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How Jesus Became God

How Jesus Became God

Professor Bart D. Ehrman, Ph.D., M.Div.
The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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How Jesus Became God

Course No. 6522
Professor Bart D. Ehrman, Ph.D., M.Div.
The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
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4.5 out of 5
157 Reviews
85% of reviewers would recommend this series
Course No. 6522
  • Audio or Video?
  • You should buy audio if you would enjoy the convenience of experiencing this course while driving, exercising, etc. While the video does contain visual elements, the professor presents the material in an engaging and clear manner, so the visuals are not necessary to understand the concepts. Additionally, the audio audience may refer to the accompanying course guidebook for names, works, and examples that are cited throughout the course.
  • You should buy video if you prefer learning visually and wish to take advantage of the visual elements featured in this course. The video format is well illustrated, featuring more than 400 visual elements, such as artwork depicting Jesus of Nazareth and his followers, and on-screen text that reinforces the names, dates, Bible verses, and places the professor mentions in each lecture.
Streaming Included Free

Course Overview

The early Christian claim that Jesus of Nazareth was God completely changed the course of Western civilization. In fact, without the Christian declaration of Jesus as God, Western history as we know it would have never happened.

If Jesus had not been declared God, his followers would have remained a sect within Judaism, and the massive conversion of Gentiles, the Roman adoption of Christianity, and the subsequent unfolding of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Reformation, and modernity would never have taken place. For that reason, the question of how Jesus became God is one of the most significant historical questions of Western civilization.

This world-shaping occurrence, viewed historically, was monumentally unlikely. Within Judaism, there could be no question that Jesus was not the Messiah, who was envisioned as a powerful warrior-king. Jesus’s own followers, in fact, did not conceive of him as divine during his lifetime. His crucifixion, ignominious and degrading, ended his life in a way reserved for the lowliest criminals.

And yet—within a short time after his death, this crucified “enemy of Rome” was named the Son of God and the savior of humanity, and within four centuries he was believed by millions to be coequal and coeternal with God the Father.

How could something this unforeseeable, this improbable, have occurred at all—much less with a momentum that would shape Western history? What exactly happened, such that Jesus came to be considered God?

To ask this question is to delve into a fascinating, multilayered historical puzzle—one that offers a richly illuminating look into the origins of the Western worldview and the theological underpinnings of our civilization. This fundamental historical question and its complex answer speak penetratingly to the spiritual impulses, concerns, and beliefs that have played a seminal role in our world, even as they reveal the foundation of history’s most global religious movement, and fresh insights into the Western world’s single most influential human being.

Tackling all of these matters and more, Great Courses favorite Professor Bart D. Ehrman returns with the unprecedented historical inquiry of How Jesus Became God. In 24 provocative lectures, Professor Ehrman takes you deeply into the process by which the divinity of Jesus was first conceived by his followers, demonstrating how this conception was refined over time to become the core of the Christian theology that has so significantly shaped our civilization.

A distinguished scholar of Christianity and New York Times best-selling author, Professor Ehrman develops the inquiry with meticulous research and in-depth analysis of texts. In these lectures, Ehrman reveals that the theological understanding of Jesus as God came about through a complex series of factors and events, each of which must be understood in order to grasp this most extraordinary and historically pivotal story.

Intersections: The Human and the Divine

In assembling the pieces of the course’s extraordinary narrative, you’ll explore the historical background of ancient understandings of the divine. Here you discover that Jesus’s ascension as an object of faith was fundamentally underlain by ancient beliefs in interpenetration between the human and divine worlds.

You’ll dig deeply into human/divine intersections in Greco-Roman religions, as well as in ancient Judaism, finding that

  • The ancient world was suffused with accounts of divine mortals—gods who took on human form as well as humans who were exalted to divine status.
  • Greco-Roman cultures considered certain actual historical persons to have been born of the sexual union of gods and mortals, and earthly pagan rulers were at times worshipped as gods.
  • In the Hebrew scriptures, God and the Holy Spirit both appear on earth in human form, and the human Enoch, among others, is elevated to become a divine being.

Divinity and the Historical Jesus

As another integral element of the story, you’ll investigate what the historical Jesus said or indicated about himself, digging into these questions:

  • What were the elements of Jesus’s teaching with regard to his own role in the world?
  • Did Jesus view himself as divine?

You’ll look into these matters rigorously, reading key passages from the four canonical Gospels to determine whether, historically, Jesus’s public message proclaimed him as divine. You’ll also evaluate whether Jesus’s earthly actions—including accounts of miracles he performed—would have qualified him as divine in the eyes of his contemporaries.

You’ll study the circumstances surrounding Jesus’s death and burial, exploring exactly how early Christians came to believe he was raised from the dead. By examining the “pre-literary” Christian creeds quoted in the New Testament, you’ll uncover the disciples’ original conception that, at his resurrection, Jesus was “made” a divine being by God.

The Son of God Eternal

With the conception of Jesus as divine now established, you’ll enter the minefield of opposing views that developed as early Christians sought to understand how Jesus could be the Son of God. In excerpts from the New Testament Gospels, you’ll identify conflicting notions of when Jesus became the divine Son, following how Christian thinkers began to push this event further and further back into history.

Within the developing faith, you’ll investigate the range of views of Jesus’s divinity that held sway during the 2nd and 3rd centuries. You’ll study the beliefs and implications of radically different schools of thought, such as

  • the “docetists”, who held that Jesus was fully divine and only seemed human;
  • the Gnostic view that the divine Christ was a god who temporarily “inhabited” the human Jesus; and
  • the “modalist” conception that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are three modes of a single being.

The Trinity and the Divine Christ

In the culmination of the course, you’ll trace the development of the Trinity, the theological doctrine at the heart of Christian orthodoxy. Through close reading of biblical texts, you’ll observe how the conception of the Holy Spirit came into being, and you’ll learn how third-century theologians such as Hippolytus and Tertullian arrived at the singular paradox of the Trinity: that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are each individually God—yet there is only one God.

The concluding lectures bring alive the fiercely contested Arian controversy, which pitted the view that Jesus was a subordinate deity created by God the Father against the contention that he was coeternal and fully equal with God. Flowing from this debate, you’ll study the historic events of the famous Council of Nicea, called in 325 CE by the Roman Emperor Constantine to resolve the matter of the divine nature of Christ. You’ll learn how the edicts of the Council formally established the view of Jesus that has defined the Christian faith to the present day.

In the enthralling inquiry of How Jesus Became God, Professor Ehrman lays bare the diverse elements that combined to produce both an astonishing true-life story and one of history’s most significant happenings. Join a renowned biblical scholar in grappling with this pivot point of Western civilization that has indelibly shaped our culture, our thought, and the world we know.

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24 lectures
 |  30 minutes each
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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”. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x

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Your professor

Bart D. Ehrman

About Your Professor

Bart D. Ehrman, Ph.D., M.Div.
The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
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...
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How Jesus Became God is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 157.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from How Jesus Became God Professor Ehrman is not only interesting but is also very engaging and entertaining. I like the course very much.
Date published: 2017-05-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A fascinating commentary on the Historical Jesus Back in 2005, I watched my very first Bart D Ehrman Great Course (History of the Bible: The Making of the New Testament Canon). Twelve years later and I have just completed my eighth course by Dr Ehrman, 'How Jesus Became God.' I feel like this lecture series is the natural culmination of all of the previous Bart Ehrman courses that I have completed. In 'How Jesus Became God,' Dr Ehrman makes the argument that the "Historical Jesus," not unlike some of his contemporaries, was an apocalyptic preacher who developed a following of disciples and believers during his itinerant ministry. That during Jesus's own life, his followers believed him to be a messianic figure who had come to help prepare the way for the imminent coming apocalypse. After Jesus's death, at the hands of the Romans, his followers came to believe that Jesus had been raised from the dead; resurrected. This resurrection then becomes the catalyst for a series of evolving perceptions as to Jesus's true nature (moral vs divine vs True God). Dr Ehrman argues that the perception of Jesus's true nature evolved from that of a prophet to Jesus being the one eternal God, the creator of all things. This evolution of Jesus from man to God occurred over the first 3 centuries after Jesus's death, in the following progressive steps: First, Jesus's disciples believe that Jesus is raised from the dead. Second, Jesus's followers come to believe that God (the Father) made Jesus into a diving being. Third, this view evolves into Jesus being a divine being from the time of his Baptism. Fourth, later followers then determine that Jesus must actually have been divine from the time of his birth. Fifth, even later followers conclude that Jesus must actually have existed before his birth as an angelic being. Sixth, proto-orthodox church fathers then conclude that Jesus was a subordinate (to God the Father) divine being who was created before all other things. Finally, the orthodox church fathers ultimately define Jesus as "completely God," the same essence as God the Father (as described in the current iteration of the Nicene Creed). This progressively divine evolution of Jesus's from man to God was the result of fierce debate and disagreement between the many factions of Christianity that existed during the first 3 centuries after Jesus's death. Dr Ehrman provides a clear and well organized body of argument to support his thesis. Dr Ehrman quotes directly from both the Old Testament, the New Testament, non-Christian early historians, apocryphal books and extensively from many of the early Christian fathers (Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, Origen of Alexandria, Tertullian, etc). Throughout the lectures, Dr Ehrman backs up his assertions with documentation from well known, reliable sources. This does not mean that his conclusions are completely free of personal interpretation and some degree of speculation. It will be up to the individual viewer to ascertain whether or not the facts presented support Dr Ehrman's conclusions. I personally believe that this course should be considered a HISTORY COURSE and not thought of as a religious course. Dr Ehrman's premises are based entirely on the "Historical Jesus." If you are not familiar with the "Historical Jesus" then I urge you to do a little research BEFORE you watch this lecture series. If you approach this course as a religious course, looking for a theological discussion of the divinity of Jesus, then you may be disappointed and might even have your religious sensibilities offended. It is apparent from the other reviews that many "people of faith" have watched this lecture series and have found value in it. I just want prospective viewers to understand that the nature of this course is more academic and historical then theological. As for me, I loved this course and consider it Dr Ehrman's finest Great Course to date. In fairness to the Professor and to those who objected to the inclusion of redundant material from Dr Ehrman's other Great courses, I would remind you that Dr Ehrman can not assume that all of the people who purchase this course will have already seen his other Great Courses. Most of the other complaints that I saw came from people who interpreted this course as an offense to their personal beliefs (many of them acknowledging that they did not even finish the course). Again, I urge prospective viewers to consider this course a historical course and not so much a religious course. While I steamed the video version of this course, it would work very well in audio format too. I hope my comments may be helpful to some who are be considering whether or not they want to commit to this course. Cheers.
Date published: 2017-05-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from In theory - great! Unfortunately, both the original set and the replacement set of DVDs that you sent me for the series contained three out of four defective DVDs. I am very disappointed and frustrated, since apparently the problem permeates not just my particular set but the entire lot that was pressed, or however they produce DVDs. will be seeking a refund, and wondering if and when you will resolve this production problem. Richard Weller
Date published: 2017-05-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fascinating historical view of Jesus More than halfway through, I have found this analysis of what did and didn't happen regarding the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus challenging and rewarding to ponder. So much of the Biblical stories are built on accounts handed down verbally over some 40-90 years after Jesus was crucified that eyewitness evidence is clearly lacking. Yet lack of physical evidence has not stopped the growth of the Christian religion, based primarily on faith -- a trait that cannot be documented yet controls our lives.
Date published: 2017-05-06
Rated 1 out of 5 by from disappointing teaching style This is the only course that has disappointed us. The lecturer has a grating, almost antagonistic style of speaking. He makes the same point over and over again, seeming repetitive. We got through the first five lectures and gave up on the course.
Date published: 2017-04-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from May be misleading inferring that Jesus was not always God.
Date published: 2017-04-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my all time favorite Great Courses! I have a long commute and enjoy listening to Great Courses on the road. I just finished listening to How Jesus Became God for the second time and simply had to post a review. Ehrman's presentation is organized and easy to listen too. And while I understand the perspective of some devoutly reviewers, I found this course well researched and persuasive.
Date published: 2017-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from How Jesus Became God I really enjoyed this course. After being in and around Christianity for nearly 60 years, I had gotten to the point where it was becoming difficult to find anything new. But there were multiple points brought forth in this course which challenged my previous thinking and knowledge. I enjoyed this stimulation very much and the alternate points of view were well backed up. The professor is obviously very knowledgeable about his subject and is quite passionate about sharing it with others. He held my attention and I couldn't wait to watch the next segment. I would definitely purchase other courses that he teaches.
Date published: 2017-04-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating Lectures This was the second course I took from Prof. Ehrman. I feel like I have a much better understanding now of the religious beliefs in the ancient world around the time of the Early Christians. I listened to the lectures while driving and did not read the materials. There is some overlap with the Professor's earlier courses -- more in the level setting around historical vs. theological teaching, textualism, etc. -- but it was mostly new content. I feel that I have a much better understanding of the trinity -- why that would have made more sense to an ancient audience, why the Nicene Creed came to be, etc. I didn't enjoy this course as much as the New Testament course -- but I think that's because I probably need to take a course in the Old Testament as well. I found this course to be really helpful in providing context that helps me understand my religion better. This course is not suitable for people who believe that every word in the Bible should be taken literally. I would recommend it for Christians who are interested in getting a historical context for their faith and for people interested in history of the ancient world. I don't think this is the best course if you are mainly interested in Literature or Philosophy -- there are other religious/historical courses that would probably be better.
Date published: 2017-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascianting history! I bought this course a while back and recently revisited it given we are in the Easter/Passover season. The approach taken -- explaining what historians can and cant know -- is refreshing. I learned a lot from the things we know, and better understand what we probably wont ever know. Like all the Great Courses, the individual chapters are focused and approachable. I listened to one chapter each day during my commute -- learned a whole lot more than surfing the web or reading the paper!!
Date published: 2017-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from How Jesus Became God I am extremely pleased with this set of lectures by Bart Ehrman and I really appreciate his extensive research and expertise on this subject. His lectures answer so many questions I have had and they definitely have broadened my perspective on the topics of Christianity and who Jesus really is and the import of both today. I consider this the most valuable addition to my personal library and education to date.
Date published: 2017-04-11
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Things to be learned. . . but Bart Ehrman has many courses to his credit, but I don't find him a particularly interesting lecturer. That said, the material he presents in this series is interesting in itself and I certainly learned things. Still, he's not someone I enjoyed listening to and won't order other courses he teaches.
Date published: 2017-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well Worth It I very much appreciated the insights provided in this course. I see this course as a critical analysis of the texts. As someone who is currently studying the Bible in a religious (faith) context, this information gives great food for thought and broadens one's understanding of Christianity from all perspectives. The lecture starts out with his thesis, provides all supporting evidence, and concludes in the summary by restating his thesis of How Jesus Became God.
Date published: 2017-04-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Based on content, poor choice of title. Professor Ehrman does present a convincing argument. This lecture did force me to rethink some of my long held beliefs. The downside of Ehrman's lecture is that his body English and tone inflection the professor appeared to be trying to convince himself of the validity of his argument. Another bothersome problem is the professor often presenting his opinions as facts.
Date published: 2017-03-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Dragged a bit I've listened to a number of history of religion courses from the Great Courses which overall I've considerably enjoyed (e.g., Religions of the Axial Age, Philosophy and Religion in the West, Beginnings of Judaism). This one unfortunately dragged a bit and I ended up stopping listening after a few lectures. I might go back to it some day.
Date published: 2017-03-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bart Ehrman at his best I have been reading books by Bart D Ehrman, as well as listening to his lectures for almost 10 years. His content has become more concise and his delivery has become more refined. That said, I certainly do not agree with all his conclusions. But that is not what research and study is all about. Educated opinions that are based on sound reasoning and accepted protocols. I very much appreciate what he has to offer. I rate him highly because he is a knowledgeable and an excellent educator.
Date published: 2017-03-23
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Very poor research, a Not-so-hidden agenda Bought this couple of weeks ago. Bart Ehrman is dishonest, has done very bad research, not the first time, and should be ignored.
Date published: 2017-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating and Helpful This professor was quite extraordinary. The careful logic he used in scaffolding the material made it easy to follow and relate to. He is a good storyteller. He is so well-versed on the subject matter that it is breathtaking. Very satisfying learning experience.
Date published: 2017-03-20
Rated 1 out of 5 by from What kind of view point do you thing that a materialistic atheists will take about the central person of the Christian faith? Exactly! This instructor is totally bias. There are outstanding Christian scholars -some teaching other Great Courses- that can actually teach about Jesus, God's only Son. This gentlemen, is not the one.
Date published: 2017-03-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thank you A great course and a great professor. Thank you :)
Date published: 2017-03-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bart is always great to listen to I have every course by Bart Ehrman as he is always interesting to listen to. I also have every course by Phillip Cary which are equally excellent but have the edge over Bart. I wish the Great Courses would produce more courses by Phillip Cary.
Date published: 2017-03-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Little Too Detailed for a Casual Study I was intrigued by the title and after checking some reviews decided to buy this course. I enjoyed the professor's presentation very much. He is very enthusiastic about the subject matter and has a great deal of knowledge. I had studied theology in college many years ago and was familiar with some of the material. I really enjoyed the beginning of the series. It is a 24 lecture course and I would say that probably the first 16 lectures really appealed to me. However I found that the later lectures got into a little too much detail for me. I found that the course had already achieved its goal without the necessity of the last 8 lectures or so. This would be the difference in giving it 4 stars overall instead of 5 stars.
Date published: 2017-02-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Listened while driving cross country, excellent presentation and professor preparation. Looked forward to each lecture.
Date published: 2017-02-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting Topic but Felt Dragged Out The evolution of the perception of Jesus from a human apocalyptic prophet to a divine entity was an intriguing topic to explore but the course seemed dragged out and didn’t offer much new content from other courses from the professor. Pluses: • The theory of the evolving perception of Jesus from a human apocalyptic prophet to the Jewish Messiah to one who died for the sins of the world to a divine entity existent before time itself was interesting and thought-provoking • Causes one to study Christianity and Jesus’ divinity with an open-mind Minuses: • The course seemed dragged out and could have been shortened by delivery of the main thesis in fewer lectures • A lot of the content was found in other courses by the professor (one would’ve been left with the same information and conclusions by instead listening to the better-structured “The Greatest Controversies of Early Christian History”) If you are new to Professor Ehrman I would recommend this course as a good introduction. If you have listened to him previously you may find alot of repeating material especially from “The Greatest Controversies of Early Christian History” which I would recommend.
Date published: 2017-02-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great historical perspective Well presented by Prof. Ehrman. The content was what I was wanting from an historical review of christology. Each ch. covered its topic in depth without being totally in philosophy. Points of discussion were well documented with scripture or other writings. A very enjoyable course.
Date published: 2017-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from How Jesus Became God For somebody who is Jewish and read many books about Jesus trying to understand how he became god, this lecture series was invaluable. Never really understood it clearly until now
Date published: 2017-02-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Superb title The course was fantastic, well supported by in-depth historical evidence and rational, logical conclusions regarding numerous inconsistencies and contradictions from the Bible. What an eye popper. And the Professor Ehrman explained the course is clearly understandable speech.
Date published: 2017-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A fascinating course on a sensitive topic I thoroughly enjoyed this course, It answered a lot of questions that I have had for years. But this is not the content one would mention to a casual acquaintance -- there are too many opportunities not only to step on toes, but to offend.
Date published: 2017-01-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Bart is insightful. Bart does a great job presenting insights on a controversial topic. He is very well acquainted with scripture and the writings of the early church fathers. He develops in a logical fashion ideas of divinity from early times into the biblical world. He will not promote one belief over another, he lets you decide. If you want to better understand the idea of how Jesus became the Christ the Son of God then I would recommend this course. Come with an open mind and be prepared to be stretched in your previous understanding of just who this man Jesus is !
Date published: 2017-01-08
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Why is he yelling at me? It is clear that the professor is extremely knowledgable on the subject, and I certainly learned a lot. However, it was hard to enjoy the course for two reasons. First, it was clear very early on that he is not a Christian and seemed to be presenting the facts as a way to convince us that people who believe Jesus is God need to be educated on why that's crazy. As a (liberal) Christian I disagree with him on that, but I can get past his point of view and still listen to his case. The main reason I would not recommend this course is the professor's presentation style. I don't think it was intentional, but he seemed to get louder and louder as each lecture went on. Not only was he loud, but his tone just seemed...condescending. To hear someone presenting something that is new, perhaps startling and makes you question your beliefs is in itself jarring. If he had used a gentler tone I would have enjoyed learning from him. This is what it is like: (professor says) "I am going to teach you something about Christianity. Here is a new word. And here is a quote FROM THE BIBLE. AND NOW LET ME TELL YOU THAT ALL SCHOLARS AGREE THAT THIS IS NOT ACTUALLY SAYING WHAT YOU THINK IT IS, BECAUSE HERE IS SOME HISTORICAL CONTEXT YOU DIDN'T KNOW! AND NOW YOU KNOW IT, AND I AM GOING TO TELL YOU ABOUT HOW THAT CONTRADICTS THIS OTHER PART OF THE BIBLE!! AND ALSO, REMEMBER IN AN EARLIER LECTURE I TOLD YOU ABOUT HOW THE EARLY CHRISTIANS DIDN'T BELIEVE WHAT CHRISTIANS TODAY BELIEVE!!! SO IT'S NOT POSSIBLE THAT JESUS WAS PERCEIVED AS GOD IN HIS OWN LIFETIME!!!!" *insert loudly dropped book on the desk sound here* If it was unpleasant for you to read that, you won't like this course. It's a shame, because it seems like he is the professor of choice for a lot of the Christian themed courses offered here, and I would like to learn more about that topic. However, I just can't get past the feeling that this professor is on a mission (perhaps subconscious) to use his extensive knowledge to lead everyone to the same conclusion he reached: that this religion doesn't hold up to scrutiny.
Date published: 2016-12-27
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