This month we will meet Tuesdays, January 9th and 23rd, from 1-3 p.m., in the Library.
We will continue our Great Courses lecture series, Sacred Texts of the World, with a study of Christian texts, old and new. We’ll look at the origins and different voices within the New Testament of the Bible, and the Bible’s rather complicated path from the ancient world to today. It should be noted that the first generations of Christians did not have their own sacred text, and the one that eventually come together is removed from the historical Jesus who stands at the center of the faith. For this first meeting, we will delve into the three synoptic gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke, the Gospel of John and the Book of Acts. We’ll see how these accounts came into being and the ways in which they differ from each other.
At our second meeting, we’ll look at the 21 letters of the New Testament, most of which are ascribed to Paul, and the final book of Revelation, an apocalyptic treatise.We’ll follow these with a brief survey of the other books in the New Testament. Finally, we’ll learn about some of the apocryphal (“hidden”) gospels. These are many writings from the early centuries of Christianity that different believers thought of as scriptural but that were ultimately rejected from the Christian canon. We’ll look at the Gospel of Peter, the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary which is an example of Gnostic Christianity, the Gospel of Thomas and the Didache (“Teachings”). These exemplify some of the many different strains of early Christianity, all with their own traditions and sacred texts and all vying for position.
Come join us to learn more about Christian texts than you knew of before and how fascinating they truly are. For more information, contact Glory Bowen, 973-335-5590.