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Did the Early Church Create Jesus or Did Jesus Create the Early Church?

There are numerous bestsellers that have put out a confusing picture of Jesus and the early church. The DaVinci Code novel particularly drew on some of these trends, selling more than 60 million copies. Bart Ehrmann, Elaine Pagels, and others, have championed a perspective that puts the Gnostic Gospels (discovered in Egypt in 1945) as a lost Christianity arbitrarily excluded from the Canon by Constantine and others. Along with this, some say that Jesus was married and had a child; that Jesus’ divinity was invented at the council of Nicea in 325 AD; that the Gospel of Judas gives a truthful account of events. Are the Gnostic Gospels reliable? Was Jesus married? Was Jesus’ divinity invented? Is the Gospel of Judas truthful? Why is our view of Jesus so crucial to saving faith? This lecture addresses these important pressing questions frequently raised in our current setting.

Study Questions:

  1. Who are some of the authors that maintain that much of the
    Jesus we see in the Gospels was invented by the early church?
  2. What is the relationship of the Gospels to history?
  3. What are some of the problems with this critical approach?
  4. What is the importance of eyewitnesses?
  5. Why is the time for the invention or creation of “myth”
    too short?
  6. How is the Jewish (and Middle Eastern) perspective on
    memory different from ours?
  7. In what ways are Jesus’ teachings utterly unique?


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