26 episodes

(RLST 152) This course provides a historical study of the origins of Christianity by analyzing the literature of the earliest Christian movements in historical context, concentrating on the New Testament. Although theological themes will occupy much of our attention, the course does not attempt a theological appropriation of the New Testament as scripture. Rather, the importance of the New Testament and other early Christian documents as ancient literature and as sources for historical study will be emphasized. A central organizing theme of the course will focus on the differences within early Christianity (-ies).

This course was recorded in Spring 2009.

Introduction to New Testament History and Literature - Video Dale B. Martin

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 4.8 • 19 Ratings

(RLST 152) This course provides a historical study of the origins of Christianity by analyzing the literature of the earliest Christian movements in historical context, concentrating on the New Testament. Although theological themes will occupy much of our attention, the course does not attempt a theological appropriation of the New Testament as scripture. Rather, the importance of the New Testament and other early Christian documents as ancient literature and as sources for historical study will be emphasized. A central organizing theme of the course will focus on the differences within early Christianity (-ies).

This course was recorded in Spring 2009.

    • video
    26 - The “Afterlife” of the New Testament; and Postmodern Interpretation

    26 - The “Afterlife” of the New Testament; and Postmodern Interpretation

    How did a small group following an apocalyptic prophet in Palestine become Christianity - what is now called a "world religion"? This small movement saw many changes in the second, third, and fourth centuries, from the development of different sects, philosophical theologies, and martyrology, to the rise of monasticism, and finally to the ascension of Constantine to the throne and the Christian Roman Empire. It was not until the nineteenth century, however, that the term "world religion" came to be used and Christianity was categorized as such.

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    25 - Ecclesiastical Institutions: Unity, Martyrs, and Bishops

    25 - Ecclesiastical Institutions: Unity, Martyrs, and Bishops

    The Epistle of Jude can be dated to somewhere during post-apostolic Christianity and before the formation of the Canon. It refers to the apostles as representing a prior generation, yet it quotes from texts later excluded (perhaps, for example, by 2 Peter) from the Canon. The letters of Ignatius of Antioch contain evidence of a move toward the institutionalization of early Christianity. It mentions, for example, three different church offices: bishops, presbyters, and deacons. It also heavily emphasizes the authority held by those with these titles. The Didache contains liturgical and ritual instructions for rites such as baptism, the Lord's Prayer, and the Eucharist. All these documents show the change in early Christianity toward greater church structure and institutionalization.

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    24 - Apocalyptic and Accommodation

    24 - Apocalyptic and Accommodation

    The Apocalypse of John showed an anti-Roman, politically revolutionary perspective. This is in contrast with Paul's writing in Romans 13, which calls for submission to governmental authorities - although passages in 1 Corinthians may be said to contradict this. 2 Thessalonians, a pseudonymous letter, also preaches a politically conservative and accommodative message, as does 1 Peter. Interestingly, these letters do not discard or ignore apocalypticism but use it quite differently from the author of Revelation to further their message of political conservatism. 2 Peter seems to be a letter dating from the second century, from the post-apostolic age. In 2 Peter, the apocalypse is no longer imminent and is not used to further any admonition. Instead, it has become simply a part of Christian doctrine.

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    22 - Interpreting Scripture: Medieval Interpretations

    22 - Interpreting Scripture: Medieval Interpretations

    The principles of interpreting the New Testament in this course assume a historical critical perspective. The historical critical method of interpreting a text privileges the intended meaning of the ancient author, the interpretation of a text's original audience, the original language the text was written in, and the avoidance of anachronism. However, for most of the last two thousand years, this has not been the method of interpretation of the Bible. Pre-modern interpreters, such as Origen and Augustine, felt free to allegorize and use the text as they saw fit. It was only through the Reformation and other events in modern history that the historical critical method became the predominant method of interpretation.

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    23 - Apocalyptic and Resistance

    23 - Apocalyptic and Resistance

    The Apocalypse, or the Revelation of John, shares many of the traits found in apocalyptic literature: it operates in dualisms--earthly events contrasted with heavenly ones, present time with the imminent future, and it calls for cultural and political resistance. Its structure is like a spiral, presenting cycle after cycle of building tension and reprieve, so that the reader who experiences the text also experiences crisis and then catharsis. Politically, Revelation equates Rome with Babylon and the empire as the domain of Satan.

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    21 - Interpreting Scripture: Hebrews

    21 - Interpreting Scripture: Hebrews

    There are many ways of interpreting the text, and ancient methods of interpretation may seem bizarre to our modern sensibilities. The New Testament offers us many examples of how an early Christian might interpret the text of the Hebrew Bible, which was their scripture. The Letter to the Hebrews, which is not really a letter but a speech of encouragement, structures its argument around the thesis that Jesus' liturgy and priesthood is superior to that in the Hebrew Bible. The author of Hebrews proves this through several interesting interpretations of passages from the Hebrew Bible.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
19 Ratings

19 Ratings

Calinancat ,

Worthwhile

One of the very best overviews on offer. Balanced and informative

Albertyy55 ,

Good

This course uses a historical perspective and put me back to the ages of early Christianity. It helped a lot for me to understand the bible in historical lens. Who wrote the book, to what audience, under which circumstance, to which audience, address which problems.

Certainly, Christianity has grown without experiencing growing pains, fighting with false teachings

Great course.

St. Jimmy13 ,

Very interesting

Corses like this are what iTunes U is for. It is a very interesting overview of the themes and ideas in the New Testament and is worth every minute spent listening to it. I would only note that the audio quality in some of the installments is on the quiet side (his first episode on the John's gosple comes to mind). Other than that it was great.

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