Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:
1. Account for the foreign and sometimes difficult structure of
2. Distinguish between the assumptions and hermeneutic techniques of
traditional biblical exegesis and the methodology and conclusions of
modern biblical criticism.
3. Delineate critically and aesthetically the distinctive portraits of
the life and teachings of Jesus in the Gospel accounts.
4. Describe and explain the contribution of Paul to the growth of the
early Church over and against the complex cultural background of the
Hellenistic Roman world.
5. Discuss the centrality of the contemporary quest of the historical
Jesus in the development of modern biblical criticism.
6. Describe the connection between Orthodox and Gnostic Christianity
and the process of scriptural canonization.
1. Contrasting Traditional and Modern critical understandings of Old
Testament prophecy: Reading the prophet against the background of
his own time and circumstances.
2. The historical and socio-political evolution of prophecy.
a. I Isaiah and the Assyrian crisis
b. II Isaiah and the Persian Conquest
c. Cyrus the "messiah"
3. Persian Zoroastrian dualism and Yahwist monotheism: Job.
4. The Greek conquest and the nature of Hellenism: Hellenism and
Judaism: the Septuagint Bible.
5. Antiochus and the Maccabean Revolt; the Sages and the roots of
6. Daniel and the birth of Apocalyptic Eschatology.
7. The development of Roman dominance: Jerusalem at the time of Jesus:
Political and Social topography.
8. Introduction to the problems related to the quest of the historical
Jesus. Tracing Q and the Gospel of Thomas and the Two/Four Source
theory; Form Criticism and Redaction Criticism and what these tell
us about the transmission of information relating to Jesus.
9. The growth of the Early Church: Palestinian, Hellenistic Jewish
Mission and Gentile Christianity.
10. The social and religious background of the Greco-Roman world.
11. Paul, his definition of Christianity referring to Thessalonians,
Romans, Gelatians and the Corinthian correspondence.
12. Returning to the Quest of the Historical Jesus: deciphering the
authentic teachings of Jesus within the Synoptic Gospels and the
oral and written traditions of the Early Church: determining the
criteria for authenticity: the proclamation of the the Kingdom of
God: Jesus' use of aphorisms and parables, describing the emerging
image of the historical Jesus.
13. Applying critical method to key New Testament texts: investigation
the historic anti-Judaism of the New Testament hermeneutic: exploring
the rise of Christian clericism and orthodoxy and its hermeneutic.
14. Reviewing the relationship between rabbinic Judaism and the early
church in the period following the destruction of Jerusalem.
15. Tracing the roots of Christian Gnosticism; the Gospel of Thomas; the
Johannine Tradition; The Gospel of John and Gnosticism.
16. The process of New Testament canonization.
Assignments for Humanities 10.2 include the following:
1. Regular reading assignments of 40-70 pages per week from course texts.
2. Critical response essays of 2-3 pages which will interpret and
evaluate biblical texts and integrate the observations of contemporary
New Testment scholarship.
3. One or more midterm examinations based on individual units, e.g. the
Gospels and Pauline Literature.
4. A final examination based on classroom lecture/discussion and the
critical text book for the course.
5. A research paper of 5-7 pages requiring the student to report and
evaluate 3 or more scholarly interpretations of a biblical passage.
NEW ENGLISH BIBLE (or its equivalent).
THE NEW TESTAMENT: AN INTRODUCTION by N. Perrin and D. Duling,
3rd ed., Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1994.
NEW TESTAMENT FUNDAMENTALS by Stevan L. Davies, Polebridge Press, 1994.
THE ACTS OF JESUS by Robert W. Funk and THE JESUS SEMINAR, Polebridge
Press and Harper San Francisco, 1998.
NEW TESTAMENT STORY: AN INTRODUCTION, David L. Barr, 3rd ed.,