One way to get at the core of Christian faith is to turn conventional religious thought upside down through the imaginative exercise of considering “What if?” What if someone dug up Jesus’ bones? What if Jesus married Mary Magdalene? What if there was no virgin birth? This exercise is also a way to imagine alternative expressions of Christianity by considering what it would look like built on a different foundation.
Within contemporary fiction is a genre known as “lost gospel novels,” which imagine these “what if” scenarios using the device of the discovery of a hidden or lost text or an object unearthed by archaeology that will somehow “radically” change Christianity as we know it. This class will explore the intersections of faith and doubt, as well as science and religion, by engaging a number of these “lost gospel novels.” In addition, the class will consider some actual noncanonical gospels and the extent to which they raise similar questions as the fictional accounts.
Prerequisite: BS101 OR B-102