Biblical Studies

 

BS5000 Biblical Hermeneutics

Professor

Brandon R. Grafius
Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies

This course provides students with a general introduction to the academic study of the Bible, with a focus on exegetical practice and methodology. While students will be exposed to a wide range of interpretive principles, the emphasis will be on questions of responsible biblical interpretation and developing a solid exegetical foundation. This course is intended to prepare students for BS5100: Introduction to the Hebrew Bible and BS 5200: Introduction to the New Testament, as well as other biblical studies courses.

Biblical Studies  ⁄  Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Divinity

BS5100 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (OT)

Professor

Brandon R. Grafius

Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies

James Waddell

Associate Professor of Biblical Studies

This is a general introductory course to the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). The student will learn to use various methodologies to explore the diverse origins of the traditions of ancient Israel and Second Temple Judaism and how these traditions came to be written in the Hebrew Bible. By making use of the results of current archaeological and comparative studies, significant attention is placed on the surrounding cultures of the ancient Near East and their impact on the development of the Hebrew Bible. Special attention will be given to the problem of developing the student’s research and writing skills using historical analysis and specific, detailed elements of biblical exegesis. The course includes lectures, discussions, and prepared slides. Course requirements include reading the Hebrew Bible and selections from texts of various ancient Near Eastern cultures.

Biblical Studies  ⁄  Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity

BS5200 Introduction to the New Testament

Professor

James Waddell

Associate Professor of Biblical Studies

This course is a general introduction to the study and interpretation of the New Testament. We will explore the historical contexts and theological perspectives of the individual New Testament texts. The course includes lectures, discussions, and prepared slides. Course requirements include reading the New Testament and selections from the Pseudepigrapha, the Apocrypha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the works of Philo and Josephus, and other writings from Second Temple Judaism(s). Special attention will be given to the problem of developing the student’s research and writing skills using historical analysis and specific, detailed elements of biblical exegesis.

Biblical Studies  ⁄  Certificate in Theological Studies, Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity

BS6101 Second Temple Judaism and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Professor

James Waddell

Associate Professor of Biblical Studies

This course is a survey of Jewish literature from the sixth century BCE to the first century CE. We will explore the cultural, literary, and historical contexts of the Pseudepigrapha (Enoch, Jubilees, etc.), the Apocrypha (Tobit, Judith, Wisdom Ben Sira, 1 & 2 Maccabees, etc.), philosophical works (Philo of Alexandria), and historiographical works (Flavius Josephus). We will also examine in some detail the community that produced the Dead Sea Scrolls, its social development and contribution to the history of Jewish thought, as well as intertextual relationships with the documents in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.

Biblical Studies  ⁄  Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity

BS7004 The Prophetic Tradition

Professor

Brandon R. Grafius

Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies

James Waddell

Associate Professor of Biblical Studies

This course is the second general course in Old Testament and is required at most of the cooperating seminaries. You will explore the central role that the prophetic movement played in ancient Israel with special attention to the defining role of the free-lance prophetic movement and its institutionalization in “prophetic schools” which facilitated the transition from charismatic figure to religious text. The central dynamic of the relationship of this prophetic material to subsequent Deuteronomic materials is given particular emphasis. You will devote significant attention to the rise of wisdom, cultic and other special historical interests that grew up around the prophetic movement and interacted with it. You will learn to write a carefully researched and argued exegetical paper on a particular text taken from this material and give attention to its application to the problems of contemporary American life.

Biblical Studies  ⁄  Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity

BS7005 Psalms

Professor

Brandon R. Grafius

Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies

In a cycle over five years, courses on major books of the Old Testament are offered. The importance of each book in defining the religious thought of the Old Testament is emphasized with particular reference to contemporary scholarship that lays bare the origins and development of each book within its religious and cultural setting. Particular attention is given to the theological implications of each book and the relevance to contemporary social issues. Each class helps you develop your skills in writing a detailed study of a passage from the book being examined.

Biblical Studies  ⁄  Certificate in Theological Studies, Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity

BS7006 Book of Job

Professor

Brandon R. Grafius

Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies

 

Biblical Studies  ⁄ 

BS7101 Paul the Apostle

Professor

James Waddell

Associate Professor of Biblical Studies

This course offers a historical study of Paul’s life and letters. The primary focus of the course will be to read Paul as a Jewish intellectual who understood himself to be called by the risen Jesus to be his apostle to the Gentiles. Part of the focus of the course will be given to the urban context of Paul’s mission work with reference to Greco-Roman culture and empire, and the stark contrast between Rome’s ideology of power and Paul’s ideology of service. Special attention will be given to reading each of Paul’s letters in the unique historical and literary contexts in which they were written. Analysis will include examination of the relation of Paul’s christology to Jewish messiah traditions of the Second Temple period. Some attention will be given to the disputed letters attributed to Paul.

Biblical Studies  ⁄  Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity

BS7102 Gospel of Mark

Professor

James Waddell

Associate Professor of Biblical Studies

This course offers a detailed study of the Gospel of Mark and its presentation of Jesus as the suffering messiah. The course will focus on Mark’s unique perspective within the canonical gospel traditions. The course will examine issues such as Mark’s contribution to developing christologies of the first century CE and evidence of different trajectories of leadership in dialogue in the earliest churches. Special attention will be given to contextual readings of Mark in relation to other Jewish texts of the Second Temple period.

Biblical Studies  ⁄  Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity

BS7103 Gospel of Matthew

Professor

James Waddell

Associate Professor of Biblical Studies

This course offers a detailed study of the Gospel of Matthew with its unique emphasis on the Jewishness of Jesus and his earliest followers. Using critical historical methodology the course will focus on Matthew’s unique perspective within the canonical gospel traditions. The course will examine issues such as the Synoptic Problem and Q, Matthew’s contribution to developing infancy christologies of the first and second centuries CE, and Matthew’s particular apocalyptic perspective. Special attention will be given to historical analysis and contextual readings of Matthew in relation to other Jewish texts of the Second Temple period.

Biblical Studies  ⁄  Certificate in Theological Studies, Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity

BS7104 Luke-Acts

Professor

James Waddell

Associate Professor of Biblical Studies

This course offers an in-depth historical critical reading of the two-part New Testament text known as Luke-Acts. Special attention will be given to Luke’s unique perspective on justice issues, such as racism, the subversion of cultural expectations of the roles of women, and exploitation of the economically marginalized by the wealthy elite.

Part of the focus of this course will be placed on questions of dating, authorship, and christology of Luke’s gospel, the presentation of the individual traditions of Jesus’ sayings, the events of his life which were developed into a narrative from the author’s unique perspective, a narrative that leads to and climaxes in the cross.

We will also examine the Acts of the Apostles and critically read this document for historical information about the experience of community in the early church, the social and economic structures of the early church (community of goods with its Essene origins, e.g.), the leadership of the Jerusalem apostles, the gentile mission of Paul, and the tensions (as the author described them) in the transition from Jewish community to Gentile church. Special attention will be placed on the author’s agenda for writing Acts in its Greco-Roman context and the complicated problem of the author’s use of sources and their historical reliability.

Biblical Studies  ⁄  Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity

BS7105 Johannine Tradition

Professor

James Waddell

Associate Professor of Biblical Studies

This course offers a detailed historical analysis of the Johannine Tradition. The focus of this course is an in-depth study of the Gospel of John, the Letters of John, and the Apocalypse of John.

Detailed attention will be given to the social, historical, political, and religious contexts of the Johannine community, issues of dating, authorship, the development of Johannine christology, the unique Johannine presentation of the individual traditions of Jesus’ words and actions, the events of his life which are presented in a narrative that leads to and climaxes in the cross. Special attention will be given to current theories of the origins of the Johannine community in both its Greco-Roman and Jewish contexts.

Biblical Studies  ⁄  Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry

BST7103 Empire, Wealth, and Poverty in the New Testament

Professor

James Waddell

Associate Professor of Biblical Studies

This course will examine issues of Roman dominance in the Mediterranean world from the second century BCE to the second century CE. Special attention will be given to issues of empirical ideologies of power, wealth, exploitation, and economic marginalization, as these important social and political realities were a concern for conquered peoples enslaved under Roman political and social dominance in this period.

We will read primary sources from Second Temple Judaism, Greco-Roman historiography, the New Testament, and Jewish and Christian writings from this period. We will discuss postmodern/post-colonial interpretations of these primary sources, from critical historical analysis to critical social analysis, and we will apply these readings to the social and political realities of empire, economic exploitation, and the response of faith in our world today.

Biblical Studies  ⁄  Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity, Certificate in Theological Studies

BST7201 Biblical Theology

Professor

From the various “theologies” of the Bible, you will explore options in developing a holistic understanding of the biblical message from the biblical text itself. You will be exposed to the efforts of major contemporary biblical theologians to find a biblical center. You will write a research paper outlining your own approach to the subject.

Biblical Studies  ⁄  Certificate in Theological Studies, Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity

BST7500 Women and the Bible

Professor

Anneliese Sinnott

Professor Emerita of Systematic Theology

Women are essential to the bible—as well as the ways in which the Holy Scripture has been read and preached over the centuries. This seminar explores the importance of women from a variety of angles. We will study stories of women in the Old and New Testaments, as well as extra-canonical texts. We will consider how gender (and sexuality) shape biblical metaphors for God and their interpretation. We will explore how women have interpreted and made use of the biblical texts over the centuries—as well as how these interpretations have been received, embraced, and rejected by church authorities. In the format of seminar discussions that are introduced and contextualized by short peer-led presentations, we will engage how women’s importance shapes (or should shape) our ministries and preaching today. The course will provide a foundation in feminist and womanist scholarship.

Biblical Studies  ⁄  Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity

UM103 Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament)

Professor

Kenneth Howard

Adjunct Professor

This course is a general survey and critical review of the literature of the Hebrew Bible with emphasis on the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings.

Biblical Studies  ⁄  Urban Ministry Diploma

UM104 Christian Scriptures (New Testament)

Professor

Samuel White

Adjunct Professor

This course is a general survey and critical review of the literature of the Christian Scriptures.

Biblical Studies  ⁄  Urban Ministry Diploma

UM105 Biblical Interpretation

Professor

Charles Packer

Adjunct Professor

This course is an introductory course in the science and art of biblical interpretation. Topics will include hermeneutics, exegetical methodology and associated theories.

Biblical Studies  ⁄  Urban Ministry Diploma

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ECUMENICAL THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

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ACCREDITATION

Ecumenical Theological Seminary is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools​ in the United States and Canada, and the following degree programs are approved: MDiv, MA, MA in Pastoral Ministry, DMin.

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