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Course Descriptions: Biblical Studies

The Bible has nourished and directed the Jewish and Christian traditions as believers have heard the revelatory words of God through the history, poetry, prophetic discourses, gospels, and letters it contains. The Ecumenical Institute courses in biblical studies are intended to acquaint students with the biblical texts and cultures, the basic skills of biblical interpretation, biblical languages, and the interrelationship between the Bible and other theological disciplines as well as the life of faith.

Note the following abbreviations: PR = prerequisite; CR = corequisite; PR/CR = either a prerequisite or a corequisite. Corequisites may be taken either at the same time as or before the course listed. Prerequisites and corequisites may be waived only with the permission of the Dean and the instructor. Matriculated certificate and degree candidates may take only 600- and 700-level courses.

BS511 The Gospel of John
An exploration of the historical context, literary features, spirituality, and theological significance of the fourth Gospel. An Explorations in Theology course.  PR = none.

BS517 The Gospel of Mark

An analysis of the composition, content and theological significance of the Gospel of Mark. PR = none.

BS563 The Book of Job
A careful look at the book of Job and its historical, cultural, literary, and religious contexts, with attention to the history of interpretation. An Explorations in Theology course. Also offered as BS763. PR = none.

BS600 Orientation to Biblical Studies
An introduction to academic biblical studies, with attention to the nature and development of biblical literature, tools for research, and methods of interpretation (exegesis). This course is a pre- or corequisite for most other courses in biblical studies. PR = none.

BS611 Introduction to Biblical Hebrew I
A basic course on the grammar and vocabulary of biblical Hebrew. PR = none.

BS612 Introduction to Biblical Hebrew II
A continuation of BS611, with reading in the Hebrew Bible. PR = BS611.

BS613 Introduction to Biblical Greek I
A basic course on the grammar and vocabulary of New Testament Greek. PR = none.

BS614 Introduction to Biblical Greek II
A continuation of BS613, with reading in the Greek New Testament. PR = BS613.

BS621 The Literature and Theology of the Hebrew Bible
An introduction to the theological content of the Torah, Prophets, and Writings in their historical and social contexts, with consideration of critical methodology and major themes. PR/CR = BS600, TH601.

BS622 The Literature and Theology of the New Testament
An exploration of the New Testament in its historical and social settings, focusing on the unique purpose and theology of each writing, with attention to the origins of the New Testament canon. PR/CR = BS600, TH601.

BS625 The Pentateuch
A study of ancient Israelite theological history from Genesis to Deuteronomy, with use of modern tools of scholarship, in order to develop creative contemporary encounters with the ancient texts. PR/CR = BS600, TH601.

BS630 The Prophetic Literature
A survey of the major writings of the prophetic movement in ancient Israel from the eighth century B.C.E. until the rise of apocalypticism. PR/CR = BS600, TH601.

BS635 The Gospels and Jesus
A literary and theological analysis of the four Gospels in the context of their relationship to early Christian communities and the modern quest for the historical Jesus. PR/CR = BS600, TH601.

BS645 The Formation of the Biblical Canon
An investigation of the process, including theological conflicts, that led to the reception of certain texts as Scripture during the first five Christian centuries. Cross-listed as H645. PR/CR = BS600, TH601, and at least one additional BS course.

BS669 Study Tour: The Cities of Paul and John
A study trip to Turkey and Greece to visit the sites and explore the contexts related to the writings of the Apostle Paul and John the Seer, the author of the Book of Revelation. Cross-listed as H669. PR/CR = BS600, TH601 (or permission of instructor). 

BS690-692 Readings in Biblical Greek I-III
Reading of selected passages of the Greek New Testament to develop facility in grammatical analysis and enlarge vocabulary (2 credits). PR = BS614.

BS700 Biblical Interpretation in the Church
An examination of the role of Scripture and of various methods of biblical study in the life of the church. PR = BS600, TH601, and at least one previous BS course.

BS711 The Gospel of John
An exploration of the historical context, literary features, spirituality, and theological significance of the fourth Gospel. PR = BS600, TH601. Also offered as BS511. PR= BS600, TH601.

BS714 The Psalms
A study of representative psalms as the songs of ancient Israel, Judaism, and the Christian church. PR = BS600, TH601.

BS715 The Letters & Theology of Paul
An analysis of several of Paul's letters in their historical context and the chief theological and ethical themes in them. PR= BS600, TH601.

BS716 Biblical and Ecumenical Perspectives on Mary
An exploration of Mary's role in Scripture and in the life of the church as mother of Jesus and model disciple in light of recent ecumenical scholarship and dialogue. Cross-listed as ES716. PR = TH601 and either BS622 or BS635.

BS717 The Gospel of Mark
An analysis of the composition, content, and theological significance of the Gospel of Mark. PR = BS600, TH601.

BS718 Women in the New Testament
A study of the various roles of and perspectives on women in the New Testament, women's status in the first century, and their relations with Jesus. PR = BS600, TH601, and either BS622, BS635, or BS715.

BS719 The Gospel of Matthew
An analysis of the composition, content, and theological significance of the Gospel of Matthew. PR = BS600, TH601.

BS723 Wisdom Literature
A sociological, literary, and theological analysis of wisdom traditions in ancient Israel including Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, Sirach, and the Wisdom of Solomon. PR = BS600, TH601.

BS728 Ecclesiastes
An examination of the provenance, character, and interpretation of Ecclesiastes. PR = BS600, TH601.

BS733 Romans: Paul's Gospel Then and Now
An historical, theological, and literary exploration of Paul's most significant letter, with attention to its contemporary implications for faith and life. PR = BS600, TH601.

BS735 Deuteronomy
A close reading of the fifth book of Moses in the cultural and historical context of ancient Israel. PR = BS600, TH601.

BS739 Ethics in the New Testament
An analysis of selected passages and themes from the New Testament and their significance for the life of discipleship and for contemporary moral issues. Cross-listed as MT739. PR = BS600, TH601, MT600, and BS622 or equivalent.

BS741 Jeremiah
An examination of the background, structure, and message of the biblical book that bears the prophet Jeremiah's name. PR = BS600, TH601.

BS742 Peace and War in the Hebrew Bible
An examination of the theological, social, and political dimensions of peace and war in the Hebrew Bible. Cross-listed as MT742. PR = BS600, TH601, and either BS621, BS625, or BS630.

BS744 The Book of Isaiah
A study of the literary composition, historical context, and theological message of the book of Isaiah. PR = BS600, TH601.

BS756 The Gospels and Social Justice
A study of social justice themes in the four gospels and their application to contemporary social problems. Cross-listed as MT756. PR = BS600, TH601, and either BS622 or BS635.

BS757 Ethics and Social Justice in the Hebrew Bible
An examination of ethical and social justice themes in the Hebrew Bible and their application to contemporary issues. Cross-listed as MT757. PR = BS600, TH601, and either BS621, BS625, or BS630.

BS760 First Corinthians
An historical, exegetical, and theological analysis of Paul's first canonical letter to the Corinthians. PR = BS600, TH601.

BS762 Luke-Acts
A consideration of the current state of Lukan studies, literary and theological analysis of the text, and pastoral and theological implications. PR = BS600, TH601.

BS763 The Book of Job
A careful look at the book of Job and its historical, cultural, literary, and religious contexts, with attention to the history of interpretation. PR = BS600, TH601. Also offered as BS502. (PR = none.)

BS764 The Book of Revelation and its Interpreters
An analysis of the last book of the Bible in its first-century context, and a consideration of some of its many interpretations through the centuries. PR = BS600, TH601.

BS794 Seminar in Biblical Studies
A seminar on a topic in biblical studies. PR = BS600, TH601, and at least two additional BS courses, or matriculation in the C.A.S. program.

BS795 Exegesis of the Hebrew Bible
An exegetical seminar on a book or several passages from the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible book or selected passages of various writings. PR = BS600, BS612.

BS796 Exegesis of the Greek New Testament
An exegetical seminar on a New Testament book or selected passages of various writings. PR = BS600, BS614.

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