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THST 415 - New Testament Theology - Spring 2004
Felix Just, S.J. - Loyola Marymount University


Course Description:

This seminar-style course has the following Goals and Objectives:

1) To learn about the wide variety of theologies within the New Testament:

  • we will read selections from the Gospels, the Pauline Letters, other Epistles, and the Apocalypse, paying attention to the differences between them, especially in regard to their theological outlooks.
  • we will investigate some questions pertaining to various theological sub-fields, especially Christology and discipleship, but also including soteriology, eschatology, ecclesiology, cosmology, sacraments, ethics, etc.

2) To develop research skills important for biblical studies:

  • we will regularly use biblical reference works (commentaries, concordances, atlases, dictionaries, etc.), in both print and electronic formats (CD-ROM databases, websites, etc.).
  • we will learn the Greek alphabet, so that we can use some theological lexica to investigate the connotations and implications of some key Greek terms and concepts.

3) To improve our academic skills, including critical reading, research, writing, and presentation skills:

  • we will attempt not only to find answers, but to question presuppositions and raise new questions.
  • we will share insights with one another in written assignments, oral discussions, and presentations.

4) To learn about and to practice doing theology as an essentially inter-disciplinary enterprise:

  • we will incorporate some insights from the fields of history, literature, language, philosophy, sociology, art, natural sciences, mathematics, etc., as well as using the methods of theology itself.
  • we will consider ecumenical and inter-religious differences in the interpretation and use of the Bible, and read some official Roman Catholic documents related to biblical interpretation.

Required Textbooks (all available at the LMU bookstore):

  1. Brown, Raymond. An Introduction to the New Testament. New York: Doubleday, 1997.
  2. Longenecker, Richard. Patterns of Discipleship in the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996.
  3. Meeks, Wayne. The HarperCollins Study Bible: Student Edition. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1997; or any “Study Bible” (with intros, notes, maps, etc.) in a recent English translation (NAB, NRSV, NJB, etc.).
  4. highly recommended: HarperCollins Bible Dictionary. Revised ed. San Francisco: Harper, 1996.

Reference Works to be used regularly (most available in the LMU Library's Reference Area):

  1. The Anchor Bible Dictionary. 6 vols. New York: Doubleday, 1992.  --  ref. BS440 A54 1992
  2. The New Jerome Biblical Commentary. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1990.  --  ref. BS491.2 N485
  3. The Bibloi CD-ROM Program  --  available on the computers in the Library Reference Area
  4. The multi-volume Anchor Bible Commentary, and other commentary series.
  5. Any internet browser to gain access to certain documents available on the World Wide Web.

Course Work & Expectations:

1)       Regular Attendance and Active Participation in Seminar DiscussionsOn-time attendance is essential each day in a seminar-style course; please tell me in advance if you must miss a class unavoidably. Always come prepared to participate fully in the discussions (asking questions, suggesting answers, taking notes, presenting insights, and challenging assumptions - your own and those of others - but do so respectfully!).

2)       Daily Readings and Written Reflections:  All assigned readings should be done before class, so that you can contribute intelligently to the discussions. Make some notes on each reading, in the following three categories:

a) questions for clarification:  simple things you may not have understood fully;
b) observations on highlights:  interesting things that impressed or surprised you;
c) issues for discussion:  more complex questions & problems raised by the texts.

3)       Periodic Seminar Presentations:  Students will take turns leading discussions during Part II of the course on several topics: Christology, discipleship (based on Longenecker's Patterns), and the other theological field assigned each day. For each presentation, you should prepare and distribute a short, detailed handout for the class (only 1-page).

4)       Final Research Paper:  Instead of periodic quizzes and exams, each student will write a research paper (10-12 pages) on some topic related to NT Theology.  Please submit an initial topic proposal by March 11, a detailed outline with bibliography by March 25, a rough draft some time in April, and the final paper by May 8.  The best papers will be considered for submission for prizes and/or publication in local and/or national journals.

5)       Academic Integrity and Honesty:  You are strongly encouraged to study together with other students, and you may of course use any books or other resources for learning.  However, all written work must be your own, unless you are directly citing from sources that you have properly documented and credited.  Copying from any other person, book, or things on the internet without properly documenting your source (even if you change a few words here and there!), is considered plagiarism and will result in a failing grade for the course.

Course Grades:

Since we will not have regular objective quizzes or exams, the quality of all your oral presentations and written work will necessarily be graded more subjectively, according to the following scale.


truly excellent, extremely thoughtful, and nearly flawless work


very high quality work that goes well beyond minimum expectations, with only a few minor errors


very good work that slightly exceeds minimum expectations and contains no major errors


good solid work that meets the stated expectations, with not too many errors or omissions


work that is still good overall, but has some significant omissions and/or errors


somewhat defective work that does not meet all of the stated expectations or has


work that shows a significant number of serious problems


(or below) hopefully not necessary in this class!

Your final course grade will be an average of your grades for Attendance, Participation, and Written Reflections (1/3), your Seminar Presentations (1/3), and your Research Paper (1/3).

Legal Disclaimer:

This “syllabus” will probably be modified slightly, as announced and agreed upon during the course of the semester.

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This page was last updated on June 16, 2004
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