Encountering the New Testament, 4th Edition

A Historical and Theological Survey

series: Encountering Biblical Studies

Materials available for professors by request only


12. The Modern Search for Jesus

Discussion Questions

  1. Is it possible to affirm a view of Jesus of Nazareth that relates with integrity both to historical scholarship and to orthodox Christian faith?
  2. Why do you think that Bultmann’s views were later discarded?
  3. What should the attitude of evangelicals be toward the search for the “real” Jesus?
  4. Is it possible for evangelicals to make a lasting positive impact on the Christian faith by using secular methods?
  5. How can evangelicals respond to the work of the Jesus Seminar?
  6. Do you think New Testament scholars will solve any problems about the words of Jesus by focusing on this as a field of study? If so, what would the value be?

Assignment Ideas / Class Activities

  1. Prepare a 3 x 5 card for each of the twenty different categories of types of Jesus developed by John Reumann. Include a brief description on each card. Divide the class into pairs and give each pair one of the cards. Have the pair evaluate each type of Jesus. Conclude with a class discussion of these types.
  2. Divide the class into groups and have each group take one of the methods for identifying Jesus’s words and find one example in the Gospels where that method yields positive results. Conclude by having each group report on their work.
    a. multiple source attestation
    b. Palestinian environment
    c. Aramaic language
    d. Dissimilarity
    e. Embarrassment
    f. Consensus of scholars
    g. Multiple forms of statements
  3. Prepare and present a debate in class: “Resolved: Jesus Is a Historical Figure in Whom We Can Have Confidence.”
  4. Prepare and present a dramatization of the three quests for Jesus. Include quotes from leading proponents of the theories followed by a refutation of each.