Monday, March 02, 2009

Essay titles for an undergraduate NT course

  • You think Paul actually wrote Titus? BWHAHAHAHAHAHAhahahahah. Why is it pseudepigraphal?
  • What Would Jesus Do? and other hermeneutically sensitive questions: Should we always choose twelve disciples, curse fig trees, enter Jerusalem on a donkey etc.?
  • How many full-stops in the whole of the New Testament? Don't proof text in your response.
  • Carson and Dunn in a boxing ring. What happens next?

I would actually appreciate any thoughts you have on good essay titles for a first year degree course (introduction to the NT).


At 3/02/2009 11:28 PM, Anonymous seanthebaptist said...

Why is Wright wrong?
Why is Wrong right?

At 3/02/2009 11:33 PM, Anonymous Michael F. Bird said...

My advice, stay away from Paul and Gospels. They'll get enough of them in later years. Instead, here are my picks:

1. Is the Epistle of James a Jewish Sermon with Christian trimmings?
2. What are the warning passages in Hebrews warning against?
3. What do the Johannine Epistles teach about Discipleship?
4. Evaluate the Different Ways of Interpreting the Book of Revelation?

I recommend making students write essays that will force them look at the whole book and to engage in a sample of secondary literature.
5. What did Luke write Acts?

At 3/03/2009 12:30 AM, Anonymous James said...

(1) Can you trace a coherent political critique in the undisputed writings of St. Paul?

(2) What do the devotional practices of the Early Church tell us about its Christology?

(3) "Citation of Old Testament writings by New Testament writers is neither clear nor consistent." Discuss.

At 3/03/2009 12:52 AM, Anonymous The Dude said...

my personal favorite was:

Why The Hell Not? Origen, Universalism, and the Salvation of the Devil

At 3/03/2009 2:13 AM, Anonymous steph said...

Gee with Michael's religiously oriented questions I'd have dumped NT in my first year. I was more interested in the historical Paul and the Gospels. I'd stick with Sean the Baptist. I think my first year NT essays were on Homosexuality, the Church Fathers and finally Paul.

At 3/03/2009 2:35 AM, Anonymous :mic said...

The Wikipedia Method to Reading the Sermon on the Mount: A Cut-and-Paste Approach

At 3/03/2009 3:10 AM, Anonymous steph said...

oh - LOVeryL!!!

At 3/03/2009 3:43 AM, Anonymous dan said...

(1) Why study the New Testament?

(2) How can one responsibly apply the New Testament (a collection of first-century documents) to contemporary Christian living?

(3) Provide a brief description of the various contexts that impacted the beliefs and lives of the New Testament writers (Second Temple Judaism(s), Greek culture, Roman Empire, early Jesus movement) and provide three examples of this (one from the Synoptics, one from Paul, and one from the Johannine literature). Or: choose one of these contexts and describe how it influenced and is reflected by any given New Testament document.

At 3/03/2009 5:16 AM, Anonymous brainofdtrain said...

Here's a Couple:

1.) Are you ready to finally understand the NT?

2.) Source Criticism: You've never been so bored!

At 3/03/2009 9:04 AM, Anonymous steph said...

Hmm. From the look of these questions, are you teaching in a university or a theological college Chris?

At 3/03/2009 10:41 AM, Anonymous Jon said...

Why did you pick NT when you could be a theologian?

The most pertinent question I feel...

At 3/03/2009 2:06 PM, Anonymous Jason said...

I'd pick a few theological topics, but also provide an optional question where the student could choose between, say, btwn text criticism (What is the Lord's Prayer, really?) and synoptic/redaction criticism.

At 3/03/2009 3:46 PM, Anonymous Ed Gentry said...

Jon, Theology without biblical studies is like drawing your lines without plotting your points. I so much love the way good exegesis destroys the theologians lovely theories about how things absolutely must be. Sorry... ranting...


1) Is Paul not Jesus the founder of Christianity. Or more proactively. "There is one God Jesus and Paul is his prophet." How is Paul analogous or not to Mohamed or Joseph Smith (founder of Mormonism who also claimed divine revelation). All three claimed divine revelation and mandate to preach their gospel.

2) Discuss the relationship between eschatology and ethics in Paul.

3)Discuss the role of John the Baptist in Mark's gospel.

At 3/03/2009 6:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey "Steph" -- When are you going to stop stalking Michael Bird? And why all the nastiness?

At 3/03/2009 7:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about:

The Apostle Paul and the Real Presence. An Examination of
1 Cor. 11:23 - 30


At 3/03/2009 7:50 PM, Anonymous Doug Chaplin said...

I like Sean's titles (and of course, yours). Mike's are very worthy topics and totally tedious titles. In fact the more worthy the topic the more tedious the title.

Why not liven things up a bit more?

"Love one another": is it code for hate everyone else?

"Not one jot or tittle": would Jesus have persecuted Paul?

"Neither male nor female" but "eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven". How queer is the Bible's view of sexuality?

John the divine: what was he on?

Sharing the table of demons: why does Paul compare the eucharist to pagan sacrifices?

Okay, I admit the last one is a serious possibility. Sorry.

At 3/04/2009 3:05 AM, Anonymous stephanielouisefisher said...

Hey "anon" who are you? Stalking? Why on earth?!

At 3/04/2009 3:08 AM, Anonymous steph said...

and nastiness? why be so precious? Not nastiness, just statement of fact - get some humour, anon.

At 3/04/2009 6:15 AM, Anonymous Weekend Fisher said...

Hm, without knowing the syllabus or stated goals, it's shooting in the dark ... or an invitation to imagine my own course. I pick door #2. :)

1. God and man -- what role did each play in developing the text of the Bible? (Resisting the urge to mention 'inspiration' lest I trigger a Canned Speech.)

2. Classical Jewish hermeneutic approaches -- Talmud and New Testament. (Introducing the idea of the anachronism and cultural tone-deafness of our 'one real meaning' approach to Scripture, and introducing the more varied approaches to Scripture considered 'in bounds' in that day.)

3. Trace a central New Testament image (e.g. sheep, manna/bread, wedding, etc.) through its appearances and meanings throughout the Bible.

4. Compare and contrast: GMark and GJohn.

5. Pick a single major passage (approx 1 chapter). How does it show Jesus' goals, works, methods, and messages?

6. Choose any major sermon from the NT. In what areas does it challenge the assumptions of the modern world, and in what areas does the modern world challenge back?

7. Choose one letter of Paul and one Gospel. How does Paul's view of Jesus compare to the gospel's view of Jesus?

8. How would you answer Peter's question on the reason for hope? How did Peter answer it?

Tempted to keep going but this is already probably overkill. But I enjoyed it.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

At 3/04/2009 12:38 PM, Anonymous keyvan said...

Thanks for your sound judgment on Eerdmann's Bible commentary as I also been advised on that in LST.
In my undergrad experience, this title was so challenging:

To what extent the NT was a new interpretation of the early church on judaism in the light of their experience of a crusified and risen leader?


At 3/05/2009 10:19 AM, Anonymous Tony said...

Why did Jesus say that? Choose one saying of Jesus that you wish he hadn't said, and discuss why it makes you so uncomfortable.

At 3/06/2009 5:00 PM, Anonymous Pstyle said...

Steph, Kiwi humour is lost on the rest of the world. ;)

At 3/07/2009 2:03 AM, Anonymous steph said...

Yes, I realise that now. The rest of the world seems to suffer from egotistical paranoia and takes itself far too seriously. It's like walking on egg shells. I never expect to be taken than literally! I still like Sean the Baptist's question but I'm just a happily ignorant agnostic in a university.

And I only stalk dolphins!!! I thought Australians had a sense of humour.

At 3/07/2009 11:10 PM, Anonymous Smart Mouth said...

When Paul says "Be not drunk with wine," what exactly does he mean?

When Paul tells Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach - how much is a little? Where to draw the line?

What is the role of Lettuce in the Book of Hebrews?

Explain why the Book of Revelation is not a road map to end times.

At 3/08/2009 8:49 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Except yours, Sean!

At 3/08/2009 8:49 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Huge thanks for these suggestions, people. Very helpful.


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