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NT513: The New Testament - Biblical Theology

Time schedule | PDF-version for print

General information | General information | Overlapping courses | Overlapping courses | Course requirements | Course requirements | Final assessment | Final assessment | Course objective and content | Course objective and content | Literature 


Person responsible for the course:Karl Olav Sandnes (Karl.O.Sandnes@mf.no)
Credit points (ECTS):10
Start of studies:Autumn
Language:English
Study programme:Master's degree (2 years) - Master of Theology
Master's degree (5 years) - Professional Degree in Methodist Theology and Ministry
Department:Department of Theology and Ministry
Examination support material permitted:List E, List F

Examination dates/written assignment deadlines

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1 Final deadline to withdraw from examination

Examination typeDate / DeadlineWithdrawal deadline 1
Written school exam2021-11-22 22. Nov 20212021-11-01 1. Nov 2021
Start time:09:00
Duration:6 hours
Release date for results:13. Dec 2021

General information

This is a basic New Testament course which does not require knowledge of Greek. It consists of three subtopics: A. The cultural context of the New Testament (NT) (2 ECTS); B. The Gospels read in light of Israel’s Holy Scriptures (the Old Testament) (4 ECTS); C. Pauline theology (4 ECTS). The aim of this course is to provide knowledge of the theology of central parts of the New Testament, and an understanding of the cultural context of the NT. The course will also address methodological and hermeneutical questions related to the presentation of a biblical theology in texts depending on historical context and which are framed in given literary patterns.
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Subtopic A provides knowledge of the Jewish and Graeco-Roman context in which the New Testament was created and to which its first readers belonged. With this as a starting point, there will be focus on the following questions: What kind of development can be detected within Jewish history, thinking and culture in the time of the Second Temple? Which Jewish parties existed? What were the main characteristics of the Graeco-Roman culture? To what extent were Jews influenced by, and how did they relate to this culture?
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Subtopic B focuses on how the four canonical gospels use Israel's Holy Scriptures in order to formulate their messages. Some key questions will be: How does Israel's history work as a backdrop for the message of the gospels? In what way are the Scriptures used to draw a picture of Jesus' life and work? What visions are drawn for the people of God and its mission?
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Subtopic C Perspectives on Paul: The burning issue in subtopic C is Paul’s view on Torah, the law of Moses, with special emphasis on his letters to Galatians and Romans. Delving into Paul’s view on the law paves the way to many other questions: what is the relationship between faith and works of the law? Can those who are “in Christ” still sin? Does Paul’s critique against the law imply that he abandoned his Jewish faith? Is Paul’s theology in any way dependent on his expectation that Christ will return soon? Questions like these have accompanied the history of interpretation, and today they are pivotal for understanding Paul. Subtopic C approaches these questions in a dialogue with current tendencies in Pauline scholarship, and by reading his letters in the light of Old Testament/Jewish scriptures and cultural traditions in the Graeco-Roman world.

Overlapping courses

NT513 The New Testament - Biblical Theology overlaps partly with TEOL2210 New Testament Intermediate Level: Method, Context, Gospel of John and the Theology of Paul, BIB511 Theology of the Bible and BIB501 Biblical Theology, and completely with NT503 The New Testament - Biblical Theology and PEN513 The New Testament: Lucan and Pauline Theology.
  • Students who have already completed TEOL2210 will receive 4 credit points (ECTS) for NT513 on their transcript of records or diploma.
  • Students who have already completed BIB511 will receive 3 credit points (ECTS) for NT513 on their transcript of records or diploma.
  • Students who have already completed BIB501 will receive 7 credit points (ECTS) for NT513 on their transcript of records or diploma.
  • Students who have already completed NT503 will receive 0 credit points (ECTS) for NT513 on their transcript of records or diploma. MF therefore recommends not to combine these courses.
  • Students who have already completed PEN513 will receive 0 credit points (ECTS) for NT513 on their transcript of records or diploma. MF therefore recommends not to combine these courses.
Students who are planning to take more than two of these overlapping courses are asked to contact a student advisor.

Course requirements

In order to receive a final assessment, the student must:
  • participate in the evaluation of the curriculum and/or of the learning environment, if such evaluation is stipulated in the relevant term.

Final assessment

The final assessment of NT513 The New Testament is based on one written exam (6 hours). In order to receive a final assessment, the student must fulfil the course requirements within the fixed deadline. The mark (A-F) is given on the basis of the written exam.

Course objective and content

PART A: THE CULTURAL CONTEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 2 ECTS
KNOWLEDGE
The student has
  • good knowledge of Jewish culture in Hellenistic times
  • good knowledge of the Graeco-Roman culture as backdrop and context for the New Testament
  • advanced knowledge of how interpretation of New Testament texts takes place against the backdrop of and in the context of Jewish and Greco-Roman culture
SKILLS
The student can:
  • relate knowledge of Jewish and Graeco-Roman culture to the interpretation of New Testament texts
  • clarify what it means that the New Testament texts are created in and reflect a particular historical and cultural context
  • demonstrate how questions especially within subtopics B and C are at home in cultural discourses
PART B: THE GOSPELS READ IN LIGHT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT 4 ECTS
KNOWLEDGE
The student has
  • good knowledge of the use of the Scripture in the Gospels
  • good knowledge about implications thereof for a historical reading of the Gospels
  • advanced knowledge of the distinct literary and theological character of the canonical Gospels
SKILLS
The student can:
  • discuss to what extent and in what ways the use of the Scriptures has shaped the message of the Gospels
  • discuss the criteria used to identify the use of the Scriptures in the Gospels
  • communicate what consequences Scriptural imitation has for a historical reading of the Gospels
PART C: PERSPECTIVES ON PAUL 4 ECTS
KNOWLEDGE
The student has
  • good knowledge on the content of the epistle to the Romans and Galatians, on different views regarding Paul’s attitude to Torah, grace and the ability to observe the law and live in accordance with the will of God, and on God’s plan for bringing salvation to Jews and Gentiles
  • good knowledge on the role attributed to Jesus Christ in Paul’s theology
  • good knowledge on how Pauline dicta on grace have been understood by Marcion, Augustine, Luther as well as in modern theological debate
  • advanced knowledge about the historical and contextual situation in which Paul composed his letters, and on how this context is mirrored in his letters
  • good knowledge on different and substantial view-points found in present-day Pauline scholarship, and also how these views are substantiated
SKILLS:
The student can:
  • discuss both strengths and weaknesses in key positions in current Pauline scholarship
  • apply knowledge on current Pauline scholarship in interpreting texts from Galatians and Romans
  • discuss Paul’s self-understanding as a Jew and also whether he abandoned Judaism of his time
  • ability to reflect critically on assumptions that are decisive in how Paul has been understood in the tradition
  • use knowledge on OT and Jewish traditions and ancient ideas on gift-exchange in the interpretation of texts from Galatians and Romans
  • ability to reflect critically on the ecumenical, social and political implications that different interpretations of Paul may have
GENERAL COMPETENCE
The three subtopics together shall convey skills to
  • reflect critically on assumptions a reader brings to the interpretation of New Testament texts, and also how these assumptions are at work in the process of interpretation
  • communicate meaningfully on relevant questions, based on the knowledge and skills conveyed in this course

Literature

To access electronic literature when you are not at MF:

PART A LITERATURE
  • Skarsaune, O. (2002). In the shadow of the temple: Jewish influences on early Christianity (p. 23-132). Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press. Library

PART B LITERATURE

  • Hays, R. B. (2016). Echoes of scripture in the gospels. Waco, Tex.: Baylor University Press. Library

PART C LITERATURE
Choose one of the following options:
Either:

  • Barclay, J. M. G. (2015). Paul and the gift (p. 11-116, 130-188). Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans. Library. Hentet fra ebookcentral.proquest.com
  • Sandnes, K. O. (2021). Var Paulus kristen?: Har kirken forstått hans tro og teologi?. Follese: Efrem. Library

Or:

PART A LITERATURE
Choose one of the following options:
Either:

  • Klauck, H.-J. (2000). The religious context of early Christianity: A guide to Graeco-Roman religions (p. 1-11, 94-106, 149-174, 177-192, 250-255, 261-266, 279-288, 325-330, 335-338, 351-358, 385-400, 426-433, 437-438, 462-484). Edinburgh: T&T Clark. Library

Or:

  • Seland, T. (2004). Paulus i Polis: Paulus' sosiale verden som forståelsesbakgrunn for hans liv og forkynnelse (p. 1-218). Trondheim: Tapir. Library

> PDF version for printing