How Jesus Became God

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful program I just finished listening to this program and loved it. Very clear explanation of the relationship among the four gospels. Wonderful discussion of hypostasis which finally makes the opening of the Gospel of John intelligible. Terrifically clear exposition of what the term "god" meant in the ancient world. Numerous questions that have been nagging me since Catholic grade school have finally been answered. Thank you!
Date published: 2020-11-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very clear and through explanation This was an excellent explanation of the subject. I had no prior knowledge of the subject and found the professor engaging and knowledegable.
Date published: 2020-11-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Excellent course. Very well presented and very informative. I enjoyed it very much. Thank you.
Date published: 2020-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I learned so much from "How Jesus Became God" Excellent course all around. I gained a much greater understanding of Jesus' ascendance to divinity, as well as the religious, political, & social values that led to the remarkable rise of Christianity. The lectures are presented with energy, walking the listener step-by-step through the premise & proof of how Jesus became God. Fascinating discussion, very comprehensive, well presented with vivid descriptions. Thank you, Professor Ehrman, for an excellent series-- you get a standing ovation from me.
Date published: 2020-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Clear Understanding of How Jesus' Divinity I really liked the content of this course. It made clear how Jesus' divinity changed with time and successive generations of people who worshiped him. I was especially intrigued with how his contemporaries viewed him.
Date published: 2020-11-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Balanced argument He managed to clear up some confusions the Bible left me with. I was comforted to find out I am not the only Christian with doubts and confusion. I am in good company with great thinkers over the centuries who try to solve the paradoxes that the orthodox are forced to call "mysteries."
Date published: 2020-11-04
Rated 1 out of 5 by from An Opinion Somehow Becomes A Great Course The author/presenter used this course as an attempt to "push" his personal conclusions upon those who wish to study the topic. That is perfectly fine - differing opinions are welcome - but that should have been indicated in the promotion of the course. That is the fault of Great Courses. Many of his lectures were filled with the presenter's speculations.
Date published: 2020-10-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Sensitive Subject But Informative I learned a lot that was missing from my Sunday School learning ang few world history courses in college. I thought the instructor was thorough and knowledgeable. There were some good ancient and Biblical texts used and some historical and archeological info shared. I would have liked more of that. It is a sensitive subject for Christians, and some would be offended. For that reason, I would be hesitant to recommend it to others. I felt that I learned a lot.
Date published: 2020-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The professor is well versed in this subject. I've viewed other of his programs and think he's a fabulous educator.
Date published: 2020-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great course by Dr. Ehrman Not into this course yet but really looking forward to it. Dr. Ehrman is fun, interesting and really knows his "stuff".
Date published: 2020-08-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great attempt to look at belief through history If you are looking for something to strongly reinforce your beliefs, no matter what those are, you will be disappointed by this lecture. But if you are interested in looking at the evolution of a religious belief over time, this is a great course. It does a great job trying to explain how you can look at a religion and belief structure through a historical lens, and discusses some of the inconsistencies, paradoxes, and changes over time. I would have liked more of comparing words and translations over different languages over time, since whenever that was brought up it was fascinating, but I think that would be my only wish list item for improvement.
Date published: 2020-07-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great historical view; a very enthusiastic speaker I knew most of the content but it was presented in a very logical and easy to understand way.
Date published: 2020-07-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Appropriate title Presenter answered many questions I've had over the years about Jesus.
Date published: 2020-07-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thought provoking I read Dr. Ehrman's Book by the same title and thought how much I might enjoy sitting in on his class, If he even taught this as a class. Knowing about The Great Courses through other courses I have taken, I went to their list of courses and found that this was avaliable. I ordered it and was not disappointed.
Date published: 2020-06-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An excellent discussion of the subject I have read a few of professor Ehrman's books many years ago, and I learned a great deal from them. In this course, the professor enlightens us with his extensive knowledge about how Jesus became God in the Christian religion. It is a fascinating course in which you will learn all the details. I knew that I had to purchase this course as soon as I saw it.
Date published: 2020-06-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beginnings of early Christian ideas What were the beliefs of the early Christians who were alive during the time of Christ ? How did the Christian church spread and evolve ? This course may help answer the questions listed above. I found this course to be very interesting and informative. I believe that a person interested in the history of Early Christianity starting from the time of Christ will learn something from this course The subject is controversial. You will not agree with some or all of the professors interpretations however most people will learn from this course. The Professor was interesting and kept my attention.
Date published: 2020-06-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from This video provided a great deal of information about the development of the New Testament. I found especially interesting the establishment of the early church. It included a lot of historical facts that are not found in the Bible. It focused on history and did not try to convert the viewer.
Date published: 2020-06-24
Date published: 2020-06-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Informative! It’s great. My only complaint is the industry norm that makes the lecturers walk back and forth or keep turning to face an alternative camera. I’d rather have the instructor stand at a podium and stay put!!! I find the ‘traveling’ more distracting than it is helpful at keeping my attention.
Date published: 2020-06-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Very Strident Tone Prof. Ehrman seems to be engaged in a one-sided debate with a Christian apologist. This leads him to adopt a very strident tone in these lectures that put me off. Unfortunately Prof. Erman seems to be focused on debating a Christian apologist in this course rather than giving a balanced set of lectures. His style in this course is that of a very strident debater rather than an objective professor. I'm not religious, but I do value a balanced picture and logical perspective. I can recommend Prof. Erman's The Historical Jesus which is much more balanced and reasonable in tone, four stars. Also the Fall of the Pagans and the Origins of Medieval Christianity by Prof. Harl is outstanding, five stars. These two courses cover almost the same material with the exception of the resurrection and earliest acts of the apostles.
Date published: 2020-06-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Logical Level Set for Religious Belief Note: for those who are involved with the impact of Jesus of Nazareth on the modern world as well as history, this course is a thinking persons guide.
Date published: 2020-06-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Explanation of the Start of Christianity I liked this course for its matter of fact explanation of the start of Christianity. It was refreshing that Professor Ehrman didn't let faith or doctrine get in the way as he presented the history.
Date published: 2020-06-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Jesus became god A subject matter somewhat new for me yet curious to inspect. The usual high quality I've come to expect from Great Courses and it's knowledgeable instrstructors. Lots to learn! What better time.
Date published: 2020-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well presented and conclusions probably accurate I have viewed several courses by Dr. Ehrman and have enjoyed all of them. This course has, no doubt, ruffled a lot of "religious feathers". I believe Dr Ehrman presented many valid premises and made accurate conclusions.
Date published: 2020-05-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from truly enlightening An exceptional course detailing the development of Christian theology from a historical perspective. Among the best courses I've taken in more than a decade of higher education.
Date published: 2020-05-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A true "Bible Study" Although I haven't completed "How Jesus Became God" I so far find it to address two questions that are in combination directed by creedal adherance in official Church produced Bible studies. (Studies that may be experienced as indoctrination.) My uneasy questions are: What was Jesus' original message? Was his original message different from today's many different church body messages?
Date published: 2020-04-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Superb! A remarkable example of the art of teaching. Prof. Ehrman synthesizes and distills historical research and theological belief in well-constructed presentations that build on each other. His language is clear and accessible even when dealing with concepts remote to a modern audience. The visual illustrations are excellent. I could only wish the works of art had identifying captions.
Date published: 2020-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Prof. Bart D. Ehrman :Extraordinary Mind. This Course expose in a rational way, before, during, and after everything about Jesus. This historical exposition explain all you want to know, old, new testament and everything related to Jesus. There is one thing ? that escape to Prof.Ehrman ,is a very strong and important observation on my part. I like to pass this observation ?
Date published: 2020-04-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Unintelligible pricing. I bought this a couple of weeks ago for twenty-five dollars. Great buy; I had read the book but still got a lot out of this. I recommended it to my brother, but it would cost him $235. I found it was still showing up as $25 when I looked for it, so I offered to buy it for him. I got all the way through the ordering process before finding out it would cost me $235 to get it for him. This was not after the sale ended; it was still going on. So he settled for the same author’s New Testament course for $40. Funny, that course would have cost me $25. There’s a strategy behind this but I confess I can’t figure it out. So: good course for the price, but I would never have paid $235 for it.
Date published: 2020-04-09
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Too Much Preaching I was disappointed in Professor Ehrman's delivery. It reminded me of a preacher at the pulpit. It's the kind of rhetoric I find to often be one sided and therefore off-putting.
Date published: 2020-04-01
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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.


Princeton Theological Seminary


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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