I have a presentation on chapter three of Jesus Through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture by Jaroslav Pelikan. I have read it multiple times and am still confused. Could you provide some insight please?
In his book Jesus through The Centuries, Jaroslav Pelikan sets out to give a perspective on Jesus as He would have been viewed in the time period being discussed in any particular chapter. For example, due to cultural changes and, in particular, the global environment within which we now exist, a twenty-first century view of Jesus differs dramatically from that of earlier centuries. Obviously the essence of Jesus never changes. By showing an appreciation for what Jesus's teachings would have meant in a real context, Pelikan wants to ensure the relevance of Jesus and, in fact, this is the only way to ensure that Jesus does teach a modern audience or reader everything that they can glean. Using a passage from The New Testament to begin each chapter reminds the reader of the origins of the philosophies of Jesus. Pelikan maintains that there is so much more to learn than meets the eye if only the reader can adjust his or her perspective and recognize why a particular message would have been important to a first-century Christian, for example, and how that differs from a contemporary message. He has been criticized for his approach.
Chapter Three is "Jesus; The Light of The Gentiles." This particular reference can be found in Luke's message in Luke 2:32 wherein the people can be confident of salvation and everlasting righteousness. It covers the time after Jesus when Christians were coming to terms with being Christians and waiting because "Christ is expected." Everyone had a right to eternal glory through God's grace and, up to and during the third and fourth centuries, it was assumed that every culture had this expectation of Christ. Therefore Christ's followers taught according to it, making Jesus a universal symbol of hope and the sure way for all mankind to be saved. Due to the advanced intellect of the Greeks and Romans and the consequent Greco-Roman influence, Jesus's followers looked to that culture for answers to their questions relating to the "common" hope.