Religious Studies | Introduction to the New Testament
R220 | 26965 | Harrill

The above course carries Culture Studies (A) and Arts and Humanities

This course introduces students to the historical study of earliest
Christianity as found in the writings that we call the "New
Testament."  The New Testament is a collection of different books by
various authors, not a single book.  After a brief look at the
religious and social environment of the first century, we will
examine the earliest surviving Christian writings (the letters of
Paul), the production of "gospels" about Jesus, and the history of
the early churches.  Students will read the entire New Testament, as
well as some so-called lost gospels.  No background is presupposed.

This course contributes to a liberal arts education by introducing a
culture and ideas different from those in modern times, developing
important critical thinking and writing skills, and increasing
knowledge of important foundational texts of Western civilization.

Course Objectives and Evaluation:
At the end of the course, the student should have acquired a basic
knowledge of
末the social and religious environment of Christian origins
末Paul's career, thought, and communities
末the diverse images of Jesus and his followers found in the Gospels
末how institutional Christianity emerged
末the historical context and basic themes of each New Testament
Students' performance will be evaluated on the basis of their
knowledge of the above information as presented in lectures,
discussion meetings, and the textbooks.


1.  The HarperCollins Study Bible, Revised Edition.  Edited by H. W.
Attridge and W. A. Meeks et al. San Francisco: HarperCollins, 2006.
2.  Bart D. Ehrman, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to
the Early Christian Writings, 3rd ed.  New York: Oxford University
Press, 2004.
3.  Burton H. Throckmorton, Jr., Gospel Parallels: A Comparison of
the Synoptic Gospels, 5th ed.  Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1992.
4.  Michael Joseph Brown, What They Don稚 Tell You: A Survivor痴
Guide to Biblical Studies.  Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2000.

Occasional weekly assignments, one essay (5-6 pages), 2 tests, final