The Paroikos Bible Blog exists as a resource to those interested in Biblical studies and Koine Greek. It is hoped that this blog will simultaneously provide food-for-thought to the reader while pointing him or her in the direction of valuable resources, both in print and on the internet, that will further help his or her studies in the Word.

Jan 21, 2016

What my New Testament Intro seminary students have to read

Starting this  coming Monday, I have the privilege teaching "New Testament Introduction" to the seminary students here at Baptist Theological Seminary (Menomonee Falls, WI). Since this is my "bread and butter," so to speak (my doctorate was in New Testament), I'm immensely excited at the opportunity. While I did get the opportunity to teach the class in a "hybrid" format while I was at Southeastern (part of the class was online lectures by a resident faculty, and about 12 hours of the class was my own "face-to-face" lectures to about 20 some students), this is the first time I've had the class all to myself.

My own interpretation of the topic is going to be less "book-by-book" than many treatments. While there will be plenty of that, the first half of the class will deal with broader issues, including 2nd Temple history and literature, the "quest for the historical Jesus," the historicity of the Resurrection, the Synoptic problem, the New Perspective on Paul, textual criticism, etc. 

In light of that, my textbook is not going to be the classic New Testament Introduction by Carson, Moo, and Morris (oddly, Morris' name dropped off in later editions--I still haven't figured out why that is), Rather, our textbook is The Cradle, the Cross, the Crown: A New Testament Introduction by Andreas J. Kostenberger, L. Scott Kellum, and Charles L. Quarles. Granting my bias (two of the authors were my professors), I feel Kostenberger and co. do a way better job of working with both the background of the NT and modern theological issues (such as the so-called "quests" for the historical Jesus).

I'm requiring my students to read a couple chapters from Richard Bauckham's fantastic Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, considered one of the most significant books for defending the veracity of the Gospel accounts, as well as a chapter from Reinventing Jesus (Komoszewski, Sawyer, and Wallace) that completely demolishes the "resurrection as an imitation of the Osiris myth" argument (to paraphrase one part of the chapter, the "Osiris" story is actually closer to "Frankenstein" than to the biblical concept of Resurrection). On the other side of the spectrum, I'm having my students read two chapters from Bart Ehrman's Lost Christianities. I'm deliberately exposing my students to pop-culture liberalism, the kind of book that the average man or women on the street is most likely to read, so that they are better prepared to deal that sort of material (if this were a class devoted strictly to textual criticism, I'd probably have them read some of Ehrman's more scholarly work).

Finally, my students will read a number of journal articles dealing with a variety of topics. N. T. Wright has some fantastic articles in the Sewanee Theological Review vol. 42 on the Resurrection (available online here). In addition, his essay "Five Gospels but No Gospel," originally published in Authenticating the Activities of Jesus (eds. Bruce Chilton and Craig Evans) is a humorous and masterful demolishing of "The Jesus Seminar." In the other hand, I'm also having them read Thomas Schreiner's article against the New Perspective on Paul (and against N. T. Wright) in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society vol. 54.1, March 2011 (click here). The article is entitled "Justification: The Saving Righteousness of God in Christ." Right after that, my students will be reading the ever-enjoyable Michael Bird's article "What Is There between Minneapolis and St. Paul? A Third Way in the Piper-Wright Debate" (the very next issue of JETS). 

[Side note: Somehow Bird always manages to inject humor into his academic writings. I've tried to imitate that, and failed miserably! I had a very dry article (though hopefully a worthwhile one) accepted for publication recently, but a different article, in which I tried to inject some humor, was rejected by a different journal with one of the comments being that my attempt at levity was "inappropriate." Oh well. :( ]

Anyways, looking forward to this class! The students are great, the reading material is great, and we'll see if the teacher is up to the challenge!