UCBP 101-01: Biblical Perspectives

Spring 2003


MWF 9:15 to 10:20am
318 Chapman Hall

Office Hours: Mon. 4:05-5:00pm
Tues. & Thurs. 2-4pm


David R. Bains
325 Chapman Hall
phone: 726-2879

Course Description:

This Course examines the historical context and religious teachings of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. It also explores their interpretation, and application to human life. This course builds upon Cultural Perspectives I & II and is typically taken in the second year.

Students will:


Required Textbooks: (available at the Samford University Bookstore)

Aland, Kurt, ed. Synopsis of the Four Gospels. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1983.

Meeks, Wayne A., Jouette M. Bassler, and Werner E. Lemke, eds. The HarperCollins Study Bible : New Revised Standard Version With the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1997.

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Cost of Discipleship. New York: Touchstone, 1959.

Chance, J. Bradley, and Milton P. Horne. Rereading the Bible: An Introduction to the Biblical Story. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2000.

Powell, Mark Allan. Fortress Introduction to the Gospels. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1998.

Readings packet


Basic Requirements: Carefully complete all reading and writing assignments. Bring the Bible, textbook, and any other readings being discussed to class each day. Take notes during lecture and discussion. Study your notes.

Two mid-term examinations (20% each) Final Exam (25%) The midterms will be during class on the day listed on the schedule. The final will be Tuesday, May 20, at 3:30pm at the place announced by the university. Study guides will be provided in class at least one week before he each exam. Preliminary study guides are available online. These are based on last year's course and some things may change different. They will help you understand the sorts of material you are expected to know. Updated study guides will be provided about one week before the test.

Essays, Quizzes, and Participation (25%) This includes the occasional quizzes and response papers and other essays that are assigned. Students should come to class having studied the assigned texts and prepared to participate in classroom discussion. Periodic in-class quizzes or other writing assignments will also be given.

Academic Integrity:

Students are expected to observe high standards of intellectual integrity. (See page 96 in the Student Handbook.) Study groups are encouraged, but all submitted work must be your own. Suspected lapses in academic integrity will be investigated and adjudicated in accordance with the university's policies.

In all essays and papers you must follow a recognized system for citation of quotes and ideas. Since religion is an interdisciplinary field you may follow whatever system you prefer (e.g., MLA, Chicago, etc.). For short papers in this class, you do not need to provide full bibliographic information for the assigned books, but you do need to cite the page numbers of books and articles and the chapter and verse of books of the Bible. See my handout "Guidelines for Essays in Religion" for additional information.

Attendance and Grading / Department of Religion:

Roll will be taken each day. In a MWF class a student may miss six classes without penalty. After the seventh absence your final grade will be reduced one letter grade. After the ninth absence the student will receive an FA for the course. Three tardies count as one absence. If you come in after your name is called, you will need to notify your professor at the end of the class period, or else the tardy will become an absence. The Department of Religion grading scale is:

A = 95-100%

B+ = 88-91%

B- = 82-84%

C = 74-77%

D+ = 66-69%

A- = 92-94%

B = 85-87%

C+ = 78-81%

C- = 70-73%

D = 63-65%

D- = 60-62%

F = below 59%

Papers that are turned in after the set due date will be penalized one full letter grade for each week that they are late.

Samford University complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Students with disabilities who seek accommodations must make their request by contacting Disability Support Services located in Counseling Services on the lower level

of Pittman Hall, or call 726-4078. A faculty member will grant reasonable accommodations only upon written notification from Disability Support Services.


Readings, key words, and homework questions for are listed below for most days. Where they are not listed they will be supplied at a later date. Key words are provided to guide your study of the readings and the lectures. Most of the terms will be found in the readings. A few, however, will be introduced during the lecture.

I strongly suggest using the "Learning Goals" and "Guiding Study Exercises" at the beginning of each section in Chance & Horne to guide your reading. Quiz yourself with them after you read each section.

The question or assignment is only required of all students on a few days (marked below). On all other days, a small portion of the class will have to answer the question for that day. A rotation schedule for this will be provided later.

  1. Jan. 29 Introduction to Biblical Studies: the Process of the Bible
    Key terms: chain of tradition, canon, interpretive (hermeneutical) triangle
    Luke 1:1-4, Psalm 23 comparison chart (Handout)
  2. Jan. 31 Canon: How do we know what is in the Bible?
    Rereading and the Formation of the Biblical Canon

    Chance and Horne, 2-11
    II Macc. 14: 38-45
    Luther, "Preface to James and Jude" (packet)
    in class: Matt 5:17, Luke 4:17, Luke 24:27, Luke 24:44-45-
    Key terms: Septuagint (LXX), Torah, Pentateuch, Nebiim, Kethuvim. Marcion, Apocrypha, Deuterocanon, Martin Luther
  3. Feb. 3 Rereading and Intertextuality
    Hosea 11:1-11; Matthew 2:13-15; I Corinthians 10:1-16
    Chance and Horne, 12-25
    Martin Luther King, Jr., "I Have a Dream" (packet)
    Key terms: literary text, social text, micro-level intertextuality, macro-level intertextuality
    Assignment: In the margins of your copy of King's speech, note places where you recognize an intertextual reference to the Bible, to American political documents, or to American culture. Write one or two paragraphs to turn in on why King uses these intertextual references.
  4. Feb. 5 Israel's Developing Story
    Quiz on key terms to date

    Chance and Horne, 26-39, chart on 48-49
    Nehemiah 9:6-37; Deuteronomy 10:12-22, 12:2-7, 13-14, 18:9-22; II Kings 17:1-22,
    Key terms: Deuteronomistic History, Deuteronomic Theology, Hellenistic, Tetrateuch, Chronicler's History, Mesopotamia, Fertile Crescent, Palestine, Canaan
    Assignment 1.) #3, p.27 or 2.) Describe three (3) specific examples of how II Kings 17 draws on the theology expressed in Deuteronomy to explain the exile of Israel.
  5. Feb. 7 Retelling the story I: Old Testament outlines
    Chance and Horne, 40-47
    Nehemiah 9:6-37, Sirach 44-50, Ps 78, I Macc 2:51-60
    Key terms: Sirach, Priestly, Patriarchs, Exodus (event), Exile
    Assignment: 1.) Answer #3 & #4 on page 40 or 2.) Does Ps 78 correspond more closely to the Deuteronomic theology of Neh. 9 or the Priestly theology of Sirach 44-50? Explain your answer. Also note any significant differences between Ps. 78 and the passage you focus on.
  6. Feb. 10 Retelling the Story II
    Acts7; Acts 13:13-43
    Eucharistic Prayer C, Book of Common Prayer, (1979) The Holy Koran, surah 4 (selections), surah 21 (packet)
    Assignment (all students): Draw up a detailed outline similar to that on page 44 for one of the five assigned texts. Then, write a paragraph or two in which you compare and contrast this text's retelling and theological perspective to Nehemiah 9.
  7. Feb. 12 Law and the Inheritance of the Land
    Quiz on key terms, chronology, and geography

    Chance and Horne, 97-101
    Genesis 12:1-3, 15:1-11, 17:1-8; Deuteronomy 6:10-25
    Question: #1 and #2 p. 97
    Key: Abraham, Land as Promise, Land as Contingency, Covenant
  8. Feb. 14 Prophets I: Amos
    Introduction to Amos in HarperCollins Study Bible 1355-1357
    Amos (all 9 chapters)

    Koran, 89 (packet)
    Martin Luther King, Jr., "I Have a Dream" (read it again)
    Key Terms: pre-exilic prophet, prophetic eschatology, Israel, Judah, Assyria, Oracle, Mt. Samaria, Gigal, Bethel
    Question: 1.) Judging on the readings assigned, if Amos was a prophet was Martin Luther King, Jr. a prophet? or 2.) Compare and Contrast eschatological and ethical views of Amos and the Koran.
  9. Feb. 17 Prophets II: Elijah and Canaanite Religion
    I Kings 16: 21-19:21
    Lawrence Boadt. "Canaanite Religion and Culture"
    Key Terms: Baal, El, Asherah, Anat, Samaria, Omri, Ahab, Jezebel, Elijah, Horeb, shaman
    Question: What advantages did Canaanite religion have over the religion of YHWH? Why was it so attractive to the people?
  10. Feb. 19 Prophets III: Hosea
    Introduction to Hosea in HarperCollins Study Bible (1329-1331, 1355-1357)
    Hosea 1-4
    Question: Why does God command Hosea to marry a "wife of whoredom"? How does this relate to his message for Israel? Be sure to support your answer with evidence from Hosea.
  11. Feb. 21 King and Temple: The Davidic Covenant
    2 Samuel 7:4-17; I Chronicles. 17:3-15
    Chance and Horne, 159-167
    Key terms: Davidic Covenant, Zion Theology
    Question: p. 159, #2 and #3
  12. Feb. 24 Sacred Kingship
    1 Samuel 8:1-22; Ps. 2, 110, 45
    Chance and Horne, 168-175
    Question: p. 168 #2 (one example, only), #3 and #4
    Key terms: Philistines, sacred kingship, king, adoption, ways of king
  13. Feb. 26 King and Messiah
    Isaiah 7:1-17; 9:1-7; 11:1-16; Daniel 7
    Chance and Horne, 176-185, 151-153
    Key terms: Aram, Israel, Ephraim, oracle, Son of Man, Immanuel, Qumran, Dead Sea Scrolls, messiah of Aaron, Messiah of Israel, pseudonymous authorship
    Working as a group, prepare a skit to present to the class acting out Isaiah 7:1-17. Be sure to stick closely to the text.
  14. Feb. 28 Apocalypticism
    Isaiah 59, 65; Daniel 7-12, I Macc. 1, [recommended I Macc 2-4,]
    Chance and Horne, 122-129
    Key terms: apocalypticism, apocalyptic eschatology, Hellenism, ex eventu prophesy, "abomination that desolates" or "abomination of desolation," premillennial, postmillennial
    Question: p. 122 #1 and #2
  15. Mar. 3 Apocalypticism continued
    [if time allows Rev. 12-22]
    p. 122 #4
    Question (All students):
    reflect on p. 122 #5
  16. Mar. 5 Mid Term I
  17. Mar. 7 Conventional Wisdom: Proverbs
    Proverbs 1-2, 8, 13;
    Introduction to Proverbs in Harper Collins Study Bible, 938-940
    Key Terms: wisdom tradition
    Question: What is wisdom, what is its relationship to God? (be sure to consider Job 8) or How does the theological view of Proverbs compare to that of the Deuteronomic books?
  18. Mar. 10 Skeptical Wisdom: Job
    Job 1-7, 39:26-42:17
    Introduction to Job Harper Collins Study Bible, 749-750
    Key Terms: disinterestedness
    Question (all students): What his Job's problem? Why does he not accept his friends' advice? In the end, who was right?
  19. Mar. 12 Job continued
    Job 8-39 note especially 9:25-35, 16: 18-22, 19:23-29, 20-27
    Question: How does Job develop his argument as he continues to respond to his friends. What new ideas or perspectives do his speeches in the middle section of the book suggest?
  20. Mar. 14 The World of Jesus and His Followers
    Chance and Horne, 214-227, 237-240
    Key Terms: Pharisees, Sanhedrin, King Herod, Pontius Pilate, Saducees, Palestine, Judea, Galilee
  21. Mar. 17 Unexpected Kingdom: Mustard Seed
    Bring your synopsis to class!! (Big blue book)
    Matt 13, Mark 4 (Synopsis, §§ 122-134 on pp. 113-122)
    Chance and Horne, 278-288
    Powell, pp. 1-37; [Chance and Horne, 242-246]
    Key terms: kingdom, parable, Gospel of Thomas, Pentecost, gentiles, the circumcised
    Question: p. 279 #4, #5
  22. Mar. 19 Key parallels
    Synopsis, §13-18, pp. 12-17, §25, pp. 24-25, §33 pp. 31-33 §267 pp. 231-233, §290 pp. 258-259
    All Students: Mark the parallels in the §§ 16, 18, 267 as indicated on handout.
    Key terms: two-source hypothesis, two-gospel hypothesis
    Question: Identify the substantive differences between the different Gospel's accounts in §§ 18 & 267. What differences in theology or message are communicated by these passages?
  23. Mar. 21 Mark
    Mark (entire book)
    Powell, chapter 2, 38-60, [Chance and Horne, 288-297]
    Question: p. 288 #2 or Carefully note all the times where Jesus is called "son of God" and what the situation is. Based on this, and this alone, what does it mean for him to be the "son of God" or "God's son"? or According to the best manuscripts, the Gospel originally ended at 16:8. Why is this an appropriate point for Mark as a storyteller to end the book?
    Key terms: "reign of God," "kingdom of God," son of man, son of God, messianic secret (=motif of secrecy), cross centered discipleship, intercalation
  24. Mar. 31 Introductions
    Mark 1, Matthew 1-2, Luke 1-4 (Read these in the Harper Collins along with its commentary, but cf. Synposis §§1-12)
    Question: Based on your reading of these introductions identify the major themes that you expect to find treated in Matthew and Luke.
    Key terms: gospel, magi, Messiah, Bethlehem, Nazareth, John the Baptist, Judea, Galilee, Capernum, Magnificat, Elijah
  25. Apr. 2 Intro to Paul: Eschatology and Christ as New Adam
    Chance and Horne, 298-307
    I Corinthians. 1-4, 15
    Families of Books in the NT (handout)
    Question: p. 298 #2 & #4
    Key terms: initiated eschatology, realized eschatology, spectrum of authorship, Second Adam, recapitulation
  26. Apr. 4 Eschatologies of the Gospels
    Synopsis §§287-300, pp. 255-269; §§ 177-181, p. 164-168, John 5:19-29, 14:15-31
    Powell, 70-71, 75-78, 104-110, 128-130
    Question: How do the various gospels respond to the delay of the parousia?
    Key terms: consistent eschatology
  27. Apr. 7 Mid Term II
  28. Apr. 9 John and comparative Christology
    John 1-4, 13-16, John's passion narrative and parallels John 18:1-19:42 (§§330-351)
    Chance and Horne, 232-236
    Powell, 100-104, 112-138
    Key Terms: Signs, beloved disciple, logos, knowledge / Truth, Savior
    Question: (1) Outline several specific ways in which John's account of Jesus' passion differs from the synoptics. What generalizations can you make from these about John's interpretation of Jesus' passion? or (2) How does Jesus' early teaching John's Gospel (John 1-4) differ from his initial encounters with the disciples and others in the synoptics. Be sure to explain how these differences in detail convey significant differences in the gospels' depiction of Jesus.
  29. Apr. 11 Matthew for the Church
    Matthew and parallels: Matt 9:9-13 § 93; Matt 14: 22-33 § 147; Matt 16:13-17:9 §§ 158-161; Matt 18 §§ 166-173; Matt 28 §§ 352-354, 359
    Powell, chapter 3, 61-84
    Key terms: fulfillment citations, five discourses, Jewishness of Matthew, Jesus the Rabbi, kingdom of heaven, gospel of the church, "little faith"
    Question: Read through the above selections of Matthew and its parallels and discuss how at least two sections (§§) present Matthew's distinctive teachings about Jesus.
  30. Apr. 14 Matthew's View on the Law
    Matthew 5-7
    Chance and Horne, 348-362
    Question: p. 348 #1, #3, and #4
  31. Apr. 16 Paul's View on the Law
    Galatians 1:1-5:12; James 2; Acts 15
    Intro. to James in HarperCollins Study Bible
    Chance and Horne, 339-347
    Question: p. 340 #3, #4 and p. 348 #6
  32. Apr. 18 The importance of community in Paul on the Law
    Clarence Jordan, Introduction and "The Letter to the Churches of the Georgia Convention (Galatians)" in The Cotton Patch Version of Paul's Epistle (packet)
    Question (All Students): Do you think that Jordan faithfully translatest he message of Galatians for 1960s Georgia? Explain.
  33. Apr. 23 Luke/Acts: "The Rising and Falling of Many in Israel"
    Review Luke 1-4, esp. 4:16-30 at §33; Luke 15, 24 Acts 3, 13
    Powell, chapter 4, 85-111
    Key terms: themes emphasized by Luke (Jerusalem, prayer, banquets, poor & oppressed, women); Samaritans, benefactors, "theology of the cross," "theology of glory"
    Question: Explain how Luke 1-4 introduces the major themes of Luke and Acts.
  34. Apr. 25 Paul's Christian view of the Jews
    Romans 9:1-11:36; 15:7-13
    Chance and Horne, 387-399
    Key Terms: righteousness of God
    Question: p. 388 #1, #4, and #5
  35. Apr. 28 John and "the Jews"
    John 14-17; John 8:31-39
    Chance and Horne, 399-409
    Key Terms: dualism, testament, world
    Question: p. 399 #3-5
  36. Apr. 30 Prophecy and Order among Early Christians
    I Corinthians. 11-14; I Tim 2:8-15; Titus 1:5-9; Galatians 3:28
    Chance and Horne, 372-385
    Question: p. 372 #1-32, or #4 or #6
  37. May 2 Prophecy and Order among Later Christians
    "The Life and Religious Experience of Janera Lee" in William L. Andrews, Sisters of the Spirit: Three Black Women's Autobiographies of the Nineteenth Century (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986), 22-41, (packet)
    Question: Is Janera Lee opposed to the teachings of I Corinthians, I Timothy, and Titus on the role of women in the church? If so, explain the authority upon which she justifies her views. If not, explain how her views do not contradict these biblical books.
  38. May 5 Bonhoeffer: Introduction
    G. Leibholz, "Memoir," 1-33
    Key Terms: confessing church
  39. May 7 Bonhoeffer's Theological Context
    Martin Luther, The Freedom of a Christian; The Smalclad Articles (packet)
    John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (packet)
    Cajetan, On Faith and Works (packet)
    Bonhoeffer, 43-56
    Key Terms: pecca fortiter, cheap grace, costly grace, justification of sin and the world, justification of the sinner in the world, discipleship
    Question: (1) What does Bonhoeffer mean by "cheap grace"? Why is it cheap? What does Bonhoeffer think of it? Substantiate your argument with examples drawn from the text and contemporary life. or (2) Explain Bonhoeffer's distinction between simple obedience and single-minded obedience.
  40. May 9 Bonhoeffer
    Bonhoeffer, 57-114
    Key Terms: simple obedience, single-minded obedience
    Question: Explain the dilemmas that Bonhoeffer sees Christ's call for "obedience" as presenting to Protestants. (Hint, consider focus on the way he employs the terms "simple obedience," "single-minded obedience," and "legalism.") Do you agree with his conclusions?
  41. May 12 Bonhoeffer
    Bonhoeffer, 115-154
    Key Terms: "extraordinary"
    Question: Explain how one should understand the last two sentences of the first paragraph on p. 117 (The call of Jesus Christ ... no question of second chance." In answering this question consider this alternative translation "The call of Jesus Christ means being salt of the earth or being destroyed. It means following Christ or--the call itself with destroy the one called. There is no second opportunity to be saved. There cannot be such salvation" (Green and Kraus, 112). OR What are Bonhoeffer's teachings on "non-resistence"? Consider especially p. 144. Do you agree with him?
  42. May 14 Bonhoeffer
    Bonhoeffer, 155-197
    Key Terms: "hiddeness of Christian life"
    Question: Explicate one of the following quotes and explain what following this teaching of Bonhoeffer's might mean in today's world.
    "Judgement is the forbidden objectivization of the other person which destroys single-minded love" (185).
    "The Word is weaker than any ideology, and this means that with only the gospel at their command the witnesses are weaker than the propagandists of an opinion" (186).
    "At this point Jesus reveals to his disciples the possiblity of a demonic faith which produces wonderful works quite indistinguishable from the works of the true disciples, works of charity, miracles, perhaps even of personal sanctification, but whhich is nevertheless a denial of Jesus and of the life of discipleship" (194).

Tuesday, May 20, 3:30pm Final Exam