Suggested Topics for Short Reports


Observations on the composition history of the Pentateuch
Does the Pentateuch have an overall Theme?
Concepts of Deity in the Pentateuch
Modes of Divine Revelation in the Pentateuch
Dealing with the "Other" (Conflict, Alienation, Adaptation)
Deuteronomy as a version of the first 4 books
Women in the Pentateuch (narratives and laws)
Sex and Sexuality (narratives and laws)
Agriculture and Herding (narratives and laws)
Maintaining "Purity" (narratives and laws)

Prophets (at least one major prophet and all "minor prophets")

Theodicy & Concepts of Deity
Courtroom Confrontation ("RIV gattung")
Warning & Judgment
Prediction & Interpretation
Analogies (agricultural, pastoral, military, nature, etc.)
Proverbs & Sirach on ancient social issues (family, women, business, etc.)

Gospels (topic should be comparative, with focus on authors/editors of the accounts)

Jesus' resurrection - ascension (esp Lk, Jn)
Jesus' birth & genealogy & youth (esp Mt, Lk)
Jesus' speech patterns (esp Jn, synoptics)
Geographical - chronological gospel frameworks (esp Jn, synoptics [Lk])
Jesus' contacts with women & children (esp Lk, Jn)
Jesus' contacts with demons & devil (contrast Jn?)
Jesus' claims about himself (esp Jn, synoptics [Q])
Jesus on the immanent eschatological end (contrast Jn?)
Depictions of Jews and Judaism in the Gospels

Early Christianity in the NT

Eschatological dimensions of early Christianity
Images of Jesus in non-Gospel NT writings
Attitudes to Judaism in non-Gospel NT writings
Paul according to Acts and the Pauline letters
Peter in the NT apart from the Gospels
Early Christian ethical teachings
Confrontations within early Christianity
Antagonism from outsiders for early Christianity

Final Exam Essay (take home)

Jack Miles used the Bible as a whole to write on "God -- a Biography," in which he traced the development of activites and attitudes attributed to God throughout the unified anthology (as though it were not an anthology). Taking the same starting point, expand on the topic "Man [i.e. Humanity] -- a Biography." Do images and expectations concerning humans change during the course of the collected scriptural materials in their current canonical order (both Jewish scriptures and NT Christian scriptures)? In what ways, and in what relationship (if any) to perceived changes in divine activities and attitudes? Try to avoid imprecise claims (e.g. not "the prophets say," if you mean "Jeremiah says"), and anchor your presentation as much as possible in specific examples (e.g. in the story of Job we find ...).