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RST-201-20, Intro to Biblical Studies (SU13)

INSTRUCTOR: Jaime Waters

SCHEDULE/DAY/TIME: T1/Wednesdays/6-9pm, 05/29/2013-06/26/2013


While providing an overview of the Bible as a whole, this course will focus on the Old Testament Books of Genesis, Exodus and Isaiah and the New Testament Gospel of Luke.  Attention will be given throughout to the historical background of these books, their literary forms, and some of their central religious themes (e.g., creation and sin, liberation and covenant, justice and hope, Jesus and the kingdom of God), as well as to Roman Catholic and Protestant biblical scholarship.


The faculty member and students will work together to achieve the following learning objectives during the course. Additional supporting objectives will be clearly defined within each week during the course. On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

1. Appreciate the Bible as both a human and religious book

2. Analyze the Bible from historical-and literary-critical perspectives

3. Understand some of the central religious beliefs of the Judeo-Christian tradition


This course will consist of lectures, group work, writing assignments, class discussions, and a final exam. This is a “web-enhanced” course with minimal use of on-line material. Email submission of papers is required.  


-Class attendance and active participation are required. Assignments will include three essays of three pages each and one exegesis research paper of four pages.  [An exegesis research paper makes use of Bible commentaries and other sources to attempt to discover what a specific passage in the Bible likely meant at the time it was written.] There will also be an in-class final exam during the last class session.

-The weight given to the various grades will be: attendance and class participation (10%), first essay (10%), second essay (10%), third essay (10%), exegesis paper (30%), and final exam (30%).

The grading scale is as follows:

A 93-100 (Excellent)

B+ 88-92 (Superior)

B 81-87 (Above Average)

C+ 76-80 (Average)

C 70-75 (Satisfactory)

D 60-69 (Just Passing)

F Below 60 (Failure)


-Holy Bible Catholic Edition, New Revised Standard Version. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1993.  ISBN 9780718006952. 

-Margaret Nutting Ralph, “And God Said What?”: An Introduction to Biblical Literary Forms for Bible Lovers, rev. ed.  Mahwah, NJ: Paulist, 2003. ISBN 0-8091-4129-9.

-Marcus J. Borg, Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously But Not Literally. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2001.  ISBN 0-06-060919-2.

-Readings available from the Loyola-CND Library using Joule:

-Daniel L. Smith-Christopher, “Returning to the Sources: The Hebrew Bible,” in The College Student’s Introduction to Theology, ed. by Thomas P. Rausch (Collegeville, MN: Michael Glazier, 1993), 24-44. ISBN 0814658415.

-Margaret Ralph, “The Prophets: Images of God’s Word,” Plain Words About Biblical Images (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1989), 84-115. ISBN 0-8091-3045-9.

-Jeffrey S. Siker, “Introduction to the Study of the New Testament,” in The College Student’s Introduction to Theology, ed. by Thomas P. Rausch (Collegeville, MN: Michael Glazier, 1993), 45-68. ISBN 0814658415.


Several Biblical commentaries and scholarly journals will be recommended to assist in writing the essays and exegesis paper.


Students should read the following before the first class:

M. Ralph, “Foreword,” and “What is the Bible?” in“And God Said What?”, pp. 1-28.

M. Borg, “Preface,” in Reading the Bible Again for the First Time, pp. ix-xii.

Genesis 1:1-11:26, New Revised Standard Version Bible, pp. 1-9.