Course: New Testament History and Literature with Dale B. Martin Dnatube

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Lec 1 - Introduction: Why Study the New ...

"Lec 1 - Introduction: Why Study the New Testament?" Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) This course approaches the New Testament not as scripture, or a piece of authoritative holy writing, but as a collection of historical documents. Therefore, students are urged to leave behind their pre-conceived notions of the New Testament and read it as if they had never heard of it before. This...
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Lec 2 - From Stories to Canon

"Lec 2 - From Stories to Canon" Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) The Christian faith is based upon a canon of texts considered to be holy scripture. How did this canon come to be? Different factors, such as competing schools of doctrine, growing consensus, and the invention of the codex, helped shape the canon of the New Testament. Reasons for inclusion in or exclusion from the canon...
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Lec 3 - The Greco-Roman World

"Lec 3 - The Greco-Roman World" Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) Knowledge of historical context is crucial to understanding the New Testament. Alexander the Great, in his conquests, spread Greek culture throughout the Mediterranean world. This would shape the structure of city-states, which would share characteristically Greek institutions, such as the gymnasium and the boule. This...
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Lec 4 - Judaism in the First Century

"Lec 4 - Judaism in the First Century" Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) Of the four kingdoms that arose after Alexander's death, those of the Seleucids and the Ptolemies are most pertinent to an understanding of the New Testament. Especially important is the rule of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who forced the issue of Hellenism in Jerusalem by profaning the temple. Jews were not alike in...
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Lec 5 - The New Testament as History

"Lec 5 - The New Testament as History" Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) The accounts of Paul's travels in The Acts of the Apostles and Galatians seem to contradict each other at many points. Their descriptions of a meeting in Jerusalem--a major council in Acts versus a small, informal gathering in Galatians--also differ quite a bit. How do we understand these differences? A...
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Lec 6 - The Gospel of Mark

"Lec 6 - The Gospel of Mark" Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) The Gospels of the New Testament are not biographies, and, in this class, they are read through a historical critical lens. This means that the events they narrate are not taken at face value as historical. The Gospel of Mark illustrates how the gospel writer skillfully crafts a narrative in order to deliver a message. It...
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Lec 7 - The Gospel of Matthew

"Lec 7 - The Gospel of Matthew" Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) The Gospel of Matthew contains some of the most famous passages that both Christians and non-Christians are familiar with. However, Matthew also presents itself paradoxically as preaching a Torah observant Christianity and a Christian mission that seeks to reach gentiles. The figure of Jesus in Matthew is that of a...
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Lec 8 - The Gospel of Thomas

"Lec 8 - The Gospel of Thomas" Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) We have known of the existence of the Gospel of Thomas from ancient writers, but it was only after the discovery of the Nag Hammadi Codices that the actual text became available. The Gospel of Thomas is basically a collection of sayings, or logia, that sometimes seem similar, perhaps more primitive than sayings found in...
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Lec 9 - The Gospel of Luke

"Lec 9 - The Gospel of Luke" Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) Luke and Acts, a two-volume work, are structured very carefully by the author to outline the ministry of Jesus and the spread of the Gospel to the gentiles. The Gospel of Luke emphasizes the themes of Jesus' Jewish piety, his role as a rejected prophet, and the reversal of earthly status. The Gospel ends in Jerusalem, and...
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Lec 10 - The Acts of the Apostles

"Lec 10 - The Acts of the Apostles" Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) The speech that Stephen gives before his accusers in Acts shows how the author of Luke-Acts used and edited his sources. So, also, does the description of the destruction of Jerusalem in Luke, as compared to that in Mark. The major themes of Luke-Acts are 1) the Gospel going first to the Jews and then to gentiles...
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Lec 11 - Johannine Christianity: The Gospel

"Lec 11 - Johannine Christianity: The Gospel" Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) The Gospel of John is a gospel dramatically different from the Synoptic Gospels. It is full of long dialogues, it speaks of "signs" rather than exorcisms or miracles, and its narrative differs at many points from the Synoptics. Themes in the Gospel are also repeated throughout--themes such as ascending and...
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Lec 12 - Johannine Christianity: The Letters

"Lec 12 - Johannine Christianity: The Letters" Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) The Jesus of the Gospel of John often speaks in riddles so that his dialogues with characters such as Nicodemus appear confusing, rather than clarifying. The focus, however, of the Gospel of John is on Christology. In the Gospel, Jesus is divine. So it is also in 1 John, where many of the themes of the...
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Lec 13 - The Historical Jesus

"Lec 13 - The Historical Jesus" Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) It is obvious that certain narratives in the New Testament contradict each other and cannot be woven into a historically coherent whole. How, then, do scholars construct who the "historical Jesus" was? There are several principles that historical Jesus researchers follow, which include considering data that 1) has...
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Lec 14 - Paul as Missionary

"Lec 14 - Paul as Missionary" Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) The New Testament and other texts provide us with many accounts of the Apostle Paul, some that contradict each other. Throughout the history of Christianity, Paul has assumed many different roles for different people. For the early Christians he was primarily a martyr. For St. Augustine, and later Martin Luther, he was a...
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Lec 15 - Paul as Pastor

"Lec 15 - Paul as Pastor" Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) 1 Corinthian and 2 Corinthians give us several snapshots of the development of the Corinthian church and Paul's relationship to it. In 1 Corinthians Paul is concerned with controversies that have been dividing the church, most probably along social status lines. The issues causing controversy include whether one should eat...
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Lec 16 - Paul as Jewish Theologian

"Lec 16 - Paul as Jewish Theologian" Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) The Apostle Paul's description of the Jewish Law in his letter to the Galatians demotes from being an expression of Jewish faith to an object of idolatry and one that imprisons those who follow it. Paul is careful to nuance this position, however, in his letter to the Romans. In Romans, it seems that Paul is...
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Lec 17 - Paul's Disciples

"Lec 17 - Paul's Disciples" Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) In ancient times, documents that were falsely attributed to an author, called pseudepigrapha, were a common phenomenon. Both the Letters to the Colossians and Ephesians are most likely pseudonymous works attributed to the Apostle Paul. The writer of Colossians assures his readers that they already possess all the benefits...
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Lec 18 - Arguing with Paul?

"Lec 18 - Arguing with Paul?" Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) Early Christianity presents us with a wide diversity in attitudes towards the law. There were also many different Christologies circulating in different communities. The book of James presents one unique perspective. It seems to be written in the tradition of Jewish wisdom literature in its presentation of sayings and its...
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Lec 19 - The Household Paul: The Pastora ...

Lec 19 - The Household Paul: The Pastorals Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) In the undisputed Pauline epistles, marriage is seen as a way to extirpate sexual desire - neither as a means for procreation nor as the preferred social status. The Pastoral Epistles, written to instruct in the pastoring of churches and appointing of church offices, presents quite un-Pauline attitudes. In...
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Lec 20 - The Anti-household Paul: Thecla ...

Lec 20 - The Anti-household Paul: Thecla Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) The Acts of Paul and Thecla has a narrative quite similar to those in ancient Greco-Roman novels: Thecla becomes enamored of Paul and they share a number of adventures. However, the Acts redirects eroticism towards a belief in a gospel of purity and asceticism. The Acts of Paul and Thecla present an ascetic,...
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Lec 21 - Interpreting Scripture: Hebrews

"Lec 21 - Interpreting Scripture: Hebrews" Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) There are many ways of interpreting the text, and ancient methods of interpretation may seem bizarre to our modern sensibilities. The New Testament offers us many examples of how an early Christian might interpret the text of the Hebrew Bible, which was their scripture. The Letter to the Hebrews, which is not...
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Lec 22 - Interpreting Scripture: Medieva ...

"Lec 22 - Interpreting Scripture: Medieval Interpretations" Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) The principles of interpreting the New Testament in this course assume a historical critical perspective. The historical critical method of interpreting a text privileges the intended meaning of the ancient author, the interpretation of a text's original audience, the original language the...
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Lec 23 - Apocalyptic and Resistance

"Lec 23 - Apocalyptic and Resistance" Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) The Apocalypse, or the Revelation of John, shares many of the traits found in apocalyptic literature: it operates in dualisms--earthly events contrasted with heavenly ones, present time with the imminent future, and it calls for cultural and political resistance. Its structure is like a spiral, presenting cycle...
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Lec 24 - Apocalyptic and Accommodation

"Lec 24 - Apocalyptic and Accommodation" Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) The Apocalypse of John showed an anti-Roman, politically revolutionary perspective. This is in contrast with Paul's writing in Romans 13, which calls for submission to governmental authorities - although passages in 1 Corinthians may be said to contradict this. 2 Thessalonians, a pseudonymous letter, also...
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Lec 25 - Ecclesiastical Institutions: Un ...

"Lec 25 - Ecclesiastical Institutions: Unity, Martyrs, and Bishops" Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) The Epistle of Jude can be dated to somewhere during post-apostolic Christianity and before the formation of the Canon. It refers to the apostles as representing a prior generation, yet it quotes from texts later excluded (perhaps, for example, by 2 Peter) from the Canon. The letters...
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Lec Last - The Afterlife of the New Test ...

Lec Last - The Afterlife of the New Testament and Postmodern Interpretation Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) How did a small group following an apocalyptic prophet in Palestine become Christianity - what is now called a world religion? This small movement saw many changes in the second, third, and fourth centuries, from the development of different sects, philosophical theologies,...

New Testament History and Literature with Dale B. Martin


Source of these courses is Yale 
This course provides a historical study of the origins of Christianity by analyzing the literature of the earliest Christian movements in historical context, concentrating on the New Testament. Although theological themes will occupy much of our attention, the course does not attempt a theological appropriation of the New Testament as scripture. Rather, the importance of the New Testament and other early Christian documents as ancient literature and as sources for historical study will be emphas
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COURSE NAME: New Testament History and Literature with Dale B. Martin

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