CLAS 210 Fall 2014 The New Testament: Purpose, History and Method (W)

Cross Listed as COMP213, REL210
The New Testament is the most important collection of documents in the Christian religion. This course offers overviews and discussions of the origin and purpose of the writings, their influence throughout history, and the development of methods of readings of the texts. We start with the origin of the writings before they became collected into the New Testament, and ask: what forms of writings (genres) in Greco-Roman culture were available to the authors of the new scriptures, and how they were used for the purpose of shaping faith in Jesus Christ and creating communities? Why just these scriptures were included, and not others, for instance, the Gospel of Thomas, is another much discussed question. The impact of the New Testament writings upon society is a problematic history; for instance, they have been used to support negative attitudes to Jews, women and homosexuals. This raises the issue of how to read the New Testament. There are many different ways of reading the New Testament; perhaps the most common way to read it is as Scripture, important for one's religious faith. In this course, however, we will focus on scholarly and academic readings of the New Testament. But they, too, have gone through many changes, influenced by contemporary methods, e.g. historical-critical ones in the 19th and into 20th century, more recently, by literary, feminist and post-colonial readings. Through extensive readings of New Testament writings in their cultural and historical context, documentations of their use in history, and recent theories of interpretation, the aim is to gain an independent position on the New Testament as a historical and religious document.
Class Format: lecture/discussion
Requirements/Evaluation: one class presentation; three 3-page papers, one 5- to 7-page paper, and a final paper (15 pages)
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Prerequisites: none; open to all classes
Enrollment Preference: sophomores
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Distribution Notes: meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under REL; meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under CLAS or COMP
Divisional Attributes: Division I, Writing Intensive
Other Attributes: REL Christian Tradition Courses
Enrollment Limit: 19
Expected Enrollment: 10
Class Number: 1730
CLAS 210 - 01 (F) SEM The New Testament (W) Division 1: Languages and the ArtsWriting Intensive Halvor Moxnes
TR 11:20 AM-12:35 PM Greylock Makepeace 1730
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