REL 210
The New Testament: Purpose, History and Method Fall 2014
Division II Writing Skills
Cross-listed CLAS 210 / COMP 213 / REL 210
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

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.
The Class: Format: lecture/discussion
Limit: 19
Expected: 10
Class#: 1729
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: one class presentation; three 3-page papers, one 5- to 7-page paper, and a final paper (15 pages)
Prerequisites: none; open to all classes
Enrollment Preferences: sophomores
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
Notes: meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under REL; meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under CLAS or COMP
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
CLAS 210 Division II COMP 213 Division I REL 210 Division II
Attributes: REL Christian Tradition Courses

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