‘Doubting Thomas’ Caravaggio (1571-1610)

Course Description

How ironic it is for a collection of writings, written by the followers of a man who was crucified by the Romans around 2000 years ago, to have eventually become the most influential writings in Western history! This is the case with the 27 books and letters that comprise the New Testament.

Compared to many of their literary contemporaries, some of the books and letters of the New Testament seemed deficient in literary finesse and sophistication. And yet they were able, and are still able, to capture the minds and hearts of men and women who saw in them the realities which gave them ultimate meaning and purpose to their lives.

We will begin by looking at important terminology relevant not just to the study of the New Testament but to the study of Scripture in general. Using the Church’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation from the Second Vatican Council, Dei Verbum, we will look at the nature of Divine Revelation, its sources, and how to interpret Scripture within the heart of the Church.

In this course students will encounter the rich presentation of Jesus in the four-fold Gospel, the initial attempts of the Church to spread the Gospel to lands both near and far, initial insights into the theology of Paul of Tarsus, and the amazing revelatory visions of John as recorded in the Book of Revelation. The course will introduce students to the basic concepts found in the New Testament.

This course is designed for beginners to be able to sink their teeth into the overall themes, the characters, story-line and the theology of the books of the New Testament. It is a must for any budding Scripture student or a good refresher course for those who are more experienced with reading, praying, and studying the Scriptures.

Jesus said, “Come and See” (Jn 1:39)—so come and open the New Testament with us!

Course Objectives

  1. To become more familiar with the books and letters of the New Testament.
  2. To be introduced to the major themes, characters, and theology of the books and letters of the New Testament.
  3. To be able to grasp the different literary genres of the books and letters of the New Testament.
  4. To come to know better and fall in love with the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent (Jn 17:3).

Course Duration

6 Weeks: 12 Hours (i.e., two hours, one night a week).

Recommended Reading

Texts Recommended for Purchase by Course Participants:

Catholic Church. Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation: Dei Verbum.

Hahn, Scott and Curtis Mitch. The Ignatius Catholic Bible Study: The New Testament. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010.

Shea, Mark P. Making Senses out of Scripture: Reading the Bible as the First Christians Did. San Diego: Basilica Press, 1999.

Vanhoozer, Kevin J. (ed.) Theological Interpretation of the New Testament: A Book-by-Book Survey. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005, 2008.

Popular Level Reading:

Achtemeier, Paul J. Inspiration and Authority: Nature and Function of Christian Scripture. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1999.

Barber, Michael. Coming Soon: Unlocking the Book of Revelation and Applying Its Lessons Today. Steubenville, Ohio: Emmaus Road Publishing, 2005.

Byrne, Brendan. A Costly Freedom: A Theological Reading of Mark’s Gospel. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2008.

_________. Lifting the Burden: Reading Matthew’s Gospel in the Church Today. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2004

_________. The Hospitality of God: A Reading of Luke’s Gospel. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2000

Catholic Church. Catechism of the Catholic Church. Homebush: St Pauls, 1994.

_________. The Historicity of the Gospels: Instruction of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. Boston: Pauline Books and Media, 1964.

_________. The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church: Address of His Holiness John Paul II and Document of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. Boston: St Paul Books and Media, 1993.

_________. Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, New Revised Edition, vol. 1. Edited by Austin Flannery. New York: Costello Publishing Company, 1996.

Dauphinais, Michael and Matthew Levering. Holy People, Holy Land: A Theological Introduction to the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2005.

Fitzmyer, Joseph A. Scripture, the Soul of Theology. New York: Paulist Press, 1994.

Geisler, Norman L. and William C. Roach. Defending Inerrancy: Affirming the Accuracy of Scripture for a New Generation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011.

Hahn, Scott. A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God’s Covenant Love in Scripture. Michigan: Servant Publications, 1998.

_________. A Pocket Guide to the Bible. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor Division, 2008.

_________. Letter and Spirit: From written Text to Living Word in the Liturgy. Great Britain: Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd, 2006.

_________. Scripture Matters: Essays on Reading the Bible from the Heart of the Church. Steubenville, Ohio: Emmaus Road, 2003.

Kelly, Anthony J. and Francis J Moloney. Experiencing God in the Gospel of John. New York: Paulist Press, 2003.

Sri, Edward. The Bible Compass: A Catholic’s Guide to Navigating the Scriptures. West Chester, PA: Ascension Press, 2009.

Stravinskas, Peter M.J. The Catholic Church and the Bible. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1996.

Vanhoozer, Kevin J. (ed.) Theological Interpretation of the Old Testament: A Book-by-Book Survey. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005, 2008.

Thematic Works for this Course:

Béchard, Dean P. ed. and trans. The Scripture Documents: An Anthology of Official Catholic Teachings. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2002.

Bruce, F.F. The New Testament Documents: Are they Reliable? Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1981.

Farkasfalvy, Denis. Inspiration and Interpretation: A Theological Introduction to Sacred Scripture. Washington DC. The Catholic University of America Press, 2010.

Scholarly Level Reading:

Bartholomew, Craig, et al (ed.). Cannon and Biblical Interpretation (Scripture & Hermeneutics Series. Vol. 7). United Kingdom: Paternoster Press, 2006.

Beale, Gregory K. A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011.

_________. Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament: Exegesis and Interpretation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2012.

_________. The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism: Responding to New Challenges to Biblical Authority. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008.

Beale, Gregory and D.A. Carson, (eds.). Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007.

Brown, Raymond E. An Introduction to New Testament Christology. New York: Paulist Press, 1994.

_________. The Churches the Apostles Left Behind. New York: Paulist Press, 1984.

_________. The Gospel and Epsitles of John: A Concise Commentary. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1988.

Brown, Raymond E., Karl P. Donfried, Joseph A. Fitzmyer and John Reumann (eds.). Mary in the New Testament. New York: Paulist Press, 1978.

Burtchaell, James T. Catholic Theories of Biblical Inspiration since 1810. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969.

Dungan, David, Laird. A History of the Synoptic Problem: The Canon, the Text, the Composition, and the Interpretation of the Gospels. New York: Doubleday, 1999.

Levering, Matthew. Participatory Biblical Exegesis: A Theology of Biblical Interpretation. Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 2008.

Rahner, Karl. Inspiration in the Bible. New York: Herder and Herder, 1961.

Ratzinger, Joseph Cardinal. God’s Word: ScriptureTraditionOffice. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2008.

Resseguie, James L. The Revelation of John: A Narrative Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2009.

Rogers, Jack B. and Donald k. McKim. The Authority and Interpretation of the Bible: An Historical Approach. New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1979.

Schniedewind, William M. How the Bible Became a Book. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Stein, Robert H. The Synoptic Problem: An Introduction. Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Books, 1987.

Woodbridge, John D. Biblical Authority: A Critique of the Rogers/McKim Proposal. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1982.

Wright, N.T. The Last Word: Beyond the Bible Wars to a New Understanding of the Authority of Scripture. United Kingdom: HarperOne, 2005.

Zia, Mark J. What are they saying about Biblical Inspiration? New York: Paulist Press, 2011.

Scholarly Journal Articles:

Barron, Robert. “Biblical Interpretation and Theology: Irenaeus, Modernity, and Vatican II.” Letter & Spirit 5 (2009): 173-192.

Balthasar, Hans Urs von. “The Word, Scripture, and Tradition.” Letter & Spirit 2 (2006): 189-202.

Baglow, Christopher T. “Rediscovering St. Thomas Aquinas as Biblical Theologian.” Letter & Spirit 1 (2005): 137-146.

Bea, Augustin Cardinal. “Vatican II and the Truth of Sacred Scripture.” Letter & Spirit 1 (2005): 173-178.

Crehan, J.H. “Verbum Dei Incarnatum and Verbum Dei Scriptum in the Church Fathers.” Letter & Spirit 6 (2010): 345-348.

D’Ambrosio, Marcellino. “The Spiritual Sense in De Lubac’s Hermeneutics of Tradition.” Letter & Spirit 1 (2005): 147-158.

Driscoll, Jeremy. “The Word of God in the Liturgy of the New Covenant.” Letter & Spirit 1 (2005): 87-100.

Dulles, Cardinal Avery. “The Church and the Kingdom: A Study of their Relationship in Scripture, Tradition and Evangelization.” Letter & Spirit 3 (2007):23-38.

_________. “Vatican II on the Interpretation of Sacred Scripture.” Letter & Spirit 2 (2006): 17-26.

Durrwell, F.X. “The Sacrament of Sacred Scripture.” Letter & Spirit 1 (2005): 167-172.

Fastiggi, Robert. “Communal or Social Inspiration: A Catholic Critique.” Letter & Spirit 6 (2010): 247-264.

Gadenz, Pablo T. “Magisterial Teaching on the Inspiration and Truth of Scripture: Precedents and Prospects.” Letter & Spirit 6 (2010): 67-92.

Griesz Germain. “The Inspiration and Inerrancy of Scripture.” Letter & Spirit 6 (2010): 181-190.

Hahn, Scott W. “Worship in the Word: Towards a Liturgical Hermeneutic.” Letter & Spirit 1 (2005): 101-136.

_________. (ed.). “For the Sake of Our Salvation: The Truth and Humility of God’s Word.” Letter & Spirit 6 (2010).

Harrison, Brian W. “Restricted Inerrancy and the ‘Hermeneutic Of Discontinuity.’” Letter & Spirit 6 (2010): 225-246.

Healy, Mary. “Inspiration and Incarnation: The Christological Analogy and the Hermeneutics of Faith.” Letter & Spirit 2 (2006): 27-42.

Levering, Matthew. “The Inspiration of Scripture: A Status Quaestionis.” Letter & Spirit 6 (2010): 281-314.

McGovern, Thomas. “The Gospels as History.” Letter & Spirit 6 (2010): 333-344.

Pitre, Brant. “The Mystery of God’s Word: Inspiration, Inerrancy, and the Interpretation of Scripture.” Letter & Spirit 6 (2010): 47-66.

Waldstein, Michael Maria. “Analogia Verbi: The Truth of Scripture in Rudolph Bultmann and Raymond Brown.” Letter & Spirit 6 (2010): 93-140.

Wilken, Robert Louis. “Allegory and the Interpretation of the Old Testament in the 21st Century.” Letter & Spirit 1 (2005): 11-22.