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 10:00 to 11:00
(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.
Assignment: Your constant and ongoing assignment is to take notes on the material discussed in class. These notes will be indispensable in both answering the quiz questions and in preparing the written work for your papers. The instructor might ask to look at your notes randomly at any time and points will be subtracted if they are inadequate.

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?" and "Approaches to the Bible" (FMR 28-34)
The contents and canonization of the Jewish Bible.
Assignment: Keep taking notes.


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.
Assignment: Don't forget the notes.


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.
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.

Friday. 9/18
Read the "Suggested Biblical Readings" in FMR. 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).
Assignment: Notes, Notes, Notes!

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)
Have at least three questions ready to ask about the reading material.

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
Online Dropbox Assignment: See D2L and these instructions.
Read 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 10/30.
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
D2L Assignment (see D2L site): 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.
You are still taking notes, aren't you?

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 Developing Institutional Church
The Acts of the Apostles (FMR 359-377)
Acts 1-2; 5:27-6:15; 7:54-9:31; 10; 15.

Wednesday. 11/18 Paul and The Church in the Roman Empire.
Paul and his conversion (FMR 379-394).
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
You are required to submit a title and brief thesis statement for your second paper to the D2L dropbox by 4:30 pm today (Friday 20th).
No Class: Prof. Rennie will be at the AAR Conference in Atlanta.
Submit detailed notes on Acts and Paul (FMR 359-394) to the D2L Dropbox before midnight on Monday 11/23.



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 his Writings (FMR 395-416)
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:  Paul, the Developing Church, and The Apocalypse of John).

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 must be submitted to the D2L Dropbox by 4:00 pm Thursday December 17th.
Term ends Friday, December 18th.



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brennie@westminster.edu