Few biblical accounts evoke more emotion than the Passion Narratives. These
accounts of Jesus’ suffering and death play a powerful and climactic role in the four
Gospels, to say nothing of their liturgical role in Holy Week. Each evangelist shaped the
common inherited tradition somewhat differently, even as the central message of Jesus’
self-emptying unites all four accounts. In this five-week course, we will begin by
examining the biblical, liturgical, theological and emotional significance of the passion
accounts. We will then examine the unique contributions that each version offers.
Finally, since Jesus’ self-gift constitutes a unique form of suffering (passio), we will
focus particularly on that unifying feature, and will examine how the passion narratives
can provide a paradigm for engaged Christian discipleship.