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CHTH218 The Person and Work of Christ

Who is Jesus and what is his significance? Considers Christian thinking about the person and work of Jesus from the early church to the present day.

Jesus of Nazareth is without doubt the most influential figure in human history. It is claimed by Christians that this lowly human being, a friend of outcasts and sinners who was eventually crucified for disturbing the religious and political waters of ancient Palestine, is both one with us in his humanity, but also the one in whom God is present. What are we to make of this claim? What foundation does it have in the Bible? How have its implications been understood through the course of Christian history? This paper investigates the reality of Jesus and considers his ongoing significance for human life today.

Paper title The Person and Work of Christ
Paper code CHTH218
Subject Christian Thought and History
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2023 (Distance learning)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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One of CHTH 101, CHTH 102, CHTH 111, CHTH 131, CHTX 101, CHTX 102, CHTX 111, CHTX 131
CHTH 211, CHTH 311, CHTH 318, CHTX 211, CHTX 311
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Theology
May not be credited together with CHTH217 or CHTH317 passed in 2007, 2009 or 2011 or CHTX217 or CHTX317 passed in 2007, 2009 or 2011.
Any student can study Theology, whether they are of the Christian faith, another faith or of no religious faith at all. Theology is an examination of the scriptures, history, content and relevance of the Christian faith, but it presupposes or requires no Christian commitment from students. All it requires is an inquiring mind and an interest in those skills that can be gained through the study of any subject in the Humanities.
Professor Murray Rae:
Teaching staff
Lecturer: Professor Murray Rae
Paper Structure

The paper will be comprised of three modules:

Module One:

  • Introduction: Method in Christology
  • Early church developments in Christology
  • Early heresies
  • The Council of Nicea
  • Alexandrian and Antiochene Christologies
  • The Council of Chalcedon

Module Two:

  • The quest of the historical Jesus
  • Contemporary developments in Christology
  • Multi-cultural perspectives

Module Three:

  • Sin and salvation
  • Metaphors of atonement
  • The crucified God
  • Eschatological hope


  • Essay (1,800 words) 25%
  • Essay (2,500 words) 35%
  • Exam (two hours) 40%
Teaching Arrangements

Campus: One two-hour lecture per week

Distance: Five videoconferences through the semester, and a teaching day held via Zoom


Textbooks are not required for this paper.

Course outline

View the course outline for CHTH218

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete this paper should have
  • Acquired a sound grasp of the key stages in the classical development of Christian claims about the status, nature and significance of Jesus and discovered some of the major ways in which these claims have been challenged, interpreted and restated in modern Christian theology
  • Developed an ability to discern the connections between the logic of Christological statements and the contours of Christian belief as a whole
  • Furthered their assessment of the relevance of historical doctrinal developments for a contemporary systematic theology and extended their understanding of how habitual ways of approaching doctrinal themes may be enriched by an awareness of past as well as present thinking
  • Considered the ways in which the study of Jesus Christ can be enriched through attending to a range of cultural perspectives
  • Advanced their skills of critical analysis, their sensitivity to diversity of opinion and their ability to articulate coherent intellectual arguments

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Not offered in 2023

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system