Great Figures of the New Testament

    Comprised of 24 DVD lectures with Amy-Jill Levine, Professor of NT and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University Divinity School,the course will be broken into two twelve-week sessions, with the second half to be offered in the fall.  

     Our previous study of the Old Testament using Dr. Levine’s DVD series was so well received that we are turning to her course on the New Testament.  In this engaging study we will encounter vivid portraits of the cast of characters in the New Testament. While most of the figures treated are real, historical people, at least two (the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan) are fictional protagonists in stories told by Jesus.   

     Our Great Figures include Jesus himself as well as: 

    • A bullheaded fisherman from Galilee 
    • A highly educated tentmaker from Tarsus 
    • Several unaware magi, martyrs, Roman army officers, bad rulers and the prophets who run afoul of them 
    • One enigmatic betrayer 
    • A number of strong and interesting women (including the unnamed Samaritan, a Canaanite mother, Martha the vocal homeowner and her contemplative sister Mary, and a repentant sinner who anoints Jesus) 
    • An elderly couple Elizabeth and Zechariah 
    • Their son, John the Baptist, burning with messianic fever 
    • Jesus' friend Lazarus 
    • The centurion with a paralyzed son 
    • The Apostles Thomas, James, and John 
    • Mary Magdalene who becomes known as the Apostle to the Apostles 
    • James, "the brother of the Lord," and Stephen, the first martyr 
    • Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect who orders Jesus crucified 
    • The four generations of the Herodian royal family 
    • Paul, including his presentation in Acts of Apostles by Luke, and what can be determined about him from his own letters 

     The point of this exploration is not to inculcate any theology or a particular religious world view, but to take a fresh look at how these figures have been interpreted by both the secular culture and the church, while also raising issues of religious interest. Please plan to be part of this exciting learning opportunity, facilitated by Cliff Hill! 

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