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Christian Scripture and Theology.docx

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RELI 1710
Zeba Crook

Christian Scripture and Theology 10/22/2013 The New Testament: Genre Presented in canonical order (genre order) Gospels: “kind of” biographies of Jesus. Modern biography: psychological portrait of a character of a person. Getting inside their head, understanding them as an individual. Assumption that it is not made up in modern biography. Ancient writers were not interested in truth, but entertainment mainly. Acts: The book of acts, the Acts of the Apostles Letters: actual letters written from one person to another Apocalypse: Revelation—attributed to John Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. All anonymous Acts: anonymous—no author signature or inscription Letters: of Paul Hebrews—anonymous James Peter (2 letters) John (3 letters) Jude Apocalypse/book of revelations: “John of Patmos” When people assume that these texts are present it in chronological order. Assume that the gospels are the earliest writings of Christianity The earliest writings are the letters of Paul Letters of Paul (50-55 CE) Undisputed Letters: certain that Paul himself wrote these letters. They are in a hypothetical order: none of them include a date. 1 Thessalonians 1 Corinthians: idea 2 Corinthians: this idea is going very well Galatians Philippians Philemon Romans: is on his way Possibly Pseudepigraphal (false author) letters. Claim to be by Paul 2 Thessalonians Colossians Ephesians 1 Timothy 2 Timothy Titus The two categories Disputed Letters (the first three) Deutero-Pauline Letters (the next three)—written in Paul’s voice. Interesting that the earliest writings we have of Christians is in the form of letters. Paul’s letters are all about putting out fires: crises Paul is preaching a Judaism without kashrut or circumcision.. which for many is the heart of Judaism. Which Greeks and Romans liked… god-fearers The Gentiles didn’t have to make the full commitment Paul dies at around 65 CE—just drops off the face of the earth. Before the Temple was destroyed, or before any gospel is written The letters and gospels do not overlap He has no idea what a gospel is, seems to know very little about Jesus (salvation only because of resurrection) Christians want to know about community—go to Paul For stories about Jesus and what kind of person he was—gospels The Gospels Gospel—euangelion—good news Synoptic Gospels Gospel of Mark: 66-72 CE Gospell of Matthew: 80-90 CE Gospel of Luke: 80-90 CE Fourth Gospel Gospel of John: 90-100 CE There is nothing in the gospels saying who it was written by or when it was written, or where. Church communities attribute names to the gospels Acts Name of the book: Acts of the Apostles The Gospel of Luke and Acts likely have the same author First “history of the church” Transition of the gospel from Jerusalem (where it opens) to Rome (where it closes) The earliest Christians start in Jerusalem and cumulate in Rome Apocalypse Name of the book: Revelation Apocalypse: to uncover/reveal/show. How does eschatology fit in here again? Something is revealed to a seer Seeing and recording what he’s seeing. One of two things, which Christian book of revelation has both: Tour of Heaven Comic battle between forces of good (Jesus) and forces of evil (Satan) Apocalyptic war: it’s destroyed seven times Ends with the Christians emerging victorious: deeply misanthropic world—hating humanity so the kingdom of god can come and reign forever. Disliked among many early Christians Very stoic The point of apocalypse: this will all end soon, just hold on. Consolation. Apocalypse and Rapture, and the tragedy Something that will happen just before the end of time: a bunch of faithful Christians will be brought up to the kingdom of heaven. The remnant faithful Canon: authoritative group of writings A way of measuring, what is proper? Official? Constantine: key in developing the Christian canon. Process by which Christians decided which books would form their bible was a political process. Such is the case with the book of Revelation The Shepherd of Hermas: other apocalypse that was popular Christians were everywhere for the first four centuries and were writing about Jesus and each other. Have to figure out who their antichrist is Key Christian Thinkers Many of whom are important to specific communities. You can’t really reduce all of Christianity to just three thinkers.. Augustine (c. 354-430) Manichean/Manichaeism: always bring something of their past with them (Augustine was a convert). His Manichaeism influenced Christianity in his stress of human guilt and sinfulness as a fundamental problem universal to every human being. Dualism: sees everything in polar opposites (good-evil, black-white, us-them). Greco-Roman philosophy Well-read in Plato, Aristotle, Seneca. 7 Christian virtues Wisdom, temperance, courage, and justice (from Plato) Faith, hope, and love (from the New Testament) Christianity’s Dark Ages: not doing much deep thinking, but a lot of ruling: Reason vs. Revelation Christian thinkers only have the writings of Plato and Aristotle because they are in contact wit
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