Watch Understanding the New Testament
- 1 Season
Understanding the New Testament is a comprehensive and engaging course that takes viewers on a journey through the key writings of the New Testament. Led by Professor David Brakke, a respected scholar of early Christianity, this course provides a thorough examination of the historical, social, and theological contexts in which the New Testament was written, as well as exploring the major themes and messages of the various books and letters that make up this foundational text of Western civilization.
Across twenty-four lectures, Professor Brakke guides viewers through close readings of the New Testament's various books and letters, offering valuable insights into the nuances of their language, structure, and meaning. Drawing on his extensive knowledge of the historical and cultural contexts in which the New Testament was written, he sets the texts in their wider social and political contexts, exploring the ways ancient beliefs, practices, and traditions inform the diverse theological perspectives and ethical teachings found in the texts.
One of the key strengths of the course is the way in which Professor Brakke encourages viewers to think critically about the New Testament, challenging them to confront questions and contradictions that have puzzled scholars and theologians for centuries. By exploring the complexities of issues such as authorship, translation, and canonization, he helps viewers to understand the historical and cultural contingencies that influence the way these texts are interpreted and understood today.
Throughout the course, Professor Brakke adopts an engaging and accessible teaching style, using a variety of mediaâincluding maps, diagrams, and artworkâto bring the texts to life and to help viewers visualize the worldviews and beliefs of the people who wrote and read the New Testament. He is particularly adept at teasing out the many connections between different books and letters, showing how they inform and illuminate one another, and building a rich and textured portrait of the early Christian movement and its intellectual and theological diversity.
One particularly valuable aspect of the course is its focus on the role of diversity within the New Testament itself. Drawing on recent scholarship that has challenged traditional notions of a unified "orthodoxy" emerging from the early Christian movement, Brakke highlights the ways in which the New Testament reflects a rich tapestry of voices and perspectives, reflecting the wide range of beliefs, values, and practices embraced by the early Christian communities.
Overall, Understanding the New Testament is an exceptional course that will appeal to anyone with an interest in the history of Christianity, the evolution of Western thought, or the study of religion more broadly. Whether you are a seasoned theologian or a curious amateur, Professor Brakke's insightful and engaging commentary will deepen your understanding of these foundational texts and help you to appreciate their enduring significance in our modern world.
Understanding the New Testament is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (24 episodes). The series first aired on November 29, 2019.