NT502: Syllabus Interpreting the New Testament Fall, 2014

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1 NT502: Syllabus Interpreting the New Testament Fall, 2014 Instructor: Dr. Rollin G. Grams Class Dates: Sept ; Oct ; Nov Class Times: Friday, 6:30 9:30; Saturday, 8:30 4:30 Course Description: Give a person a fish, and he or she will eat for a day; teach a person to fish, and he or she will eat for a lifetime. This course is all about learning to interpret the New Testament. It is an introduction to issues, methods and tools for interpreting the New Testament in preparation for further courses in New Testament studies and for ministry of the Word of God. Attention will be given to the various tasks of theology (the exegetical, Biblical theological, convictional, and pragmatic tasks) and other hermeneutical issues, yet the focus of this course is on the exegetical task. Familiarity with and facility in behind-the-text, in-thetext, and in-front-of-the-text methods of interpretation form a major part of this course, and time will be spent in class demonstrating how to use these methods in interpretating the New Testament. The course assignments are designed to train students in some of the more basic and essential methods of New Testament exegesis. The course also functions to prepare students for Biblically focused research in both primary and secondary literature. Thus students will need to spend considerable time in a theological library for this course. (Electronic and online resources will also be very helpful.) While lectures attend to the history, methods and theory of interpretation, students will apply some of these in assignments designed to teach them how to engage in primary source research for New Testament studies. Students will especially explore the following exegetical methods/issues as they exegete 1 Cor : intertextuality, the historical-cultural context (primary sources), textual criticism, sentence diagramming, grammatical and lexical research, word studies, evaluation of commentaries and other good practices in research, and the use of Scripture for theology and ethics. Through such studies, students learn to write an exegesis paper that prepares them for ministry of the Word of God. Pre-Requisites and Relation to the Curriculum: Students must have completed or be concurrently enrolled in Greek II to take this course. If there has been a period of one semester or more since taking Greek II (not 1

2 including the summer), a competency quiz must be taken prior to enrollment and passed at 75% or above. Students must complete New Testament Survey prior to taking this course (knowledge of the NT is a critical tool for interpreting it). Interpreting the NT is a pre-requisite for NT exegesis courses, in which skills of interpretation will be honed for different genres. Basic skills in research and writing are assumed so that the course may focus on acquiring new skills in primary source research and in applying key methodologies for New Testament studies. This course is taught from the perspective that Scripture is God s Word. Therefore, interpretation is understood primarily as what we do to hear Scripture through exegesis. However, we will also consider hermeneutical and Biblical theological issues. Course Textbooks Greg Beale, Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament: Exegesis and Interpretation (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2012). ISBN: or Use for NT Use of the OT exegetical work. Craig Evans, Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies: A Guide to the Background Literature (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2005). ISBN: Use for NT in its Historical and Cultural Context work. Gordon D. Fee, New Testament Exegesis: A Handbook for Students and Pastors (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox, 2004). ISBN-10: ; ISBN-13: Use for Textual Criticism, Word Studies, Grammatical Studies, Sentence Flow, NT in its Historical and Cultural Context. Everett Ferguson, Backgrounds of Early Christianity, 3rd edition (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003). ISBN-10: ; ISBN-13: Use for NT in its Historical and Cultural Context. Rollin Grams and Mark Poe, Internet Resources for Biblical and Early Church Studies, 3 rd edition (2010). Available online at Use for NT in its Historical and Cultural Context work. Wegner, Paul. Textual Criticism of the Bible. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic,

3 ISBN-10: Use for NT Textual Criticism. Some Further Resources of Note Blomberg, Craig with Jennifer Foutz Markley. A Handbook of New Testament Exegesis Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, Comfort, Philip W. New Testament Text and Translation Commentary. Tyndale House Pub., Grams, Rollin. Research and Writing for Biblical Studies (available on Sakai). Grams, Rollin and Mark Poe. Internet Research for Biblical and Early Church Studies (available through the Robert C. Cooley Center for the Study of Early Christianity: ECStudies-3rded.pdf). Osborne, Grant R. The Hermeneutical Spiral: A Comprehensive Introduction to Biblical Interpretation, 2nd edition. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, ISBN-10: ; ISBN-13: Wegner, Paul D., A Student s Guide to Textual Criticism of the Bible: Its History, Methods, and Results (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006) Course Objectives: 1. Students will become comfortable with the issues, methods, and tools needed for New Testament interpretation (particularly exegesis and New Testament theology). They will demonstrate their ability to apply some of these to their study of the New Testament, and these exercises will prepare students for further courses in exegesis as well as for ministries of preaching and teaching. 2. Students will be introduced to hermeneutical issues such as: interpretation particular to specific genre, development of the New Testament canon, history of interpretation, levels of meaning, theological exegesis, unity and diversity of Scripture, tradition enquiry, contextualization, ethics of interpretation, and the use of the Bible in the Church today. This should prepare students for lively discussions in ministry contexts as they pertain to the use and hearing of the New Testament. 3. Students will gain facility in primary source research. They will be introduced to tools and methods for New Testament research. This will enable them to understand the more academic commentaries on the market and prepare them to engage in the same level of research. The course trains students to this level of academics primarily for the purpose of ministry, whether preparation for preaching, counselling, teaching, or serving on a Church committee exploring a difficult issue facing the Church. 4. Students will learn what is available online, what computer programmes offer, and what a traditional library still offers to students for Biblical studies. 3

4 Course Delivery: This course is progressively being flipped that is, lectures are being put onto narrated PowerPoints while class time is used for tutorials, discussion, and group research. Expect to listen to lectures (posted on Sakai) outside of class. The course outline is flexible due to this process of changing what is taught in class and outside of class (see possible outline, below). One goal in this course is to have all students fully engaged. Thus, students are encouraged to ask questions and interact with others in the discussion times. Those for whom this comes easily should be sensitive to the concern to have others engage in the course as well. Students need to use all the textbooks in this course as they work through methods and tools for exegesis. If resources are listed in a textbook that relate to an assignment, the student should show that he or she has used these (e.g., the lexicons, grammars, and theological word dictionaries listed in G. Fee and/or in class). Students will work on a series of short papers that comprise an exegesis paper during the course, which is why a single passage is in focus throughout the course (on a single passage: 1 Cor ). Course Time and Assignments Suggesting the time that assignments might take to complete is not a science! In this course, sometimes students hit the jackpot with resources while others spend numerous additional hours trying to find resources. A good part of this course is getting to learn one s way around a theological library and learning how to use certain online or electronic resources. Some students have acquired a particular skill already while others are still learning it (e.g., certain students may have particular strengths in Greek or in using computers, or they may have an undergraduate degree that involved research and writing in the humanities). Students do need to plan to spend significant time in this course perhaps more time than many other courses in the curriculum Please do not complicate the challenge of time required in this course by asking to be excused from the course due to weddings, holidays, or mission trips take the course at another time if this is an issue. Also, identify a theological library near you where you can spend time researching for this course. Course Assignments, Due Dates, and Marking The assignments in this course are designed to develop exegetical skills by training the student in methodologies and acquainting students with research tools for New Testament studies. 4

5 Online Materials Sakai will be used for this course. Be sure that you have access. The resources placed on it will be helpful for doing the assignments. Style and Format for Assignments Style: Proper footnoting and referencing according to the SBL Handbook (see a student version of this online at PDF Files: In order for the instructor to read the student s fonts and formatting, all course work should be submitted in a PDF file format. Turning in Assignments Always keep a copy of your work when handing it in for marking. Assignments must be ed to me at (no hard copies). When turning in an assignment, do not raise questions in the as the will simply be filed for later marking. In the Subject line for the , write, NT502 and then the assignment number, e.g., NT502 Assignment 2. Late assignments may be marked down up to one full grade at the discretion of the instructor. Marking Criteria Marking criteria are listed in my Research and Writing for New Testament Studies. Students are responsible for using this resource for the assignments and may keep an electronic copy (not to be forwarded to others, though) for use in other courses. Plagiarism for any assignment will result in a failing grade for the course, and the Seminary will hold a judiciary enquiry into the matter in accordance with the Student Handbook. Plagiarism may be intentional or unintentional. It includes improper referencing of sources (such as quoting material without using quotation marks, even if the resource is later footnoted). Whether intentional or unintentional, plagiarism is not something that should be seen in college, let alone graduate school, and especially not a seminary. See Research and Writing for New Testament Studies for my definitions of plagiarism. Description of Assignments There is one reading report and there are three papers for this course that work towards an exegesis of 1 Tim

6 Reading The textbooks other than Everett Ferguson are resources to use for this course rather than books to read. Students will need to engage the textbooks in depth in order to learn methods and resources for exegesis, but only Feguson is required reading. This is important information for reading the New Testament in its context. * Report of Reading Students are to complete a statement that reports reading for 12 hours total and from each of the three sections noted below in Ferguson. Grading of this assignment is pass/fail. This report is due by the second weekend of class. The three sections in Ferguson are: Backgrounds of Early Christianity, 1-47 Jewish Backgrounds: Graeco-Roman Backgrounds: Simply send an stating that this reading requirement has been completed. In-Class Assignments These assignments will be completed in class in groups. They would otherwise feature in an exegesis paper itself. The in-class work is pass/fail. Translation of the Text Sentence Diagramming Commentary Evaluation Hermeneutics Exercise: Use of the NT for theology and ethics Brief Description Using G. Fee ( Analysis of Grammar ) and lexicons, theological dictionaries, and grammars (listed in Fee and the lecture), translate 1 Cor as a group functioning as a translation committee. Using the method layed out in G. Fee, diagram 1 Cor Select five academic commentaries on the passage and discuss in your group their strengths and weaknesses. In your group, discuss the appropriate use of this passage in the life of the church today. Before Class Come with your own first draft of a translation of 1 Cor Read the chapters noted in the middle column from G. Fee. Read G. Fee, Structural Analysis. (work will be done in the library; bring a commentary if you have one on 1 Cor.) 6

7 Papers Paper and Due Date 1. Textual Criticism, due at the beginning of the 2 nd weekend of class 2. Reading Report, due at the beginning of the 2 nd weekend of class 3. Historical Context and Primary Sources, due at the beginning of the second weekend of class 4. Word Study, due at the beginning of the third weekend of class 5. New Testament Use of the Old Testament, due at the beginning of the third weekend of class Brief Description Using NA and UBS critical editions, G. Fee s chapter on textual criticism, and the textbook by B. Metzger and B. Ehrman, write a 2 page paper explaining the textual problem in 1 Cor ( to her ).* Two pages double-spaced, maximum (except for table). Percent of Final Grade 20% 12 hours (list pages read) in Ferguson Pass/Fail Using C. Evans, the chapter in G. Fee on historicalcultural background, online resources noted in R. Grams and M. Poe, and the SBL Handbook on Style, collect and properly reference (both primary source and translation source) 25 quotes from 25 different primary sources (8 from Jewish, 5 early Church, and 12 Greek/Roman) that help to interpret the passage. Each quote should typically be between 1 and 5 sentences long. After each quotation, state in 1 sentence why this quote is relevant for interpreting your passage. Following the resources and methodology in G. Fee, The Analysis of Words, research and write up a word study on kephalē in 1 Cor Limit: 2 pages, double-spaced. Using G. Beale s book to guide you (and the lecture), and using Jewish and early Christian primary texts, discuss the use of the creation narrative in 1 Cor Limit: 2 pages, double-spaced. 25% 25% 25% *Further description of the textual criticism paper: 1. Introduce the textual problem (1 short paragraph). 7

8 2. Place the information from the apparati of the UBS and N/A Greek New Testaments into a table. Columns should be: Greek manuscripts, Church fathers, versions, other external evidence. Rows should be: textual variants. Note the abbreviation for the reference and the relevant century (if possible) within the table (e.g., p 52-2 nd c.; Origen-3 rd c.; etc.). 3. Discuss the strengths of the external evidence in three separate sections in terms of (a) manuscripts, (b) geographical spread, and (c) text types (3 short paragraphs). 4. Discuss the internal evidence in two separate sections in terms of (a) author s characteristics and (b) scribal habits (2 short paragraphs). 5. Explain which reading you believe is original and how other readings arose (1 paragraph). Course Attendance Students are responsible for listening to all lectures and attending all class sessions. Valid excuses for missed lectures do not include attending weddings, going on mission trips, or family holidays, but may include bereavement or illness. Make-up for excused, missed class time may involve extra reading and reports. The extra work will depend on which lectures are missed. However, students should drop the course if an entire weekend will be missed as learning in this course will be affected. Clearly, class attendance is expected and, if anyone arrives late or leaves early, it is appropriate to notify the instructor why this was necessary. (If enrolment is below 15, it is possible that some lectures will be turned into reading requirements.) Internet Usage This course will use the Seminary s internet resource, Sakai, for posting lectures, resources, and contacting students. Students should be sure that their addresses are correctly registered with the Seminary for these purposes, and they should regularly access Sakai. All communication with the professor should be by Students are asked to refrain from accessing the internet at any point during class sessions, unless otherwise instructed by the professor. Surfing the web, checking e- mail, and other internet-based activities are distracting to other students and to the professor, and they prevent the student from fully participating in the class session. They also might overload the seminary s network so that instructors might not be able to access the internet. Use of Recording Devices and Use of Narrated PowerPoint Lectures Students must ask the professor if they wish to record lectures. If permission is granted, the students are to use the recordings only for their own purposes in this course and not make them available to others outside this course. This also applies to narrated PowerPoint lectures (and any resources posted on Sakai). 8

9 Course Outline Many of the lectures will be posted on Sakai in Microsoft PowerPoint (underlined lectures are slides, sometimes narrated, in Microsoft Presentations). The following outline is a guide for the course, with some changes inevitable. Our main goal will be to cover material pertinent to upcoming assignments. *First Part of the Course: 1. Introducing New Testament Interpretation (3 hours, 17 minutes) *Eisegesis *Rival Versions of Theological Enquiry *Location of Meaning *Tasks of Theology 2. Translating the New Testament (44 minutes): Lexical Analysis; Grammatical Analysis; Translation Theory; Tools for Translation (see Fee textbook) 3. Library Tour and Work (using Fee textbook) 3 hours, 17 minutes) 4. Sentence Diagramming (see Fee textbook) 5. New Testament Textual Criticism (see Fee textbook; Metzger and Ehrman Textbook; online lectures) (2 hours 38 minutes total) *Introduction (21 minutes) *Apparatus (40 minutes) *External Evidence (15 minutes) *Text Types (36 minutes) *Internal Evidence (24 minutes) *Rules for Textual Criticism (11 minutes) *Example (Metger: 1 Jn ) (11 minutes) 6. History of Translation of the English Bible *Second Part of the Course: 1. Overview of the History of Interpretation (2 hours) 2. Intertextuality: The New Testament s Use of the Old Testament (see Beale textbook) 3. Primary Sources and New Testament Studies (see Evans, Fee, Ferguson textbooks) (1 hour, 42 minutes) *Part 1: Introduction (38 minutes) *Part 2 (24 minutes) *Part 3 (18 minutes) *Part 4 (22 minutes) 4. Greek Word Studies (see Fee textbook) 5. Formation of the New Testament Canon 6. Gospel Criticisms: Synoptic Problem, Source and Redaction Criticisms; Form 9

10 *Third Part of the Course: 1. Genre Criticism 2. Narrative Criticism 3. Rhetorical Criticism 4. Interpreting the Parables 5. The Quest for the Historical Jesus and Criteria of Authenticity Quest 6. Social Science Criticism 7. Archaeology and Geography 8. Scripture and Authority 9. Biblical Theology 10. Researching and Writing an Exegesis Paper A Few Further Works Useful for Your Library and in this Course Many helpful tools, books on methods, and other resources are available for exegetical study. Following are some texts the student may wish to use in this course or afterwards. However, most of the reference works needed for papers are listed in G. Fee s New Testament Exegesis and are available in a theological library. You should consider acquiring a Bible research computer program, such as STEPBIBLE (free online) or BibleWorks or Accordance (for purchase). BibleWorks is available on library computers, and Accordance is available in the Cooley Center in the library. For a discussion of such online resources, see the relevant section in Tyndale House s excellent website: Kurt Aland, Synopsis of the Four Gospels: Greek-English Edition of the Synopsis Quatuor Evangeliorum with the Text of hte Revised Standard Version (United Bible Societies, 1972). David A. Black and David S. Dockery, eds., Interpreting the New Testament. Essays on Methods and Issues (Nashville: Broadman, 2001). Gerald Bray, Biblical Interpretation: Past and Present (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2000). Colin Brown, ed. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 3 vols. (Eerdmans Press). Donald Carson, Douglas Moo, and Leon Morris, An Introduction to the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1992). Donald Carson, Exegetical Fallacies, 2 nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1996). Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart, How To Read The Bible Book By Book (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002). Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart, How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth. Rev. ed. (Westminster Press). Joel Green, ed., Hearing the New Testament: Strategies for Interpretation (Grand Rapids, 10

11 MI: Eerdmans, 1995). Donald Hagner, New Testament Exegesis and Research. A Guide for Seminarians (Fuller Seminary, 1992). William Klein, Craig Blomberg, and R. Hubbard, Introduction to Biblical Interpretation (Dallas: Word, 1993). I. Howard Marshall, ed., New Testament Interpretation: Essays on Principles and Methods (Eerdmans, 1977). Grant R. Osborne, The Hermeneutical Spiral: A Comprehensive Introduction to Biblical Interpretation (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1991; coming out in a new edition). Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996). Students should find the following useful for placing this course in the larger context of the history of Biblical (especially New Testament) Studies: C.E. Braaten, The Gospel Proviso: Lessons from 20 th Century Theology for the Next Millennium, Dialogue (Fall, 1999): C. Cosgrove, A History of New Testament Studies in the 20 th Century, Review and Expositor 96 (1999): Rollin G. Grams, Rival Versions of Theological Enquiry (Prague: International Baptist Theological Seminary, 2005). [Chapters 1, 2, and 3, especially. Available at the GCTS bookshop.] Werner G. Kümmel, The New Testament: The History of the Investigation of Its Problems (ET: Abingdon, 1972). Stephen Neill and N. T. Wright, The Interpretation of the New Testament (Oxford, ). Mark Noll, Between Faith and Criticism. Evangelicals, Scholarship and the Bible in America (Harper, 1986). Brian Rosner, Looking Back at the 20 th Century: 1. New Testament Studies, Expository Times 110 (July 1999): Anthony Thiselton, New Horizons in Hermeneutics: The Theory and Practice of Transforming Biblical Reading (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992). 11

12 Syllabus Addendum Academic Standards Cheating and plagiarism are considered serious breaches of personal and academic integrity. Cheating involves, but is not necessarily limited to, the use of unauthorized sources of information during an examination or the submission of the same (or substantially same) work for credit in two or more courses without the knowledge and consent of the instructors. Plagiarism involves the use of another person s distinctive ideas or words, whether published or unpublished, and representing them as one s own instead of giving proper credit to the source. Plagiarism can also involve over dependence on other source material for the scope and substance of one s writing. Such breaches in academic standards often result in a failing grade as well as other corrective measures. For more information, please consult the Student Handbook. ADA Policy The seminary complies with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. A student with a qualifying and authenticated disability who is in need of accommodations should petition the seminary in accordance with the stated guidelines in the Student Handbook. Cancellation of Class In the event the seminary has to cancel a class meeting (impending storm, professor illness, etc.), the Registration Office will send out an (via the GCTS account) notification to all students registered in the respective course. If the cancelation occurs the day of the scheduled meeting, the Registration Office will also attempt to contact students via their primary phone contact on record. The professor will contact the students (via GCTS account) regarding make-up. If a weekend class is cancelled, the class will be made up during the scheduled Make-Up weekend (see the academic calendar for the designated dates). For more info, consult your Student Handbook. Extension Policy Arrangements for submission of late work at a date on or before the last day to submit written work, as noted on the seminary s Academic Calendar, are made between the student and professor. Formal petition to the Registration Office is not required at this time. This includes arrangements for the rescheduling of final exams. However, course work (reading and written) to be submitted after the publicized calendar due date, must be approved by the Registration Office. An extension form, available online, must be submitted to the Registration Office prior to the last day to submit written work. Requests received after this date will either be denied or incur additional penalty. For a full discussion of this policy, please consult the Student Handbook. Grades Grades are posted on line within twenty-four hours of receipt from the professor. Students are expected to check their CAMS student portal in order to access posted 12

13 grades. Those individuals who need an official grade report issued to a third party should put their request in writing to the Registration Office. Faculty have six weeks from the course work due date to submit a final grade. Returned Work Work submitted through Sakai will be returned via Sakai since no hard copies will be turned in. Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope with any hard copy work submitted if you wish to have it returned. 13

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