‘Who do you say that I am?’: The Historical Jesus & the Christ of Western Culture

Thursday, 14th October, 2021
7:30-9:00pm @ George Street Social

“Regardless of what anyone may personally think or believe about him, Jesus of Nazareth has been the dominant figure in the history of Western Culture for almost twenty centuries. If it were possible, with some sort of super magnet, to pull up out of the history every scrap of metal at least bearing a trace of his name, how much would be left?”
― Jaroslav Pelikan, Jesus Through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture

“Within three hundred years Jesus went from being a Jewish apocalyptic prophet to being God himself, a member of the Trinity. Early Christianity is nothing if not remarkable.” 
― Bart D. Ehrman, Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible

Whether we believe in Jesus, whether we approve of his teaching, let alone whether we like the look of the movement that still claims to follow him, we are bound to see his crucifixion as one of the pivotal moments in human history.” 
― N.T. Wright, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion

In the Gospels According to Matthew and Mark, Jesus of Nazareth asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” The disciples replied that public opinion about Jesus was quite varied: some people say this, others say that. So it is today. Some say Jesus was a misunderstood mystic, others say he was a failed revolutionary, while still others say he was (and is!) God-in-the-flesh. But whatever anyone might think about who Jesus really was, it’s impossible to ignore the mark that he (or at least some people’s idea of him) has made on human history.

But why? How did a crucified Jewish field-preacher become such a pivotal figure in world history? Who was Jesus really and how, at this historical distance, could we possibly know? These are questions that any intellectually informed person needs wrestle with sooner or later, and we will take them up at our first Socratic Happy Hour of Michaelmas Term 2021. We hope you’ll join us.

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