Summer 2023 - HIST 468W D100

Problems in the History of Religion (4)

Writing Jesus

Class Number: 3246

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 8 – Aug 4, 2023: Wed, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including nine units of lower division history.



An advanced examination into the concepts and methodology of the history of religion. Content may vary from offering to offering; see course outline for further information. HIST 468W may be repeated for credit only when a different topic is taught. Writing.


Writing Jesus

            God to Christians, prophet to Muslims, Jesus is arguably the most influential person in world history.  The long fifteenth century (1380-1520) was a turning point in the history of his influence:  Johannes Gutenberg printed the first Bibles, Renaissance painters depicted him in three dimensions, Sultan Mehmed II used a fragment of Jesus's tunic to conquer Constantinople, a dynasty named after him ruled China, and Christ-opher (literally "Christ-bearing") Columbus brought the symbol of the cross to the Americas. 

            Over the past two decades I've been working on a book about how the long fifteenth century  understood Jesus, and how Jesus influenced the development of ethics, history-writing, law, art, music, inter-cultural relations, breathing, sex, and bowling.  Draft 4.0 is now ready to be shared.  This seminar invites you to kick the manuscript's tires, root around through its trunk, re-paint it, and drive it to unforeseen places.  We'll slowly read the manuscript over the semester, and you'll design and complete projects that either do further research on fifteenth-century Jesus or improve (edit, illustrate, test pilot, criticize, market) my manuscript.  Students will have access to the new SFU Library database of thousands of Jesus images, as a possible resource.


  • Seminar attendance and participation 20%
  • Two research papers (4-to-7-page papers, or equivalent) 45%
  • Two research-paper proposals 25%
  • Two oral research-paper presentations 10%


Students with credit for HIST 472W-4 under the topic "Writing Jesus" may not take this course for further credit.

If there's sufficient demand, we will create a hybrid option so that the course could be completed remotely.



No textbook; readings will be circulated via Canvas.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university.


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.