Exercise #1 - Initial
Impressions of the Gospel according to Mark (due Monday, 1/22/01)
for you to gain a basic overview of the life, teachings, and actions of
Jesus of Nazareth
for you to begin thinking about the evangelists' role in the production
of the Gospels
for you to become aware of some of the different levels of history that
affect the text:
the historical man named Jesus and his initial disciples (ca. 30 AD)
the original author & readers of the Gospels (ca. 60's to 90's AD)
the modern translators, readers, and interpreters (i.e. all of us today)
for me to get an initial sample of the quality of your academic reading
and writing skills
Read the entire Gospel according to Mark quickly, but carefully,
if possible at one sitting:
for now, read the Gospel itself, not what any commentator or other
scholar says about Mark
for now, read only the text and the brief introduction in your HCSB,
not all the detailed footnotes
pick a time when you can read the whole thing without interruption (only
35 pages in the HCSB)
it should only take you between one and two hours, depending on how fast
Right after you've read the whole Gospel, make some notes about your
overall impressions of this text:
What did you notice that surprised or impressed you about
the way JESUS is portrayed here?
How would you summarize the main message that MARK wanted to
give his original readers?
What major images and themes stood out as most important for
YOU as you read this Gospel?
Note: If you have read all of Mark's Gospel before, or have heard
most of its material in small pieces in the past (e.g. in church services),
then please contrast your new impressions with your previous perceptions.
Write 1½ pages about your initial impressions of Mark,
addressing all three of the questions above (about JESUS, about MARK, about
write more than one, but not more than two pages; see my GENERAL
GUIDELINES for proper paper format;
do not just outline or retell the contents of all 16 chapters; think about
the impact of the Gospel as a whole;
do not restate what the HCSB or any scholar says about Mark's Gospel;
write about your own impressions;
try to use Markan language; avoid using words and ideas from later
Christianity that are not in Mark's Gospel;
support your claims with some specific examples from Mark (citing
chapter and verse references in parentheses);
do not include a bibliography with this paper, since you are all
using only the HarperCollins Study Bible.
Exercise #2 -
Christology of the Gospel according to . . . (due Monday, 2/19/01)
to become aware of the wide variety of claims made about and titles
used for Jesus by the early Christian writers.
to see how Jesus is portrayed through his actions, described
the Evangelist, and identified by other characters.
to learn that all the Christological titles originally had different
meanings, even though all were ascribed to Jesus.
to notice how various Christological titles are used by different characters
with different meanings in each Gospel.
to recognize how the Christologies of the later Gospels have slightly
emphases than in the Gospel of Mark.
to become familiar with Bible Dictionaries and the "Bibloi" program as important tools for biblical studies.
Preparation/Research: 1) Choose either the Gospel according to Matthew,
or John as your focus text. As you
read this entire Gospel,
pay attention to the four ways in which your Evangelist expresses his Christology:
how does this Evangelist portray the actions of Jesus, and what do these
say about Jesus' identity?
what does this Evangelist himself directly say or claim about the identity
and significance of Jesus?
what do the other characters in this Gospel say about Jesus, and which
titles do they attribute to him?
what does Jesus say about himself in this Gospel, and which titles does
he use, accept, avoid, or reject?
2) For overviews and background material, read and study the following
chapter 6 of Perkins' Reading the NT, as well as the appropriate
chapter on your Gospel (ch. 13-15);
the appropriate introductory pages for your Gospel in the HCSB (pp.
1857-59, 1953-54, or 2011-13);
the articles explaining the pertinent Christological titles in one or two
of the following Bible Dictionaries: the HarperCollins Bible Dictionary;
the Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible; the Anchor Bible Dictionary;
or Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible (all available in LMU Library
Reference - but avoid other dictionaries that are too small or
3) Use the "Bibloi" program from the
LMU Library Reference Area computers to find out how often and exactly where the various
Christological titles are used in the entire Bible (OT & NT!), but especially
in your Gospel.
Caution: Search both the RSV and the NSRV translations, since
there are some differences in modern English.
Also, think creatively! For "Son of God," don't forget "God's Son,"
or a voice from heaven saying "my Son."
Then go back to your Bible and look up these references in the Gospels;
for each title, determine exactly where, when, how, and by whom it is used
in your Gospel (and if it is used differently in the other Gospels).
Written Assignment: Write a short but detailed paper (1½ to 2 pages)
describing the Christology of the Gospel you chose:
compare and contrast at least three (or more) distinctive titles ascribed
to Jesus in your Gospel;
mention how each title is used in your Gospel (where, when, by whom, and
with what meaning?);
describe how the words and actions of Jesus in this Gospel are related
to the titles attributed to him;
be aware that your Evangelist's use of these titles may differ from their
use in other OT or NT books;
but focus on your chosen Gospel, with only brief comparative comments about
the other NT Gospels.
As always, pay attention to the quality of your writing and the
your paper, and make sure that you back up what you say with
examples from the Bible (citing exact chapter & verse references).
At the end of your paper, briefly list the bibliographical information
for the specific dictionary articles you used (not just the dictionary
itself). Use the proper format for these bibliographical references, as explained
on the "Writing Guidelines" webpage.
Do not list the HCSB, Perkins, my webpages, or the Bibloi
program, but only the articles from the Bible Dictionaries you used.
If possible, in order to save paper, please print on both
of the same page (if you can adjust your printer settings). Use either
double-spacing or 1½-line spacing, but not single-spacing, to leave
room for the professor's comments.
- The Geography of the New Testament (due
to learn about the expansion of early Christianity, especially as
an urban phenomenon within the Roman Empire.
to see the correlation between the Acts of the Apostles and the
geography of the lands around the Mediterranean Sea.
to get more practice using some standard biblical reference tools, esp.
the Bibloi program and Bible Dictionaries.
1) Choose ONE of the following Roman Provinces with its cities
[signup on the list in class - first come, first served!]:
Syria (esp. Damascus & Antioch) - CAUTION:
there is more than one city named "Antioch"
Cilicia (esp. Tarsus) andPamphylia (esp. Perga)
Galatia (incl. the regions Pisidia, Lycaonia, and their towns: Antioch,
Lystra, Derbe) - CAUTION: there is more than one city named
2) Study Maps 12 and 17 in the back of your HCSB; to see exactly
where your region and its cities are located. See also my NT
3) Use the Bibloiprogram to find
out exactly where this province (and its important cities - listed in parentheses
above) is mentioned in the New Testament. Then look up those passages in your Bible,
especially but not only in the canonical Acts of the Apostles, to see
what happens in that province and/or its cities in the first Christian century.
4) For information about the geographical location and political history
of your province, look up
all of the appropriate articles in at
least two of the following standard references: the Anchor Bible
Dictionary (6 vols.), the Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible
(3 vols. plus Supplement), the
HarperCollins Bible Dictionary, the
Dictionary of the Bible, or the Illustrated Bible Dictionary
(all in the reference area of the LMU
Do not use online sources for this assignment!
Write a report (2-2½ pages, slightly
longer than usual) on the region/cities you selected:
Very briefly tell about the geography and history of your region,
esp. its political status during the 1st cent. CE.
Briefly describe the capital cityand the other
important cities and towns of your region.
Mostly explain how and why this region and its cities are
important in the NT (esp., but not only, in the Book of Acts):
analyze and summarize what happens there
in the NT (but do not merely quote long passages from the NT).
Include your bibliography of the specific Bible Dictionary
you used, in proper bibliographical format.
Make sure you write well, proof-read carefully, check your grammar and
content, and do a good job on this paper!
REMINDER on Bibliographical Format: Be specific! Give credit
where credit is due! List not only the names of your two Bible dictionaries, but the exact
authors, titles, volume & page numbers of
all the articles
Author's last name, first name. "Article Title."
(editor; city: publisher, year), vol. & pp. #s.
Exercise #4 - Pauline
Teachings Then and Now (extended deadline: Friday,
to reflect on the relevance of the NT (esp.
Pauline Ethics) for our world and our own lives today.
to consider the differences in social
circumstances between the first and the twenty-first centuries.
to learn how to use Bible Commentaries and to
find other works of modern biblical scholarship.
Choose one of the
following passages from Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians: 5:1-13; 6:1-11; 7:1-24; 7:17-40; 11:1-16;
Read it closely and carefully, and reread it in
several different modern English translations.
Analyze carefully what is stated, what is
implied, and what is presupposed in your passage:
What do the Corinthian Christians to
whom Paul is writing seem to be saying and doing?
Why? Why do they think their thoughts and
actions are compatible with their Christian faith?
What is Paul himself arguing that they
ought to do and/or think instead?
Why? What reasons does he give in trying to
convince them to change their ways?
What is the continued relevance of this
passage for our world today?
Is any situation in our own society the same or
similar today? Do Paul's arguments still apply? How?
Is the situation today different? How? What aspects of Paul's arguments no
longer apply? Why not?
Write a short paper (2 to 2½ pages) explaining the results of your
analysis of the passage you selected.
Do your own reading, thinking, analyzing, and
preliminary writing first.
After writing a rough draft or at least an
outline, check at least two Bible Commentaries on 1 Cor; don't let
the authors do the thinking for you, but let them help you check whether
you've missed something important.
Some recommended single-volume commentaries
include the HarperCollins Bible Commentary, the New Jerome Bible
Commentary, or the Interpreter's Bible Commentary (all in the
Library Reference section); also, check some larger commentaries that deal
with 1 Cor only, and thus provide more detail (LMU library: any recent BS2675.3)
Append a brief bibliography of the Bible
Commentaries you consulted (not just those you explicitly cited).
As usual, make sure you back up your claims
with specific biblical references (citing chapter and verse numbers).
Also, obviously, make sure you proof-read
carefully (for spelling and grammatical accuracy).
Exercise #5 -
"The New Testament and. (Your College Major or Other Field
of Interest)" (extended deadline: Friday, April
2001 - but proposals due Friday, April 6)
to think about the interconnectedness between biblical studies and other
academic fields of study.
to apply what we have learned about the New Testament to some other area of
interest to you.
to allow you to do something more creative, and yet still academically
serious, in studying the NT.
Choose any topic you wish that is somehow related to the New Testament and
another field of interest to you, preferably your college major here at LMU,
or some other academic area.
Think about the interconnectedness between the two. How does our study of
the NT affect your understanding of the other field? How does the other
field affect your understanding of the NT?
Think about how you would like to present the results of your research. It
could be in the form of a written paper (2-3 pages), but could also be an
academic or creative project of some other kind.
Use some additional reference works for your research - but which ones
will depend on what topic you propose.
Write up a brief (one full page) but sufficiently detailed outline or
proposal of what you would like to research and write about. Turn this in by
Friday, April 6 (or earlier), so that I can look it over and give you some
Turn in your completed project or paper by Friday, April 20 (one week before
Extra Credit Opportunity
A - Films and Videos about Jesus and His Times (due on or before Friday, 2/23/01, the day of our midterm exam
- worth up to 20 extra points, depending on the quality of your
to become even more familiar with the life, actions, and teachings of Jesus,
in the context of the 1st century world.
to recognize that Jesus' life, actions, and teachings are portrayed quite
differently in the four canonical Gospels.
to learn to analyze films and videos more critically by comparing them
closely with the foundational biblical texts.
Watch one of the films or videos about the life of Jesus listed below (most are available
in the Media Dept. of the LMU library). Pay special attention to which episodes the
film/video includes from which of the four Gospels (take notes as you are watching).
To help you recall which Gospels contain which stories or scenes from Jesus' life,
use the Bibloi program to search for
distinctive keywords, or look at the "Table of Parallel Passages in the Four Gospels"
in your HarperCollins Study Bible (pp. 1841-55).
Note that some films claim to be based on one particular Gospel.
If so, how closely does the film you chose stick to that Gospel?
What does the film change or omit from that Gospel?
Other films are not based on only one Gospel, but pick and choose
scenes from all four Gospels. If so, which episodes does your film
pick from which Gospel? What is the effect of such a mixture?
Some films even add characters or episodes that are not found
in any of the canonical Gospels. What new elements were added in
your film, and what is the effect of such additions?
Documentaries usually involve scholars discussing various issues about
Jesus and his times, with some film clips, artwork, and/or dramatizations.
What questions do they address, what biblical passages do they use as evidence,
and what perspectives do they presuppose?
Writing: Write a report (2-3 pages) in which you analyze the film
from the perspective of our study of the four Gospels, answering the questions
posed above. Conclude with your impressions about how this film portrays
Jesus overall. Is the presentation fairly close to one or more of
the Gospels, or how is the film different from the biblical portrayals
of Jesus? Please write succinctly and carefully, with plenty of explicit
biblical references. Spell-check and proof-read your paper before
turning it in, so that you can earn the maximum number of extra points.
I encourage you to watch/discuss the film with some of your classmates,
but obviously each student must write his/her own paper. Do not plagiarize
from online film reviews!
Videos Available in LMU Library: (Hints: first check the library's
online catalog for descriptions of each one; most of these productions
are about two hours long; if they are significantly longer, you should
cover about a 2-hour portion, as indicated below; the library has
a few other videos that are too old, too boring, or too short, so only
use the ones listed here):
Cotton Patch Gospel, Bridgestone Productions [PN1997 .C8336
1988 - almost 3 hours, but watch it all]
Godspell: A Musical Based on the Gospel acc. to St. Matthew (orig.
1973) [PN1997.G5678 1998 - about 2 hours]
The Gospel according to St. Matthew, by Pier Paolo Pasolini
[PN1997.9.R4 G686 1964 - about 2¼ hours]
The Greatest Story Ever Told, by George Stevens (orig. 1965)
[PN1997.G6893 1990 - over 3 hours, but see it all]
Jesus: His Life, by FilmRoos for A&E Television [BT301.2
J47 1995 - about 2 hours]
Jesus: Then and Now, by Simon Jenkins (orig. 1983) [BT303.J35
1987 - two 2-hour parts; watch either one]
Jesus and His Times, by Readers' Digest Association [BT301.2.J46
1991 - three 60-min parts; watch any two]
Jesus Christ Superstar, by Tim Rice (orig. 1973) [PN1997.J48
1990 - about 2 hours]
The Jesus File: Tracking the Messiah, by CTVC [BT301,2 J468
1999 - four 30-min. episodes; watch all four]
Jesus of Montreal (French, with English subtitles) [PN1997.J488
1989 - exactly 2 hours]
Jesus of Nazareth, by Franco Zeffirelli (orig. 1977)
[PN1997.J47 1993 - three 2-hour tapes; watch any one part]
King of Kings, by Nicholas Ray (orig. 1961) [PN1997 .K565
1996 - almost 3 hours, but watch it all]
Lives of Jesus, by BBC/ Das Erste [BT301.2 L58 1997 - three
50-min segments; choose any two parts]
The Revolutionary: I & II, by TBN Films, Robert Marcarelli
[PN1997 R49 1996-97 - watch both parts]
The Unknown Jesus: Revealing Perspectives on the Life of Jesus,
FilmRoos [BT202 U54 1999 - watch both parts]
Credit Opportunity B - Films and Videos about the
Growth of the Early Church
on or before Friday, 4/27/01, the last day of classes - worth
up to 20 extra points, depending on quality!)
To further deepen our understanding of the historical growth of Christianity
in the Roman world of the first century.
To analyze critically how the film industry portrays the story of Early
Christianity (how closely they follow the Bible).
To continue improving our academic skills of thinking critically, researching
carefully and writing well.
a video related to the Early Christian Church. You may either choose one
of the videos listed below (available in the Media Dept. in the LMU library)
or another video that you have access to elsewhere (family, rental store,
you choose a different video or film, please let your professor know in
advance what it is: title, date, producer.
your video is extremely long (over 4 hours), watch at least two
full hours. If it is about 3 hours, watch all of it.
you are watching the video, have your Bible open and follow along in the text (the
Acts of the Apostles or whatever other biblical books are most closely related to
your video). Analyze which episodes of the biblical text are stressed in the
video and which are omitted. Note also what portions of the film are not
based directly on the Bible. Use the "Pause" button occasionally to stop and think
about portions of the film as you are watching it! Also, to help you find where the
particular stories or scenes are in the Bible, use the Bibloi program to search for distinctive names or keywords.
a report (slightly longer than usual: about three pages) in which
you analyze the film from the perspective of our study of the New Testament:
summarize the plot of the film, and briefly
tell of the main characters in the film.
carefully any episodes or quotations that are
from (or closely based on) the Acts of the Apostles,
the letters of Paul, or other books of the New Testament.
Discuss also what parts of the biblical text are omitted,
and what parts of the film are added to the biblical story.
Write someconcluding evaluations of your own: How closely
does this film stick to the biblical texts? What aspects of Early Christianity
does it seem to emphasize? Why?
always, remember to back up your claims with lots of specific references
to the biblical texts (cite chapter & verse numbers).
obviously: Write carefully, and make sure you proof-read
the entire paper before you turn it in for credit.
Available in LMU Library: (Hints: first check the library's
online catalog for descriptions of each one; most of these productions
are about two hours long; if they are significantly longer, you should
cover about a 2-hour portion, as indicated below; the library has
a few other videos that are too old, too boring, or too short, so please
ask the professor if you wish to use any video not listed here):
Peter and Paul; produced by Stan Hough; story by Christopher
Knopf & Stan Hough; directed by Robert Day. (2 parts - 194 min. total
- watch it all). Summary: "This epic
network television mini-series brings to life the precarious existence
of the early Christian church which was beset by violent opposition from
without and within. Peter and Paul emerge as two key leaders and struggle
to keep the faith alive."
Quo Vadis; based on the novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz; originally
produced as a motion picture in 1951. (2 parts - 171 min. total - watch
it all). Summary: "The story of a renowned and
successful Roman general who falls in love with a lowly Christian woman,
risking everything for her, during the corrupt and decadent reign of Nero."
A.D. Anno Domini; directed by Stuart Cooper; written by Anthony
Burgess and Vincenzo Labella. (3 parts - 120 min. each - watch at least
one full part). Summary: " A dramatization
of the Book of Acts and the apostolic era."
From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians; written, produced,
and directed by Marilyn Mellowes and William Cran. (4 vols. - 60 min. each
- watch both vols. 2and 4). Summary:
"Explores the life of Jesus and the movement he started, challenging familiar
assumptions and conventional notions about the origins of Christianity."
The Rise of Christianity: The First 1000 Years. FilmRoos;
produced by Tim Evans, Roberta Grossman, Kathryn Christy. (4 vols. -
ca. 50 min. each - watch both parts 1 and 2).
Summary: "Traces the rise of one of the world's great religions
from the Crucifixion to the coming of the Crusades."
The Twelve Apostles. Weller/Grossman Productions for the
History Channel; narrated by Martin Sheen. (1 videocassette - ca. 100 min.).
Summary: "They started out as average, unexceptional
men of their time: fishermen, farmers, local magistrates. But their dedication
to a prophetic Jewish preacher in the backwaters of the Roman Empire transformed
them into revolutionaries and, in the process, changed the world itself
in ways that would reverberate across time for two thousand years."