Religious Studies | Introduction to the New Testament
R220 | 10050 | Harrill

What we call the "New Testament" is not a single book but a
collection of writings reflecting different authors, literary
genres, and time periods.  This course introduces the historical-
critical study of this assorted literature in the context of the
ancient Jewish, Greco-Roman world that shaped its composition.  We
shall focus on the origins of the Christian movement and the
development of its beliefs, practices, and institutions in the first
and second centuries.  Highlights include the letters of the Apostle
Paul, the production of "gospels" about Jesus, and the emergence of
Christianity as religion separate from Judaism.  The primary source
is the New Testament itself, with due attention to non-Christian
sources from the same environment, as well as other early Christian
literature (such as apocryphal gospels, apostolic writings) outside
the biblical canon. The course goals are (1) to learn how to do
scholarly biblical interpretation; (2) to understand the historical
contexts and literary themes of each New Testament book; (3) to gain
historical knowledge of the political, social and religious world of
the first Christians and their churches.
Requirements: A midterm, a short (46 page) essay, and a final exam.
This course carries Culture Studies distribution credit.