Explore the multifaceted nature of human identity through history and theology in this enlightening series of lessons. Discover its ties to faith, culture, and collective history, featuring influential figures and deep insights.
Number of lessons: 16

About This Class

In this series of lessons, you embark on a captivating journey through the intricacies of human identity in the context of various historical and theological perspectives. Each lesson offers a unique lens through which you'll explore identity's fluid nature, its profound connection to faith, and its impact on society. From examining the narratives that define Israel's national identity to unraveling the portraits of Jesus in the Gospels, you'll delve deep into the intersections of culture, spirituality, and personal beliefs. These lessons also shed light on influential figures like Teresa of Avila, Bernard of Clairvaux, John Calvin, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whose lives and teachings have left a lasting imprint on Christian identity.

About the Professor

James Houston

James Houston, pivotal in Regent College's inception, served as its Principal and later as Chancellor and the Board of Governors’ Professor of Spiritual Theology. Originally an Oxford University Lecturer, he facilitated Regent's affiliation with the University of British Columbia in 1974. Houston also co-founded the C.S. Lewis Institute in Washington, DC. His academic focus spans Christian classics to historical theology. A notable author, his works include "The Mentored Life" and collaborations like "The Psalms as Christian Worship: A Historical Commentary." Houston's contributions to Christian academia and literature are profound.
James Houston


  • You gain insight into the complex interplay of cultural, ethnic, and spiritual aspects of identity, understanding it through the lens of Christian faith and anthropological history, and realize that identity is both individual and a reflection of collective human history.
  • This lesson offers an intricate examination of the contributions of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, unfolding their spiritual, technological, and intellectual offerings that have been foundational in shaping humanity. The distinctive richness of the Old Testament is explored, showcasing its uniqueness in antiquity and breadth of content. You encounter the ongoing experience of God's presence in the lives of the Israelites, challenging traditional divine principles and introducing the notion of divine pathos. Finally, the importance of family narratives is discussed, illuminating how these stories have formed Israel's unique identity and relationship with God.
  • Unpacking the role of narrative, you realize its pivotal function in shaping Israel's national identity, how it offers a divine interpretation of history, and uncovers God's providential acts. You understand the power of narratives in providing life meaning, as argued by modern philosophers. Finally, you delve into Abraham's life, witnessing a realistic portrayal of faith and its struggles, observing God's unyielding faithfulness despite human failings.
  • Embark on a journey with Ruth, a Moabitess who emerges as a true Israelite through her unwavering faith, unprecedented loyalty to Naomi, and selflessness. Through her radical choices, she illuminates the power of loyalty and love over logic and societal norms. Her legacy, threaded into the lineage of David, positions her as an archetype of the Virgin Mary, offering profound insights for reflection.
  • As you learn of the life of the prophet Jeremiah, you will gain an understanding of his prophetic identity shaped by his background, personal sufferings, and intimate relationship with God. You'll explore his significant literary contributions, his call for repentance, and how his prophecies were fulfilled. Finally, the lesson offers insights into broader theological concepts and encourages reflection on narrative, identity, and biblical interpretation.
  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of the portraits of Jesus in the Gospels, exploring the themes of human tunnel vision, the patience of God, the image and likeness of God, and the unique portrayals of Jesus in the synoptic Gospels, emphasizing the fulfillment of the law and the mission of Jesus to bring salvation and a new reality to humanity.
  • In studying this lesson, you will gain comprehensive insights into the unique portraits of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, including his challenging of the Classical world, sociological legitimization of Christian identity, and emphasis on Pentecost and the Holy Spirit, while also exploring the distinctiveness of John's Gospel and the importance of personal mystical experiences in understanding and experiencing intimacy with Jesus Christ.
  • The lesson explores the personal and communal identities within the Christian faith, emphasizing adaptation to different cultural contexts. It delves into Paul's teachings on being "in Christ," justification, sanctification, and the believer's relationship with Christ. The lesson examines the challenges and contexts faced by specific churches, highlighting the significance of peace in Paul's teachings.
  • In this lesson, you'll understand how Christianity's identity formed in 2nd-century AD, tracing its origins to diverse demographics like slaves, Jews, and Greek merchants, and how these groups influenced Christianity's spread and resilience.
  • Gain insights into Augustine, a key figure in the Church, and his Christian journey in Christendom. Explore his prayer life, the beginning of Christendom, tensions between identity and Christendom, intellectual brilliance, postmodern influence, controversies, classical education, and lasting legacy.
  • Gain insights into the identity of Christian women as virgins in Late Antiquity. Explore their roles, martyrdom, and the spread of Christianity through captivity and persecution. Understand their endurance and recognition, even under Muslim rulers. Discover the historical context of this fascinating period.
  • Gain knowledge of influential women in early Christianity, their impact on theologians, and the development of the Virgin Mary cult. Explore the need for a new attitude towards women in the Church and the call for a new feminism. Reflect on personal growth and living fully in Christ.
  • Uncover the life and influence of Bernard of Clairvaux, the last great interpreter of the Early Fathers, who transformed monasticism, made significant contributions to spirituality, music, and art, and reflected on the humility of Jesus and the symbolism of the apple tree.
  • Uncover profound insights into Teresa of Avila's spiritual formation and Christian identity. Explore Morranos movement, her revolt against conventions, and transformative readings. Gain a comprehensive understanding of her life and lasting impact for personal growth.
  • Gain in-depth knowledge and insights into John Calvin's life and contributions through this extensive document. Explore Calvin's education, conversion, literary works, personal relationships, and political role in Geneva. Understand Calvin's significance in the Church and his impact on the Protestant Reformation. Delve into the details of his life to comprehensively understand his influence and legacy.
  • Gain deep insights into Dietrich Bonhoeffer's complex identity expressed through prayer. Explore his background, education, and encounter with Karl Barth. Examine resistance against Nazism and identity in a secular culture. Learn from Levinas and Ricoeur. Discover the significance of living by faith.

About Biblical Training

BiblicalTraining wants every Christian to experience a deep and loving relationship with Jesus by understanding the life-changing truths of Scripture. To that end, we provide a high-quality Bible education at three academic levels taught by a wide range of distinguished professors, pastors, authors, and ministry leaders that moves from content to spiritual growth, all at no charge. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit funded by gifts from our users. We currently have over 180 classes and seminars, 2,300 hours of instruction, registered users from every country in the world, and in the last two years 1.4 million people watched 257 terabytes of videos (11 million lectures).
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