Biblical and Theological Studies Course Descriptions
Biblical Studies Courses
This course introduces the basic theological themes, chronological framework, and literary character of the Old Testament with a focus on Genesis – Kings. It aims to provide: 1) the foundations for theological interpretation of the Old Testament, giving special attention to the covenantal framework for redemptive history; and 2 ) an introduction to critical theories concerning the authorship, canonicity, integrity and dating of the documents. Three hours.
The course will deal with 1) questions of introduction (authorship, canon, inspiration, integrity of the documents, dating, etc); 2) beginning hermeneutics; 3) inter-testamental history as a background to the New Testament, as well as 4) a study of the historical framework of the New Testament as a whole and key theological concepts. Three hours.
An introduction to the current state of scholarship in Old Testament and New Testament studies. Students will be exposed to a wide variety of theories and methods which characterize the discipline of Biblical Studies and learn how to evaluate and apply these methods with the goal of a faithful interpretation of the Scriptures.The course will focus on: 1) the intellectual environment out of which the theories arose, 2) their philosophical and theological presuppositions, 3) the strengths and weaknesses of each approach, 4) the application of the theories to Biblical texts, and 5) a critique or constructive proposal for continued use. The course is designed as a ‘W’ course that focuses on writing in the field of biblical studies and the accepted methods of argument, style, and citation. Prerequisites: BIB 111 and 142. Three hours.'W'
Opportunities for study in various topics of interest within the field of biblical, theological or missiological studies. Topics will be decided by the Biblical & Theological Studies faculty as need and interest arise. Prerequisites: BIB 111, 142. Credit to be determined.
A thorough study of the book comparing its background and form in the light of ancient international treaties and showing how comprehensively it reveals the sovereign lordship of God over his people in ancient times with application to our own twenty-first century situation. The book of Deuteronomy is considered to be the most important for a complete understanding of the rest of the Old Testament. The course will also include the study of Old Testament ethics within the context of Deuteronomic law. Prerequisites: BIB 111and 142; concurrently with 277 or 278. Three hours.
A study of selected psalms as religious poetry. The course focuses on how to read a biblical psalm in light of its formal structures, conceptual metaphors, social setting, and ancient Near Eastern context, with the goal of applying the Psalms to contemporary spiritual theology. Some attention will also be given to the theology of the Psalter and its history of exegesis, especially the use of the Psalms in the New Testament. Prerequisites: BIB 111 and 142; concurrently with 277 or 278. Three hours.
A comprehensive study of the Old Testament books of prophecy with special attention given to the nature and task of the prophetic role, the manner of interpreting the prophetic books, and their place in and effect upon the history of the Covenant. Prerequisites: BIB 111 and 142 concurrently with 277 or 278. Three hours.
Study of the authorship, date, purpose, historical background and application of the message of John to modern life and thought with emphasis on doctrinal and ethical teaching. Prerequisites: BIB 111 and 142, concurrently with BIB 277 or 278. Three hours.
A study of the background and the theology of the Pauline Epistles. Lectures will examine both the individual books in the Pauline corpus, introductory questions about the letters of Paul and the structure of Pauline theology. Prerequisites: BIB 111and 142; concurrently with BIB 277 or 278. Three hours.
A study of the doctrinal, spiritual, and ethical values in Romans designed to give the students an understanding of the divine plan of salvation. Prerequisites: BIB 111 and 142; concurrently with BIB 277 or 278. Three hours.
An independent study of Paul’s letters to the Colossians and Ephesians. Prerequisites: BIB 111, 142; concurrently with BIB 277 or 278. Three hours.
An introduction to and examination of Hebrews, James, I and II Peter, I, II and III John and Jude. Each book will be studied to determine its own particular focus and what it adds to New Testament theology. Special consideration will be given to questions of introduction and cultural setting. Prerequisites:BIB 277 and 278. Three hours.
A study of the overall eschatological framework of the New Testament with a special emphasis on Pauline eschatology, and an examination of particular eschatological texts in the Gospels, epistles and the whole book of Revelation. Prerequisites: BIB 111, 142. Three hours.
A study of the basic principles used to interpret Scripture. The goals of the course are to develop a comprehensive methodology of interpreting the Bible, to learn to evaluate different interpretive models, to acquire the ability to distinguish different genre in the Bible and the implications that has for interpretation, and to grow in obedience of mind and life, coming more completely under the authority of God's written Word. Prerequisites: BIB 277 and 278. Three hours.
An introduction to the field of NT ethics, focusing on the theological frameworks and pastoral concerns out of which the NT authors drew moral norms and the motivational structures that promoted those norms. This is a synthesizing course bringing together aspects of theology, biblical studies, ethics, and hermeneutics, with a special focus on how we read texts ethically. Topics covered in the course include: 1) the ‘moral vision' of the NT, 2) character ethics and character formation, 3) the ethical functions of different literary genres, 4) ethical systems in the Greco-Roman world, and 5) reading scripture as wisdom. Prerequisites: BIB 277 and 278.
The same course as GRE 277-278, but designed for upper-division students who wish to take it as either an upper-division New Testament book study or an upper-division departmental elective. Extra readings and written assignments will be given based on the particular books being translated. Prerequisites: GRE175, 176. Three hours each.
A study of the prophecy of Isaiah against its historical52 background with special consideration of the messianic prophecies. Prerequisites: BIB 111, 142; concurrently with 277 or 278. Three hours.
A synthesizing course which deals with the relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament, including issues of methodology in studying OT themes, issues of continuity and discontinuity for the Christian believer, and current trends in the study of the Old Testament. Prerequisites: BIB 372 and one OT book study or instructor’s permission. Three hours.
This course focuses on the cultural context of the world in which the Old Testament was written, with attention to its geographical, historical, sociological, religious, and literary horizons. It is oriented around archaeological artifacts and comparative literature in Biblical Israel and the ancient Near East. The goal is to determine how the iconography and literature of surrounding ancient Near Eastern cultures bears on faithful interpretation of the Old Testament as Scripture and impacts the faith and life of modern Christians. The course is reading-intensive. Prerequisites: BIB 277 and 278. Three hours.
This course examines the background and theology of Israel’s wisdom literature. The main focus is on the Old Testament wisdom books considered to be canonical in the Protestant tradition (Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes), but considerable attention will also be given to the socalled deuterocanonical works (Ben Sira, Wisdom of Solomon, Baruch) and to the Dead Sea Scrolls. The goals are to understand what “wisdom” means in these literatures, what distinguishes wisdom literature from other kinds of ancient literature, and how these themes inform ethics in the modern Christian tradition. Prerequisites: BIB 277, 278. Three hours
This course guides a student through the researching of a topic from the wide field of studies taught within the department. This paper, which is an important graduation requirement, is intended to exhibit the student’s ability to write in an integrative fashion, i.e. bringing Biblical teaching to bear on all the other things we study. An oral presentation of the research undertaken will crown the semester. Three hours. ‘S’
A course designed to provide opportunity to apply research methods and to engage in intensive study of biblical subjects under the supervision of one or more professors in the department. The subject matter will vary each year according to the particular interests and emphasis of the professor or professor(s). Prerequisites: BIB 277 and 278. Three hours.
Theological Studies Courses
A survey of the major doctrines of the Christian faith. First semester investigates the biblical data on Scripture, God, man and Christ. Second semester investigates the biblical data on the Holy Spirit, salvation, Church and last things. The Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms serve as guidelines and resources. Two semesters. Three hours each. Prerequisites: BIB 111and 142.
This course surveys the spread of Christianity from its Middle Eastern origin, its gradual modification from a Semitic to a largely Gentile movement, and its ever-closer identification with central and Western European territories. Special note is taken of the development of Christian doctrine, through the major debates which troubled the Early Church, and of the rise of the Roman papacy. The semester concludes with an examination of a more confident Christian church in medieval times: ready to attempt mission to North Africa, military crusades to the Middle East, and evangelization in the Western Hemisphere. Pre- or co-requisite: BIB 277 or 278. Three hours. HUM
This course surveys Christian history from the era of the European Renaissance and Reformation of the sixteenth century, the establishing of the Protestant tradition, the eventual Wars of Religion, the transmission of Christianity to the western hemisphere and Asia by trade, colonization, and the rise of the eighteenth century missionary movement. The effects on world Christianity of de-colonization and the major military conflicts of the twentieth century are especially noted. The future of Christianity as an increasingly non-Western and Global South movement will be noted in detail. Pre- or co-requisite: BIB 277 or 278. Three hours. HUM
In this course we will be exploring the history, theology and practices that have shaped Christian Spirituality. Time will be spent reading from classics in Christian spirituality that epitomize the great diversity and depth of the tradition (East and West), and then discussing potential insights and possible challenges such works represent. Additionally, the course will also seek to provide reflection on key theological ideas that should govern, chasten, and encourage Christian growth in grace in truth. Significant time will be spent in discussion not only about what is being read, but also reflecting on various ‘practices’ (e.g. times of silence, self examination, etc.) that will be done by students. A retreat of silence and solitude, lead by the instructor, will take place at a monastery as part of the course. Prerequisites: BIB 111 and 142 or permission of instructor. Three units.
This course will outline a biblical framework for approaching ethical questions. We will examine various ethical methodologies, how the Church has addressed ethical questions at different times in history, and how contemporary Christians can develop a relevant approach to current ethical concerns. This class includes a general overview of how to use the Bible in ethics, including an extended discussion on the Ten Commandments. Prerequisites: BIB 277 and 278. Three hours.
In this course the person and work of Christ are examined in far greater depth than is possible in Doctrine 1. We explore the quest for the historical Jesus Christ and the Old Testament, and how Christology should influence all of our thinking. Early church fathers and contemporary biblical and theological scholars who reflect on core Christological questions are read. Additionally, guest speakers address such issues as Jesus in art, music, and film. Prerequisites: BIB 277 and 278. Three hours.
Global Theology introduces students to major Christian doctrines and themes from perspectives in the nonWestern, majority world. Special attention will be devoted to how we can deepen our knowledge of different doctrines by learning from believers in other parts of the world. This course will broaden students’ understanding of what God is doing in the world and how our own Christian tradition can be enriched by other perspectives. But students will also be equipped to think critically about global theology and to grow in wise discernment when encountering the many varieties of Christian theology in the world today. The Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms serve as guidelines and resources. Prerequisites: BIB 277, 278. Three hours.
A study of the biblical foundations of the church’s apologetic to the unbelieving world with special attention given to the defense of the faith in evangelistic encounter. Prerequisites: BIB 277 and 278. Three hours.
A historical survey of the life and thought of the Christian church in its political and social environment. Attention will be focused on critical periods of the church's development such as its early formation within the Roman Empire, its role in medieval civilization, the sixteenth-century reform, revival movements, modern Catholicism, and ecumenism. Course work will stress source reading and the composition of a research essay. Also listed as HIS 311. Prerequisite: BIB 277. Co-requisite: BIB 278. Three hours.
A study of the historical and theological formation of the early church (C.E. 30-600). Emphasis will be placed on the major theological controversies of the period, and the development of church government. The role of women in the early church will also be discussed. Students will be challenged to understand early Christianity within the context of the social, political, and spiritual climate of the Roman world. Prerequisites: BIB 277 and 278. Three hours.
The course will examine Europe in the 14th through 16th centuries in which there occurred simultaneously three great movements: the cultural and literary Renaissance emanating from Italy, the European reconnaissance of the world’s oceans pioneered by Portugal and Spain, and the Reformation of the Christian religion sparked by the Lutheran movement. Emphasis will be placed on the social setting common to all. Prerequisites: BIB 277 and 278. Also listed as HIS 339. Three hours.
An examination of the career of John Calvin (1509-64), the development of the Institutes of the Christian Religion from 1536 to 1559 and the unfolding of the Reformed tradition to the year 1700. Prerequisites: BIB 277 and 278. Three hours.
The course aims to investigate the way in which the Christian church has passed through declines and advances. The declines have often ended and advances come through powerful resurgences and awakenings. We will aim to identify these movements, their frequency, their leaders and principles illustrated by their recurrence. We will also attempt to evaluate reports of such awakenings in our time. Prerequisites: BIB 277 and 278. Three hours.
Opportunities for study in various topics of interest within the fields of biblical, theological or missiological studies. Topics will be decided by the Biblical and Theological Studies faculty as need and interest may arise. Prerequisites: BIB 111, 142. Credit to be determined.
Prerequisites: BIB 277 and 278.
An in-depth biblical, historical, and theological study of the doctrine of the Trinity investigating how Scripture indicates that we worship the Triune God. In order to understand this complex, but vitally important truth, students will do extensive readings in and about the early Fathers (e.g., Augustine, Gregory of Nazianzus), the medieval theologians (e.g., Richard of St. Victor), Reformation and Post-Reformation thought and contemporary theologians (e.g., Rahner, Zizioulas, Moltmann.). We will consider the 20th century renaissance in Trinitarian studies (e.g., Gunton), discussing some key issues that have arisen. Some debates that will be discussed throughout the course will include: inclusive God-language, immanent and economic trinitarian distinctions, Ranher's rule, prayer, filioque, etc. Prerequisites: BIB 277, 278; and one theology course from BIB 302, 303, 371, 373, 383 or 384. Three hours.
This course is a research seminar which explores post-Kantian theologians and theological movements. Certain theologians such as Barth, Pannenberg, Boff, and Gunton will be studied in some detail. A research paper will be required. Prerequisites: BIB 277 and 278. Three hours.
A study of biblical and extra-biblical covenants will be made to see the importance of the covenant concept to the revelation of redemption; the basis of missions as lying in a covenant-centered theology of missions; the doctrines of election, atonement, love of God, common grace, and free offer of the gospel in relation to missions. Prerequisites: BIB 111 and 142 . Three hours.
Methods of conducting the missionary effort in foreign countries will be studied in relation to such matters as communications, elenctics, identification, unacceptable accommodation, the support and government of local churches, the problem of church and state, and various types of missionary endeavors. Prerequisites: BIB 111 and 142. Three hours.
An analytical and critical appraisal of the major non-Christian religious ideologies of animism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Islam, and Judaism. Emphasis will be placed on the world and life views with which their followers confront the missionary. Prerequisites: BIB 277 and 278. Three hours.
Alternative Religious Movements (ARM) is a critical study of modern cults active in America today. Attention is given to their origins and history as well as their distinctive theological positions. The standard cults are discussed (e.g. Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon, Christian Science) as well as more recent ones (e.g. New Age Movement, Apocalyptic Cults). These cults are evaluated from the Protestant, evangelical view. Prerequisites: BIB 277 and 278. Three hours.
Students may receive up to three units of credit for work done in connection with a variety of summer service programs sponsored by Mission to the World (the foreign missions agency of the Presbyterian Church in America) or other approved agencies. Requirements vary according to the agency and project. One, two, or three hours.
Examines the biblical basis for youth ministry and helps students understand the dynamics and philosophies of relational youth ministry. This is a foundational course which focuses on the biblical model and the cultural need for quality Christian relationships. Personal contact and observation of local youth ministries helps students to identify levels of relationships, styles, philosophies, and types of ministry available as they seek to understand their own call toward youth. Three hours.
A practical course designed to draw each student into a closer look at relationships and characteristics that lead to quality friendships, and to teach practical skills needed by people wishing to take relational ministry to teenagers. Prerequisite: BIB 211. Three hours.
This course gets students involved in a youth ministry in the community, the instructor interacting with them as individuals and as a group with regard to training, adjustment, time pressures, and commitment. Prerequisites: BIB 211 and 212. Three hours.
Prerequisites: BIB 211, 212, and 213. Three hours.