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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Undergraduate Course: The New Testament in its World (DIVI07009)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 7 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course provides students with an introduction to the key sources, tools, and issues in the study of the New Testament in its immediate Jewish context, and its broader setting in the Greco-Roman world.

Course description Academic Description:
The course will appeal to all those within Christian churches, whether lay or ordained, who are interested in the historical study of the New Testament. The course will provide students with an entry-level introduction to the key sources, tools, and issues in the study of the New Testament in its immediate Jewish context, and its broader setting in the Greco-Roman world. Students will become familiar with the content of the New Testament as well as a variety of ancient sources which illuminate its context. Students will be equipped with essential tools for reading the biblical text in its cultural, religious and historical context. Students will also become familiar with the key issues and themes in the study of the New Testament through exposure to major scholarship in the field. The goal is for students to leave the course with a fresh understanding of the complicated and vibrant ancient world lying behind the words of the New Testament.

Syllabus/Outline Content:
The course will begin with an introduction to the history and culture of the Greco-Roman world; and within that world, the history, beliefs and practices of Second Temple Judaism. It will then introduce the books of the New Testament and the essential tools for situating the NT in its historical context. From there, NT passages will provide windows to key themes and issues of its day: messianism; eschatology; the Temple; Jew-Gentile relations; the Roman Empire; scriptural interpretation; ethics. Each theme/issue will also include a brief survey of major scholarship on the subject.

Student Learning Experience Information:
The course will be delivered in a variety of ways, consisting of short lectures and discussion based on set readings, to be read by the student in preparation for each class. Its primary focus is on equipping students with the knowledge and skills to read the New Testament with informed understanding. The experience and insights of those taking the course will be drawn upon throughout, and a peer-learning supportive 'network' encouraged.

If the student is taking the course for credit, there will be two assessed short essays that will demonstrate that the learning outcomes have been achieved. The project may also be completed for feedback by those not seeking credit.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking The New Testament in its World (THET07005)
Other requirements None
Additional Costs The course fee will be £200 per student, whether taking the course for credit or not, following the fee levels and policy of the Centre for Open Learning.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Develop an awareness of the content of the New Testament in relation to its context in the ancient world.
  2. Identify key themes and issues in the study of the New Testament in its historical context.
  3. Develop strategies for reading the New Testament informed by its historical and cultural setting.
  4. Become familiar with some important ancient texts which inform understanding of the New Testament.
  5. Gain an awareness of some of the key debates and questions about situating the New Testament in its historical context.
Reading List
Indicative Bibliography:

Allison, Dale C. Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 1998.

Aune, David. The New Testament in its Literary Environment. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster, 1989.

Barrett, C. K. The New Testament Background: Selected Documents. London: SPCK, 1956; repr. New York, NY: Harper, 1961.

Charlesworth, James H. The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. 2 vols. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1983-1985.

Cohen, Shaye J. D. From the Maccbees to the Mishnah. 2nd ed. Lousiville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2006.

Collins, John J. The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to Jewish Apocalyptic Literature. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998.

Ehrman, Bart. A Brief Introduction to the New Testament. 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.

Fredriksen, Paula. From Jesus to Christ: The Origins of the New Testament Images of Jesus. 2nd ed. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000.

Fredriksen, Paula. When Christians Were Jews: The First Generation. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2018.

Hayes, Christine. What's Divine about Divine Law?: Early Perspectives. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017.

Himmelfarb, Martha. Kingdom of Priests: Ancestry and Merit in Ancient Judaism. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006.

Mason, Steve. Josephus and the New Testament. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1992.

Metzger, Bruce M. and Roland E. Murphy. The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books: New Revised Standard Version. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991.

Porter, Stanley E. Dictionary of Biblical Criticism and Interpretation. London: Taylor & Francis, 2006.

Sanders, E. P. 'Jerusalem and Its Temple in Early Christian Thought and Practice'. In Jerusalem: Its Sanctity and Centrality to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Edited by Lee Levine. New York, NY: Continuum, 1999, 90-103.

Steiner, Margreet. 'The Archaeology of Ancient Jerusalem'. Currents in Research: Biblical Studies 6 (1998): 143-168.

Spivey, Robert A., D. Moody Smith and C. Clifton Black, Anatomy of the New Testament: A Guide to its Structure and Meaning. 8th ed. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2019.

Vermes, Geza. The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English. London: Allen Lane, 1997.

Vermes, Geza. Jesus the Jew: A Historian's Reading of the Gospels. Philadelphia, PA: Fortress, 1973.

Vermes, Geza. Who's Who in the Age of Jesus. New York, NY: Penguin, 2006.

Whiston, William. The Works of Josephus. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1987.

Yonge, C. D. The Works of Philo. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1993.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Susan Hardman Moore
Tel: (0131 6)50 8900
Course secretary
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