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* 1. JEWISH AND ROMAN BACKGROUND

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1. What was the political situation in Judea at the time of Jesus?
2. Who were the Pharisees?
3. Why is the Dead Sea Scroll community important?

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* 2. JESUS' EARLY YEARS

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4.What do we know of Jesus' family -- parents, brothers, sisters, cousin?
5. Did Jesus really have a virgin birth?
6. What do we know about Jesus' "hidden years" -- the 30 or more years between his birth and the start of his mission?
7. Was Jesus married?

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* 3. JESUS' MISSION AND DEATH

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8. What did Jesus mean when he announced that 'the Kingdom of God" was coming soon?
9. Why was Jesus a threat to the political/religious establishment?
10. How did Jesus as teacher get switched for Jesus as saviour?
11. Why was Jesus killed? Who was responsible?

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* 4. TEACHINGS ABOUT JESUS

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12. Were there messiahs before Jesus? What's a messiah?
13. Was Jesus the messiah?
14. Was Jesus resurrected? What's a resurrection?
15. Was Jesus divine? Or a human being?
16 Did Jesus actually exist? Or was he simply made up?

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* 5. JESUS' ASSOCIATES

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18. What do we know about Mary Magdalene?
19. Why do we know so little about Jesus' disciples (eg. Thomas, Peter, Andrew)? Or his family members?
20. What should we make of Paul's dramatic life-changing experience?
21. Why does Paul never refer to the teachings of Jesus -- parables, Lord's prayer, sermon on the Mount, etc.?
22. Was Paul the real creator of Christianity?

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* 6. THE NEW TESTAMENT

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23. Where did Matthew, Mark, Luke and John get their information?
24. Who, exactly, were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John -- and what do we really know about them?
25. Why does the New Testament contain contradictions?
26. How reliable are the gospels?
27.How did we get "the New Testament"?  When?
28. What writings were left out of the New Testament? Why?
29. Are there any Jewish or Roman writers in the 1st century who mention Jesus?

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* 7. EARLY CHRISTIANITY

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30. What role did politics play in shaping Christianity?
31. Why was Christianity so successful that it became the official religion of the Roman Empire?
32. Is Christianity the church OF Jesus? Or the church ABOUT Jesus?
33. Were there female leaders in the early church?
34. If Jesus was Jewish, why isn't the Church Jewish? How and why did Christianity separate from Judaism?
35. If Jesus promised us "the Kingdom of God," why did we end up with a church?
36. Was the early Church "anti-Semitic"?

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* 8. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES

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37. Would Jesus approve of married priests? female priests?
38. Where was God during the Holocaust and other Genocides?
39. Why does Christianity have difficulty with sexual issues (e.g. married clergy; gays and lesbians; transgendered individuals)?
40. What are the main differences between Judaism and Christianity today?
41. How come we've never heard about all these historical issues in our place of worship?
42. Is Jesus relevant for today?

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* 9. Are there other questions relating to Jesus, the New Testament or Early Christianity that you'd be interested in learning more about? Please indicate ....

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* 10. Your age ?

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* 11. Highest level of education completed

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* 12. Religious affiliation

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