The New Testament gives us 27 canonical texts - gospels, letters, and more - but these works are only a tiny fraction of the many volumes written about the life of Jesus, his family, and the apostles. This alternative body of literature falls under the category of "apocrypha", which means "hidden" or "secret", and it offers fascinating insights into the early Christian world. But these early Christian apocryphal works are more than historical curiosities.
The canonical Bible is one of the most influential books in all of Western history, but you might be surprised to find out how many gaps and contradictions the New Testament contains. Much of what we know about Jesus today actually comes from these apocryphal sources, so The Apocryphal Jesus is your chance to learn the true breadth and depth of the early Christian world. Over the course of 24 revealing lectures, Professor David Brakke of The Ohio State University takes you on a tour of this world and surveys the major apocryphal works that have survived.
From forged letters to newly discovered gospels, early Christian authors wrote reams of literature about Jesus, his family, and the apostles, drawing from an even larger oral tradition. Even though only a tiny portion of apocryphal works survive today, reviewing this literature gives us a host of new angles on well-known figures from the Bible, as well as insights that can't be found anywhere in the New Testament.
Among other topics, you will examine the cult of the Virgin Mary through the Proto-Gospel of James, survey the Gnostic vision presented in the Gospel of Judas, encounter a radically different view of Jesus' teaching in the Gospel of Thomas, gain new insights into early Christian life, and much, much more.
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Good start but becomes dull
The first 4 or 5 lectures I thought were brilliant and I thought I was going to love this course. However, as it went on it got more and more obscure and the gospels reviewed became increasingly obscure and irrelevant.
I thought there was insufficient material for a course of this length. I'd halve the second part of the course and maybe miss some bits out altogether,
- Rob Sedgwick
Interesting, but not riveting.
If I had a friend who was particularly interested in Christian theology (which I don't) I might recommend it.
I can't go there for fear of being blasphemous...
Not bad. His delivery was good.
I think Mel Gibson as Jesus would probably not work again. Probably not going to ever end up on screen.
I kept going back to the book, even though it was not really holding my attention, but that would be more a reflection on me than the good Professor's abilities or the subject matter. If you are into theology, this might really light you up.