Academic Programs 

Reading the New Testament Through the Eyes of the Oppressed (SC-632)
Fall 2006

This course in New Testament hermeneutics - the art of interpretation - will focus on recent developments in African American, Latino and feminist readings of the Bible. In particular, we will explore how Black and Latin American liberation theology movements have read the New Testament as well as womanist and mujerista perspectives. Recent applications of post-modern and postcolonial theory to New Testament interpretation will also be explored, especially as they relate to issues of the poor and the marginalized. Fundamental to the course will be close readings of relevant texts in the New Testament, especially the Gospels and Paul, but also the Book of Revelation, around issues of poverty, status and power, both in the ancient world among the earliest Christians and in our own contexts today.


Meeting Day, Time and Dates: 

Efrain Agosto
Professor of New Testament

Contact Information:

(860) 509-9500


Course Syllabus
Course Website

*Please note: the following syllabus is posted as a DRAFT and is subject to change

Required Texts

Miguel De La Torre, Reading the Bible from the Margins.

Efrain Agosto, Servant Leadership: Jesus and Paul, chapters 1-3.

Selected Readings

Cain Hope Felder, Stony the Road We Trod.

Justo Gonzalez, Reading the Bible through Hispanic Eyes.

Fernando Segovia & Mary Ann Tolbert, eds., Reading from This Place, Volume One.

Fernando Segovia, Decolonizing Biblical Studies: A View from the Margins.

Letty M. Russell, ed., Feminist Interpretation of the Bible.

Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, In Memory of Her: A Feminist Theological Reconstruction of Christian Origins.

Course Requirements

  • Weekly Reading and Response to Discussion Questions; Posting of Response to at least one other student’s Responses.
  • Posted student reports on hermeneutical theory from the margins or exegetical sample using African American, feminist or Latino interpretative guide.
  • Final research paper on aspect of New Testament interpretation from underrepresented perspectives.

Course Schedule

Week One – Introduction to course, readings and expectations; a brief overview of the history of New Testament interpretation.

Weeks Two to five – Theoretical Perspectives

• African American biblical interpretation – Stony the Road We Trod
• Feminist biblical interpretation – Schussler-Fiorenza
• Latino biblical interpretation – Gonzalez, Segovia
• Postcolonial biblical studies - Segovia

Weeks six to ten – New Testament Texts

• Gospels
• Paul
• Selective others
• Revelation

Weeks 11 and 12 – student posted reports and responses

Week 13 – wrap-up and what’s next in hermeneutical studies


Hartford Seminary  77 Sherman Street  Hartford, CT  06105   860-509-9500