I am teaching a class at the University of Prince Edward Island this semester. “RS 387: The New Testament” is one of my favourite courses to teach. I love the world that the Jesus movement emerged out of–a cultural mess that no film has captured for me just yet. Jesus was a Jewish peasant, a member of a minority culture within a brutal empire. As Jews longed for a deliverer, Jesus made the claim that he was there to deliver them. Ultimately, this claim led him to be executed as a terrorist by the Roman authorities.
Early followers of Jesus claimed that this execution was not the the final chapter of the story. They claimed that Jesus rose from the dead and instituted a new era for believers.
Yet all the tensions of empire continued. And they continue still.
The life of Jesus and the story of his early followers is captured in the New Testament. This video, an introduction to my class at UPEI this semester, talks about what the New Testament is and how you can get into it. It references my article, “Lost in Translation,” about finding a Bible that works for you (see also this article). Everything is yellow because I am in a generic hotel room, in a land where they believe that this much yellowness is a good idea.