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More Interesting Topics in New Testament Studies. Other Writing Assignments for my Undergrads

Here are more intriguing topics in New Testament studies!  This is part two of the writing assignments that I give to my undergraduate course, “Introduction to the New Testament.”  Every week students write a two-page paper based on the instructions, and then in their small group discussions (recitations) they discuss their views, as guided by the graduate student Teaching Assistant. So hey, go at it yourself!  But, once again, I won’t be grading yours…. Note: every student is required to participate in one of the three debates, on a two-four person teacm arguing either the affirmative of negative side of the resolution.  They are expected to prepare together individually and as a group, and everyone on the team is required to give a formal statement (opening statement of their teams position and arguments for it, rebuttal of the other team's argument, or summary at the end) (NTHI =  my textbook, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings)                                [...]

2022-10-21T12:55:54-04:00October 18th, 2022|Christianity in the Classroom, Teaching Christianity|

Interesting Topics in New Testament. My Weekly Writing Assignments for Undergrads

Below is Part 1 of the handout I give them, the opening instructions and then the specific directions for each week’s paper.  (Part 2 will do the same for the rest of the semester’s weekly sessions) So hey, go at it yourself!  But, well, I won’t be grading yours…. (NTHI =  my textbook, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings)    INSTRUCTIONS FOR POSITION PAPERS Reli 104   For basic instructions on Position Papers (purpose, grading, etc.) see the syllabus. Please double-space your paper, in size 11 font, and submit it on “Assignments” before the recitation begins. NOTE: On occasion you will want to make a reference to a passage of the New Testament.  There is a standard format for doing so.  When referring to a biblical passages, first give the name of the book (or an abbreviation of it), then the chapter number, followed by a colon, and then the verse number.  A semi-colon is used to separate one chapter and verse reference from another; a comma is used to separate [...]

2022-10-21T12:40:28-04:00October 16th, 2022|Christianity in the Classroom, Teaching Christianity|

Studying the New Testament in Graduate School

My favorite professor in graduate school once told me he thought that PhDs in New Testament were over-trained for what they had to do.  I had finished my degree at the time and was heading off to an on-campus interview at Notre Dame, which was looking for a faculty member who was an expert in Pauline studies.  They had a number of other biblical scholars there, but wanted to fill a gap in their curriculum and wanted someone with a specialization in Paul.  I didn’t consider myself a Pauline scholar in particular – at the time my research was in analyzing and classifying the Greek manuscript tradition of the New Testament, and even though I had fairly extensive training in Pauline studies, it wasn’t at all my expertise.  My professor was telling me to relax: I was more than enough qualified. Looking back, I think he had a point – not about me as a Pauline scholar (in the end they offered me the position, but I turned it down for the offer from UNC) [...]

Understanding the Apocalypse as an “Apocalypse”

  In two previous posts I talked about the "genre" of the book of Revelation (see  and ).  Now I can give a brief description of how the book of Revelation functions as an apocalypse – that is, how the features of the genre, that I’ve already mentioned, work themselves out in the narrative of the book.  Again, this is taken from my textbook on the New Testament (Oxford University Press; 7th edition 2020). ****************************** In general terms, Revelation corresponds to the basic description of apocalypses that I have given.  It is a first-hand account written by a prophet who has been shown a vision of heaven that explains the realities of earth, a vision that is mediated by angels and that is chock-full of bizarre and mysterious symbolism.  The nature of the book is indicated at the outset, in the magnificent vision of the exalted Christ that the prophet describes in ch. 1.  Here Christ appears as "one like a Son of Man" (cf. Dan 7:13-14, where the phrase describes the cosmic judge [...]

2021-07-14T20:06:50-04:00July 27th, 2021|Christianity in the Classroom, Revelation of John|

My Early Christian Apocrypha Seminar

I am teaching a PhD seminar this semester on the early Christian apocrypha; it's a little hard to define what those are, though hundreds of people have tried!.  The way I define them are as non-canonical books that are similar in genre and contents to those that did make it into the canon.  Or something like that.  They comprise Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Apocalypses, they can be "orthodox" or "non-orthodox" (= " heretical"); most of them claim to be written by apostles (but not all); the ones I'm most interested in date from the second to the fifth centuries. It's a fairly but not crazily heavy-hitting class.   It meets once a week for three hours.  Here, for your amusement and reading pleasure (especially if you do the assignments!) is the syllabus: To see what follows, you will need to belong to the blog.  Not a member yet?  Now's the best time ever to join.  Why?  Because you can't join in the past.     Reli 801: Early Christian Apocrypha Instructor: Bart D. Ehrman Fall 2020 [...]

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