The New Testament texts that
figure most prominently in the life of the Church are the Synoptic
Gospels, that is, the three that tell the story of Jesus in largely the
same way ("synoptic" means "seeing together"). This course introduces the
student to these gospels and to various methods of higher criticism that
guide inquiries into the texts. Through close reading and guided
observation, you will gain a basic mastery over the content, formal
features, social locations and theological perspectives of these gospels.
In addition, you will gain some facility working with synoptic theory,
with certain methods of higher criticism, and with the basic tools of
gospel study (concordance, synopsis, biblical commentaries, and Bible
1. To appreciate the
historical, literary, social, cultural, religious, and psycho-spiritual soil
out of which the Gospels spring and in which it continues to grow.
2. Chronology: to be able to identify the key events and persons relating to
the emergence of the Gospels in the Greco-Roman world from 63 B.C. to 150
3. Geography: to be able to locate key biblical sites.
4. To develop the art of Synoptic criticism (“criticism” = appreciation of
the finer details) through an extensive use of the Gospel Parallels.
5. To appreciate the contribution of each of the evangelists to the gospel
tradition and to begin to sense their special literary, theological,
thematic, spiritual and editorial input.
6. To be able to identify recent insights and trends in Synoptic research,
with special emphasis on the “third wave” of historical Jesus research in
the last two decades of the twentieth century, with critical assessment of
the “Jesus Seminar.”
7. To deepen awareness of the meaning of the “gospel” for its readers, for
those they live with and serve, for the Church, and for the world in an age
When finished reading a Gospel email for quiz
Read online Reference material link pages
The Gospel According to Q
length: 15 pages. Start thinking of a topic early on. You will get ideas
from the online readings. List the title of your proposed
paper/project with a descriptive paragraph of your objectives.
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