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The Bible Critically Considered   

The Bible is a series of texts written from as long as 3000 years ago. Simply reading it is easy enough. However, understanding what is really going on, what is being communicated, what is the context, who wrote it and why, are not simple matters - that requires reading the Bible critically and objectively. Ready to ask hard questions and have your eyes opened to an intelligent approach to the Bible? Then check out this class.


NOTE: You do not have to take any previous section to register for any other section. Each set of class dates focuses on different subjects.


Section A (Jan. 12  - Feb. 9 )
1.What we're Dealing With- basic approach of class; question of biblical authority; biblical texts (Masoretes, Dead Sea Scrolls, Nag Hammadi, codex publishing, medieval copyists); canonicity; apocrypha and pseudepigrapha incl. Gnostic texts
2. Sources and Stories- Paradise and Genesis multi-source theory (Priest, Jahwist, Elohist); editorial addition over substitution; myth as truth over fact; uniqueness of covenant and its development - Eden to Noah
3. Patriarchs- candor about Patriarchs; model of Abraham's faith/righteousness; Abrahamic covenant; theme of barrenness; Jacob cycle; Joseph and the set-up in Egypt with Pharaoh
4. Moses and the Exodus- political intrigue in the contest between worldly sovereignty and God's sovereignty; new covenant of commandments and Torah-Law; 1st Ten Commandments = Ex 34:1 0ff and the difference; Moses as Egyptian royal name - Aten vs. Amon - Akhnaten and Nefertiti revolution
5. Tribal Confederacy to Monarchy- transfer of leadership to Joshua; period of Judges and tribal confederacy; regional conflict and competitors; Samuel as prophet; demand for a king and its theological importance; Saul and David; David's unification of tribes

Section B ( Feb. 23 -March 16 )
6. Flawed Kings and National Division- David's successes and failures; Solomon's successes and failures; national division - Kings and Chronicles; saga of (mostly) abysmal kings; Elijah and Elisha as prophets changing the model
7. Psalms, Proverbs, and Wisdom Literature- various forms of Psalms; nature of Wisdom literature; Job and theodicy; Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs; Esther
8. Pre-Exilic Prophets and the Historical Context- Micah, Amos, Hosea, 1st Isaiah (and tripartite Isaiah schools); Assyrian conquest; Babylonian conquest
9. Exile and Messianic Liberation- Jeremiah and new covenant; Ezekiel; 2nd Isaiah; exile reshapes the faith; Persian imperial strategy; post-exilic issues; 3rd Isaiah; Ezra & Nehemiah

Section C ( March 30 - April 20 )
10. Despair and Apocalyptic- Joel; Zechariah; Malachi; apocalyptic as hope amid despair; Daniel as anachronistic projection; Maccabean War
11. Context Before Jesus- Hasmonean period and its corruption; Pompey takes Judea for Rome; military occupation and insurrection - Judas the Galilean; economy and exploitation; Temple economy; Herod's building projects and taxation; Sadducees; Pharisees; Essenes; John the Baptist
12. Gospel Basics - source theory- times/contexts when written; gospel form of writing; codex form; accepting difficult reading vs. harmonizing; 'Son of Man' title over others; "Kingdom of God" as singular mission/interpretive prism
13. Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John- review of major characteristics of each author/editor

Section D ( May 4 - June 8; no class May 25th )
14. Luke-Acts and Paul- early church developments; power shifts; theological issues; nature of Jewish identity; "we" passages; S/Paul's ministry
15. Pauline Epistles: Part 1- 1st & 2nd Thessalonians; 1st & 2nd Corinthians, Galatians; Philippians; authority in conflict; community organization; social concerns; Hellenistic-Roman context; the collection; difficulties and divisions
16. Pauline Epistles: Part 2- Ephesians; Colossians; Romans; theological development; more conflict and difficulties; social conventions; Romans as master work
17. Pastoral and Non-Pauline Epistles- 1st & 2nd Timothy; Titus; Philemon; then James; 1st & 2nd Peter; Jude; Hebrews; issues of ministry and pastoral care; unique theological perspective of Hebrews
18. Letters of John and Revelation- 1, 2, 3 John; Revelation: love letters; reviews of churches in Rev.; apocalyptic vision; ending in restoration: 'on earth as in heaven.'





The Bible Critically Considered  

Section D Topics:

14. Luke, Acts and Paul
15. Pauline Epistles: Part 1
16. Pauline Epistles: Part 2
17. Pastoral and Non-Pauline Epistles
18. Letters of John and Revelation


Instructor:  Bruce Seaman
Course #: REL122
Time: 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
This class meets 5 times on:
W, 5/4/2022 - 6/8/2022
No class May 25th.

Members: $3; Non-Members: $8

Location: Room 1

Seats Available: 6



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