Tu 1:30-4:20 SSC 212
C.D. Elledge, Professor
Office Hours: MWF 2: 30-4:00
This syllabus may be read online at: www.gustavus.edu/~celledge/Rel-360.htm
The communal and social nature of earliest Christianity will be considered from a variety of perspectives. Special concern will be devoted to the earliest Christian communities, major centers of early Christianity, and the origins of Christianity within early Judaism. Students will also explore early Christian attitudes toward worship, spirituality, politics, race, gender, and sexuality. The course will explore these topics with direct reference to New Testament writings and other early Christian literature. Evaluation will be based upon presentations and the writing of a research topic. Prerequisite: One course in Biblical Studies. HIPHI / WRIT
New Testament Topics is designed to meet the following instructional objectives:
– To achieve basic mastery of how one historical-critical field of Biblical study, the Dead Sea Scrolls, can illuminate the history, literature, and theology of the Bible.
– To understand how basic issues in Religion and Theology are distinctively illustrated through the study of the Qumran Community and its place within Early Judaism.
– To learn new skills in Religion and Theology by developing more sophisticated writing techniques through the completion of three writing assignments (see below).
Students will be evaluated based upon their performance in the following contexts:
– Class participation (10%): Students should read and be prepared to comment upon the readings listed in the syllabus. Attendance will be reflected in this category. More than one absence will affect grading. Also reflected in this category will be participation in the writing activities integrated throughout the meetings of the course. Strong class participation includes lively interaction with other members of the course and its instructor. The format of the course requires that each of us take responsibility for teaching one another and learning from one another interactively.
– Writing assignments (60%): Students will complete three writing assignments during the course. The first, “Writing for a General Audience,” will be a five-page introductory essay on what a specific category in the field of Qumran Studies may teach us about religion, assigned on the first day of class (15%). Copies of this introduction will be provided to all members of the class, who will comment upon the introduction and suggest revisions. A final copy will be handed in to the instructor. The second, “Writing Imaginatively,” will be a five-page creative response to your own reading of Some of the Works of the Torah or Qumran Hymns and Prayers (15%). The third, “Writing a Research Paper in Biblical Studies,” will be a ten-fifteen page research paper will be written by each member of the class on a specified topic (40%). A research proposal and rough draft will be submitted. Corrections to the rough draft must be made prior to final submission on the Final Examination date. For further details, see Stages in the Writing Process below.
– Presentations (20%): Two presentations will be made in conjunction with the first and third writing assignments. Each will provide a thirty-minute discussion of the topic of the paper. The week before a presentation is due, each presenter must inform the class of the readings assigned for the topic in question. The course is, thus, designed to integrate reading, writing, and speaking in the learning process.
Using the ideas and/or words of another writer and representing them as your own is plagiarism. It is your responsibility to give credit to those whose ideas and language you utilize when you write. The following statement indicates your understanding of the Gustavus Honor Code and its relationship to plagiarism; please include the statement in full and sign below it on every graded paper: "On my honor, I pledge that I have not given, received, nor tolerated others' use of unauthorized aid in completing this work."
What is a WRIT-D Course?
Writing courses not only help us think seriously about how to write well. They also help us learn more by writing than we would be able to without it. Writing requires us to claim ownership of our own ways of understanding and presenting ideas. It requires us to think about the relevance of our knowledge for the varied audiences to which we address our claims. Writing also teaches us to adapt our ideas to particular genres in academic disciplines. In this particular writing class, we will write in three different genres and for three different audiences. Our earlier projects will culminate in a research paper dedicated to writing in the discipline of Biblical Studies.
What is a HIPHI Course?
Historical and Philosophical studies courses require us to think about ideas, events, and their significance as measured through the progress of time. They place us in moments of time that often “formative” for understanding our world today, they equip us with tools for studying those moments, they encourage us to think of new possibilities for understanding relationships between the present and the past. In this particular course, we will study the history, theology, and literature of a religious community that flourished from ca. 140 BCE – CE 68 in ancient Judaea. By studying this community, we will come to a deeper understanding of the significance of this time and place in history. We will also explore what the evidence of this community may teach us about the Bible, Second Temple Judaism, and the landscape of Christian origins. We will also develop tools of analysis and research that help us to accomplish these goals.
Vermes, Geza. The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English. New York: Penguin, 1998.
[The translation of the Scrolls that will be used in the class. This book must be brought
to all meetings of the class = CDSS]
VanderKam, James C. and Peter Flint. The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls. San Francisco:
HarperCollins, 2002. [A comprehensive introduction to the Dead Sea Scrolls
and their significance = MDSS]
Elledge, C.D. The Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Atlanta: Society of Biblical
Literature Press, 2005. [A shorter, more essential guide to the Scrolls and
the world of the Bible = BDSS]
The Bible, with Apocrypha will need to be brought to every meeting of the class.
Schiffman, Lawrence H. and James VanderKam, ed. Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea
Scrolls. 2 Vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
The Chicago Manual of Style. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003. [A guide
to writing finished works of research; REF Z253.U69 2003]
The SBL Handbook of Style for Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, and Early Christian Studies.
Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1999. [A more specific guide for documentation of
Resources like the Scrolls, Josephus, and other ancient sources; REF PN147.S25 1999]
The Biblical Archaeology Society Archive (www.basarchive.org)
The Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls (http://orion.mscc.huji.ac.il/index.html)
Individual seminars are dedicated to the following topics. Readings will be completed prior to individual class meetings.
Selection of Topics for the First Paper
Getting the Most out of a Writing Course
Getting the Most out of a Historical and Philosophical Studies Course
History of the Second Temple Period
Readings: Josephus, Wars 1.31-151; 1 Maccabees; Daniel 7-12; BDSS, 33-36
Writing about History
WARNING: Work Ahead !!! Later, you’ll be glad you did
Process of Discovery
Readings: BDSS, 1-32; MDSS, 1-54, 381-403; CDSS, xiii-21
Writing about Ancient Literature
Qumran-Essene Hypothesis (Student Presentation)
Rules I: Rule of the Community, Rule of the Congregation, Rule of Blessings (Student Presentation)
Readings: BDSS, 36-61; MDSS, 209-10, 217-19, 239-54; CDSS, 26-66, 95-124, 157-60,
Using a Handbook or Manual of Style
***** Selection of Final Paper Topics
Rules II: Damascus Document, War Scroll (Student Presentation)
Biblical Interpretation: Pesharim and Other Commentaries (Student Presentation)
Readings: BDSS, 61-66, 72-81; MDSS, 215-25, 293-308; CDSS, 125-56, 161-89,
Legal Writings: Some of the Works of the Torah, Temple Scroll (Student Presentation)
Hymns and Prayers: Thanksgiving Hymns, Angelic Liturgy (Student Presentation)
Readings: BDSS, 67-72, 81-86; MDSS, 210-15; CDSS, 190-228, 242-332,
Selecting a Thesis and Writing a Research Proposal
***** Paper Due: “Writing Imaginatively:”
Biblical Manuscripts, Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, “Rewritten Bible”
Readings: BDSS, 102-14; MDSS, 87-205, 225-32; CDSS, 505-80, 301-20,
513-17, 524-36; 1 Enoch 1-36
***** Research Proposals Due
Qumran and Apocalypticism (Student Presentation)
Qumran and Wisdom (Student Presentation)
The Scrolls, Judaism, and Christian Origins
Readings: BDSS, 97-102, 105-30; MDSS, 236-38, 255-92, 311-78;
CDSS 21-24, 235-36, 389-92, 395-426, 571-77
Writing in Comparative Methods; Proving Your Point
Writing Week (no class)
Celibacy, Marriage, and Divorce: Qumran, Jesus, and Paul (Student Project Workshop)
Assignment: BDSS, 25-26, 36-38, 48-54; CDSS, 132, 134-135, 138-139, 153-154, 159-161, 206-214; Matthew 19: 3-12
The New Jerusalem in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament (Student Project Workshop)
Assignment: MDSS, 370, 372-375; CDSS, 607-610; Ezekiel 48; Revelation 21-22:7
***** Rough Draft Due
1 Enoch and the Origins of Evil in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible (Student Project Workshop)
Assignment: BDSS, 102-105; MDSS, 188, 194-199, 316-320; CDSS, 545-550
Jesus and Exorcism in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Student Project Workshop)
Visions of the Last Days in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament (Student Project Workshop)
Assignment: BDSS 64-66, 102-105, 109-133; MDSS 237-238,264-265, 362-377; War Scroll; Revelation 19-22
***** Rough Draft Returned
Jesus and Purity in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Student Project Workshop)
Assignment: See Forbes’ email on Borg, Meeting Jesus Again, 50ff.; Friedricksen, “Did Jesus Oppose the Purity Laws?”
Paul on Sin and Justification: Insights from the Dead Sea Scrolls (Student Project Workshop)
Assignment: CDSS, 101-103, 112-117, and 255-263 (Hymns 5 and 6); Romans 1:18-3:20, 6:5-11, and 8:1-17
Jesus and the Ethic of Non-Violence: Reflections from the Dead Sea Scrolls (Student Project Workshop)
Assignment: Matthew chapters 5-7; BDSS 48-53; and CDSS 97-117
Final Examination Scheduling Slot: Friday December 16, 8-10am, SSC 212
***** Final Papers Submitted
Assignment 1: Writing for a General Audience
In this assignment, you will compose a 5-page introduction to a particular category of Qumran literature / history that you have been assigned (e.g., Qumran and Apocalypticism, Rule Documents, etc.). In your brief introduction to this particular category of study you are to achieve the following objectives in your writing:
(a) You are to provide a basic survey of the topic in question, surveying the primary texts, theories, and terminologies that are essential to the topic you are introducing. (b) You will write this paper for a general audience of “Religion Majors at Gustavus,” who may know something about the Bible and Judaism, but who are not specialists in Biblical Studies. (c) Writing for this audience, you will compose an introduction that ultimately addresses the question, “What can my topic teach us about religion?”
Assignment 2: Writing Imaginatively
In this assignment, you will compose a 5-page response to one of the two writing tasks assigned below. In the first 4 pages, you will simply write your response to the assignment; on the 5th page, you will provide a reflection on how you composed your own imaginative piece, what you included, and why.
Option A: Reading 4QMMT: The High Priest’s Response. As we have learned from our texts for the course, most scholars believe that Some of the Works of the Torah was originally a letter that explained to Jerusalem’s high priest why the founders of the Qumran Community separated from Jerusalem and rejected the authority of its priesthood. In your own response to reading 4QMMT, you will compose an imaginative letter from Jerusalem’s high priest, answering the concerns of this letter. If we had a copy of the High Priest’s response to 4QMMT, what might that letter have said and why?
Option B: Qumran Hymns and Prayers: A Modern Adaptation. Among the most moving poetic and spiritual compositions of this historical era in Palestine are the many hymns and prayers discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls. In your own response to reading these hymns and prayers, you will compose your own distinctive adaptation of the styles and themes explored in these hymns. If you were to compose hymns and prayers, informed by those discovered among the Scrolls, what would your own compositions look like and why?
To conclude our work for the semester, you will compose a 10 to 15-page research paper on a particular topic regarding the Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls. The course content will “lead you by the hand” step by step through this process. The paper will be written through five incremental stages that include: Selecting a Research Topic, Writing a Research Proposal, Conducting Research, Writing and Rough Draft, Submitting a Final Copy. A description of the individual stages in the writing process is included below:
Each student will complete one 10-15 page research paper on a specialized topic regarding, “The Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls.” Specialized topics may be selected from among the following, or proposals for additional topics may be made directly to the instructor. Once a topic is selected, we will begin narrowing down this topic into a more specific research proposal.
Books of the Hebrew Bible at Qumran (esp. Deut, Isa, Ezek, Job, Ps, Dan)
The Pseudepigrapha at Qumran (esp. Jubilees, 1 Enoch)
Archaeology of Qumran: Understanding Some Recent Debates
Qumran and Masada: Two Wilderness Communities
Rewriting the Bible: Biblical Paraphrases, Anthologies, and Revisions at Qumran
Prophecy and Its Interpretation at Qumran
Jesus and Purity: Reflections from the Dead Sea Scrolls
Apocalypticism at Qumran
Wisdom at Qumran
Essene Communities and the Early Church
Celibacy, Marriage, and Divorce: Qumran, Jesus, and Paul
Messianic Terminology in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament
Jesus and the Jerusalem Temple: Reflections from the Dead Sea Scrolls
Jesus and Non-Violence: Reflections from the Dead Sea Scrolls
Misogyny in Early Judaism and Christian Origins
The Qumran “Canon” of Scripture
Angels, Demons, and Spirits at Qumran and in the New Testament
Psalms, Hymns, and Prayers in the Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Attitudes toward Political Authority in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament
Visions of the Last Days in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament
The Origins of Evil in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament
Paul and the Dead Sea Scrolls: Reflections on Sin and Justification
Resurrection, Immortality, and Eternal Life in Early Judaism
Jesus and the Righteous Teacher: Two Early Jewish Charismatics
The New Jerusalem in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament
Jews and the Roman Empire: Qumran, Jesus, and Paul
The Beatitudes of Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls
After selecting a topic, the next stage in the writing process is to define a thesis that can be supported by a reasonable process of research. For REL 360, a three-page research proposal will be submitted by each student in the course. A copy will be provided to all members of the class. The research proposal will include the following information: (a) What is the thesis you plan to propose regarding the topic you have chosen? (b) What kinds of evidence will be necessary for testing the probability of your thesis? (c) What will be the basic structure of presentation for your final paper? (d) What is the significance of your project for understanding Early Christianity and its literature? (e) A preliminary bibliography will be provided at the end of the proposal. Each member of the class will respond to one other research proposal with one page of written comments. Once the instructor approves the proposal, it is time to begin research.
The primary evidence for examining the claims of your thesis will derive from the Dead Sea Scrolls, other ancient literature, and the New Testament. You, however, are not the only person ever to have read these documents. It is, thus, important to consult specialized studies published in books and journals. For the final draft of the paper, twenty reference works must be cited, five of which must be journal articles. Introductory bibliographies on particular documents are available in the textbooks for the course.
Students will hand in a rough draft of at least eight to ten pages. The rough draft must clearly indicate that you have made significant progress in your research and that you are beginning to discover effective ways of presenting your research in writing. The professor will evaluate the rough draft and return it with comments, which must be addressed in the final copy.
A final copy of the research paper will be submitted by the time scheduled for the final examination for REL 360. The final copy will reflect the cumulative process of writing and research, including revisions to the rough draft. The final copy should also reflect class responses to the presentation on your topic.
Peer Responses and Rewriting
Every person will respond to two papers during the semester, (A) one of the five-page assignments and (B) one of the final writing projects.
A. Process. I will copy and send to you one copy of your peer’s five page writing submissions. You are to provide two pages of double-spaced commentary on this paper and return your comments to me at the due date assigned. Your comments may address the following issues:
(A) Content of the paper: Was the content of the paper accurate, meaningful, well argued, based upon the readings assigned for the course? What improvements might be made on this question?
(B) Style of the paper: Was the paper written in a style that was clear, coherent, well organized, and appropriate to the content of the topic? What improvements might be made on this question?
(C) Assignment: How well did the paper meet the assigned objectives?
Your comments will remain anonymous.
B. Process. I will assign you one rough draft to review as part of your final work in the course. You will provide three pages of double-spaced commentary on this paper and return your comments to the author of the paper on December 6.
Rev. ed. 11-25