Online Course – Winter 2018

Online Course in NT – The Gospels

Taught by Dr. Frederick Tappenden

The Presbyterian College and the Montreal School of Theology are offering an online course in New Testament, and the Gospels – in the coming Winter 2018 term. The alternative title given by the instructor is:  “Ancient Christian Tales about Jesus: (His)Story through the Eyes of Peasants, Bards, and Biographers”

Dr. Tappenden resides in Alberta, where he teaches courses in Biblical and Religious Studies at Concordia University of Edmonton. He was previously a Faculty Lecturer of New Testament Studies at McGill University.

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  We will focus primarily on the four canonical gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), though attention will be given also to a number of extra-canonical gospels (such as the Gospel of Thomas). We will approach these texts as ancient pieces of literature that are viewed best within the historical, social, and literary contexts of the first and second centuries CE. Careful attention will be given to reading the Gospels independently and synoptically. Specific themes developed in this course include the examination of ancient social values (collectivism, honour/shame, cleanliness and purity), issues of politics/empire, questions of historiography and memory, the compositional history and context of each Gospel, and especially the diversity and distinctiveness of Jesus’s image(s) within each narrative. In addition to reading these texts within their ancient context(s), class discussions will explore the many ways in which ancient Christian tales about Jesus continue to find sustained resonance within the contemporary world.