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New Testament Survey*
This course introduces students to the study of the origins of Christianity by means of its canonical literature, the New Testament. We will undertake a historical study of the New Testament documents, seeking to understand their plan, origin, purpose and content within their broader historical and cultural context. Appropriate interpretive method for each genre of the New Testament will be discussed. We will also seek to clarify the theological message of each document in light of its historical circumstances.
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:40-9:10 p.m. starting September 4
Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 1-3:30pm (and other times, upon request)
I. Course Description and Objectives
This course is designed to help students become familiar with the New Testament texts in a broad, survey fashion. It shall help students learn how to read the biblical texts closely, critically, and constructively. This course will examine selected biblical texts in their ancient contexts, and engage in literary and rhetorical inquiry, considering questions such as how, why, and for whom these texts were written. It will also highlight several types of biblical methods and lenses that are used in New Testament scholarship such as feminist, womanist, and postcolonial criticism. Students will be introduced to secondary scholarship (monographs, articles, essays, commentaries, etc.) and learn how to engage it by asking questions and challenging arguments based on their own biblical analysis. Students will discover that “context matters,” and in the process, learn how to read biblical texts with theological and ethical sensitivity. By becoming more cognizant of their own racial/ethnic, religious, and sociocultural backgrounds, as well as their own biases and presuppositions, students will begin to recognize the ways in which their very selves affect the task of biblical interpretation.
II. Course Requirements and Grades
A. Presence, Participation, and Preparation: 20% of Final Grade
Regular attendance at all class sessions and active participation in discussion groups are expected. If you are unable to attend a class session, please notify the professor in advance or at the earliest opportunity. Please plan to arrive promptly to class, and stay for its duration. Your presence is necessary and important for maximal learning for everyone. Missing two sessions will result in an automatic lowering of your final grade by 10%. Missing three or more sessions will result in automatic failure of the course.
Read the assigned texts each week. Ponder them carefully. Come to lectures well prepared. Be ready to ask questions and participate in discussions in a positive and constructive way. Rich, critical dialogue occurs when we discuss, debate, and consider the texts and various issues as a collective. Care should be taken when speaking; however, to make sure that everyone (including the less talkative ones) gets an opportunity to engage.
B. Midterm (35% of Final Grade) and Final Paper (45% of Final Grade)
The major writing assignments for this course include a midterm and final paper that illustrate the student’s capacity to write a critical, context-based, interpretive essay that incorporates material discussed during the course of the semester. For the midterm, students will compare two portraits of Jesus in the Gospels, and for the final, students will write on either the Haustafeln (Household Codes) or gender and empire in Revelation.Smith, SC-531 p.3
Both essays should be between 8-10 pages in length. Essays that do not meet the standard requirements (a C- grade) for clarity of argumentation, in-depth research, comprehension of the scholarship, scholarly writing, and suitability for the class assignment, will be returned for required re-writing.
The midterm is due on Tuesday, October 16. The final is due on Thursday, December 20. Both essays should be submitted via email to me at: email@example.com before the start of class.
III. Learning Resources and Expectations
Plagiarism will not be tolerated in student written work. You are expected to put your ideas in your own words. When the thoughts, ideas, or words of other persons are used, whether written or verbal, credit should be given by using quotations and proper citation. Proper documentation should also be included for sources used but not quoted verbatim. For the policy and guidelines for avoiding plagiarism, see the Academic Policies for Graduate Programs section of the Catalogue or the Student Handbook.
All dues dates are real. Please meet them. If you expect to miss a deadline, please contact the professor before the due date, in order to negotiate a new due date. This new date becomes firm. Any assignments turned in after this new agreed-upon date will be docked 5 points per 24 hour period.
Good communication is crucial for ministry, scholarship, and collegiality. Students are encouraged to have their writing assignments reviewed by a writing consultant as needed. These services are offered at no additional cost to graduate program students (see Student Handbook for details). Students are also expected to use inclusive language in this course as stipulated by the Hartford Seminary Catalogue.
CLASS SCHEDULE AND READING ASSIGNMENTS
** Please note that all readings are subject to change.
Students will be notified in advance.**
Week 1 - Tuesday, September 4: Introduction to the CourseSmith, SC-531 p.4
Thursday, September 6: What is the New Testament?
- Harris, The New Testament, pp. 2-22.
- John Barton, “Strategies for Reading Scripture,” in The Harper Collins Study Bible, pp. xxxix-xliii.
Week 2 - Tuesday, September 11: The Gospel of Mark: Part 1
- Read the entire Gospel of Mark (preferably in one sitting). It’s the shortest gospel!
- Harris, The New Testament, pp. 109-125, 126-153.
Thursday, September 13: The Gospel of Mark and Empire
- Richard A. Horsley, “Submerged Biblical Histories and Imperial Biblical Studies,” in The Postcolonial Bible, ed. R. S. Sugirtharajah (Sheffield Academic Press, 1998), pp. 152-62.
- Tat-siong Benny Liew, “The Gospel of Mark,” in The Postcolonial Commentary on the New Testament Writings, eds. Fernando F. Segovia and R. S. Sugirtharajah (New York: T.&T. Clark International, 2007), pp. 105-132.
- Seong Hee Kim, “Rupturing the Empire: Reading the Poor Widow as a Postcolonial Female Subject (Mark 12:41-44),” Lectio Difficilior: European Electronic Journal for Feminist Exegesis 1 (2006).
Week 3 - Tuesday, September 18: The Synoptic Problem, The Gospel of Matthew – Part 1
- Read the entire Gospel of Matthew (preferably in one sitting)
- Harris, The New Testament, pp. 154-188.
Thursday, September 20: The Gospel of Matthew – Part 2
- Amy-Jill Levine, “Matthew,” in Women’s Bible Commentary: Expanded Edition with Apocrypha, ed. Carol A. Newsom and Sharon H. Ringe (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998), pp. 339-349.
- Leticia A. Guardiola-Sáenz, “Borderless Women and Borderless Texts: A Cultural Reading of Matthew 15:21-28.” Semeia, no 78 (1997) 69-81.
- Gary A. Phillips, “The Killing Fields of Matthew’s Gospel,” in The Labour of Reading: Desire, Alienation, and Biblical Interpretation, ed. Fiona C. Black, et al (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 1999), pp. 249-265.
Week 4 - Tuesday, September 25: The Gospel of Luke – Part 1
- Read the entire Gospel of Luke (preferably in one sitting)
- Harris, The New Testament, pp. 189-217.
Thursday, September 27: The Gospel of Luke – Part 2
- Daniel J. Harrington, SJ, The Synoptic Gospels Set Free: Preaching Without AntiJudaism (New York: Paulist Press, 2009), pp. 149-158.
- René Krüger, “Luke’s God and Mammon, A Latin American Perspective,” in Global Bible Commentary, ed. Daniel Patte (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2004), pp. 395-400.
- Jane Schaberg. “Luke,” Women’s Bible Commentary, pp. 363-380.
Week 5 – Tuesday, October 2: Acts
- Read Acts
- Harris, The New Testament, pp. 221-245.
Thursday, October 4: The Portraits of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels: An Overview
A student-led session: In preparation for the midterm paper, students will prepare (in advance) and share the similarities and differences between the various portraits of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels. Information regarding what is expected on these papers will also be provided.
Week 6 – Tuesday, October 9: An Introduction to Paul’s Letters
- Harris, The New Testament, pp. 302-318 and 370-371 (“The Problem of Pseudonymity”)
- Bart D. Ehrman, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings (5thed.; Oxford University Press, 2012), pp. 306-323.
Thursday, October 11: 1 and 2 Thessalonians
- Read both letters.
- Harris, The New Testament, pp. 319-322, 371-373.mith, SC-531 p.6
- Abraham Smith, “1 and 2 Thessalonians,” in A Postcolonial Commentary on the New Testament Writings, ed. Fernando Segovia and R. S. Sugirtharajah (Harrisburg, PA: T.&T. Clark, 2007), pp. 304-322.
- Frank J. Matera, New Testament Christology (Westminster John Knox Press, 1999), pp. 83-91.
Week 7 – Tuesday, October 16: Galatians
MIDTERM PAPERS ARE DUE TODAY PRIOR TO CLASS TIME.
- Read the entire letter.
- Harris, The New Testament, pp. 338-343.
- Carolyn Osiek, “Galatians,” in Women’s Bible Commentary, pp. 423-427.
- Caroline Johnson Hodge, “Apostle to the Gentiles: Constructions of Paul’s Identity,” Biblical Interpretation 13 (2005): 270-88.
- Demetrius Williams, “African American Churches and Galatians 3:28: A Brief Assessment of the Appropriation of an Egalitarian Paradigm,” in Walk in the Ways of Wisdom, ed. Shelley Matthews et al (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press, 2003), pp. 351-369.
Thursday, October 18: Paul and (Anti-)Judaism / The New Perspective on Paul
- James D. G. Dunn, “The New Perspective on Paul,” in Jesus, Paul, and the Law: Studies in Mark and Galatians (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 1990), pp. 184-214, reprinted in his The New Perspective on Paul (revised ed.; Grand Rapids, MI; Eerdmans, 2007).
- Mark D. Nanos, “Paul and Judaism,” in The Jewish Annotated New Testament (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 551-54.
- John G. Gager, Reinventing Paul (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 3-19, 145-152.
Week 8 – Tuesday, October 23: Paul and Women
- Revisit Harris, The New Testament, pp. 313-315, 328 (“The Importance of Women in Early Christianity” and “The Role of Women in the Church”).
- Margaret Y. MacDonald, “Reading Real Women through the Undisputed Letters of Paul,” in Women and Christian Origins, ed. Ross Shepard Kraemer and Mary Rose D’Angelo (Oxford University Press, 1999), pp. 199-220.
- Pamela Eisenbaum, “Is Paul the Father of Misogyny and Antisemitism?,” Crosscurrents 50 (Winter 2000-01): 506-524.
Week 9: Tuesday, October 30: 1 Corinthians
- Read 1 Corinthians
- Harris, The New Testament, pp. 323-332.
- Antoinette Wire, “Women Prophets in the Corinthian Church” in Conflict and Community in the Corinthian Church, ed. J. Shannon Clarkson (New York: United Methodist Church Women’s Division, 2000), pp. 35-52.
- Jouette M. Bassler, “1 Corinthians,” in Women’s Bible Commentary, pp. 411-419.
Thursday, November 1: Revisiting 1 Corinthians 11
- Re-read 1 Corinthians 11
- Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, In Memory of Her: A Feminist Theological Reconstruction of Christian Origins (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1983), pp. 226-241.
- Derya Keshkin Demirer and Nicole Wilkinson Duran, “1 Corinthians 11 in Christian and Muslim Dialogue,” in Global Bible Commentary, pp. 451-54.
- Todd Penner & Caroline Vander Stichele. “Unveiling Paul: Gendering Ethos in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16.” Available on-line through lectio difficilior: http://www.lectio.unibe.ch/04_2/HTML/penner_stichele.htm
Week 10: Tuesday, November 6: The Letters to the Colossians and Ephesians
- Read Colossians and Ephesians
- Harris, The New Testament, pp. 373-378.Smith, SC-531 p.8
- E. Elizabeth Johnson, “Ephesians,” and “Colossians,” in Women’s Bible Commentary, pp. 428-432, 437-439.
Thursday, November 8: 1 and 2 Peter
- Read 1 and 2 Peter
- Harris, The New Testament, pp. 398-401, 403-404.
- Larry George, “1 Peter” and “2 Peter,” in True to Our Native Land: An African American New Testament Commentary, ed. Brian K. Blount (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007), pp. 476-495.
Week 11: Tuesday, November 13: The Haustafeln (Household Codes)
- Re-read Colossians 3:18-4:1; Ephesians 5:21-6:9; and 1 Peter 2:18-3:7
- Clarice J. Martin, “The Haustafeln (Household Codes) in African American Biblical Interpretation: ‘Free Slaves and Subordinate Women,’” in Stony the Road We Trod: African American Biblical Interpretation, ed. Cain Hope Felder (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1991), pp. 206-231.
Thursday, November 15: Hebrews and James
This session may need to be rescheduled on the agreed date/time by the class.
- Read Hebrews and James
- Harris, The New Testament, pp. 388-398.
- Mary Rose D’Angelo, “Hebrews,” in Women’s Bible Commentary, pp. 455-459.
- Sharyn Dowd, “James,” in Women’s Bible Commentary, pp. 460-461.
November 20-21 Reading Days – No Classes
November 22-25 Thanksgiving Break – No Classes
Week 12: Tuesday, November 27: The Gospel of John
- Read the entire Gospel of John (preferably in one sitting).
- Gospel of Thomas
- Harris, The New Testament, pp. 249-272, 275-278.
- Adele Reinhartz, “A Nice Jewish Girl Reads the Gospel of John,” Semeia 77 (1997): 177-193.
- Elaine Pagels, “Exegesis of Genesis 1 in the Gospels of Thomas and John,” Journal of Biblical Literature 118 (1999), pp. 477-496.
Thursday, November 29: An Analysis of John 4:4-42
- Re-read the above pericope.
- Jean K. Kim, “A Korean Feminist Reading of John 4:1-42.” Semeia, no 78 (1997) 109-119.
- Allen Dwight Callahan, “John,” in True to Our Native Land, pp. 191-192 (Section on 4:4-42, Sychar, in Samaria).
Week 13 - Tuesday, December 4: The Letters of John
- Read I, II, and III Letters of John
- Harris, The New Testament, pp. 272-275.
- Gail R. O’Day, “1, 2, and 3 John,” in Women’s Bible Commentary, pp. 466-467.
Thursday, December 6: Revelation
- Read Revelation
- Harris, The New Testament, pp. 412-438.
- Stephen D. Moore, “The World Empire Has Become the Empire of Our Lord and His Messiah: Representing Empire in Revelation,” in Empire and Apocalypse: Postcolonialism and the New Testament (Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2006), pp. 97-123.
Week 14: Tuesday, December 11: Women in/and Revelation
- Susan R. Garrett, “Revelation,” in Women’s Bible Commentary, 469-474. Smith, SC-531 p.10
- Tina Pippin, “The Heroine and the Whore: The Apocalypse of John in Feminist Perspective,” in From Every People and Nation: The Book of Revelation in Intercultural Perspective, 127-145. Ed. David Rhoads. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005.
- Caroline Vander Stichele, “Re-membering the Whore: The Fate of Babylon According to Revelation 17.16,” in Amy-Jill Levine, ed., A Feminist Companion to the Apocalypse of John (New York: T&T Clark International, 2009), pp. 106-20.
- Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, The Power of the Word: Scripture and the Rhetoric of Empire (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007), pp. 130-47.
Thursday, December 13: Quest for the Historical Jesus
- Harris, The New Testament, pp. 279-298.
- John Dominic Crossan, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994), pp. ix-xiv, 54-74, 193-201.
Week 15: Tuesday, December 18: Whose Jesus?
- Pablo Richard, “Jesus: A Latin-American Perspective,” in Global Bible Commentary, 337-41.
- Nicole Wilkinson Duran, “Jesus: A Western Perspective,” in Global Bible Commentary, 346-49.
- Kwok Pui-lan, “On Color-Coding Jesus: An Interview with Kwok Pui-lan,” in The Postcolonial Bible, ed. R. S. Sugirtharajah (Sheffield Academic Press, 1998), pp. 176-88.
Thursday, December 20: Canonicity and the Task of Translation
FINAL PAPERS ARE DUE TODAY PRIOR TO CLASS TIME.
- Harris, The New Testament, pp. 23-27.
- Dale Martin, “Introduction: The Myth of Textual Agency,” in Sex and the Single Savior: Gender and Sexuality in Biblical Interpretation (Louisville/London: Westminster/John Knox, 2006), pp. 1-16.
- Loveday Alexander, “God’s Frozen Word: Canonicity and the Dilemmas of Biblical Studies Today,” Expository Times 117 (2006): 237-242.
- Brian K. Blount, “The Last Word on Biblical Authority,” in Struggling with Scripture (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 2002), pp. 51-69.
1. Harold W. Attridge, ed. The Harper Collins Study Bible. New Revised Standard Version (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2006). Buy now Other acceptable NRS translations that provide study notes developed for the academic study of the Bible are the Oxford Annotated Study Bible or the New Interpreter’s Study Bible. Be sure to bring a Bible to every class.
2. Stephen L. Harris, The New Testament: A Student’s Introduction (7th ed.; McGraw-Hill, 2012). Buy now
Additional materials will also be assigned periodically, and will be available in digital form on SONISWEB for the course. Where possible, these additional materials will also be placed on reserve in the main library.
The following books, all of which feed into different parts of the course, are recommended. Students may wish to purchase them for their personal libraries.
1. Brian K. Blount et al., eds. True to Our Native Land: An African American New Testament Commentary (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007). Buy now
2. Cain Hope Felder, ed. Stony the Road We Trod: African American Biblical Interpretation (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1991). Buy now
3. Frank J. Matera, New Testament Christology (Westminster John Knox Press, 1999). Buy now
4. Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler, eds., The Jewish Annotated New Testament (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011). Buy now
5. Carol A. Newsom and Sharon H. Ringe, eds. Women’s Bible Commentary with Apocrypha (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998). Buy now
6. Daniel Patte, ed. Global Bible Commentary (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2004). Buy now
7. Fernando F. Segovia and R. S. Sugirtharajah, eds. A Postcolonial Commentary on the New Testament Writings (New York: T & T Clark, 2009). Buy now