SC 400 The Bible and Its Worlds

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Module Level


Time Allowance

4 hours on campus lectures during the weekend residentials (divided between 2 weekends) 6 hours live on-line lectures on Wednesday evening, 6 hours of self-directed learning, Assignment – 15 hours, Private Study – 24 hours. N.B. still under review


End of Semester Examination As this is a 7.5 credit course it also has 2,500 words Book Synthesis and a 10 minute interview.

Module Aims

Indicative Syllabus

  • Beyond Danger, Daftness, and Darwin: Seeking the Indispensable in the Bible
    • The Bible as Library
    • The Bible as Window (I) and Witness
    • The Book of a God who Speaks
  • Not all Books are the Same! Discovering Genre
    • Parable
    • Narrative
    • History
    • Prophesy
    • Visions, Revelations and Dreams
    • Law
    • Letters
    • Identity Literature
  • Not all Peoples are the Same! How the Bible came to Be
    • The Peoples of the Bible
    • The Lands of the Bible
    • The Times of the Bible:
    • Survivors of Turmoil and Trauma: Meet the Sadducees!
    • How the Bible Came to Be: Canon and Community
    • Hermeneutics: The World Behind the Text
    • Text as Window (II) and Mirror (I)

i. The ANE and its Peoples

ii. Introduction to Judaism

iii. The Greeks and the Transform

i. Geography as Theology

i. Exodus,

ii. Exile

iii. Assimilation (Hellenisation)

  • The Nasty Little Prophet of a Generous God
    • Jonah as Narrative
    • Jonah as History
    • The Book of Jonah as Scripture
    • What were the prophets about?
    • Hermeneutics: The World Before the Text
    • The Text as Mirror (II)
  • We have a Law! Torah, Life and God
    • Approaches to Biblical Law
    • Holiness and Torah
    • Holiness, Purity, and Halakhah
    • Love of Torah as Love of God
    • Torah as Divine Revelation
    • Jesus and Torah
    • The Law for All: Meet the Pharisees!
    • The Text as Mirror (III)
  • Singles, Sex, and Camels: Social Construction and Biblical Narrative
    • Social and Cultural Critique of Texts
    • Key Texts: Gen 29 (Jacob at the Well) + John 4 (Jesus at the Well)
    • Text as Window (III)
    • Hermeneutics: The World Of the Text
  • Judaism—the World and Religion of Jesus
    • From Ancient Judaism to Second Temple Judaism
    • From Second Temple Judaism to Hellenistic Judaism
    • The Bible as a Product of Judaism
    • The Jewish Jesus
    • Survival in a Hostile World: Meet the Qumranites!
    • Judaism and Christianity today
  • The New Testament—Origins and Overview
    • Jesus and what happens to him
    • Hindsight is 20/20
    • The Gospels as Resurrection Narratives
    • Beyond Division—Transcending Judaism: Meet the Nazaenes!
  • The New Testament (II)—New Peoples, New Communities (Paul)
    • The Jewish Diaspora
    • The Holy Land at the Time of Jesus—Places and Peoples
    • Palestine at the Time of Jesus: Key Events
    • The Spread of Christianity
    • Encounter with Gentiles
  • The Text as Mirror (IV)—The Bible and Our Lives
    • The Bible and Faith
    • The Bible and Ethics
    • The Bible and Conversion: the inspiration of Life
    • Prayer and the Bible
    • The Future of the Bible


  • Core Text for Module John Barton, The Bible: the Basics. Second Edition. London: Routledge, 2019. [220.61 BAR and as eBook (via Library website)]
  • Essential Short Readings Walter Wink “Letting Parables Live” Christian Century (5.11.1980): 1062–64 Online: (verified 18.09.19)
  • Boadt, Lawrence, ed. R. J. Clifford and D. J. Harrington, Reading the Old Testament. 2d ed. New York: Paulist, 2012. [221.61 BOA]
  • Brettler, Marc Zvi, How to Read the Jewish Bible. Oxford: OUP, 2007. [221.61 BRE]
  • Ehrman, Bart D. A Brief Introduction to the New Testament. 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017. [225.6 EHR]
  • Metzger, B. M., and M. D. Coogan, eds., The Oxford Companion to the Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. [Ebook]
  • Powell, Mark Allan. Introducing the New Testament: A Historical, Literary, and Theological Survey. 2d ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2018, [225.61 POW] & [ebook]
  • Witherington III, Ben. Invitation to the New Testament: First Things. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. [225.61 WIT].
  • Options for Book Review 1. Brown, R. E. Reading the Gospels with the Church. Cincinnati. Saint Anthony Messenger Press. 1996. [220.6 BRO] [complete book; 90 pages] 2. Alter, R. The Art of Biblical Narrative. New York: Basic Books. 1991. [Chaps 1, 2, 6] 3. Matera, F. J. Resurrection: the Origin and Goal of the Christian Life. Collegeville: Liturgical Press. 2015. [online via Library website] [Chaps 1–2 + Conclusion] 4. Hagen, K. (ed). The Bible in the Churches: How Various Christians Interpret the Scriptures. Third Edition. Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 1998. [Pages 1–56] 5. Muddiman, J. The Bible: Fountain and Well of Truth. Oxford: Blackwell, 1984. [220.6MUD]