Biblical Studies

100-Level

BA 101-102 Introductory Hebrew Grammar

Comprehensive introduction to the grammar of biblical Hebrew. Translation from Hebrew into English of selected Hebrew Bible passages.

NOTE: Students wishing to continue Hebrew after BA 101-102 are encouraged to use it, in consultation with the Professor, in all upper level Hebrew Scriptures courses. See also BA/BL 301-302(C. Mitchell)

BE 105-106 Beginning Greek

This course develops basic skills in reading Hellenistic Greek, the language most commonly spoken in the first century CE by people of the eastern Mediterranean world, including early Christians. Our approach to developing these skills is inductive: that is, with an actual New Testament text always in front of us, the Gospel of John, we work at uncovering the fundamental elements of the language. By the end of second term, we will have read our way completely through this gospel, and have identified resources to assist in reading other early Christian writings. (W. Richards)

BA 110 Introduction To The Jewish Bible I

BA 110 – Introduction to the Jewish Bible A study of the whole Jewish Bible from the perspective of its formation as a canon of scripture in postexilic Judaism. Can be taken face-to-face or online. (C. Mitchell)

BL 150 Biblical Introduction

This course aims at developing and broadening the skills of biblical interpretation. This goal is achieved by creating an awareness of the characteristics of biblical writings as texts which were formed in particular historical backgrounds, and which have been compiled, shaped, and passed on by the hand of Judean and Christian communities. During the course, the history of biblical interpretation will be studied, and a variety of contemporary interpretive approaches to the Bible will be examined and applied. Furthermore, formal guidelines will be given for writing an exegetical essay. (C. Eberhart)

BE 155-156 Introduction to Early Christian Scriptures I & II

This course invites a careful reading of all the New Testament writings, as well as some other examples of early Christian literature. The study begins by exploring the different kinds of literature early Christians wrote — letters, sayings-collections, etiologies, hymn-collections, apocalypses, and testimonies. The next set of texts for study illustrate how early Christians combined and edited such materials in shaping longer documents. Our literary concern is with appreciating the layers of meaning that have been created within the text in its present state, while our historical concern is with identifying the issues that their first Christian readers were having to face. BE 155 focuses on texts with the strongest links to Judaism (Mark, Matthew, James, the Didache, "Q"). BE 156 shifts the focus to those texts which more explicitly address a Gentile audience (Paul, John, Luke-Acts). (W. Richards)

BL 158 Introduction to the New Testament

As a natural continuation of BL 150 Biblical Introduction, this course will be devoted to a study of the contents of the New Testament Gospels, the Epistles, and the Revelation of John, as well as of other Early Christian literature. Based on contemporary interpretive approaches, this course will also offer a detailed examination of the historical, literary, theological, and pastoral aspects of these writings. (C. Eberhart)

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200-Level

BE 205 Advanced Greek I

Prerequisite: An introductory course in Greek

BE 205 focuses on readings from the four canonical Christian gospels as a way of reviewing features of Hellenistic Greek, expanding vocabulary, and appreciating the difference of styles among these early Christian authors. (W. Richards)

BE 206 Advanced Greek II

Prerequisite: an introductory course in Greek

This course focuses on readings from the Septuagint, Philo, Josephus, and extra-canonical early Christian writings as a way of appreciating grammatical and stylistic features of Hellenistic Greek not encountered in the New Testament. (W. Richards)

BA 221 The Pentateuch

Prerequisite: BA 110 or its equivalent

A study of Israel’s identifying story, its development, and the formation of the books of Genesis through Deuteronomy. The issues of pentateuchal criticism will be considered. The bulk of the time will be given to close consideration of an extended section. Topic may change from year to year. (C. Mitchell)

BA 226 The Prophetic Books Of The Hebrew Scriptures

Prerequisite: BA 110 or its equivalent

The origin and development of prophetic texts, and the formation of the prophetic canon(s). The bulk of the time will be given to close consideration of a part of the prophetic canon. Topic may change from year to year. (C. Mitchell)

BA 229 Feminist Exegesis Of The Hebrew Scriptures

Prerequisite: BA 110 or its equivalent

The concerns of feminist critique, and the development of feminist biblical criticism. The bulk of the time will be given to a close consideration of a book or extended section, using the tools of exegesis and the lens of feminist concerns. Topic may change from year to year. (C. Mitchell)

BE 271 Paul's Corinthian Correspondence

Prerequisite: BE 155/156 or its equivalent

The extent of Paul’s Corinthian correspondence allows for a fuller study of the social conditions and concerns operative in this first-century Christian community. We give special attention to the way Paul addressed its social ethos. We also examine how the form and rhetoric of his language were taken over some forty years later in a letter Roman Christians addressed to the Corinthian fellowship, 1 Clement. Assignments will focus on exercises that interpret issues in the early Corinthian community to the contemporary. (W. Richards)

BE 273 Paul's Macedonian Correspondence

Prerequisite: BE 155/156 or its equivalent

Though Paul corresponded with two Christian communities in the imperial province of Macedonia, the civic conditions of Thessalonika and Philippi were very different. His “Macedonian correspondence” thus offers us an opportunity to compare the different kinds of conflict these Christians were facing in their respective communities, and how Paul counselled them. Correspondence from the second, Century writer, Polycarp, with the Philippians also provides a check, in on one of the communities a few decades later. Paul’s Macedonian correspondence also illustrates how his letters were edited and augmented as the next generation of Pauline Christians began collecting them. Assignments will focus on exercises that interpret issues of conflict in early Macedonian communities to the contemporary church. (W. Richards)

BL 275 Exegesis of Romans

This course will be devoted to a detailed examination of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans by looking at its historical, literary, theological, and pastoral aspects. Together we will discover why the longest of Paul’s writings has been regarded as the “principal and most excellent part of the New Testament” by William Tyndale, and has been placed at the heart of theological concepts by many scholars, among them Martin Luther. (C. Eberhart)

BL 278 Atonement, Sacrifice, Christology

This course will be devoted to a detailed examination of the Ancient Jewish and Christian understanding of atonement and sacrifice. Its goal is to achieve a fuller grasp of the Christological ramifications and especially of the concept of the “sacrifice of Jesus.” (C. Eberhart)

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300-Level

BA 301-302 Continuing Reading in the Hebrew Bible

Prerequisite: BA 101-102 or its equivalent

Reading of biblical Hebrew prose to improve speed and comprehension. Normally a two-semester sequence (equivalent to U of S Hebrew 201.6), but may be taken for one semester by arrangement with the instructor. (C. Mitchell)

BA 328/378 Inner-Sacrifice and Atonement

This course will be devoted to a comprehensive examination of the Israelite/Judean and Christian understanding of atonement and sacrifice. We will study in depth most of the relevant Old Testament Levitical writings, texts from the Prophets, and also Dead Sea Scrolls (Qumran) and Rabbinic writings. We will thus develop a solid basis for a detailed investigation of New Testament atonement concepts and their Christological ramifications.

In particular, this course aims at studying and assessing the very center of Israelite/Judaean worship which, according to many, was occupied by an institution of annihilation of life. We will attempt to re-evaluate this opinion and, to some degree, rehabilitate the institution of sacrifice in Israelite/Judaean worship. We will then consider the meaning of New Testament sacrificial metaphors in order to broaden our perception of New Testament soteriology by recognizing a salvific dimension not only in the death of Jesus, but also in his life. (C. Mitchell)

BA 329 Inner-biblical Interpretation

Prerequisite: BA 110 and either a 200-level course in Hebrew Scriptures or BL 150, or equivalent

An examination of the interrelationships between texts in the Hebrew Bible. Various theories and models will be studied, followed by an in-depth analysis of a particular biblical book (or part of a book) and its relationships to other biblical texts.

BA 340 Reading And Research: Hebrew Scriptures

Prerequisite: one 200 level course in Hebrew Scriptures

Special tutorials designated for senior students in consultation with their professor. (C. Mitchell)

BA 349 Thesis Writing: Hebrew Scriptures

To allow time for thesis writing, a student preparing a thesis will register for a Reading and Research course in the appropriate area. Credit for this course may be given whether or not the thesis is approved. (C. Mitchell)

BL 350 Biblical Theology

This course is an effort of (re-)constructing the faith of the religious communities whose legacy is the Christian Bible in its two parts, the Old and the New Testament. As such, the course will also discuss the image of God conveyed in this faith. Biblical writings are, however, never straight-forward developments of this faith, but rather texts addressing a variety of needs and concerns, and date from different places and historical periods. Therefore the course will pay special attention to how certain aspects of faith, as well as the image of God as such have evolved throughout biblical traditions. (C. Eberhart)

PA 389MTS Capstone (1 cr)

In this 1-credit concluding course, MTS students will work with their faculty advisor to prepare a case study that integrates the knowledge and skills from a variety of theological disciplines. Normally taken in the las

BA 399 Thesis Writing: Christian Scriptures

To allow time for thesis writing, a student preparing a thesis will register for a Reading and Research course in the appropriate area. Credit for this course may be given whether or not the thesis is approved. (C. Mitchell)

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400-Level

BU 400 Graduate Seminar: Method In Biblical Studies

Prerequisite: introductory courses in Hebrew Bible and New Testament, at least one 200-level and one 300-level Bible course, or approved equivalents to these, at least one introductory level biblical language.

This course is designed to give the graduate student an adequate understanding of current methodological discussion in biblical studies. The emphasis will be on methods which have been developed recently, or which have undergone major change in recent times. More traditional methods, which the student should already have encountered in exegesis courses, will also be reviewed. (C. Mitchell)

BE 451 History and Historiography in Christianity's First Century

Prerequisite: graduate standing

This course begins with a study of major genre options available at the end of the first century CE for early Christian writers considering the needs of their communities: history, epic, and romance. The study then leads into a discussion of the nature of the historiography of Luke-Acts, under the following particular topics: the use of sources; the composition of speeches, correspondence, and travelogue to add vitality to narrative; the force of circumstance at the time of writing; signs of the personal and class prejudices of the historian. The study aims at cultivating a sensitivity to the extent to which Luke-Acts can be read as a source for first-century Christianity events, as well as at developing an appreciation of the art and craft of the work on its own terms. (W. Richards)

 

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