Thursday, January 15, 2009

School and the New Project

Currently I am enrolled in Distance Education to complete my Bachelor's degree and have just finished the first round of classes, of course being that the courses are all back to back, I have also just started my next round of courses as well.

I stressed for weeks over my final projects in each class and submitted them this past weekend. Like an obsessed nut job, I have been checking my grades for these projects several times a day. Tonight, I recieved my first project grade back and screamed when I saw it. I earned 100% on the project, which in itself was very rewarding, but was furthered rewarded by the compliments the professor left for me. She stated that my project was the best one she had recieved and wanted to use it for future courses as an example.

During these classes, professors have the students turn in checkpoints to show their progression on the project; this is my first week in a new class and had to choose the topic for my next (final) project. This class is an essay writing class and I will be writing an expository essay on a topic of my choosing. To be honest, I am not entirely sure how excited I am to be writing a paper on religion; I write enough blogs on religion that one would think I would be sick of writing about it. However, the specific topic I have chosen to write about will actually help me in my journey to understand Christianity.

I'm including my "essay" explaining my topic for the final below.

The Controversy of Historical Christianity
By: Amanda Hommel

In 2005 National Public Radio (NPR) did a piece on scholar and New Testament historian, Bart Ehrman and his new bestselling book, Misquoting Jesus: the Story behind Who Changed the Bible (Terry Gross, 2005). I have long held interest in early Christianity, the New Testament, and the impacts that this movement has created in culture and society. Promptly I ordered Ehrman's book from my local library and dove right in. The book was everything NPR had stated it would and I became a fan this New Testament historian.

For my expository essay I would like to address the controversy of historical Christianity. Darrick T. Evenson states in his book, The Gainsayers, that early Christians were considered a cult. From the very birth of the movement, it has been controversial. The questions are - what impact has this had on surrounding culture, politics, and society? How has the history of this "in the world, but of it" movement danced with the world? Ehrman states that many of the New Testament manuscripts were intentionally altered to support political theology of the times, for example, three passages are called into question regarding the Trinity - a staple of many Christian denominations. How did Christians move from persecuted cultists, blamed by Nero in 64 AD for setting fire to Rome to the time of open embrace of the Emperor Constantine in 312 AD? How has their history of persecution framed the Christian movement?

Finally, what - if any, evidence stands that this movement is any more than an overgrown weed of a rumor by a few devastated disciples who could not accept the death of their prophet?

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