Intro. to Biblical Studies


Program Masters
Field of Study Bible
Class# B 300 (B)
Location Common Room (see schedule below)
Start Date 9.7.2010
End Date 12.10.2010
Time 6:00-8:50p.
Day Wed

B 300 B (35) - Knowles/Yoder (Adj.)

Entire Common Room   Wed 9/8/2010 Wed 9/8/2010
B 300 B (35) - Knowles/Yoder (Adj.) First Floor West   Wed 9/15/2010 Wed 9/15/2010
B 300 B (35) - Knowles/Yoder (Adj.) Entire Common Room   Wed 9/22/2010 Wed 11/24/2010
B 300 B (35) - Knowles/Yoder (Adj.) First Floor West   Wed 12/1/2010 Wed 12/1/2010
B 300 B (35) - Knowles/Yoder (Adj.) Entire Common Room   Wed 12/8/2010 Wed 12/8/2010


Course Description Masters Level

McCormick Theological Seminary


Course Number and Title: INTRODUCTION TO BIBLICAL STUDIES (B300 A and B) 

Faculty: Sarah Tanzer, Frank Yamada, Melody Knowles, Joshua Yoder


Term: fall 2010


Course Description:

This course is designed to introduce participants to reading, studying, interpreting, and appropriating the Bible. It is focused on biblical interpretation, or exegesis, seeking to enable students to develop their abilities to interpret different biblical texts and to incorporate the results into coherent exegetical studies that take the ancient and contemporary cultural contexts of the text seriously. As part of this focus, the course will introduce participants to a variety of interpretive methods and will provide practice in using them effectively. The course includes hands-on experience in using the basic methods of interpretation to exegete texts from two books of the Bible (Genesis and Matthew). 

Course Objectives:

  • Gain an introductory knowledge of two different biblical texts (Genesis and Matthew), and some of the exegetical issues which are raised by them (outcome 3).
  • Explore various exegetical methods and see how they fit into exegetical processes (outcome 3).
  • Learn a process of critical biblical exegesis and practice interpretation in a written exegetical study on a selected biblical text (outcome 3).
  • In the context of a culturally diverse classroom, work with others to analyze ancient and contemporary social locations and cultural contexts. This includes exploring issues and assumptions about canon, lectionary, and authority and how these all affect our study of the Bible (outcome 5).
  • Develop research methods and library resources that will be useful for future exegesis sensitive to social location and cultural context (outcomes 3 and 5).



Masters Program Learning Outcomes

The learning outcomes established for each degree program are below. The ones that are underlined are those addressed by the course above. Because a course may be taken by students in any masters degree program, outcomes in more than one degree program may be addressed by this course.


M.Div. Learning Outcomes             

  1. Lead communities of faith with integrity, imagination and compassion.
  2. Perform the skills related to nurturing the life of faith (for self and others) including preaching, teaching, care-giving, leading public worship and public ministries.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of the Bible and Christian traditions and the ability to interpret texts and practices.
  4. Work and worship with people from diverse backgrounds (racial, ethnic, religious) informed by knowledge from cross-cultural and anti-racist perspectives.
  5. Analyze social locations and cultural contexts in order to develop contextual forms of Christian ministry.
  6. Be proficient in the theological and ethical reflection related to situations and decisions in local, national and global contexts.
  7. Practice appropriate habits of spiritual formation and self-care and possess a growing, healthy sense of vocational identity.

MTS Learning Outcomes

  1. Exhibit the ability to interpret and teach Christian traditions, texts, and practices that nurture the life of faith and scholarship in themselves and the communities they serve.
  2. Articulate a point of view effectively and coherently in spoken and written communication.
  3. Engage in theological research and analysis based upon an argument and construct a theological essay or thesis article.



MA in Discipleship Development Learning Outcomes

  1. Teach basic concepts of Christian belief, traditions and practices.
  2. Equip others to engage in a variety of spiritual practices (such as prayer, hospitality, or worship).
  3. Plan and lead programs of Christian formation in a variety of settings.
  4. Analyze and evaluate resources and practices for Christian formation.


MA in Urban Ministry Learning Outcomes

  1. Examine and analyze urban contexts using Chicago as a laboratory / case study.
  2. Draw on biblical and theological resources to reflect ethically on issues of church and society.
  3. Demonstrate capacity to engage in cross-cultural ministries.
  4. Evaluate skills and strategies to organize communities and access political power in urban settings.


Primary Texts

  • A Study Bible. Please purchase ONE of the following based on the NRSV:

The Harper-Collins Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version. Rev. ed. Edited by Harold W. Attridge.  New York: HarperCollins, 2006. (ISBN-10  0060655275)

                        The People’s Bible: NRSV, with the Apocrypha. Edited by Curtiss Paul

                                    DeYong, Wilda C. Gafney, Leticia Guardiola-Saenz, George E.

                                    Tinker, and Frank Yamada. Philadelphia: Fortress, 2008. (ISBN-10


The New Interpreter’s Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version with the Apocrypha. Edited by Walter Harrelson. Nashville: Abingdon, 2003. (IBSN-10 0687278325)

The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. 4th ed. Edited by Michael Coogan. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. (ISBN-10 0195289552)

  • Shanks, Hershel, ed. Ancient Israel. Washington, D.C.: Biblical Archaeology Society, 1999. (ISBN-10 0130853631)
  • Harrington, Daniel. Interpreting the Old Testament. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1991. (ISBN-10 0814652310)
  • ______. Interpreting the New Testament. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1990. (ISBN-10 0814651240)
  • Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. 7th Edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009. (ASIN B002XKEN6M)


Approximate amount of work per week students can expect (reading, writing, etc.)

Usually around 50-100 pages of reading per week, not including the research needed for the 2 exercises and one final paper. Most weeks will also involve several pages of homework that consists of small exegetical projects

Course Assignments and Projects

  • Short weekly exegetical homework projects to practice methods of interpretation (15% of grade)


  • Two exegetical exercises

                  Assignment 1:The Literary Shape of the Text (20% of grade, due Oct.xx) 

Assignment2:Ancient Historical&Cultural World of the Text(20%, due Novxx)       

  • A complete exegesis paper incorporating the revised versions of the two exercises above and adding new material that pertains to your social and cultural  location (30% of grade, due Dec.  xx)