biblical intrigues

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Class 1 - Intro. and Genesis

"Understanding the Bible" was originally a six week course that introduced students to the basic structures, stories, and modern criticism of the Bible. The class is very loosely based on the book with the same title by John Buehrens. Students were invited to read that book as well as the Bible, but not required to prepare anything before class. The class is open to anyone who shows up and welcomes "stupid" questions. The translation used for the class is the NRSV and the recommended version is the Harper Collins Study Bible. At the end of the class, we decided to begin a more extended and in depth study beginning with Genesis in May.

Week 1 introduced the Buehrens book, the structure of the class, and Genesis. The key points covered in Genesis were: the two creation stories, theme of temptation, first murder, apocalypse, and the family of g-d.

Theories on Genesis, role of narrative, and influence on literature will be some of the ideas addressed in the more in depth class.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Pauline Epistles

Today's class will look at the Pauline epistles. These are letters to churches or individuals which have been attributed to Paul. Conservative scholars maintain that Paul wrote them all. Liberal scholars assert that there are elements in some of the epistles which date them after Paul's death. Those epistles are considered pseudonymous (a word I would use much more often if it didn't trip on my teeth.) For the sake of this class, we are taking the liberal approach on authorship.

The Pauline and contested epistles are: Romans, 1 and 2Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians 1 and 2Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon. (Note that 2Thessalonians is contested but 1Thessalonians is not. And, don't take my word for it on these. I never could keep it straight at seminary. There are multiple websites that do this debate greater justice.)

There are also the general epistles of the Christian scriptures. We will not be covering these in today's class. And for more information on Hebrews see or The Pauline epistles and the general epistles are named according to the addressee.

In class we will look over several epistles to see their structure and unique elements. On my list are Romans, Corinthians, Philemon, and Timothy. We'll see how much we get through.

This class concludes the original "Understanding the Bible" 6 part series. We will begin a more in depth Bible study in mid-May in the 9:30 time slot. We will begin with Genesis in 3 parts. The Harper Collins Study Bible NRSV translation is the recommended text. All translations are welcome, however, and we will do multi-translation text analysis again.

Thank you for a lively and well-attended class. I look forward to future study with you. Yes, even you, Mr. Kilpatrick.