Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Overpreparation: cultural differences

This semester in my English Bible study, I'm teaching about the life of Jesus. For the first class, I wanted to give some background and introduction, including "Why Study Jesus?" and "How do we know Jesus really lived?"
I actually did quite a bit of research in preparation, thinking about with things like the DaVinci Code etc, many people have questioned whether or not the Bible is even real. I looked up information about Josephus and Tacitus, two non-Christian sources who indicated the existence of Jesus in history. I explained who each of the gospel writers were, and how they were connected to Jesus, emphasizing the fact that all the gospels were written within 70 years of Jesus' death.
The interesting thing was that the response I got from the students wasn't even a little bit skeptical. Maybe it's because in this culture, people are taught not to question their teachers. I often have to encourage my students to question and search out information on their own.
I know if I were in North America, I would have been answering a lot of questions, and probably would have been challenged on many things. But in Taiwan, the only questions I got were:
What do B.C. and A.D. mean?
and
Why is Yeshua's English name Jesus? Where did it come from?

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