Academic Programs

Biblical Studies

B 101-S INTRODUCTION TO THE OLD TESTAMENT

The goal of this course is to provide the student with an introduction to the history and literature of ancient Israel. The student will read an introduction to the Hebrew Bible and the history of ancient Israel. The class periods will focus on issues and data not easily available in the reading. This course is offered at the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center.
3 semester hours.

B 102 and B 102-O INTRODUCTION TO NEW TESTAMENT HISTORY AND LITERATURE

This course offers a survey of the 27 writings that compose the New Testament canon. We will study each of these writings with attention to their literary form and content, their origins in the life of early Christian communities, and their meanings for readers today. Introduction to New Testament History and Literature may be taken in a traditional classroom format (B 102) or online (B 102-O).
3 semester hours.

B 115 and B 115-O NEW TESTAMENT GREEK I

This course begins an introduction to the basic elements of New Testament Greek with an emphasis on vocabulary, the noun system, and indicative verbs. Students begin translating brief passages from the Greek New Testament.
3 semester hours.

B 116 and B 116-O NEW TESTAMENT GREEK II

As the sequel to New Testament Greek I, this course continues to introduce the basic elements of the language, including vocabulary and the grammar of participles and other nonindicative verb forms. By the end of this course, students are able to translate passages from the Greek New Testament with the aid of the lexicon.
3 semester hours.
Prerequisite: B 115 or B 115-O.

B 117 NEW TESTAMENT GREEK III

This third semester involves substantial practice in reading selected passages from the Greek New Testament. Students will experience the writing styles of various New Testament authors; solidify and expand their knowledge of Greek vocabulary, morphology, and syntax; and begin to apply their knowledge of Greek in exegesis.
3 semester hours.
Prerequisite: B 115 (or B 115-O) and B 116 (or B 116-O).

B 201 RUTH AND JONAH

This course will spend half the term on each of these two short stories. The class will work with Ruth and Jonah exegetically and theologically using interpretive tools appropriate to this kind of literature. A course project will be identified by each student according to their interest. This project will relate the text to congregation, academic, or wider public community.
3 semester hours.

B 203 and B 203-W PAUL AND THE CORINTHIANS

A study of selected texts from the Corinthian correspondence, texts that illustrate the development of early Christianity, illumine the faith and ministry of the apostle Paul, and address recurring issues in the formation of community in Christ. Case studies based on the Corinthian letters will be used to explore the moral world of early Christian groups.
3 semester hours.

B 204 and B 204-T GOSPEL OF PEACE

This seminar offers a survey of biblical texts related to peace and violence. We will interpret these texts collaboratively, paying attention to their historical and literary contexts and to their meanings for readers today. We will also explore the implications of this biblical background for our understandings and practices of peacemaking.
3 semester hours.

B 207-S PSALMS: THE INNER LIFE OF LAMENT AND PRAISE

The Psalter speaks to the various patterns of our lives and recounts the life of a people caught between defeat and victory, youth and old age, wealth and poverty. At the same time the Psalter enables us to understand our own piety and conviction in a wide range of contexts and life situations. This course is offered at the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center.
3 semester hours.

B 208 FRIENDSHIP AND LOYALTY IN THE BIBLE

This course proposes that anthropology and ecclesiology have an alternative to the Enlightenment modern biblical theologies. This biblical theology centers on the subject of friendship and loyalty as the core of biblical theology and ethics.
3 semester hours.

B 211 and B 211-T SERMON ON THE MOUNT

A study of the classic Gospel text known from ancient times as Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. Attention will be given to the form and rhetoric of the Sermon, its roots in the social world of formative Judaism and early Christianity, its use as a resource for faith and life in the Christian community, and its contribution to the peace emphasis of the believers' church tradition.
3 semester hours.

B 218-S MICAH AND ISAIAH

Both prophets figure significantly in the sermons and music of Advent and in their definition of a responsible ethical life. However, while they prophesy at about the same time, Micah comes from a small town and Isaiah comes form the city. They speak about critical issues like: Who speaks for God? What decisions make for peace? How do we experience God? What is the definition of a moral life? What are the characteristics of a Godly leader? This course will look in depth at key texts that provide a response from the perspective of a small town seer and a city prophet.
3 semester hours.

B 219-S JEREMIAH: THE PROPHET

The Book of Jeremiah stands between two great eras, a time of restoration and reform under Josiah and a time of uprooting and exile after Zedekiah. As a prophet he forms the bridge between the demise of a realm that lasted for 400 years and the projection of what might be after the exile. He has been called the parent of Jewish spirituality. This course will examine Jeremiah's prophetic call, the role of lament in the life of faith, the nature of patriotism in the context of war, the definition of enemy and hope in a time of terror, and devotion to God in adversity. This course is offered at the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center.
3 semester hours.

B 220-S JOB

Job: A life of devotion in the context of obedience and catastrophe. This course will examine the life lived between the rationality of wisdom and the emotion of lament. The students in the class will critique a commentary on Job (written by the professor), utilize simulations and other teaching techniques in the presentation of the book at the congregational level, and consider the use of the book in preaching and worship. This course is offered at the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center.
3 semester hours.

B 225 GOSPEL OF PRAYER

Gospel frames a positive word and a positive resource. Prayer shapes the basic contours of Jewish and Christian piety. This course will examine biblical prayers from Christian scriptures. The examination will involve a close literary reading of the texts as well as investigation of the historical and sociological settings of those texts.
3 semester hours.

B 302 and B 302-W NEW TESTAMENT EXEGESIS: GOSPEL OF MATTHEW

An introduction to the theory and practice of New Testament exegesis, utilizing the Gospel of Matthew as case material. Careful attention will be given to the various worlds of exegetical inquiry: the world within the text, the world behind and around the text, and the world in front of the text.
Prerequisite: B 102 or B 102-O.
3 semester hours.

B 303 INTERPRETING ROMANS

A study of Paul's letter to the Church at Rome, exploring Paul's message for Jewish and Gentile Christians in the first century and the implications of that message for readers in the 21st century. The course examines aspects of Paul's theology as represented in Romans.
3 semester hours.
Prerequisite: B 102 or B 102-O.

B 304 GOSPEL OF JOHN

A literary and theological study of John's Gospel. Literary issues to be considered include the Gospel's plot, character development, and extensive use of irony. John's most distinctive theological concepts and formulations will also be considered, including realized eschatology, the incarnation of the Word, and Jesus as the life and the light of the world.
3 semester hours.
Prerequisite: B 102 or B 102-O or permission of the instructor.

B 305 IN SEARCH OF JESUS

A seminar on the quest for the historical Jesus in recent biblical scholarship. Representative attempts to reconstruct the teaching, activity, and intentions of Jesus will be examined in terms of their presuppositions, methodologies, and how they relate to canonical portrayals of Jesus.
Prerequisite: B 102 or B 102-O.
3 semester hours.

B 306 THE ANATOMY OF POWER AND FAMILY: INVESTIGATIONS OF 1 & 2 SAMUEL

The books of Samuel recount the rise of the nation state of ancient Israel. The stories construe the rise of the nation through family narratives. In so doing the books of Samuel defined for generations what it meant to be family and what it meant to rule the nation, i.e. have power.
3 semester hours.
Prerequisite: BS 101, BS 101-O or B 101-S.

B 307 and B 307-T SEMINAR IN GENESIS

This seminar will focus on one of the sagas of Genesis, either the creation saga (1-11) or an ancestral saga (12-24, etc). The class will explore the text using analytical tools appropriate to biblical narrative. A course project will be identified by each student according to his or her interest and circumstances. This project will be designed to interpret a Genesis text to congregation, academic, or wider public community.
3 semester hours.
Prerequisite: BS 101, BS 101-O or B 101-S.

B 310-O NEW TESTAMENT FOUNDATIONS FOR MINISTRY

This seminar invites students to examine and develop their theology of ministry in light of some of the ways ministry is understood in the New Testament. While exploring a range of New Testament texts, students will practice interpretive methods that are both enlightening and feasible in the context of a busy ministry setting.
3 semester hours.

B 325 BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION IN PREACHING

This is an advanced preaching course designated to help students deepen their understanding and application of exegetical and preaching skills related to various literary forms found in Scripture. We will explore various genres of Scripture from both Old and New Testaments and learn to relate these to the creative design of sermons.
3 semester hours.
Prerequisite: M 120 or M 120-H or M 120-S or M 125 or PM 120 or PM 120-O.

B 328 PREACHING THE GOSPEL(S)

What is the gospel we preach and how does it relate to the biblical witness of Jesus Christ and the Spirit's presence among us? This upper-level course in preaching will develop a practical theology of preaching that arises out of our encounter with the synoptic Gospels and their relationship to the dynamic movement of the gospel in the church and the world today. With attention given to difficult passages of Scripture and difficult challenges facing our culture and our congregations, we will explore the good news revealed in Jesus' own preaching and the horizon of hope it offers us today. Students will preach at least two sermons and prepare a paper outlining their own theology of preaching as it is informed by reading, lectures and class discussions.
3 semester hours.
Prerequisite M 120 or M 120-H or M 120-S or M 125 or PM 120 or PM 120-O or B 102 or B102-O.

B 290 or 390 ELECTIVE IN BIBLICAL STUDIES

Various elective courses will be offered in biblical studies, some focusing on particular books of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament and others on broader issues of interpreting Scripture for faith and ministry. Previous offerings have included courses such as Job and Proverbs, Jeremiah, Revelation, Feminism and Biblical Theology, Pauline Theology, and travel seminars to Israel and Greece.
3 semester hours.
300 level offerings will have a prerequisite of BS 101, BS 101-O or B 101-S or B 102 or B 102-O.