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RST-201-90, Intro to Biblical Studies (SP13)

INSTRUCTOR: Andrea Springer

SCHEDULE/DAY/TIME: On-Line; 1/28/2013-03/16/2013


-This course introduces the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures of the Judeo-Christian tradition. It begins with an explanation of the formation and interpretation of the Bible. It also explores the history and religious experiences of ancient Israel, the first followers of Jesus, and the early Christian community as recorded in the Bible. Use of the historical-critical method of studying scripture will be learned and practiced.

-The Bible is considered by Christians to be the inspired Word of God in the words of human beings. Since the Bible was composed over a period of a thousand years, between two and three thousand years ago, in a particular culture and geographical region, in a variety of literary genres, its meaning is not always clear or obvious to today’s reader. Thus, there is a need for biblical interpretation. This endeavor is not new, but has been a part of Judaic and Christian traditions for over two thousand years, as believers attempt to understand the Word of God in the Bible.

-Today, Christians continue to turn to the Bible as a guide for life. In doing so, they often look to scholars for assistance in interpretation. Modern scripture scholars—both Catholic and Protestant—do not approach the Bible in a strictly literal way (a pre-critical approach); rather, they approach it contextually (using a “critical” or analytical approach), placing the text in its original historical, literary, and theological settings. This is the approach that will be used in this course with the help of the historical-critical method of studying scripture. This method has been taught in Protestant and Catholic seminaries for the last 100 years and is becoming more common among lay men and women in various mainline Christian denominations. [1]


The following learning objectives will be met:

-Appreciate the Bible as a work of both human and divine origin

-Identify key elements and contents of the Bible

-Appreciate the need for contextual interpretation of the Bible

-Examine a biblical text using historical, literary, and theological analysis

-Develop a personal statement of one’s approach to the Bible and its interpretation


This course will be taught online and will include reading, viewing of video, journal entries and activities.

Both an exegesis paper and a final exam are required.


-There are three required books for this course—two text books and a Bible. Bible with Apocrypha (Recommended: New Revised Standard Version)

-Marielle Frigge, OSB, Beginning Biblical Studies, Anselm Academic Press, 2009

-Corrine L. Carvalho, Primer on Biblical Methods, Anselm Academic Press, 2009

Articles, commentaries and other materials posted on Joule


[1] References: Marcus Borg, Reading the Bible Again for the First Time (HarperSanFrancisco, 2001); Joseph Fitzmyer, Scripture: The Soul of Theology (Paulist Press, 1994); The Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church (United States Catholic Conference, 1996).