Encountering the Historical Jesus (THE2031)

StaffProfessor Louise Lawrence - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The main objective of the module is to provide you with specialised knowledge and critical understanding of the sources, methodologies, and ideological/contextual assumptions which surround the construction of the historical Jesus. An important aim of the seminars and assessments will be evaluation of scholarship on particular aspects of Jesus’ identity, purpose, and mission, and the gradual construction of one’s own picture of the historical Jesus. You will be equipped to understand and interpret a number of different texts, but also how scholarship reflects/responds to/and interacts with not just ancient, but also contemporary socio-political contexts and movements.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the various aims, agendas, sources and methodologies of contemporary historical Jesus scholarD
  • 2. Apply diverse historical critical tools to selected New Testament texts and other relevant literature and evidence
  • 3. Critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of diverse interpretive methods and judge the plausibility of various constructions of the historical figure of Jesus

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Demonstrate knowledge of, and critical reflection on, contrasting scholarly and historical perspectives
  • 5. Show the ability to make careful use of core methods of historical-critical and social-scientific biblical interpretation

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. Communicate clearly and imaginatively in both written and oral form
  • 7. Construct logical and lucid arguments using appropriate methods
  • 8. Participate appropriately within group work
  • 9. Generously engage with methods and people who represent opinions and viewpoints different from your own

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Jesus Inside and Outside the New Testament
  • Methodologies, Ideologies, and Scholarship
  • Non-Historicity?
  • Class, Social-Position, and Marital Status
  • John the Baptist; Parables; Miracles; Birth, Death, Resurrection
  • Receptions of Historical Jesus
  • Jesus of Metropole and Global South

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching2211 x 2 hour lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching1111 x 1 hour seminars
Scheduled learning and teaching111 x 1 hour tutorial
Guided independent study266Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Plan/Draft of one 3000 word essayUp to 3000 words1-7Individual tutorial
Weekly WIKI post150 words x 101-7, 9Whole cohort feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay503000 words1-9Marked script
Module Reflection/Review202000 words1-7, 9Marked script
Presentation2015 minutes1-9Marked script
Participation10WIKI postings logged1-7, 9Marked

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-7Refer/Defer period
Module Reflection/ReviewReview1-7, 9Refer/Defer period
PresentationScript/Recording1-7Refer/Defer period
ParticipationLog of WIKI postings1-7, 9Refer/Defer period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

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Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Historical Jesus; New Testament Sources; Messianic/Prophetic Movements; Historical Methodologies/Ideologies; Receptions of Jesus