What are "gospels" and how do we to read them? When we read phrases like: "Once upon a time..." or "On September 11, 2001, a plane...",our minds adjust, deciphering the difference between fiction and history. The gospels too have an interpretive lens for which readers are encouraged to enter if they are to interpret the text correctly. Just as one should not read "Once upon a time..." as historical fact, so to the gospels have a lens through which they should be interpreted. The gospels are neither history nor literature alone, but rather a beautiful composite of multiple genres. As such, the gospels will be explored through various interpretative lenses. One such lens will be historical. For example, this course will consider how the author of Mark's gospel was impacted by Roman power structures, policies, and law. This course will be academic in nature (not faith-based) and aimed at understanding the gospels within their historical and narratival contexts. The course is designed for those with little to no knowledge of the New Testament and gospels, as well as those with an extensive background.
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The Holocaust did not emerge in a vacuum, nor was its consequences the result of a single issue. Rather, causations of the Holocaust can be attributed to a number of complex factors, from political and economic to religious and racial issues. This course is particularly interested in the influence of religion on the Holocaust. Surprisingly, religious groups were not only among the most persecuted (e.g. Jews and Jehovah
Witnesses), but contributed significantly as persecutors. Large swaths of German Christians, for example, were numbered among those who actively or passively supported or participated in the murder of 6 million Jews during the Holocaust. In this course, we will (1) explore how religion was utilized as a tool of propaganda for the Nazi regime; (2) how religious groups became a source of persecution; (3) and after effects of religion following the Holocaust.