Before addressing the question of “Was Jesus a Great Teacher“, I think it is crucially important to make explicit the assumptions of anyone who answers the question. Below are some of the important questions behind the “Great Teacher” question. I won’t discuss these just now, but instead, would love to know what you think of these questions and if you can think of others.
- Did Jesus exist? How fictionalized is Jesus?
- How do we decide what Jesus taught or is purported to have taught?
- Do the Gospels contain the teachings of more than one person but all using “Jesus” as their voice? How do we separate these teachings?
- What qualifies as “great” teachings?
- Were any of his actual or purported teachings “great”?
Like many apparently simple questions, I think it is obvious that without exposing these underlying positions and discussing them, two people could waste time in long fruitless debates.