L. Gregory Bloomquist

sola Dei gratia

All elements of evaluation and review are designed to ensure that students are meeting the Learning Outcomes set forth for the course. The evaluations are designed and weighted to be cumulative (i.e., they seek to gauge appropriation of the Outcomes  in an ongoing fashion, rather than simply "at the end").

  • In-class exercises and quizzes are intended to assure that students have read the material before class in order to be able to identify and recognize main features of Pauline texts, developments in Paul's theology, influences on Pauline thought: 30%
  • Extended Quiz on Critical Issues for the study of Paul is intended to build on the initial introductory classes to show that students have mastered the material assessed in individual quizzes regarding Paul's world, influences on Paul, subsequent use of Paul's letters and theology, and initial issues arising from Paul's letters to the Thessalonians and the Corinthians : 20%
  • Exegetical paper / Ministry reflection is intended to allow BA level students to demonstrate critical thinking and communication skills and for all students to assess students ability to identify a specific issue in Paul's letters or theology, their ability to assess a specific issue critically, or in the case of MDiv students to show their ability to use Paul's letters and theology for ministry and leadership purposes: 25%
  • Final exam (written) is intended to provide a summative moment for assessing achievement of the several outcomes of the course: 25%

Please see the GRADING SCALE for information on what grades mean in this class, especially regarding the paper / reflection.

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 focus on student involvement.

THO 4102 Pauline Literature


“[The] man who did more than anyone else in his time to lead people to see what Jesus Christ meant for the world” (Raymond Brown)

The Faculty reminds students that they do not automatically have permission to record any course, including this one. Students only have permission to record a course in any form if they are given permission by the professor.

Learning Outcomes

A course designed to present students with material for theological reflection on the letters of Paul and their theology.

Course Calendar

For all important academic dates at SPU and UOttawa, see HERE.


9 AM - 12 PM

 GIG 123


January 8

Introduction to the course

General Issues in Paul's Life and Theology


Brown, chapter 16 (pp. 422-445). See also Brown, chapter 17 (pp. 446-455)

NB: You should read this material some time after this first class.

January 15

The world of Paul

Review material on the world of the 1st century can be found in Brown, chapters  4-5 (pp. 55-96)

Imagine and describe to your satisfaction the main features of the Roman world of Paul and Paul's place and action within that world. (Please write this up and be prepared to hand it in at the end of class.)

January 22

Part 1: The letters of Paul

Part 2: The Thessalonian Correspondence

2 Thessalonians

1 Thessalonians

Brown, chapter 15 (pp. 409-421), chapter 18 (pp. 456-466), chapter 25 (pp. 585-589), and chapter 26 (pp. 590-598)


Part 1: Following the notes, write your own Greek private letter with a proper letter opening, thanksgiving, body, and letter closing. (Please write this up and be prepared to hand it in at the end of class.) You should be prepared to discuss your "letter" in class, including the philosophy behind it.

Part 2: Make sure that you can identify the letter parts of 1 and 2 Thessalonians and consider the proposed sequence for Paul's relationship with the Thessalonians according to Brown and according to Bloomquist.

January 29

Part 1: The Thessalonian correspondence (cont.)

Part 2: The Corinthian Correspondence

1 Corinthians

2 Corinthians

Brown, chapter 22 (pp. 511-540) and chapter 23 (pp. 541-558)


Part 1: What are the theological implications of Paul' letters to the Thessalonians as his first letters? What are the theological implications of the difference between these letters and other NT literature (Gospels, Acts, Revelation / Apocalypse, other non-Pauline letters)?

Part 2: Make sure that you can identify the letter parts of 1 and 2 Corinthians and consider the proposed sequence for Paul's relationship with the Corinthians.

NB: February 2 = Last day to withdraw from a course/activity and obtain a 100% financial credit

February 5

The Corinthian Corresopndence (cont.)


Determine the main issues addressed by Paul in 1 and 2 Corinthians.

February 12

9 - 10.15

The Debate:

Paul and the Pauline Team


the Corinthians

10.45 - 12 PM
Extended Quiz:
Critical Issues in the study of Paul

(material read and discussed January 8 - February 5)

February 19

Reading Week
No Class

February 26

Philippians / Philemon

Brown, chapters 20, 21 (pp. 483-510)


In what ways are Paul's letters to Philemon and to the Philippians different in tone and in content from 1 and 2 Corinthians? What are some reasons for the differences? Be specific.

By the beginning of class (February 26), students must submit in written form the topic of their proposed research assignment / ministry reflection, including a brief overview of the breadth of their study / reflection. (For a template, see HERE.) The adequacy of this research proposal will form part of the grade for the research / reflection paper.

March 5

Colossians and Ephesians

Brown, chapters 27, 28 (pp. 599-637)


These two letters are normally considered pseudonymous. Identify reasons for agreeing and for disagreeing with that assumption.

If these two letters are authentic and later in Paul's apostolic ministry, what has changed between the earliest letters of Paul and these?

March 12


Brown, chapter 19 (pp. 467-482)


As with the Corinthian debate, please ensure that you understand what it is that Paul finds the Galatians doing that he disagrees with.

Why is Paul's language so fierce in this letter?

March 18

Holy Land Archaeology: Where the Past Meets the Present

Dr. Carol Meyers (Duke University)

7.30 PM

Carleton University

March 19

Brown, chapter 24 (pp. 559-584)


Ensure that you understand the letter to the Romans using Brown as a guide (in particular, the outline Summary on p. 560)

What do you understand by Paul's use of the word translated "justification" or "righteousness" (dikaiosune)?

NB: March 23 = Last day to withdraw from a course/activity with NO financial credit

March 26

Pastoral Letters
(1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus)

Brown, chapters 29, 30, 31 (pp. 638-680)


Identify the primary differences and the primary similarities between the Pastoral Letters and the acknowledged, authentic letters of Paul.

April 2

Easter Monday

No Class

Due no later than Friday, April 6 (5 PM)
Exegetical Paper / Ministry Reflection due

April 9

Paul, the Letters of Paul, and the theological use of Paul's letters today

Re-read Brown, chapter 17 (pp. 446-455)


Prepare to present a brief, personal overview of what you have learned in this course and how you believe Paul's letters should be used in theological reflection in the church. (This overview should include highlights of what you have learned, as well as conclusions and questions that you have at the end of the course.)

April 16

Final exam


Required Reading (click on title to order or purchase in a form that you wish)
  • Bible (any Bible that is not a paraphrase is acceptable, e.g., New Revised Standard Bible, Catholic Study Bible)
  • Raymond E. Brown, An Introduction to the New Testament (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1997)
  • Other commentaries on the Pauline letters. (Please consult the Bibliographies at the end of chapters in Brown, Introduction, as listed below in the Calendar.)

Further Suggested Reading and/or WWW sites

General Resources

Class Notes

  • All class notes will be available in the THO 4102-2018 folder on Google Drive.  For access to this folder, please contact Prof Bloomquist.


Learning Outcomes: All students
  • Students will be able to identify and recognize the main features of Paul's world and of Pauline texts in some detail
  • Students will be able to identify stages in the development of Paul's theology, and to identify some important influences on Pauline thought
  • Students will be able to discuss the use to which Pauline literature and theology can be put in the Church today    

Learning Outcomes: MDiv (ATS)
  • Students will be able to use a more refined critical knowledge and understanding of Scripture to interpret the Pauline texts (including textual study, historical development, and methods of interpretation)
  • Students will be able to show how to put into practice the Pauline texts and their theology for ministerial and public leadership (especially in areas of preaching and catechesis)
  • Students will be able to evaluate questions about the relationships between study of Pauline texts and implications for spiritual growth and authentic Christian moral life.

Learning Outcomes: MTS (ATS) and BA
  • Students will be able to demonstrate the value of Pauline texts and theology for a better understanding of the Catholic tradition and the tradition of other churches
  • Students will be able to employ Pauline texts and theology in order to think theologically (especially by interrelating Scripture with other disciplines, perspectives, and methods)
  • Students will be able to evaluate questions about the relationships between Scripture study, spiritual growth, and authentic Christian moral life.
  • Students will use critical thinking and develop communication skills to study and use Pauline texts and theology. (BA students only)