Introduction by Dr. Linford Stutzman:
The course,"The Jesus Movement in the Early Context,” was offered by Eastern Mennonite Seminary in 2008. Using the unique resources of Nazareth Village and contemporary Galilee and other sites in Israel and surrounding regions, this course incorporated a combination of on-line instruction, directed student research, seminars on location in Israel and Palestine, and a presentation of the research to undergraduates in Eastern Mennonite University’s Middle East cross-cultural program in Nazareth.
Each student in the course conducted an original research project seeking to understand a particular aspect of life in the first century world in which Jesus ministered. From the perspective of village life in Nazareth, the students gained fresh perspectives on the social, political, and religious dynamics of the early Jesus Movement that originated in this insignificant part of the Roman Empire including:
- the social, political, economic and religious life of ordinary people of all socio-economic levels in the first century Palestine, including
- the Roman occupation army; the compelling and revolutionary life, teaching, and ministry of Jesus within this context,
- the historical, sociological, religious, and psychological dimensions of the Jesus Movement,
- the relevance and potential for application this has for Jesus' followers in the world today.