How Jesus Became God

How Jesus Became God
Course Trailer
Jesus-The Man Who Became God
1: Jesus-The Man Who Became God

First, consider the huge historical significance of the Christian belief in Jesus's divinity, in terms of its effects on Western civilization as well as today's world. Learn about different scholarly views of the historical Jesus, and trace the remarkable diversity of early Christian thought regarding Christian identity, scripture, and theological understandings of Jesus.

33 min
Greco-Roman Gods Who Became Human
2: Greco-Roman Gods Who Became Human

In the ancient world, there were many accounts of "divine" mortals. Track this phenomenon in the Greco-Roman polytheistic religions, noting the overlap between the human and divine worlds. Explore three ancient models of divine men, in both mythology and Christian scripture, as gods take on human form and humans enter the heavenly realm.

32 min
Humans as Gods in the Greco-Roman World
3: Humans as Gods in the Greco-Roman World

Delve further into the interface between the human and the divine in pagan cultures. Examine narratives describing people born of the sexual union of gods with mortals, highlighting examples such as Alexander the Great. In the Roman and Egyptian worlds, look at cases of humans who were exalted to the status of gods.

32 min
Gods Who Were Human in Ancient Judaism
4: Gods Who Were Human in Ancient Judaism

Here, discover accounts of divine humans and other godlike beings within ancient Judaism. In Genesis and Exodus, explore conceptions of divine beings that appear in human form. In other Jewish texts, study narratives of humans who become angelic beings, as well as stories of the offspring of angels and humans.

31 min
Ancient Jews Who Were Gods
5: Ancient Jews Who Were Gods

In ancient Judaism, beings other than the one true God could be considered to be or even called God. Learn about the divine figure of the Son of Man, and the Jewish conception of a "second God". Observe how divine attributes of God were personified, and how humans such as the kings of Israel were deified.

27 min
The Life and Teachings of Jesus
6: The Life and Teachings of Jesus

In approaching the historical Jesus, consider why the New Testament Gospels are the only useful early sources on his life, and study the criteria used by scholars for evaluating the Gospels as history. Then investigate Jesus's apocalyptic worldview, which envisioned the imminent end of history and a coming kingdom of God.

32 min
Did Jesus Think He Was God?
7: Did Jesus Think He Was God?

This lecture explores what Jesus said about himself, as well as what he specifically preached. Grasp the nature and purpose of Jesus's ethical teachings, and his view of himself as a prophet of the coming kingdom. Study the Jewish conception of the Messiah as a warrior-king who would overthrow the enemies of Israel.

31 min
The Death of Jesus-Historical Certainties
8: The Death of Jesus-Historical Certainties

Regarding Jesus's final days, review the events that we know about with relative certainty. Learn about his reasons for being in Jerusalem, and the political tensions surrounding the Passover celebration there. Consider what led to his arrest, the nature of the charges against him, and what we can infer about his trial.

31 min
Jesus's Death-What Historians Can't Know
9: Jesus's Death-What Historians Can't Know

Look now at events surrounding Jesus's death that we cannot know about with certainty. Assess the plausibility of the Gospels' accounts of his arrival in Jerusalem, the date of his crucifixion, and the matter of his burial. Grasp how Christian writers made changes in the accounts of his death to serve theological ends.

31 min
The Resurrection-What Historians Can't Know
10: The Resurrection-What Historians Can't Know

Jesus's resurrection stands as the basis for the entire Christian faith. But what can we know historically about the resurrection? Here, dig deeply into the question of what historians can and cannot demonstrate about the past, and consider aspects of the stories of Jesus's resurrection that are historically doubtful or unknowable.

34 min
What History Reveals about the Resurrection
11: What History Reveals about the Resurrection

What was it that caused Jesus's followers to believe he had been raised from the dead? Investigate the disciples' visions of Jesus, alive again after his death, as reflected in Paul and the Gospels. Learn also about the tradition of doubt in the resurrection, and the meaning to early Christians of being resurrected.

32 min
The Disciples' Visions of Jesus
12: The Disciples' Visions of Jesus

In exploring the first claims about Jesus's resurrection, this lecture discusses the phenomenon of visionary experience as understood by modern researchers. Learn about the variety of religious and bereavement visions people experience, and the ways in which the disciples' visions and beliefs about Jesus combined to impact their conception of him as divine.

30 min
Jesus's Exaltation-Earliest Christian Views
13: Jesus's Exaltation-Earliest Christian Views

What did the earliest Christians believe about Jesus's divinity? Delve into Romans and Acts for what they may tell us about early Christian thought, identifying the "pre-literary" creeds they quote from. Observe how these creeds indicate a view that Jesus was adopted as the Son of God precisely upon his resurrection.

31 min
The Backward Movement of Christology
14: The Backward Movement of Christology

Over time, Christian thought pushed the origin of Jesus's divinity further and further back in history. Trace this development by looking at views of Jesus in the New Testament Gospels. Focus on the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke, noting their differing versions of when Jesus became the Son of God.

30 min
Paul's View-Christ's Elevated Divinity
15: Paul's View-Christ's Elevated Divinity

Paul's theology represents a transition between early conceptions of Christ as exalted by God upon his death and later views of his innate or eternal divinity. Trace Paul's seminal role within the early church, and his view of Jesus as a divine being whose actions raised him to a higher level of divinity.

32 min
John's View-The Word Made Human
16: John's View-The Word Made Human

The Gospel of John differs significantly from the other three canonical Gospels in its conception of Jesus. Investigate John's contention that Jesus had always been the Son of God and the equal of God the Father. Contemplate John's identification of Christ as the embodiment of the word of God, or "logos".

31 min
Was Christ Human? The Docetic View
17: Was Christ Human? The Docetic View

In the second and third centuries, Christian groups followed radically different beliefs and theologies. Learn about the "docetists", who believed Jesus was not human, but only appeared to be so, highlighting Marcion, a docetist who conceived of two distinct gods-a God of the Jews and a God of Jesus.

29 min
The Divided Christ of the Separationists
18: The Divided Christ of the Separationists

Among early Christian groups, the Gnostics demonstrate yet another view of the divinity of Jesus. Explore the fundamental tenets of Gnosticism, with its notion of secret knowledge as the source of salvation. Discover the Gnostic "separationist" view of Christ, according to which the divine Christ inhabited, temporarily, the human Jesus.

30 min
Christ's Dual Nature-Proto-Orthodoxy
19: Christ's Dual Nature-Proto-Orthodoxy

By the fourth century, the theological understanding known as "orthodoxy" became predominant. Investigate the relationship between orthodoxy and "heresy", or conflicting conceptions of the faith, and evidence that orthodoxy was not the original form of Christianity. Learn about early "proto-orthodox" writers, and their contention that Jesus was both fully God and fully human.

32 min
The Birth of the Trinity
20: The Birth of the Trinity

The doctrine of the Trinity asserts that God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are all individually God. Look into the origins of this mysterious claim, noting that the Trinity appears nowhere in the Bible. Learn about the conception of "modalism", which proposed that the three are manifestations of one being, and modalism's opponents.

32 min
The Arian Controversy
21: The Arian Controversy

In the third century, sharp divisions existed between Christians, involving how to explain the relation of God the Father to Christ and the Holy Spirit. Examine the proto-orthodox thought of Novatian, and learn about the "Arian controversy" stemming from the highly divisive view of Christ as a subordinate deity created by God.

31 min
The Conversion of Constantine
22: The Conversion of Constantine

The Christian conversion of the Roman emperor Constantine was a momentous turning point for the faith. Learn about the relationship of the Roman Empire to early Christianity, and the specific reasons why Christians were persecuted by Rome. Grasp Constantine's motives for converting to Christianity and for becoming directly involved in theological controversies.

32 min
The Council of Nicea
23: The Council of Nicea

Constantine called the famous Council of Nicea in 325 CE, to resolve the conflicting views of Christ's divinity. Examine the theological issues at stake, pitting the Christological views of Arius against those of Alexander of Alexandria. Contemplate the political implications of the outcome, and the resulting orthodox creed, establishing Jesus fully as God.

31 min
Once Jesus Became God
24: Once Jesus Became God

Conclude by considering the historical ramifications of the Nicean affirmation that Jesus was God. Learn about the growing Christian faith's effects on paganism and the advent of anti-Jewish thought and action. Observe how the theological debates continued, and review Jesus's path to becoming the object of faith for billions today.

33 min
Bart D. Ehrman

Anyone who’s interested in understanding what the words of Jesus might mean in the modern world cannot take them at face value and apply them to the present situation without seeing how that situation is different from his own.

ALMA MATER

Princeton Theological Seminary

INSTITUTION

The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

About Bart D. Ehrman

Dr. Bart D. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed his undergraduate work at Wheaton College and earned his M.Div. and Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary. Professor Ehrman has written or edited 27 books, including four best sellers on The New York Times list: Misquoting Jesus: The Story behind Who Changed the Bible and Why; God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question-Why We Suffer; Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don't Know about Them);and Forged: Writing in the Name of God-Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are. Professor Ehrman also served as president of the Society of Biblical Literature, Southeastern Region; book review editor of the Journal of Biblical Literature; editor of the Scholars' Press monograph series The New Testament in the Greek Fathers;and coeditor-in-chief for the journal Vigiliae Christianae. Professor Ehrman received the John William Pope Center Spirit of Inquiry Award, the UNC Students' Undergraduate Teaching Award, the Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty, and the Bowman and Gordon Gray Professorship (awarded for excellence in undergraduate teaching).

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