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Studies in Jesus as teacher by Henry Burton…
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Studies in Jesus as teacher

by Henry Burton Sharman

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Once published as a separate book, this companion book of questions to Sharman's 'Jesus as Teacher' was reprinted along with that book in the less expensive Student Edition. Sharman perfected these questions over many years in group study with University students of various North American schools that he visited (and of course, at various Minnesing summer conferences). The original questions, once circulated by mimeograph copy, were not keyed to "Jesus as Teacher" but rather to "The Records of Life of Jesus". Why Sharman decided to write Jesus as Teacher is unknown; but likely these questions came first. I have found it helpful to compare the original questions (which can be found in the Sharman fonds in Canada's National Archives) to those in the final book.

There are so many questions, I doubt very much whether anyone was ever expected to complete them during the summer study group at Minnesing, which lasted a month and a half. I took my time with them (setting it aside sometimes for weeks at a time when I needed a break), and it took me about three years to complete.

In Sharman's biography, it is said that a university professor once wrote Sharman to say that he was teaching a course on ethics and simply photocopied the "Discourse on the Standards of Righteousness" (the Sermon on the Mount) from 'Jesus as Teacher' and the associated 50-odd questions from 'Studies in Jesus as Teacher'. He reported:

"What an eventful two sessions we had! The students, and here I do not exaggerate, were literally breathless. When the distinction which came out between the 'Way to life' and the 'Way of life', which became clear to me first in my first Minnesing, they literally jumped out of their seats. One excited sophomore exclaimed, 'Great Scott,' 'Why hasn't someone told us this before.' I made the point that the frustration of the so-called Christian life was due primarily to turning the religion of Jesus into a new code or law and then punctiliously trying to live up to it, without having first met the condition which would make such a 'way of life' a real possibility."

Working away alone at the questions over the length of time that I did, I may have missed some of these eureka moments. I did, however, deepen my understanding of the religious possibilities in Jesus' teachings, and in my written answers I have indeed come to conclusions I have never seen adequately written elsewhere. Coming to those new understandings, as if entering a new room, I have also realized that 'Sharman was here before me', and more: "In my Father's House there are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you:" Jesus was here before Sharman. But one wonders how many more rooms there are yet to explore ( )
  rob_miller_cellarguy | Feb 25, 2007 |
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