The quest of the historical Jesus at the American University in Cairo: A progress report

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History Department

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Research Article

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Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations

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Because of their dogmas concerning the Jesus conflict, Muslims and Christians seldom collaborate in examining the actual records of Jesus' and his followers' lives, within and beyond the New Testament, in an atmosphere of respectful, critical discussion. The article summarizes the content of a course at the American University in Cairo that does just that, engaging Muslim and Christian students together in a nuanced analysis of the human, historical Jesus of Second Temple Judaism/early Christianity, applying historical and literary-cultural criteria to the study of, principally, the canonical gospels. The students are thereby also introduced to the major intellectual enterprise known as the 'quest of the historical Jesus'. The article reviews the pedagogical problems and pleasures of teaching the material in this context, noting that most students, regardless of background, are genuinely interested in repositioning Jesus historically in order to gain a fresh apprehension of his person and message. © 2010 University of Birmingham.

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