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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Undergraduate Course: The Gospels (DIVI10058)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryAdvanced study of the canonical Gospels as to their respective emphases, structure and likely purposes, with attention also to extra-canonical (apocryphal) gospels. Selected passages of a given canonical Gospel will be given more in-depth attention.
Course description Academic Description:
The course aims to provide students with a detailed understanding of a range of early Christian texts known as gospels. In order to achieve this the course offers a discussion of the definitional and conceptual issues around classifying texts as gospels. Here there will be close interaction with relevant scholarly debates. Individual gospel texts will be studied to analyse their distinctive emphases and features, with particular attention given to any significant theological perspectives. The course will also provide a detailed analysis of the major hypotheses that have been advanced to account for the so-called synoptic problem, as well as assessing the relationship of other gospel texts to the three synoptic gospels.

Syllabus/Outline Content:
The course will cover theoretical issues in the field, as well as offering an historical survey of selected biblical texts. Typically there will be a focus on one of the synoptic gospels in order to provide a major in depth analysis of a specific text. At least one lecture will be devoted to the synoptic problem and the relationship of John's Gospel and various non-canonical gospels to the three synoptic gospels. There will also be reference to text critical issues, in order to discuss the stability and variability of early Christian gospel texts.

Student Learning Experience Information:
The course has a weekly programme of a two-hour meeting. This is divided into a lecture in the first half of the session and a seminar in the second half where students discuss the readings set for each week. Each week student will hand in a summary of their assigned reading for that session (600-800 words). The course essay of 2000 words will be based on a topic of the student's own devising. The topic will be submitted in advance with an essay plan and indicative bibliography: this will be returned as the formative feedback for the course. There is a final examination which will provide a global assessment of the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking The Gospels (BIST10008)
Other requirements Students who have previously taken the following course MUST NOT enroll: The Gospels (BIST10008)
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Divinity/Religious Studies courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the variety of literary genres covered by the term gospel.
  2. Account for the different theological emphases in a variety of early Christian gospels.
  3. Identify the specific features of a range of gospel documents from the first and second centuries.
  4. Provide an account of the major theories that have been advanced to explain the synoptic problem and the relationships with non-synoptic gospels.
  5. Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of one or more early Christian gospel.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Independence of mind and initiative
- Commitment to lifelong learning
- Analytical ability and the capacity to formulate questions and solve problems
- Writing skills, including clear expression and citing relevant evidence
Keywordsgospels,early christianity,biblical texts
Course organiserProf Paul Foster
Tel: (0131 6)50 8917
Course secretaryMiss Rachel Dutton
Tel: (0131 6)50 7227
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