the conclusion of this course, the student will:
Have greater understanding of the world from which the New
Testament literature emerges.
2. Read and study each of the New Testament books in its
3. Better understand genres in the New Testament: gospels,
epistles, the apocalyptic, as well as parallel documents from
among the non-canonical literature of earliest Christianity.
4. Explore tools to help bridge the past of ancient Christian
texts to the present-day concerns of faith.
Attendance & informed participation in all classes.
(Absences without adequate excuse will affect final grade.)
Required Reading (Available for Purchase)
Donelson, From Hebrews to
Revelation: A Theological Introduction (Louisville, KY:
Westminster John Knox Press, 2001).
D. Ehrman, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to
the Early Christian Writings, 3rd edition
(Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2000, 2004).
New Testament and Other Early Christian Writings: A Reader,
2nd edition (Oxford, New York: Oxford
University Press, 1998, 2004).
G. Reddish, An Introduction to the Gospels (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1997).
J. Roetzel, The Letters of Paul: Conversations in Context, Fourth Edition
(Westminster/John Knox Press, 1998).
Recommended Reading (On Reserve in Library)
Barrett, ed., The New Testament Background, Revised Edition (San Francisco: Harper
O. Francis & J. Paul Sampley, eds., Pauline
Parallels, 2nd Edition (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984).
Allan Powell, ed., The New Testament Today (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox
Pregeant, Engaging the New Testament: An Interdisciplinary Introduction
(Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995).
Hamilton Throckmorton, ed., Gospel
Parallels: A Synopsis of the First Three Gospels, 5th Edition,
New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: T. Nelson, 1992).
in-class, one-hour objective exam on the Synoptic Gospels and
John (March 9).
5-page essay comparing the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas to
the canonical gospels (cf. Ehrman, Introduction,
Chapter 12, pp.195-209 and Reader, 116-126), or
the non-canonical Acts of Paul and Thecla to canonical Acts
and the Pauline Epistles (cf. Ehrman, Introduction,
362-371 and Reader, 177-182.
Due April 13.
15-page final, research paper on one of the following topics (Due
May 11, one week after final class):
Comparing and Contrasting the “historical Jesus” and
the Jesus of the Gospels. Using material from Ehrman, Introduction,
pp.210-284, as a starting point, plus his bibliographic
suggestions (and others that the professor may provide), discuss
the issues and problems from your own perspective in determining
how and what we can know about who Jesus really was and what the
gospels say about him. Especially
with regard to the latter you will have to be selective in showing
examples of stories or topics in the Gospels that relate back to
the historical Jesus and/or respond to the theological needs of
the Gospel communities.
Select a ministerial or theological issue or related set of
issues in the Pauline epistles and see how it works itself out in
a variety of the letters (at least three).
Examples of issues include – Paul and women; Paul and
justification; Paul and reconciliation; the ministry of Paul’s
Expanding on your essay on non-canonical writings, take a few (two
or three depending on size) of the non-canonical writings
described by Erhman, Introduction, 408-478 and reproduced
in his Reader, and describe how these relate to the late
first century/early second century canonical writings (Hebrews,
General Epistles and/or Revelation, any relevant combination
a final section of this exploration for a discussion of how these
writings might be studied, viewed or even preached on in local
communities of faith today, especially communities that lend
significant authority to the canonical New Testament.
Discuss the development of the role of women in earliest
Christianity across the various eras represented by the canonical
New Testament and, if interested, some of the later non-canonical
example, you may choose to compare and contrast selected texts
from the canonical gospels, several of Paul’s letters, and later
Christian literature. How
did the role of women in earliest Christianity change over time
and context, and how does that help us understand their role
today? Start with Erhman, Introduction, Chapter 24, pp.
395-407, and the bibliographic suggestions he makes there.
Select a topic of your own interest, but discuss early and
thoroughly with the professor.
For example, you may want to do an exegetical study of one
passage of the New Testament, or there may be other topics or
themes that will require your exploration across several documents
and/or genres of the New Testament.
27 Introduction to the Course and to the Study of the New
Ehrman, Introduction, 1-17; Donelson, 1-6.
Powell, 1-9; Pregeant, 1-40.
3 The World of the New Testament
Ehrman, Introduction, 23-88; Reddish, 44-72.
Barrett, 1-22, 135-176.
Video Presentation: "From
Jesus to Christ: Part One"
10 Understanding Jesus and the Gospels
Ehrman, Introduction, 48-66; Reddish, 13-43.
17 Matthew & Mark
Gospels of Matthew & Mark in Ehrmann, Reader, 9-59;
Introduction, 67-111; Reddish, 73-143.
Gospel of Luke and Book of Acts in Ehrmann, 60-91, 145-176; Recommended:
Introduction, 112-153; Reddish, 144-179.
The Gospel & Epistles of John
Gospel & Epistles
of John in Ehrman, Reader, 92-115; 294-299;
Introduction, 154-194; Reddish, 180-213; Donelson, 107-131.
Exam on the Gospels and Video Introduction to Paul
on the Synoptic Gospels and John
Jesus to Christ, Part II"
No class (Professor in Cuba)
23 The Apostle Paul: Life, Mission & Letters
Ehrman, Introduction, 285-315; Roetzel, 1-83;
Thessalonians in Ehrman, Reader, 246-252.
Paul & Ministry: 1-2 Corinthians; Philippians &
Corinthians, Philippians, & Philemon in Ehrman, Reader,
205-226; 238-241; 264-265; Ehrman, Introduction, 316-331;
340-347; Roetzel, 83-96; 113-118.
No class (Reading Week)
Paul & Theology: Romans
Romans and Galatians in Ehrmann, Reader, 191-204; 227-232;
Introduction, 331-340; 348-361; Roetzel, 96-113.
Due: Essay on
Interpreters of Paul: Disputed Pauline Letters
Colossians, Ephesians, 1-2 Timothy and Titus in Ehrman, Reader,
233-237; 242- 245; 253-263; Ehrman, Introduction, 372-394;
Hebrews & the General Epistles
Hebrews, James, 1-2 Peter, Jude in Ehrmann, Reader, 271-293;
300-301; Ehrman, Introduction, 408-460; Donelson, 7-105.
4 The Book of Revelation and Conclusion of the Course
Revelation in Ehrman, Reader, 375-391;Recommended:
Powell, 134-142; Barrett, 316-349.
Introduction, 461-478; Donelson, 133-158.
11 Final Paper Due in Professor's Office (5PM - in person,
regular mail or e-mail)