Survey of the New Testament - Bible Study: 2021 - 2022
Wednesday Mornings – 8:30 (Optional Mass)
9:00 am (Coffee) - 9:30 to 10:30 am
Resurrection Gathering Space / Church
COME ALL YEAR – COME WHEN YOU CAN!
- Fall Series -
September 15th - The Early Christians and Their Literature
September 22nd - The Greco-Roman World of Jesus
September 29th - Ancient Judaism -
October 6th - The Earliest Traditions about Jesus -
October 13th – Mark — Jesus the Suffering Son of God
October 20th – Matthew — Jesus the Jewish Messiah
October 27th - Luke — Jesus the Savior of the World
November 3rd – John — Jesus the Man from Heaven
November 10th - Non-Canonical Gospels
November 17th - The Historical Jesus — Sources and Problems
In this session, we will move beyond a discussion of the early Christian Gospels as literary texts, each with a distinctive portrayal of Jesus, to consider their value as historical sources for what Jesus actually said and did. The driving question will be how sources that "appear" to contain discrepancies and that have their own theological agendas can be used to reconstruct the life of the man who stands behind them all.
One place to begin a reconstruction of the actual words and deeds of Jesus is to see how he is described in other surviving sources from antiquity. Unfortunately, there are no accounts of Jesus preserved among the numerous pagan sources of his own day; he is not even mentioned by a pagan author until early in the second century. The Jewish historian Josephus, writing near the end of the first century, does mention Jesus on two occasions, but in neither instance does he provide any details about what Jesus said and did. In addition, the Christian Gospels outside the New Testament are too late and legendary to be of much use, and none of the other authors of the New Testament (including Paul) says much about Jesus’ words and deeds.
For these reasons, scholars must rely on the New Testament Gospels, (with the possible help of the Gospel of Thomas), for reconstructing the life of the historical Jesus. Even these books, however, were written decades after the fact, by people who probably did not themselves witness what they describe, but inherited their stories from oral traditions that had been altered over the course of transmission. As a result, these accounts are neither disinterested nor free of discrepancies. Scholars must apply rigorous historical criteria if they hope to use these documents as historical sources to reconstruct what Jesus said and did.
December 1st - The Historical Jesus — Solutions and Methods
For over the past century, historical and Biblical scholars have sought “The Historical Jesus.” Some events that we find in the Scriptures appear to have historical discrepancies. How do historians ascertain what is historically accurate? Historical Scholars have devised three major criteria for determining which of the traditions that survive in our ancient sources preserve pure historically reliable information about Jesus. The criterion of independent attestation maintains that traditions that are attested independently by more than one source are more likely to be reliable than those found in only one source. The criterion of dissimilarity suggests that traditions that appear to work against the vested interests of the Christians who were telling them are more likely to be historically accurate than those that Christians may have “adapted” to suit their own purposes. The criterion of contextual credibility argues that no tradition about Jesus can be accepted as reliable if it cannot plausibly be situated in a first-century Jewish Palestinian context.
In this session, we will explore these criteria at greater length, considering the logic behind each and exploring several examples of how they can be applied. We will then consider in greater depth the world of first-century Jewish apocalypticism, the one aspect of Jesus’ own historical context that will be of greatest significance for understanding his words and deeds.
- Advent Series -
December 8th - Birth Narrative of Jesus from Luke - Time change this session only - 10:30 AM
We will examine the historical context in which Jesus was born and focus on the Messianic hopes and expectations of the people of Israel . We will also look at the unique material that we find only in Luke: The birth of John the Baptist; The annunciation to Mary; the census; Jesus being laid in a manger; the visitation by the shepherds; the stories of the circumcision and presentation in the Temple to Simeon and Anna. We will also look at the theological insights through the eyes of St. Luke.
December 15th - Birth Narrative of Jesus from Matthew
Our Birth Stories of Jesus are only found in two Gospels: Matthew & Luke. They each have different stories around Jesus' birth and they don't share one common story. Each Gospel writer gives us insights into Jesus' birth as well as a Theology of God's interaction with humanity. We will focus on St. Matthew's version and which stories he shares that are unique to his narrative.
- Winter Series -
January 5th - Jesus the Apocalyptic Prophet
January 12th - The Acts of the Apostles
January 19th - Paul: The Man, the Mission, and his Methods.
January 26th - Paul and the Crises of His Churches—First Corinthians
February 2nd - Pauline Ethics
February 9th - Paul’s Letter to the Romans
February 16th - Paul, Jesus, and James
February 23rd - The Deutero-Pauline Epistles
March 2nd - The Pastoral Epistles (Ash Wednesday)
March 9th - The Book of Hebrews – The Break of Christianity with Judaism
March 16th - First Peter and the Persecution of the Early Christians
- Lenten / Easter Series -
March 23rd - St. Mark’s Passion Narrative
March 30th - St. Matthew’s Passion Narrative
April 6th - St. Luke’s Passion Narrative
April 13th - St. John’s Passion Narrative
April 20th - The Book of Revelation
April 27th - Do We Have the Original New Testament?
Deacon Paul Lippard worked in Religious Education for 43 years and 17 years as a Deacon. He holds a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Detroit in Religious and Biblical Studies. He has taught adult formation classes across the Archdiocese of Detroit. Contact Deacon Paul at [email protected]