Discuss the historical life of Jesus, and what information we know about him based on the Gospels.

  • William A. Young, The World’s Religions: Worldviews and Contemporary Issues, Fourth Ed. (ISBN: 0205917615)
  • Harry R. Moody, The Five Stages of the Soul (ISBN: 9780385486774)
  • Reflection Paper, Assignment  Instructions:Reflection Paper, Assignment #6

Essays must be typed in 12-point font and should be 500 words in length.  When you cite a source, be sure to include the title of the book and page number.  If you cite a source other than our class textbooks, include a bibliography at the end of the paper.

Prompt: (Write on 2 of the 5 questions below, OR, you may write about two of your own questions, from the chapter on Christianity, that were of particular interest to you.)

  1. Discuss the historical life of Jesus, and what information we know about him based on the Gospels.  In what sense are the Gospels different from modern autobiography, and what implications does this have in terms of reading them as literally true versus symbolically true?
  2. Why do you think that Jesus communicated his teaching primarily through parables?  Do parables convey something ordinary language cannot?
  3. Reflect on Jesus’ imagery and language in the Parable of the Sower. Discuss the ideas presented in this parable. What is this parable about? What does this parable suggest about the difficulties of the spiritual life? What is your own interpretation of this parable?
  4. Reflect on the following saying by St. Gregory of Nyssa: “Concepts create idols; only wonder comprehends anything. People kill one another over idols. Wonder makes us fall to our knees.”  How might this saying be interpreted?
  5. Who was Martin Luther and why was he critical of the Church?  What was his primary message in regard to the idea that every Christian is his or her own “priest”?  How does this idea coincide with the rise of individualism occurring in Europe during this period (16th century)?

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