Professor Bryan Rennie

Understanding the Bible
Fall 2015
SCHEDULE OF CLASSES

Week 1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10|11|12|13|14|15|16|
This class will meet from 9:20 until 10:20 on Monday, Wednesday,  and Friday in Patterson Hall 205.

I will be available in my office Monday and Friday from 10:30 until 1:30, Tuesday and Thursday from 12:30 to 1:30
(and at other times by arrangement).


Week 1. Introduction to the Bible.
Monday. 8/31
Introduction. Contents of the Bible: the Old Testament and the New Testament. The terms of the study.

Wednesday. 9/2
Assignment: look at the class webpages, especially the description of the course. Read Fant, Musser, and Reddish, An Introduction to the Bible (=FMR 21-28), Part One, "The Bible and Western Culture," and "The Cultural Influence of the Bible." Think about "stories."

Friday. 9/4
"What is the Bible?" (FMR 28-34)
The contents and canonization of the Jewish Bible.


Week 2. The Study of the Bible.
Monday. 9/7
Biblical criticism: "Methods and Tools for Studying the Bible" (FMR 35-54).

Wednesday. 9/9
"The Origins and Development of the Bible" and "The Process of Translation" (FMR 55-73)

Friday. 9/11
The manuscripts and papyri etc.


Week 3. The Context of the Bible.
Monday. 9/14
"The Cultural and Geographic Context of the Bible" (FMR 75-94)
Significant dates in Biblical History.

Wednesday. 9/16
Early Jewish Tradition (FMR 97-109)
The Ancestral Tradition. 

Friday. 9/18
From this point on you are required to read AT LEAST the "Suggested Biblical Readings" given in FMR at the beginning of each chapter. Be prepared to discuss the following:
Genesis 12-13; 22:1-19; 32; Exodus 1:1-4:20; 12:1-39; 14; 19; 20; Deuteronomy 32:44-52; 34:1-12.


Week 4. History in the Old Testament, continued.
Monday. 9/21
The Exodus and Wilderness Traditions (FMR 109-134)
Deuteronomy 20:1-18; Joshua 1-2; 23-24; Judges 2; 4; 5; 13-14; 16.

Wednesday. 9/23
The United Monarchy under Saul, David, and Solomon (FMR 135-149)

Friday. 9/25
Biblical Readings from FMR p. 135:
1 Samuel 8 - 10; 18:1 - 16; 31; 2 Samuel 7; 11:1 - 12:25; Genesis 1 - 3; 6:5 - 9:17; 11:1 - 9.


Week 5. History in the Old Testament, continued.
Monday. 9/28
"Theological Developments During the Monarchy" (FMR 150-154) and "The Divided Kingdom" (FMR 155-174).
1 Kings 1:11 - 2:12; 11:41 - 12:20; 2 Kings 17:1 - 14; 24 - 25.

Wednesday. 9/30
Discussion and preparation for the Quiz.

Friday. 10/2
Quiz #1: FMR 1-174: Textual Criticism, History of Israel, and Developments in the Biblical Text.


Week 6. The Literatures of the Bible. Prophecy.
Monday. 10/5
The Pre-Exilic Prophets (FMR 175-204)

Wednesday. 10/7
The Exile, Exilic Prophets, and Exilic History (FMR 205-232) 
1 Kings 17 - 19; Amos 2:4-16; 5:14-24; 7:1-9; Hosea 1:1-11; 3; 11;
Isaiah 1; 6; 9:1-7; 11:1-9; Jeremiah 1:1-10; 7; 31:31-34.

Friday. 10/9
Biblical Texts from FMR p. 175 and 205.
Ezekiel 1:1-3; 15; 37:1-14; 47:1-12; Isaiah 40:1-11, 28-31; 42:1-4; 53; 55;
Genesis 1:1-2:4; Joshua 23; Ezra 1:1-4; 9:1-10:5.


Week 7. Exile and Restoration
Monday. 10/12
The Return from Exile and new literature: Wisdom Literature (233-249).
Psalms 1; 8; 22; 106; Proverbs 7; 10; Ecclesiastes 2:1-11; 12; Job 1-2; 40:6-42:17.

Wednesday. 10/14 A Discussion of Wisdom Literature: The Books of Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes.
Preparation for the next quiz. Note that your first paper is due in on 11/6.
You are required to submit a title and brief thesis statement for your first paper today, 10/14.

Friday. 10/16
Quiz #2: FMR 175-249: Exile and Restoration, Prophecy, and Wisdom Literature.


Week 8. Exile and Restoration, continued.
Monday. 10/19
The Origins of Apocalyptic Literature and the Book of Daniel (FMR 271-291).
Daniel 1-3; 7; 10-12; 2 Maccabees 6-7; Susanna; Prayer of Manasseh.

Wednesday. 10/21
The influence of the Zoroastrian tradition.
Read: Professor Rennie on Zoroastrianism.

Friday. 10/23
Discussion: The origins Of Christianity.
Midsemester Break Saturday October 24 to Tuesday October 27

Week 9. Arguably the earliest ever image of Jesus, Fourth Century CE, from Hinton St. Marys in England
The New Testament.
Wednesday. 10/28

The Hellenistic and Roman Periods (FMR 251-270 and 288-291)
1 Maccabees 1-5.

Friday. 10/30 The New Testament.
Jesus and Early Christianity (FMR 295-318)
The Quest for the Historical Jesus. The Jesus of History and the Christ of Faith.
Luke 1-3; 10:25-11:13; Mark 1-2; 3:13-35; Matthew 5-7; 21:1-17.


First paper due Friday 30th October.

Week 10.
Monday. 11/2
The Gospels: the priority of Mark. and the Synoptic problem (FMR 319-336).

Wednesday. 11/4
Themes in the Gospel of Mark.

Friday. 11/6
Readings from FMR p. 319:
Mark 4:1-6:6; 8:1-11:19; 14:1-16:8.


Week 11. Some Gospel Narratives.
Monday. 11/9
Matthew, Luke, and John (FMR 337-357).

Wednesday. 11/11
The arrest of Jesus. The trial, execution and Resurrection.

Friday. 11/13
Readings from FMR p. 337:
Matthew 1:1-3:23; 20; 27-28; Luke 7; 15:1-16:13; 18-19; 24;
John 1-4; 7; 9:1-10:39; 11:1-53; 12:1-19; 13:1-14:19; 20:1-29.


Week 12. Other New Testament Works.
Monday. 11/16
The Acts of the Apostles (FMR 359-373)
You are required to submit a title and brief thesis statement for your second paper today.
Acts 1-2; 5:27-6:15; 7:54-9:31; 10; 15.

Wednesday. 11/18
Paul and his conversion (FMR 373-377 and 387-390).
See: Luke's account of the conversion of Paul from Acts 9 and 22;
Paul's account of his conversion from Galatians 1;

Friday. 11/20 & Monday. 11/23
No Class: Prof. Rennie will be at the AAR Conference in Atlanta.



Thanksgiving Break, Wednesday 11/25 until Sunday 11/29


Week 14.
Monday. 11/30
Quiz #3: FMR 250-390: Judaism and the Greco-Roman World, the Quest for the Historical Jesus, the Gospels, Luke/Acts.

Wednesday. 12/2 Paul and The Church in the Roman Empire.
The Developing Institutional Church: Paul and the Greco-Roman Empire (FMR 379-416)
Acts 16:1-18:17; 19:1-10; 22-28. Galatians 1-3; 4:12-20; 5:1; 5:13-25;
1 Corinthians 1:1-25; 3:1-9; 7; 11:2-16; 12:12-13:13; 15:1-28;
Philemon; Romans 3:1-20; 4:13-25; 5; 8:1-39; 12.

Friday. 12/4
The Early Church (FMR 417-436). Discussion.
James 1-2; 1 John 1; 4; Colossians 2; Ephesians 3; 2 Thessalonians 2;
1 Timothy 4; Hebrews 8; 9:11-10:25; 11:1-12:2.


 Second paper due, Friday December 4th.

Week 15. The Church in Conflict
Monday. 12/7
The Church in Conflict and the Apocalypse (Revelations) of St. John (FMR 437-455)
Revelation 1-7; 12:1-14:13; 19:1-22:5.

Wednesday. 12/9
Quiz #4 (FMR 359-436: Luke/Acts, Paul, and the Developing Church).

Friday 12/11
Last Class: Student Assessments of the course, discussion of papers and of the final exam.etc.


Week 16.
The Take-Home Final is due by e-mail on Monday December 14th by 5:30.
Term ends Friday, December 17th.



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brennie@westminster.edu