Dates: September 13, 2021 - December 17, 2021 on Wednesdays
Time: 6:00 pm for 3 hours
To introduce students to a critical study of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) and related literature (for example, the Gospel of Thomas) and the issues entailed in interpreting them in their ancient context and appropriating their meaning for multiple contemporary contexts. Students will begin by addressing the critical and theological issues that arise from reading the Synoptic Gospels as historically‑rooted texts. They will gain an acquaintance with various literary genres that constitute the Synoptic tradition, be introduced to the characteristic theology of each Gospel and begin to demonstrate an ability to engage the Gospels critically. They will learn to grow in awareness of their own pre-understanding and how contemporary context shapes interpretation of biblical texts as well as the ways in which biblical texts invite us to interpret and live in our contexts.
Additionally, class time will be given to a brief introduction and resources to learn the Greek alphabet with a view to working with lexicographical and exegetical tools. By the end of term students will be able to identify and distinguish the characteristic features of each Gospel, articulate a theology of critically informed biblical study, and demonstrate skill commensurate with an introductory graduate level of scholarly engagement in the uses of tools of exegesis and interpretation.
As this is not a course in the quest for the historical Jesus, the main focus of the course is on the appropriation of memories associated with Jesus as well as traditions arising from him to recognize the various uses of history, memory, tradition, and theology in the complex social matrices in which earliest Christianity began to emerge. The course invites us to consider the ways in which the Gospel portraits of Jesus become avenues for the proclamation, life and witness of the church, and for those outside the Christian tradition, the ways that these Gospels can function as resources for other religious traditions.
Available by Distance
Both synchronous & asynchronous