *Meyer, Ben F. The Aims of Jesus. London: SCM, 1979.


    Newman, Carey C., ed. Jesus and the Restoration of Israel: A Critical Assessment of N.T. Wright’s Jesus and the Victory of God. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1999.


    Neyrey, Jerome, ed. The Social World of Luke-Acts. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1991.


    Patterson, Stephen J. The God of Jesus: The Historical Jesus and the Search for Meaning. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press, 1998.


    *Sanders, E. P. Jesus and Judaism. Philadelphia: Fortress; London: SCM, 1985.

    ---. The Historical Figure of Jesus. London: Penguin Books, 1993.


    Sch�rer, E. The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (175B.C. – A.D. 135), Rev. and Ed. G. Vermes, F. Millar, and M. Black. 3 Vols. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1973-87.


    Schweitzer, Albert. The Quest of the Historical Jesus. London: Adam & Charles Black, 1906.


    *Smith, Morton. Jesus the Magician. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1978.


    Stegemann, W., Malina, B., and Theissen, G. The Social Setting of Jesus and the Gospels. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2002.


    Stegemann, E., and Stegemann, W. The Jesus Movement. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1999.


    Theissen, Gerd. The Shadow of the Galilean. Translated by J. Bowden. London: SCM, 1987.


    ---. Social Reality and the Early Christians. Translated by Margaret Kohl. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992.


    Theissen, Gerd and Merz, Annete. The Historical Jesus: A Comprehensive Guide. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1998.


    Trocme, Andre. Jesus and the Nonviolent Revolution. Scottdale, Pennsylvania: Herald Press, 1973.


    *Twelftree, G. H. Jesus the Exorcist: A Contribution to the Study of the Historical Jesus. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1993.


    *Vermes, G. Jesus in His Jewish Context. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2003.


    ---. Jesus the Jew: A Historian’s Reading of the Gospels. London: Collins, 1973.


    Weiss, Johannes. Jesus’ Proclamation of the Kingdom of God. Edited by Richard Hiers and David Holland. 1895. Repr., London: SCM, 1971.


    Witherington, Ben. The Christology of Jesus. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1990.


    ---. The Jesus Quest: The Third Search for the Jews of Nazareth. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP, 1995.


    *---. Jesus the Sage: The Pilgrimage of Wisdom. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1994.


    *---. The Many Faces of the Christ: The Christologies of the New Testament and Beyond.  New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1998.


    *Wright, N. T. Jesus and the Victory of God. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1996.


    ---. The New Testament and the People of God. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992.

Previously Written Papers:

Andy Rodriguez: The Social Outworking of the Kingdom of God

Dan Hamel: An Examination of Jesus’ Table Praxis

Tyler Steward: Method and Historiography: Aiming for Jesus


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