REL 310b: New Testament: ACTS AND LETTERS
Spring 2007 Jonathan D. Brumberg Kraus

Office hours:
MW 11:30-12:30, 2-3 and by appointment
Knapton 102 x3694

Objectives of the course
This course studies Pauline Christianity through an examination of the Letters of Paul and Luke's Acts of the Apostles. We will pay special attention to the social historical context and structures of Pauline Christianity. We will discuss its ideals of community and authority, its Christian self-definition in regard to emerging Rabbinic Judaism, the significance of religious conversion for Pauline Christianity, and the relationship of early Christian literature and ethics to other Greco-Roman literary and cultural conventions, e.g., Acts and ancient epics.

Required Readings:

Meeks, Wayne, ed. The Writings of St. Paul. New York: Norton, 1972. (WSP)
Meeks, Wayne.
The First Urban Christians. New Haven: Yale, 1983. (UC)
Segal, Alan.
Paul the Convert: The Apostolate and Apostasy of Saul the Pharisee. New Haven: Yale, 1990. (Segal)
Bonz, Marianne Palmer.
The Past as Legacy : Luke-Acts and Ancient Epic.
Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2000. (Bonz)
Theissen, Gerd.
The Religion of the Earliest Churches: Creating a Symbolic World; translated by John Bowden. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1999. (Theissen)
Wire, Antoinette.
Corinthian Women Prophets. Augsburg/Fortress, 1990. (Wire)

Virgil, The Aeneid (if you've never read it). [The Aeneid / Virgil ; translated by Robert Fitzgerald. 1st ed. New York : Random House, 1983.]
Dennis E. Smith, From Symposium to Eucharist: The Banquet in the Early Christian World (Paperback) Augsburg Fortress Publishers (January
Daniel Patte, Paul's Faith and the Power of the Gospel. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983.


Stowers, Stanley K. A Rereading of Romans: Justice, Jews, and Gentiles (Paperback) Yale University Press; Reprint edition (February 27, 1997)

Daniel Boyarin, A Radical Jew: Paul and the Politics of Identity (Contraversions, 1) (Paperback) University of California Press; Reprint edition (November 11, 1997)

Jorunn Okland Women in Their Place: Paul and the Corinthian Discourse of Gender and Sanctuary Space  (Expensive, so you may want to ILL this book.)

Garry Wills, What Paul Meant (Viking Adult, 2006)

Patrick J Hartin,  James of Jerusalem: Heir to Jesus of Nazareth

Selected readings from the Bible. Most English versions (except the King James version) are acceptable. If you are not sure about your version, please consult me.


Course Outline
N.B.: I suggest you do the reading assignments in the order which I listed them. I expect you to have done all or most of the week's reading by the Wednesday of each week, unless otherwise noted.

Week 1 -
W 1/24 Introduction and Overview
F  1/26 Problems for the Study of Ancient Religious Literature
Paul's Letter to the Romans, in WSP, pp. 68-94. K. Stendahl, "Paul and the Introspective Conscience of
of the West," in WSP, pp. 422-434; Meeks, UC, pp.1-8; Wire, pp. 1-11.

Week 2
M 1/29 The Nature of the Documents: Paul and Luke
Segal, pp. 3-33; Paul's Letter to the Galatians (WSP, pp. 11-22); selections from the Acts of the Apostles (WSP, 151-175)

W 1/31 The Rhetoric of Paul's Letters
Wire, pp. 12-38 and read the parts of Paul's letters in WSP which Wire uses as examples of his argumentation

F 2/2 Social Description of Pauline Christianity/The Social Historical Context of Pauline Christianity
Meeks, UC, pp. 9-73 and look up his references to Paul's Letters; Paul's Letter to Philemon in WSP, pp.101-104.

Week 3

M 2/5 Social Structure and Authority in the Pauline Christian Communities
Paul's 1st and 2nd Letters to the Corinthians in WSP, pp. 22-66; Meeks, UC, pp. 74-139; Wire, pp. 72-97, 116-134, 181-196.

W 2/7 Rituals and Beliefs of the Pauline Christian Communities
Meeks, UC, pp. 140-192 and look up his references to Paul's Letters


Week 4
M 2/12
Pauline Christianity and Judaism: Two Types of Faith
Patte, Paul's Faith and the Power of the Gospel
pp. 1-85 (on reserve), ;[Galatians in WSP, pp.10-22

W 2/14 Patte, Paul's Faith and the Power of the Gospel 155-231; Philippians and Philemon in WSP, pp. 94-104; Galatians 3, Romans 4, I Cor 15 in WSP, pp. 16-18, 74-75,44-47]
F 2/16. Patte, Paul's Faith and the Power of the Gospel 232-295; Romans in WSP, pp. 66-94..

Week 5 Schedule appointment with me to discuss FINAL PAPER TOPIC
M 2/19Early Rabbinic Judaism and the New Testament; Jewish Critiques
Patte, pp. 87-120 (on reserve); M. Buber, L. Baeck, and H.J. Schoeps on Paul in WSP pp. 324-360; Segal, pp. xi-xvi

W 2/21 Ash Wednesday Conversion and Mission: Pauline Religious Experiences and their Ethical Consequences
Segal, pp. 34-116; 2nd Corinthians 12:1-9 in WSP, pp.63-64; 1st Thessalonians, Galatians, Philippians in WSP, pp.3-22, 94-101

F 2/23 "Paul the Convert"
Segal, pp. 117-183 and look up his references to Paul's Letters

Week 6

M 2/26 Paul the Apostle
Segal, pp. 187-284; Galatians and Romans in WSP, pp.13-22, 68-94

W 2/28 Romans (student presentation on Stanley Stowers, Re-reading Romans)

F 3/2 Acts of the Apostles:  Gospel According to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles in your Bibles (read the whole thing straight through - not just excerpts - that's how "Luke" wrote it)

MIDTERM EXAM (Take Home  - due Monday 3/5)

Week 7

M 3/5 Midterm Exam due

W 3/7 Community and Salvation History in Luke-Acts: The Symbol of the Shared Meal
Acts 10-11, 15; Luke 5:27-39; 7:36-50; 14:1-24; 22:7-38; 24:13-53; Dennis Smith,  pp. 47-65, 253-272, 279-287.

F 3/9 Genre and Interpretation in Luke-Acts ­ History or Fiction?
Bonz, pp. 1-29; The Aeneid

March 12-16 SPRING BREAK No Class

Week 8
M 3/19 Ancient Epic as a Model for Luke-Acts
Bonz, pp. 31-85; The Aeneid (Guest Speaker: Ben Low?)
W 3/21 Dramatic Unfolding of Prophecy and History in Luke-Acts
Bonz, pp. 87-128;
F 3/23 Luke-Acts Reconsidered
Bonz, pp. 129-193; (re-read the main passages of Luke-Acts which she discusses)

Week 9 Paul and Luke-Acts and the Religion of the Earliest Churches
M 3/26 Theissen, pp. 1-60
W 3/28 Theissen, pp. 61-160

F 3/30 Theissen, pp. 161-206

Week 10
M 4/2 Erev Pesach (Passover) No class

W 4/4 Theissen, pp. 207-307

F 4/6 Good Friday

Week 11

M 4/9 Book Presentation

W 4/11 Book Presentation

F 4/13 Book Presentation

Week 12

M 4/16 Book Presentation

W 4/18 Book Presentation

F 4/20 Book Presentation

Week 13

M 4/23

W 4/25


Week 14

M 4/30 The Legacy of Pauline Christianity I - Presentation and discussion
WSP, pp. 236-250 (Martin Luther); pp. 250-257 (Karl Barth); pp.277-288 (F.C. Baur); pp. 288-296 (F. Nietzsche);

W 5/2 The Legacy of Pauline Christianity II, WSP, pp. 302-308 (A. von Harnack); pp. 409-422 (R. Bultmann); pp. 435-444 (W. Meeks).

F 5/4 Last Day of Class

Course Requirements

1. Preparation of Readings. Each student is expected to read the assignments and bring two questions based on the readings to class. Questions are due for each class session. I will collect them at the end of each class meeting (or you may post them on the Blackboard electronic threaded discussion the evening before class.)

2. Class participation. There will be class discussions nearly each session based on the readings and in part on the questions students bring to class. Students will also be responsible for short in-class presentations, e.g., the readings for the last day of class.

(1 and 2 = 20% of course grade)

3. Midterm quiz - short IDs based on readings and lectures (15%)

4. Short Paper I - 4-6 pages, an analysis and interpretation of a selected Pauline text. (15%) Due 10/5/01

5. Short Paper II and Presentation – 3-5 pages, an analysis of a book by contemporary Pauline or Lukan scholar.  Paper is due on the day of class following your presentation.

6. Final Paper - 10-15 page research paper on Paul's Letters and/or Acts from list of topics to be distributed by the end of September. I will arrange meetings with each of you in at the end of February to discuss your topic and give you some bibliographical guidance. You will be responsible for bringing a bibliography of at least 10 books and articles (in addition to the assigned readings) to that meeting. I will collect it and it will count toward the grade of your final paper. I would like you to choose a topic by 11/6/01. The final paper is due 4/27/07 (40%) 

Attendance Policy: For every 3 unexcused absences after the 1st week of class, you will penalized 2/3 grade (e.g., from A- to B) off your final course grade.

Content by Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus, Associate Professor of Religion
Last Update 2/12/07.