Objectives (Course and Degree Programme)

Course Calendar (Fall 2018)

9 AM - 12 Noon / GUI 123


DATES

CLASS CONTENT

READINGS and ASSIGNMENTS

(to be completed before class)

September 10

Introduction to the course


I. INTRODUCTORY ISSUES FOR THE STUDY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT


A. The Bible and its historical world


Please note:  Readings are not "equally distributed". You will need to manage your time so that you have completed the readings and assignments before the class in question. (In other words, this may mean reading ahead sometimes, while at others you may be able to 'take some time off' of reading. The responsibility for the completion of the readings lies with you. For example, by September 24 you should have read Malina's book in its entirety [even if you haven't digested everything!] and by Thanksgiving you will need to have read and pretty well digested the material in Brown chapters 1-5.)

September 17


Review


B. The historical world of the New Testament


  • The Empires of the Biblical world (especially that of Alexander and the Romans)
  • Israel under the Herodians
  • Israel: The social world


Reading
  • Brown, Introduction, chapters 4-5 (pp. 55-96).
  • Suggested reference: Biblical Chronology (available in the course Google Drive folder).

Assignment
  • Begin to identify noteworthy links between the world identified in Brown and people, places, groups, events, etc. that you already know about in the New Testament.

September 24


Review


C.  The cultural world of the New Testament


  • Introduction
  • Honour / Shame (Envy)
  • Personality
  • Limited Good
  • Kinship
  • Purity
  • Jesus groups


Reading

  • Malina, New Testament World, chapters 1-7 and conclusion (pp. xi -222).  See also the Study Questions in Malina, pp. 225-244


Assignment

  • Identify  salient features of the cultural values that you have read about and attempt to find New Testament passages that illustrate those values.
  • Identify ways in which Jesus' followers can be understood according to Malina's categories.

October 1

Continuation and Review


Explanation of Exercise in Living and Exam






October 8
NO CLASS: THANKSGIVING DAY

October 15

Exercise in Living out the Historical and Cultural Values of the Mediterranean World



D. The text of the New Testament


II. THE SYNOPTIC GOSPELS


A. Introduction


Exercise in Discerning Synoptic texts 1


Section D: Reading

  • Brown, Introduction, chapters 1-3 (pp. 3-54)

Assignment
  • Identify which methods you think that you will find most useful for the study of the New Testament. Identify those that you do not think will be as useful.
  • Consider possible explanations for the similarities and differences among the Gospels, and differences of the Gospels from the other NT writings.


II. Reading

  • Brown, Introduction, chapter 6 (pp. 99-125). 
  • Pertinent materials from Brown, chapters 7-9

Assignment
  • Identify which methods you think that you will find most useful for the study of the New Testament. Identify those that you do not think will be as useful.
  • Consider possible explanations for the similarities and differences among these three Gospels.
October  22
NO CLASS: READING WEEK


Mid-term Take-Home Exam (on "Introductory Issues", part I.)

Available to students: Monday, October 22 9 AM

Due (no later than) Friday, October 26 5 PM

To be submitted as an electronic file, by clicking HERE.


October 29

Exercise in Discerning Synoptic texts 2


B. The title of the Gospels


C. The plot of the Gospels

Reading

  • Read all three Synoptic Gospels through using the Synopsis. 
  • Pertinent materials from Brown, Introduction, chapters 7, 8 and 9 (pp. 126 - 278).


Assignment

  • Re. the Synoptic Exercise (common to each of the subsequent Synoptic Exercises):
    • Note similarities and differences
    • What do the similarities suggest?
    • What do the differences suggest?
  • Identify in outline form the content of each Gospel.  (If you use a Lectionary, you may wish to identify the Gospel reading characteristics of the "year" (e.g., in the case of the Revised Common Lectionary Year A, Year B, and Year C ).


November 5


Review


Exercise in Discerning Synoptic texts 3


D. The infancy narratives


E. John and Jesus


Reading

  • Pertinent sections of commentaries on Mark 1, Matthew 1-3, and Luke 1-4.
  • Pertinent materials from Brown, chapters 7-9.


Assignment

  • Identify some major similarities and differences among the three Gospels in relation to the infancy stories, the public appearances of John and Jesus, and the way that the disciples of Jesus are first depicted.

November 12

Review


Exercise in Discerning Synoptic texts 4


F. Jesus' disciples


G. The miracles of Jesus

Reading

  • Pertinent sections of commentaries on Matthew, Mark and Luke for specific pericopae.
  • Pertinent materials from Brown, chapters 7-9.


Assignment

  • Identify some major similarities and differences among the three Gospels in relation to the miracles of Jesus.
  • Identify the function of the miracles in the plot.
November 19

Review


Exercise in Discerning Synoptic texts5


H. The teaching of Jesus

Reading
  • Pertinent sections of commentaries on Matthew, Mark and Luke for specific pericopae.
  • Pertinent materials from Brown, chapters 7-9.


Assignment

  • Identify some major similarities and differences among the three Gospels in relation to the teaching of Jesus.
  • Identify the function of teaching in the plot.

November 26

Review


Exercise in Discerning Synoptic texts 6


I. The Passion accounts


Reading

  • Pertinent sections of commentaries on Mark 14-15, Matthew 26-27, Luke 22-23.
  • Pertinent materials from Brown, chapters 7-9.


Assignment

  • Identify some major similarities and differences among the three Gospels in relation to the Passion accounts (the events leading up to, including, and immediately following the death of Jesus).

December 3

Review


Exercise in Discerning Synoptic texts 7


The Passion accounts (cont.)

Reading

  • Pertinent sections of commentaries on Mark 14-15, Matthew 26-27, Luke 22-23.
  • Pertinent materials from Brown, chapters 7-9.


Assignment

  • Identify some major similarities and differences among the three Gospels in relation to the Passion accounts (the events leading up to, including, and immediately following the death of Jesus).

Wednesday, December 5

Review


J. The Resurrection accounts


III. Conclusions


Reading

  • Pertinent sections of commentaries on Mark 16, Matthew 28, Luke 24.
  • Pertinent materials from Brown, chapters 7-9.


Assignment

  • Identify some major similarities and differences among the three Gospels in relation to the empty tomb and the resurrection appearances of Jesus.

December __

9 AM - 12 Noon

 FINAL EXAM

(covering material from the entire course, parts I and II)



This course presents students with an introduction to the New Testament in its social, cultural, and historical milieu, an opportunity to explore ways of reading New Testament texts, and a closer reading of the Synoptic Gospels.

This course is intended to develop skills in the careful, attentive reading of sacred Christian texts for theological understanding today and skills in being able to discuss and use the same with others.


This will include gaining the ability to identify important historical and cultural context markers, recognizing distinctives of Biblical materials, including Synoptic texts, differentiating important components of each Synoptic Gospel, analyzing a Gospel text for meaning, and assessing how to understand and use a Gospel text today.


The goal will be to challenge and stretch students in their acquisition of the tools for reading Christian texts and in using those tools to gain new insights from the texts. In order to develop these skills of analysis and communication, the course proposes to provide students with an opportunity to identify, discern, and discuss issues in the study of the three Synoptic Gospels: Mark, Matthew, and Luke, as well as an opportunity to explore contrasting approaches to the same issues (from scholars and members of the class).     


Students in the MDiv programme will also need to demonstrate by the end of the course how they have begun to develop skills for the use of these texts in preaching, teaching, and further theological formation in ministry., 

Description

Workload

The course will employ active learning technologies geared to the above objectives (rather than lectures geared to content retention). This will mean that most of the work will be done in preparing for the class and in class. Accordingly, the workload will be predominately student involvement and will include:

  • participation in class
  • readings (geared to class discussion)
  • quizzes and other in-class exercise
  • in-class writing exercises
  • mid-term and final exams


All class notes are available in the THO 3161 - 2018 folder on Google Drive.  (Students will be given direct access to this folder.) 

Evaluation

All elements of evaluation and review are designed to ensure that students are meeting the Objectives set forth for the course. The evaluations are designed and weighted to be cumulative (i.e., they seek to gauge appropriation of the Objectives in an ongoing fashion, rather than simply "at the end"). However, since there students from different degree programmes in the course, evaluations will differ.


MDiv
MTS
All others

In-class exercises and quizzes on the assigned readings and assignments: 50%

In-class exercises and quizzes on the assigned readings and assignments: 50%

In-class exercises and quizzes on the assigned readings and assignments: 50%

Mid-Term Exam (written - pastorally oriented questions): 20%
Mid-Term Exam (written): 20%
Mid-Term Exam (written): 20%


Final exam (written - pastorally oriented questions): 30%


(NB: Students who have been absent for more than 20% of classes are not eligible to write the Final Exam.)


Final exam (written): 30%



(NB: Students who have been absent for more than 20% of classes are not eligible to write the Final Exam.)

Final exam (written): 30%



(NB: Students who have been absent for more than 20% of classes are not eligible to write the Final Exam.)


Students are expected to follow all University and Faculty policies (including those on academic fraud and required class attendance). If you have any doubts about any of the policies, please consult HERE.

Required Reading (click on title to order from Amazon.ca or purchase used from another provider):


NB: I have found a great source of used books at THRIFTBOOKS. You may want to give it a try for texts for this course.... and for others!


Recommended Reading and/or WWW sites:

THO 3161  Introduction to the New Testament: Synoptic Gospels

Bibliography

What You Miss When You Take Notes on Your Laptop

L. Gregory Bloomquist

sola Dei gratia