Introduction to New Testament (3 cr.)
REL-A 220 #25785
The course provides an historical introduction to the collection of ancient Christian literature commonly called the New Testament. There are 27 writings in the New Testament, and we will treat each independently, as they were not all written by a single author but instead by a variety of early Christians, each of whom had their own approach to the “Christ event” and their own take on how to live the Christian life. While these works eventually became considered Scripture (often very soon after their composition) and thereby foundational to the directions of later Christian traditions, our investigation is limited to the religious and cultural contours of these writings within the historical context of the first and second century Mediterranean world. After an introduction to that context (which covers several aspects of ancient Judaism and the Roman Empire), our investigations focus on the various New Testament writings themselves. The course concludes with discussions about the “making” of the New Testament: since the writings within the New Testament only represent a fraction of the literature about Jesus Christ and the Christian life circulating around the ancient world, why were they selected to be in the New Testament and not others? We will explore the various processes that resulted in the canonization of these writings as the “New Testament.” The student should emerge from this course with a basic knowledge of the historical context of the New Testament writings as well as the basic religious and literary themes prevalent within them. The student can expect to read all 27 books of the New Testament as well as some other writings from ancient Christianity and some secondary literature (textbook and readings on Oncourse).
Beginning Summer 2011 & after: GenEd A&H, GenEd WC, CASE A&H, CASE GCC
Before Summer 2011: A&H, CSA, JS Religion & Thought