with Fr. Vincent Pizzuto, PhD
The gospels, like the whole of scripture, hold out a divine-human tension, revealing truths that are at once eternal and yet expressed in ways that are historically conditioned. The Eternal, as it were, birthed in time. Using the language, idioms, and cultural references of their day, the four Evangelists (Mark, Matthew, Luke and John) crafted literary “Portraits of Christ” that would best speak to their respective audiences. When we lose sight of those ancient references, modern Christians inevitably miss some of the rich and textured meaning of Jesus’ teachings, parables, and miracles throughout the gospels.
In this second semester of St. Columba’s Portraits of Christ series, Fr. Vincent Pizzuto, PhD, will introduce participants to the cultural, literary, religious, and historical context into which the New Testament was born. How was Christianity distinct from other religions of ancient Rome? Did you know we encounter six different Herod’s in the New Testament? What where the marks of ancient Judaism that distinguished it from the pagan religions of the Greco-Roman world? Who were the Pharisees and the Sadducees that Jesus frequently encountered in the gospels? What did the early church look like? How unified were early Christians in their beliefs about Jesus? Did you know some ancient Christians were polytheists, others denied the divinity of Jesus, and more surprising still, some denied the humanity of Jesus? As we come to learn of these fascinating aspects of the ancient world in which the gospels were written, we will also explore the earliest references to Jesus outside of Christian literature to see what (if anything) they can tell us about him or the early church itself.
Especially designed for contemplatives, this second series of classes continues our rich, meditative, and stimulating exploration of the four gospels and the tools that help us to interpret them in ways that ground the life and practice of contemplative Christians today.
Father Vincent Pizzuto, PhD is Professor of New Testament Studies and Christian Mysticism in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco. He received his doctorate in New Testament Exegesis from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium (2003) and has since published and presented internationally in the areas of New Testament christology, ecological discipleship, marriage equality, inter-religious dialogue, Christian mysticism and contemplative Christian spirituality. In 2018 he published his second book, Contemplating Christ: The Gospels and the Interior Life with Liturgical Press; translated in Spanish, Contemplar a Cristo: Los Evangelios y la vida interior, (Desclée de Brouwer) in January 2022. As an Episcopal priest Fr. Vincent serves as Vicar of St. Columba’s Episcopal Church and Retreat House in Inverness, California. Working for the advancement of contemplative Christianity, he has reinvigorated the mission and ministry of St. Columba’s through the introduction of contemplative eucharistic liturgies, public lectures, online courses, directed retreats, thought provoking sermons, an online blog and a weekly online study of his book through the Meditation Chapel.
When: Tuesdays, September 13 – October 25, 2022 11am-1pm PDT
Where: Online via Zoom
Cost $150 Generous scholarships available.