Jesus and His Jewish Influences

Jesus and His Jewish Influences
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24 episodes in this series

Episode 1 Jesus and Judaism
Begin your fascinating historical adventure by developing a solid framework for your exploration of Jesus's Jewish influences. What was it like to be a Jew in the ancient world? What…
Episode 2 Sacred Mountains and Law Giving in Judaism
In ancient Judaism, there was little distinction between religion and politics. In this lecture, explore the importance of the law (the Torah) in the Jewish religion. Then, draw some intriguing…
Episode 3 The United and Divided Israelite Kingdoms
In this in-depth look at the kingdoms of David and Solomon, follow the transformation of 12 Israelite tribes into a monarchy that eventually crumbled over tensions regarding how to properly…
Episode 4 The Destruction of Solomon’s Temple
How (and why) did the First Temple Period end? First, examine the reign of King Josiah, whose popular religious reforms reasserted the importance of Jerusalem's Temple. Then, investigate the Temple's…
Episode 5 The Jewish and Samaritan Schism
After the end of the Babylonian exile in 539 B.C., returning exiles began to reestablish themselves in Jerusalem under Ezra and Nehemiah. This return would lead to a dramatic schism…
Episode 6 The Jewish Diaspora and the Golden Rule
What insights into the ancient Jewish diaspora communities can we glean from close readings of the Book of Tobit and the Book of Esther? What do these books say about…
Episode 7 Alexander the Great’s Impact on the Jews
Alexander the Great's legendary visit to Jerusalem and Judea had a profound influence on the development of ancient Jewish traditions. Could the ancient warrior also have served as a model…
Episode 8 Jews and Greek Rule: The Heliodorus Affair
Investigate the strange episode known as the Heliodorus Affair. This power struggle between Jerusalem's elite families during the time of the Ptolemies and Seleucids became a key turning point in…
Episode 9 Desolating Sacrilege and the Maccabean Revolt
Follow the turbulent story of the Maccabean Revolt after the outlawing of Judaism under Antiochus IV. Then, examine how the Book of Daniel (written around the time of the revolt)…
Episode 10 Apocalyptic Works and the “Son of Man”
From 1 and 2 Maccabees to the Books of Daniel and Enoch, get a close reading of apocalyptic literary works composed in the aftermath of the Maccabean Revolt. Afterwards, Professor…
Episode 11 Jesus’s Jewish Lineage
Learn how the expansion of the Hasmonean Kingdom provides a sharp context for understanding the birth narratives of Jesus from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. The authors of these…
Episode 12 Was Jesus a Pharisee?
In this lecture, probe the rise of the Sadducees and Pharisees during the late Second Temple Period. You'll learn how the Pharisaic approach became dominant in Judaism, and you'll spend…
Episode 13 Jewish Ritual Purity: The Sons of Light
Turn from the Pharisees to the Essenes, the sect associated with the Dead Sea Scrolls. In the first of three lectures on this fascinating sect, focus on how a strict…
Episode 14 The Dead Sea Scrolls: Earliest Hebrew Bible
Unpack the hidden meaning and significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls themselves--some of ancient history's most fascinating texts, which date back to the time of Jesus. Among the findings you'll…
Episode 15 Was Jesus an Essene?
Most of what scholars know about the Essenes, and their apocalyptic outlook, comes from the ancient historians Josephus and Philo. After a deeper dive into who the Essenes were (and…
Episode 16 The Hebrew Scriptures and the Septuagint
First, examine the "Letter of Aristeas," which describes translating the Torah into Greek. Then, meet Philo of Alexandria, whose writings (preserved by Christians) are based on an allegorical method of…
Episode 17 The Reign of Herod the Great
What are the historical roots of the often-disputed Massacre of the Innocents reported in the Gospel of Matthew? Find out in this lecture on the reign of Herod the Great,…
Episode 18 Pontius Pilate: A Roman Prefect
Following the death of Herod the Great, there began a period of direct Roman administration of Judea under prefects, the most famous of whom was Pontius Pilate, who would later…
Episode 19 Anarchy in Judea
In the first half of this lecture, examine the growing anarchy that led to the First Jewish Revolt against Rome--including the rise of others who, like Jesus, claimed to be…
Episode 20 Jesus’s Prophecy: Jerusalem’s Destruction
The First Jewish Revolt against Rome culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple. Explore how this cataclysmic event had profound aftershocks for subsequent Jewish history--as well as…
Episode 21 Flavius Josephus: Witness to 1st Century A.D .
One cannot explore Jesus and his Jewish influences without understanding the life and works of Flavius Josephus, the ancient Jewish author who was a witness to the period during and…
Episode 22 Rabbinic Judaism’s Traditions about Jesus
What was Jewish life like after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 A.D.? How did the religion survive this trauma? With insights from various historical sources, chart the…
Episode 23 Jesus’s Apocalyptic Outlook
Join Professor Magness as she shares some of her own research into Jesus, comparing and contrasting his apocalyptic beliefs with those of the Qumran sect associated with the Dead Sea…
Episode 24 Jesus’s Teachings and Sayings in Context
Close out this insightful course with a pointed consideration of how selected passages from the Gospels can be better understood within their Jewish context. The three passages you explore involve…

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Jesus’s Jewish Lineage
Learn how the expansion of the Hasmonean Kingdom provides a sharp context for understanding the birth narratives of Jesus from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. The authors of these Gospels went to great lengths to establish Jesus's descent from David. The question is: Why?
Jesus and Judaism
Begin your fascinating historical adventure by developing a solid framework for your exploration of Jesus's Jewish influences. What was it like to be a Jew in the ancient world? What do we mean when we talk about Jewish temples? And how similar was ancient Judaism to other ancient religions.
Was Jesus a Pharisee?
In this lecture, probe the rise of the Sadducees and Pharisees during the late Second Temple Period. You'll learn how the Pharisaic approach became dominant in Judaism, and you'll spend time investigating what the Gospels say about whether or not Jesus identified as a Pharisee.
Was Jesus an Essene?
Most of what scholars know about the Essenes, and their apocalyptic outlook, comes from the ancient historians Josephus and Philo. After a deeper dive into who the Essenes were (and how Essene women lived), Professor Magness makes her case for why Jesus could not have been an Essene.