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Biblical and Theological Studies

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Departmental Mission Statement

The Bible and the Liberal Arts

Biblical Archaeology

                Requirements for Major

                Requirements for Minor

Biblical and Theological Studies

                Requirements for Major

                Requirements for Minor

                Requirements for Minor in Hebrew Bible

Archaeology Course Descriptions

Biblical and Theological Studies Course Descriptions

Religion Course Descriptions

 

Associate Dean, D. Jeffrey Bingham

Gunther M. Knoedler Professor of Old Testament, Daniel Block
Armerding Professor of Biblical Studies, Michael Graves

Gerald F. Hawthorne Professor of New Testament Greek and Exegesis, Karen Jobes

Carolyn and Fred McManis Professor of Christian Thought, Timothy Larsen

Kenneth T. Wessner Professor of Biblical Studies, Douglas Moo

Franklin S. Dyrness Professor of Biblical Studies, Nicholas Perrin

Blanchard Professor of Biblical Studies, Richard Schultz
Blanchard Professor of Theology, Daniel Treier

Professors Gary Burge, Lynn Cohick, Gene Green, Andrew Hill, Daniel Master, Sandra Richter, John Walton

Associate Professors Vincent Bacote, Jeffrey Barbeau, Marc Cortez, Keith Johnson, Beth Felker Jones, George Kalantzis, Jon Laansma, David Lauber, Jennifer McNutt, Adam Miglio

Assistant Professors Andrew Abernethy, Gregory Lee, Amy Peeler

Visiting Assistant Professor Michael Kibbe

 

The mission of the Department of Biblical and Theological Studies is to help cultivate Christians who are biblically rooted and theologically formed.

Since biblical truth stands at the center of the Christian tradition, and the Scriptures are the integrating core of a Christian liberal arts education, our programs are designed to foster Christian thinking nurtured by biblical and theological study.

We assist students to think biblically through understanding the content of Old and New Testaments as the Word of God, grasping the principal theological themes of the Bible, and interpreting the Scriptures in light of the culture, history, and geography of the ancient world.

We assist students to think theologically through comprehending classic Christian doctrine, paying special attention to its historic development and its evangelical expressions, with a view toward enabling obedient witness to Christ in our contemporary context.

Our approach to the study of Scripture and theology aims both at equipping students to interpret the Bible with a capacity for mature theological judgment, and to connect biblical teaching with the church’s responsibilities related to ethics, spirituality, and mission.

In light of this mission, we aim to foster student formation in three interrelated areas: biblical and theological knowledge; academic skills and critical reflection; and Christian life and service.

Therefore, we offer undergraduate and graduate programs that foster biblical and theological knowledge informed by rigorous, critical, and Christian engagement with classic and contemporary scholarship. We promote the development of academic skills necessary for advanced study and service in the church and society worldwide. We are committed to stimulating learning that bears fruit in lives of faithful thinking and witness for Christ and His kingdom.

The Bible and the Liberal Arts

Courses are offered in the context of a liberal arts education and seek to embrace the entire spectrum of human knowledge, culture, and experience, affirming the value of every discipline that contributes to that end. "Christian" liberal arts is distinguished by the recognition it gives to the lordship of Jesus Christ and to the Bible in its depiction of the world and the human condition, and by its commitment to glorify God and accomplish His purpose in the world.

Historically, Wheaton College affirms that the truth of Scripture is absolute and has unique authority. Furthermore, the College understands its mission as being "For Christ and His Kingdom." These commitments form its major distinctives as a Christian liberal arts college. In light of our commitment to the Bible's authority, we seek to help students evaluate the presuppositions, theories, goals, and methods of each discipline, and indeed all of life's activities, by the revelation of God's truth as found in Scripture.

Academic majors are available in Biblical Archaeology, and Biblical and Theological Studies. All Wheaton College undergraduates are required to take some course work in Biblical and Theological Studies. Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees are also available (see Graduate Programs in this catalog).

Biblical Archaeology

Coordinator, Adam Miglio

Other instructors: D. Arnold, A. Hill, Master, Penney, Walton

 

Biblical Archaeology is an integrative discipline that lies at the intersection of biblical studies, ancient languages, and the social sciences. Students in this major are trained to study the Bible within its long-term geographic, historical, cultural, and social contexts. In addition to core courses in archaeology, history, and ancient languages (including biblical languages), the major requires participation in an approved archaeological excavation and an interdisciplinary emphasis.

The combination of these disciplines provides a strong liberal arts foundation for a variety of vocations as students will be equipped to think historically, linguistically, and archaeologically. Of particular importance for the Christian is the way in which biblical archaeology provides a foundation for biblical study. Today as never before the cultural setting of the biblical text is accessible through archaeological and linguistic discoveries in the Near East. By mooring Scripture in ancient lifeways it is possible to clarify and enliven its message while exploring its contemporary relevance.

Requirements for a major in Biblical Archaeology are 36 hours beyond the 12 hours from general education requirements (ARCH 211 or ARCH 213, BITH 315 OR BITH 374) and Greek or Hebrew language competency; 20 hours of core requirements, including ARCH 325, 345, 365, 366, six hours of biblical studies in New Testament (BITH 451 and 452) OR Old Testament (BITH 431 and 443 or BITH 635); six hours of electives (either ARCH 317 with 333x, or ARCH 334x with 367 or 369), four hours of capstone to include ARCH 412 (Prerequisite: ARCH 211 or 213, and ARCH 365, 366) and ARCH 494 (Prerequisite: ARCH 412), and six hours in a single interdisciplinary emphasis (300-level courses from either Anthropology/Sociology, Geology, Ancient Languages, or Theological Studies).

Requirements for a minor in Biblical Archaeology are 20 hours, including four hours from general education requirements (BITH 211 or 213), ten hours of core requirements (ARCH 365, 366, 412), and six hours of electives (selected from ARCH 317, 325, 345, 367, 369).

Biblical and Theological Studies

Associate Dean, D. Jeffrey Bingham

 

The purpose of Biblical Studies is to familiarize students with the content and concepts of the Bible, the appropriate methodologies for the interpretation and the application of biblical teaching, and the research tools and resources necessary to pursue independent study of biblical texts and topics. For career purposes, the major may be used as a terminal degree, preparing students for employment in church and parachurch agencies by achieving a level of biblical literacy that will enable them to be active in lay church leadership and teaching ministries. As an initial degree, it prepares students for seminary training or for graduate work in theology and related disciplines.

In both required and elective courses, students are trained in basic biblical and theological knowledge. They are encouraged to develop skills that enable them to take into account the original linguistic, literary, historical, and cultural contexts of the Bible. Students are thereby enabled to consider critically religious traditions, beliefs, and practice in order to bring them into conformity with biblical revelation and to evaluate all of life and thought from the perspective of biblical principles.

The ultimate goal of Theological Studies is to ensure that the church's proclamation and the individual's life are faithful to God's revelation of Himself in Scripture. Students with good theological training will know how to evaluate critically their own personal theological leaning, be aware and respectful of other theological positions, and be able to distinguish those values that are distinctly Christian from those that the secular world espouses. Because of the diverse denominational and theological traditions that enrich our faculty and make up our student body, we bring a variety of approaches to the question of the church's role in society.

These objectives are attained through the academic processes that enable students to formulate a constructive, personal stance of Christian faith, to become aware of how culture affected biblical revelation which in turn dynamically affected culture, and to act upon a personal Christian worldview in daily life.

The Biblical and Theological Studies major meets the undergraduate requirements for seminary study suggested by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS). Students contemplating graduate studies should consult with the institution in which they are interested to be informed of any particular undergraduate courses needed. Students interested in an accelerated curriculum leading to the bachelor's and master's degrees should consult with their advisors regarding the prerequisites for the Wheaton graduate program.

Requirements for a major in Biblical and Theological Studies are 32 hours beyond the general education requirement in Biblical and Theological Studies. The general education requirement (14 hours) includes Gospel Church and Culture BITH 111; Old Testament Literature BITH 211 or BITH 221 or ARCH 211 or BITH 212 plus two additional Old Testament hours from BITH 331-349 or 433-449, or OT Competency Examination plus two additional OT hours from BITH 331-349 or 433-449; New Testament Literature BITH 213 or ARCH 213 or BITH 214 plus two additional NT hours from 351-368, 454-469; or NT Competency Examination plus two additional NT hours from 351-368, 454-469; and Systematic Theology, BITH 374. Major core requirements (12 hours) include BITH 325 or 564 (8 hours of Greek prerequisite), 372, 375, and 494. The additional 20 hours of the major are to be taken in one of the following three concentrations:

*       Biblical Studies – 2 to 4 hours in Contextual Studies (BITH 317/318, 333/334, 343, 353, 367x or 369x); 2 to 4 hours in Study of the Discipline (BITH 431 and/or BITH 452); 10 to 12 hours in Textual Studies with Hebrew competency: Hebrew Exegesis, (BITH 443); New Testament courses, (BITH 323, 351, 352, 354-365, 368, 451, 454-469). With Greek competency: Greek Exegesis, (BITH 451 or GREK 451); Old Testament courses (BITH 323, 338-342, 344-345, 433-438, 443, 449). 4 hours of additional Theological Studies from Figures (BITH 483-488); Doctrines (BITH 382, 385, 387-389, 391-393; Topics (BITH 373, 377, 383, 384, 386, 394-399). This concentration requires that the general education language requirement be met by taking Greek or Hebrew. (GREK 101, 102, and 201) or (HEBR 301, 302, and 401).

*       Theological Studies – 6 hours of Figures: Choose at least two from BITH 483-488; 6 hours of Doctrines: Choose at least two from BITH 382, 385, 387-389, 391-393; 2 hours of Topics: Choose at least one from BITH 373, 377, 383, 384, 386, 394-399; Choose 2 elective hours from BITH or RELI; Choose 4 hours of Biblical Studies from BITH (Old Testament course chosen from BITH 323, 338-345, 349, 431-438, 443-449; New Testament chosen from BITH 323, 351-365, 368, 451-458; or Biblical Theology chosen from BITH 326, 425) or ARCH (chosen from ARCH 331, 333, 334, 367, 369). Students pursuing the Theological Studies concentration are urged to fulfill the General Education language requirement by taking Greek or Hebrew (GREK 101, 102, and 201 or HEBR 301, 302, and 401).

*        Integrated Bible/Theology Concentration 2 to 4 hours in Contextual Studies (BITH 317/318, 333/334, 343, 353, 367 or 369); 2 to 4 hours in Study of the Discipline (BITH 431 and/or BITH 452); 6 to 8 hours in Textual Studies: Old Testament courses (BITH 323, 331-345, 349, 433-438, 443-449); New Testament courses (BITH 323, 351-365, 368, 451-469); Biblical Studies courses (BITH 323, 326, 425); 8 hours in Theological Studies: choose at least three courses from: Figures (BITH 483-488), Doctrines (BITH 382, 385, 387-389, 391-393), Topics (BITH 373, 377, 383, 384, 386, 394-399); 0 to 2 hours in BITH or ARCH or RELI elective. Students pursuing the integrative Bible/Theology concentration are urged to fulfill the General Education language requirement by taking Greek or Hebrew (GREK 101, 102, and 201 or HEBR 301, 302, and 401).

A departmental honors program for majors requires four hours of honors course work within the 32-hour major, plus an additional four hours of honors thesis.

Requirements for a minor in Biblical and Theological Studies: 28 hours which includes the following: 12 hours of general education in Biblical and Theological Studies (BITH 211 or 221, 213, 315 or equivalent) and 16 hours from upper division study (eight hours of Biblical Studies at 300- or 400 level, and eight hours of Theological Studies at 300- or 400-level.). General education requirements met through competency testing cannot count toward the minor. (Thus, if a student passes the competency exam for BITH 211 or 213, 2 hours of general education is waived but now must be added to upper division study, making 10 required hours.)

Requirements for a minor in Hebrew Bible are 20 hours including HEBR 301, 302, 401x, and BITH 443 or 635U, a total of 16 hours, plus four hours of electives from BITH 443, 495, 635U, 532U, ARCH 417x, 418x, or LING 321. The Hebrew Bible minor promotes serious study of the original language of the Old Testament. Grammar and exegesis stand at the center of the minor, supplemented by readings in the Hebrew Bible, and four elective hours in cognate languages and disciplines. The minor is ideal for students anticipating advanced biblical studies in seminary or graduate school, as well as in Near Eastern studies and archaeology.

Certificate in Early Christian Studies

Coordinator, George Kalantzis

The Certificate in Early Christian studies is an interdisciplinary program designed to introduce students to the systematic study of the broad fields of patristic and early Christian literature and help them investigate historical and theological questions related to the early Church. One of the primary goals of the program is to foster and develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the history, theology, literature, and worship of the multifaceted world of early Christianity through the close study of textual and material resources in thematic and group study sessions.

The program’s academic home is the Department of Biblical and Theological Studies, with a number of courses offered through other academic departments including, but not limited to, History, Christian Formation and Ministry, Foreign Languages, Art, Sociology & Anthropology.

Students from any major are eligible for the 24-hour Certificate in Early Christian Studies. Students will complete a ten-hour core of courses that investigate the historical and theological foundations of early Christianity. This core will include a capstone course designed to integrate approaches from several key disciplines. In addition, students will select 14 hours of classes from a variety of offerings from different departments. These classes will be distributed among three main areas: ecclesiastical, contextual, and textual.

Requirements for a Certificate in Early Christian Studies and Courses Offered are 10-12 hours of Core Requirements (BITH 371, 327, 388, or BITH 385, and BITH 489), and 14 hours of Elective Requirements which should be met by selecting at least one course from each of the following areas: Ecclesiastical: BITH 381, 385, 388, 389, 396, 398, 378x, CE 343, CE 344 / CFM 694, Contextual: PHIL 311, ART 352, BITH 354, or BITH 357, and Textual: LATN 333, LATN 495 (with the approval of the instructor and the coordinator of the Certificate program), GREK 332, GREK 33X: Advanced Koine Readings: Greek Old Testament (2), GREK 33X: Advanced Koine Readings: The Apocrypha, GREK 495 (with the approval of the instructor and the coordinator of the Certificate program), BITH 327 or 328 (may be repeated with a different topic), BITH 397, 399, 483, or BITH 489 (may be repeated with a different topic).

Flexible course additions (2–4 hours). On a case-by-case basis, the Certificate in Early Christian Studies can include courses and independent study work in which students participate in a class with related topics and/or pursue work directly related to the issues addressed in the certificate program.

Special Topics Courses that are offered on an occasional basis and address topics related to the early Church (such as readings in patristic literature in primary languages) may be petitioned for acceptance as partial fulfillment of the elective requirements in either the Church, Context, or Text category.

With the permission of the coordinator of the Certificate for Early Christian Studies, students are urged to consider expanding coursework into an undergraduate honors thesis.

Archaeology Courses (ARCH)

ARCH 211. Old Testament Archaeology. A survey of the Old Testament with an emphasis on archaeological research as it relates to the understanding and interpretation of the text. This course fulfills the Old Testament general education requirement.

ARCH 213. New Testament Archaeology. A survey of the New Testament with an emphasis on archaeological research as it relates to the understanding and interpretation of the text. This course fulfills the New Testament general education requirement.

ARCH 317. Studies in Biblical Lands. A study of cultural, historical, geographical, and theological dimensions of the Old Testament, New Testament, and the Church through classroom lecture and travel to Israel, Greece, Turkey, and Rome. In addition, through contact with leaders and communities of non-western churches, Wheaton in the Holy Lands engages students with issues of the theological development of the Church through the centuries. This program can be taken as a partial alternative to the general education requirements in Biblical and Theological studies, or it can fill selected requirements in the Biblical Studies, Theological Studies, or Archaeology major. Su only

ARCH 325, 326. Archaeological Field Work. Field experience involving excavation, interpretation, and studies in related regional archaeology. Other off-campus projects or research may be structured to meet the course requirements. Offered for four hours (325) or two hours (326). Graded pass/fail unless petitioned for a grade. (4, 2)

ARCH 331x. Egypt and the Bible. See BITH 331. (2)

ARCH 333x. Historical Geography. See BITH 333. (2)

ARCH 334x. Historical Geography. See BITH 334. (2)

ARCH 345. Archaeology of the Classical World. Excavations, monuments, epigraphic materials, and papyri from the Minoan, Mycenaean, Aegean, and Greco-Roman times. Prerequisite: ARCH 211 or 213. (2)

ARCH 365. History of the Ancient Near East. A study of the history and culture of the ancient civilizations in and around the land of the Bible from 3500 to 500 B.C. Prerequisite: ARCH 211 or 213.

ARCH 366. Archaeology of Ancient Syria-Palestine. A survey of archaeological and historical materials of ancient Canaan/Palestine/Israel from prehistoric times through the Iron Age. Special attention is given to understanding the material culture of each period and the interface of biblical sources with these periods where appropriate. Three hours lecture, two hours laboratory. Prerequisite: ARCH 211 or 213.

ARCH 367. Jerusalem, the Holy City. Jerusalem’s special place in the biblical tradition is considered through the disciplines of archaeology and history. Special attention is given to the city’s theological significance, as well as its place in the religious traditions and history of the Middle East. Prerequisite: ARCH 211 or BITH 211 or 212 or 221 (or passing the Old Testament Competency Examination).

ARCH 369. Religions of Israel and the Ancient Near East. The religious traditions of ancient Israel, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Canaan are examined with an emphasis upon cosmology, the gods, temple, sacred writings, burial customs, and afterlife. A comparative approach is employed which includes related materials from the Old Testament. Prerequisite: ARCH 211 or BITH 211 or 212 or 221 (or passing the Old Testament Competency Examination).

ARCH 411, 412. Advanced Archaeological Study. A concentrated analysis of one particular aspect of biblical archaeology or ancient Near Eastern studies. Offered for four hours (411) or two hours (412). (4, 2).

ARCH 415X. Ugaritic Language and Literature. See ARCH 515.

ARCH 416X. Classical Hebrew Inscriptions. See ARCH 516.

ARCH 417x. Egyptian Hieroglyphics. See ARCH 517.

ARCH 418x. Akkadian Cuneiform. See ARCH 518. (2 or 4)

ARCH 422x. Advanced Archaeology and the New Testament. See ARCH 522.

ARCH 452x. Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament. See BITH 552. (2)

ARCH 453x. Advanced Archaeology and the Old Testament. See ARCH 521.

ARCH 454x. Historical Geography. See BITH 333. (2)

ARCH 494. Senior Seminar. A capstone seminar devoted to exploring the current issues in Near Eastern archaeology that relate to biblical studies, especially those touching on historiography, historicity, social and cultural backgrounds, methodology, and faith. (2)

ARCH 495. Directed Study. Independent study of selected problems for the advanced student. (1-4)

Biblical and Theological Studies Courses (BITH)

Courses listed are examples of classes which may be offered. Not all courses are offered regularly. Upper division students, especially majors, may also take graduate courses listed at the 500-level for undergraduate credit. See the Graduate Programs section of this catalog for graduate-level Biblical and Theological Studies courses.

BITH 111. Gospel, Church, and Culture. An introduction to Christian faith and the evangelical Protestant heritage. The course gives special attention to the church’s engagement with culture and society and to the exploration of the integration of faith and learning in a liberal arts context. (2)

BITH 211, 212. Old Testament Literature and Interpretation. An overview of the Old Testament, tracing its teaching with respect to historical background and literary character. This course is not to be taken by students who have passed the Old Testament Competency Examination. Offered for four hours (211) or two hours (212). (4, 2)

BITH 213, 214. New Testament Literature and Interpretation. An overview of the New Testament, tracing its teaching with respect to historical background and literary character. This course is not to be taken by students who have passed the New Testament Competency Examination. Offered for four hours (213) or two hours (214). (4, 2)

BITH 221. Old Testament Literature in Three Traditions. An overview of the redemptive narrative of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament emphasizing its message and themes with respect to the historical background and literary character, and exploring its place in the three monotheistic religions tracing their origins to Abraham—Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This course is not to be taken by students who have passed the Old Testament Competency Examination. Meets General Education requirement in Old Testament. Diversity designation (4)

BITH 315, 316. Christian Thought. An investigation into the basic beliefs of the Christian faith. Prerequisite: BITH 211 or 221 or 212; and 213 or 214. Philosophy majors are encouraged to take BITH 374 instead of this course. Offered for four hours (315) or two hours (316). (4, 2)

BITH 317, 318. Studies in Biblical Lands. A study of cultural, historical, geographical, and theological dimensions of the Old Testament, New Testament, and the Church through classroom lecture and travel to Israel, Greece, Turkey, and Rome. In addition, through contact with leaders and communities of non-western churches, Wheaton in the Holy Lands engages students with issues of the theological development of the Church through the centuries. This program can be taken as a partial alternative to the general education requirements in Biblical and Theological studies, or it can fill selected requirements in the Biblical Studies, Theological Studies, or Archaeology major. Su only. Diversity designation

BITH 323x. Literature of the Bible. See ENGL 373.

BITH 325. Biblical Interpretation and Hermeneutics. A survey of hermeneutical theory discussing past and current views of how author, text, reader, and context contribute to the communication of textual meaning. These insights will be applied to the Bible, giving the student an interpretive strategy for exegeting the biblical text and appropriating it for the contemporary church, as well as an approach to synthesizing one's interpretive work in formulating biblical-theological themes. Basic approaches for doing biblical theology and theological interpretation will be summarized and illustrated. The course is open to non-majors and is a prerequisite for all 400 level Biblical Studies courses. Prerequisite: BITH 211 or 221 or 212, or ARCH 211 (or passing the Old Testament Competency Examination); or BITH 213 or 214, or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination).

BITH 326. Biblical Theology of Worship. An examination of worship in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments with a view to developing a theology of worship that is consistent with the teachings of Scripture. Special attention will be paid to the appropriate application of this theology for the church today. Prerequisite: BITH 211 or 221or 212, or ARCH 211 (or passing the Old Testament Competency Examination); or BITH 213 or 214, or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination). (2)

BITH 327. Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers. A study of the reception, transmission, and interpretation of Scripture within the early church (2nd to 6th centuries). Emphasis will be placed on the historical context of patristic exegesis, the relationship between scripture and tradition, and questions of hermeneutics. Pre-requisites: BITH 211 or 212 or 221, or ARCH 211 (or passing the Old Testament Competency Examination); or BITH 213 or 214, or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination). (2)

BITH 328. Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers. A study of the reception, transmission, and interpretation of Scripture within the early church (2nd to 6th centuries). Emphasis will be placed on the historical context of patristic exegesis, the relationship between scripture and tradition, and questions of hermeneutics. Pre-requisites: BITH 211 or 212 or 221, or ARCH 211 (or passing the Old Testament Competency Examination); or BITH 213 or 214, or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination).

BITH 331. Egypt and the Bible. This course will introduce the student to the history and culture of ancient Egypt, and relate these to important biblical events, including the life of Joseph and the Exodus. By the use of primary sources in literature and art, such themes as religion, cosmology, and kingship will be studied in their historical and cultural contexts. Prerequisite: BITH 211 or 221or 212, or ARCH 211 (or passing the Old Testament Competency Examination). (2)

BITH 332. Ruth and Esther. A detailed study of the books of Ruth and Esther, giving special attention to historical background, literary analysis, theological emphases, ancient and traditional Jewish and Christian interpretations, recent ideological interpretations, and contemporary application. Prerequisites: BITH 211 or 221 or 212, or ARCH 211 (or passing the Old Testament Competency Examination). (2)

BITH 333. Historical Geography. A study of selected biblical episodes which are enriched when understood in the context of Near Eastern history and Palestinian geography. The studies are tailored to students in the Wheaton in the Holy Lands program. Su only (2)

BITH 334. Historical Geography. A study of selected biblical episodes which are enriched when understood in the context of Near Eastern history and Palestinian geography. Prerequisite: BITH 211 or 221 or 212, or ARCH 211 (or passing the Old Testament Competency Examination). (2)

BITH 338. Genesis 1-11. A study of the foundational chapters for the Old and New Testaments. The central themes of creation, God, humanity, the fall, redemption, judgment, and covenant will be investigated in detail. Prerequisite: BITH 211 or 221 or 212, or ARCH 211 (or passing the Old Testament Competency Examination). (2)

BITH 341. Exodus. The exodus event is as central to OT theology as the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to NT theology. The historical and theological implications of this book will be examined, with special emphasis given to the covenant between God and Israel. Prerequisite: BITH 211 or 221 or 212, or ARCH 211 (or passing the Old Testament Competency Examination). (2)

BITH 343. The Old Testament in its Cultural Environment. An introduction to background and comparative studies in order to understand the impact that the literature and thinking of the ancient world had on the Israelites and on biblical literature. The course will focus on methodology and will consider both similarities and differences that emerge as the cultures and literatures are compared. Prerequisite: BITH 211 or 221 or 212, or ARCH 211 (or passing the Old Testament Competency Examination). (2)

BITH 344. The Psalms: Songs of Israel and the Church. A study of the spiritual and literary legacy of the book of Psalms. The collection will be analyzed according to literary types, and the individual psalms studied according to their type and content. The use of Psalms in the history of the Church as a vehicle of worship will be a daily devotional focus to begin each class. Prerequisite: BITH 211 or 221 or 212, or ARCH 211 (or passing the Old Testament Competency Examination). (2)

BITH 345. Life of David. A study of the life and thought of David as found in the Books of Samuel and Psalms with an emphasis on ‘spiritual theology.’ Prerequisite: BITH 211 or 221 or 212, or ARCH 211 (or passing the Old Testament Competency Examination).  (2)

BITH 348. Between the Testaments. A survey of intertestamental history from 300 to 5 B.C. with special attention given to the literature of the period as a theological bridge between the Old and New Covenants. Areas of study include OT Apocrypha and selections from the OT Pseudepigrapha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the development of apocalyptic literature and rabbinic Judaism. Prerequisite: BITH 211 or 221 or 212, or ARCH 211 (or passing the Old Testament Competency Examination); or BITH 213 or 214, or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination). (2)

BITH 349. Old Testament Topics. Study of an Old Testament portion or theme. Course may be repeated for different topics. Prerequisite: BITH 211 or 221 or 212, or ARCH 211 (or passing the Old Testament Competency Examination). (2 or 4)

BITH 351. Jesus of Nazareth. A thorough study of Jesus' life and teaching. Primary attention will be given to reconstructing the first-century historical and cultural setting of Judaism that shaped Jesus' message. Additional emphasis on developments within current "Jesus research" and assessment of the results of critical scholarship. Prerequisite: BITH 213 or 214, or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination). (2 or 4)

BITH 352. Paul of Tarsus. A study of the life and thought of Paul as found in the book of Acts and in Paul's New Testament letters. The course will synthesize the major categories of Pauline thought and emphasize their value for faith today. Prerequisite: BITH 213 or 214, or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination). (2 or 4)

BITH 353. The New Testament in the Mediterranean World. This course is a study of the political, cultural, social, and religious history of the Greco-Roman world (300 BC-100 AD) gained from literary, epigraphic, and archaeological sources. Attention is directed to this period as (1) the successor to the classical Hebrew and Greek periods, (2) the predecessor to Rabbinic Judaism and Patristic Christianity, and (3) the immediate setting of the New Testament. Focus will be directed at those historical events, theological developments and institutional shifts which affected the early Christians and the writings of the New Testament. Prerequisite: BITH 213 or 214, or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination). (2)

BITH 354. Women in the World of the NT. This course will examine women’s lives and the concept of female in the New Testament and the wider Greco-Roman world, including Second Temple Judaism, by studying the biblical text, literary sources and archaeological evidence. This course will explore New Testament women’s participation in and contributions to the Christian story in the first century, and discuss women’s participation in leadership in the church today. General pictures of women’s lives in Judaism and the Greco-Roman world will supplement the portrait of early Christian women. Prerequisite: BITH 213 or 214, or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination). Diversity designation. (2)

BITH 355. Theology of the Promised Land. An integrative course studying the theological motif of the Promised Land in the Bible. This course will explore the theology of the Land as interpreted within Judaism and Christianity over the last two millennia. Prerequisites: Old Testament Literature (BITH 211 or BITH 221) and New Testament Literature (BITH 213). (2)

BITH 356. 1 Corinthians. A section-by-section survey of 1 Corinthians dealing with the issues of the nature of the Church, Christian behavior and social responsibility, sexuality, marriage and divorce, Christian worship, the spiritual gifts, and the resurrection. Prerequisite: BITH 213 or 214, or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination). (2 or 4)

BITH 357. Women in the Early Church. A historical overview of women’s activities in the first five centuries of the early Church, this course will address women’s participation in the intellectual, liturgical, ascetic and monastic arenas of the emerging orthodox Church and the various heterodox movements. Attention will be paid to writings about women as well as to theological issues of gender. (Prerequisite: BITH 213 or 214 or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination). Diversity designation

BITH 358. Acts of the Apostles. A study of the Book of Acts focused on the geographic and ethnic spread of the gospel, the birth and development of the apostolic church, the gospel’s relationship to the Jewish and wider Greco-Roman social worlds, and the theology of Acts. Prerequisite: BITH 213 or 214 or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination). (2 or 4)

BITH 359. New Testament Topics. Study of a New Testament portion or theme. Course may be repeated for different topics. Prerequisite: BITH 213 or 214, or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination). (2 or 4)

BITH 361x. Advanced Koine Reading. See GREK 334, 335, 336. (2 or 4)

BITH 362. James. An exposition of the text of the Epistle of James, focusing on the church situations that prompted the teaching of the various themes it contains, and their correlation to corresponding New Testament motifs. Prerequisite: BITH 213 or 214, or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination). (2)

BITH 364. Peter and Jude. Exercise in the interpretation of letter genre, by application to portions of 1 Peter, 2 Peter, and Jude. Students use a prescribed method and scholarly resources for productive class discussions. Attention is given to sociological exegesis. Prerequisite: BITH 213 or 214 or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination). (2)

BITH 365. Prison Epistles. Analysis of Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Philemon, all written while the author was in chains. Attention will focus on the light these letters throw on Paul's life and thought, as well as on the abiding challenge of their message. Prerequisite: BITH 213 or 214 or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination). (2 or 4)

BITH 367x. Jerusalem, the Holy City. See ARCH 367.

BITH 368. The Book of Revelation. A chapter-by-chapter analysis of the Book of Revelation with consideration of the major themes, apocalyptic symbolism, theology, prophetic character of the book, and relevance to Christian faith and discipleship. Prerequisite: BITH 213 or 214 or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination). (2)

BITH 369x. Religions of Israel and the Ancient Near East. See ARCH 369.

BITH 371. Early Christianity: From Rome to Byzantium. A foundational survey of early Christianity from the first to the eleventh century of the Common Era, with special emphasis on the patristic period of the first six centuries. This period is crucial to the development of Christian faith, as basic parameters of many of the key doctrines of the Church were worked out here—parameters that have exerted a normative influence on Christian life and thought. Prerequisites: BITH 211 or BITH 221, and BITH 213, (or passing the Old Testament and New Testament Competency Examination).

BITH 372. Historical Theology. Historical survey of people and movements which have shaped the faith of the Christian church from post-biblical times to the present. The course is open to non-majors but is not a substitute for Christian Thought.

BITH 373. Marriage, Sex and Family in the Christian Tradition. Examines marriage, sexuality, and the family in the Christian tradition in light of scripture, doctrine, and church history. The course trains students to think theologically about Christian life. Prerequisites: BITH 315 or BITH 316 or BITH 374.

BITH 374. Systematic Theology. A critical investigation into the content and contemporary significance of the Christian faith, emphasizing biblical foundations, philosophic presuppositions and comprehensiveness. Prerequisites: BITH 211 or 221 or 212; and 213 or 214, or ARCH 211 and 213. The course is open only to Biblical and Theological Studies and Philosophy majors.

BITH 375. Theological Ethics. An investigation into the major Christian ethical traditions, their biblical and theological foundations, the development of Christian character and values, and the task of bringing Christian ethical convictions to bear on personal and societal issues. Prerequisite: BITH 315 or 316 or 372 or 374. (2)

BITH 376. Theologies of Transformation. This course examines the intersection between the challenges of the urban context and the gospel's mandate for faithful Christian practice in this world. The theological emphases of evangelical, Catholic, and specifically politically oriented theologies are examined, with the aim of facilitating a theological and cultural exegesis of the urban setting and developing proposals for Christian practices which display fidelity to God's Kingdom. Only offered as a part of Wheaton in Chicago.

BITH 377. Topics in Christian Thought. In-depth treatment of some theological category (doctrine, figure or topic) or the application of Christian thought to contemporary issues. Course may be repeated for different topics. Prerequisite: BITH 315, 316, or 374. (2 or 4)

BITH 378x. Origins of Christian Worship. See CE 344.

BITH 379x. Spiritual Theology: Knowing and Experiencing God. See CE 341.

BITH 381. Spiritual Classics. A small group study which explores the concept of Christian "spirituality" from the classics of the Christian tradition including Augustine, Benedict, Bernard of Clairvaux, Juliana, Teresa of Avila, Luther, Calvin, Catherine of Genoa, Pascal, Wesley, Bunyan, Bonhoeffer, Merton, Nouwen, Sundar Singh, and others. (2)

BITH 382. Doctrine of the Church. A theological examination of the nature, life, and ministry of the Church. Attention is given to various biblical, historical, and dogmatic representations of the Church in order to grasp the Church as the communion sanctorum (communion of the saints) created by the Word, gathered, upheld, and sent by the Spirit into the world as a faithful witness. Prerequisite: BITH 315, 316, or 374. (2)

BITH 383. Gender and Theology. This course offers a theological examination of the representation of women and gender in Christianity. Attention is given to the historical and cultural contexts of the first century and contemporary period. Theological, historical, literary, exegetical, and feminist methods are variously employed. Prerequisite: BITH 315, 316, or 374. Diversity designation (2)

BITH 384. Political Theology. A study of the political dimension of the proclamation of God’s saving power. It undertakes political, historical, and social analysis of a given period or context. Different forms/contexts of political life (i.e., Latin American, European, Middle Eastern, and North American) are variously considered with a view toward examining how the Gospel bears upon questions of power, alienation, resistance, identity, truthfulness, and forgiveness. Prerequisite: BITH 315, 316, or 374. (2)

BITH 385. Doctrine of the Triune God. An overview of the doctrine of God, including study of divine action and attributes, with particular attention to the doctrine of the Trinity. Biblical teaching and traditional developments are foundational. Contemporary concerns and theological contributions, especially the recent recovery of Trinitarian thinking, will also shape the study. Prerequisite: BITH 315, 316, or 374.

BITH 386. Theological Method. An interaction with the challenges to, possibilities for, and fundamentals of doing “evangelical” theology in the twenty-first century. Introduces various positions (especially Protestant) on the nature, sources, skills, and structure of theology, as well as theological uses of Scripture. Leads students to formulate their own heuristic approaches for doing theology, amid undertaking a doctrinal case study. Prerequisite: BITH 315, 316, or 374; 325 strongly recommended.

BITH 387. Eschatology. A focus on the progressive development and ultimate consummation of God’s purpose in redemptive history, with special emphasis on the nature and coming of God’s kingdom. Studies the various eschatological systems, their competing hermeneutical approaches to the relevant biblical texts and themes, and the relationship between Israel and the Church, with a view to constructing a theologically unified perspective. Prerequisite: BITH 315, 316, or 374. (2)

BITH 388. Christology. Study of the person and work of Christ. Attention will be given to classic debates and formulations in church history and systematic theology. The biblical material in its historical milieu will also be stressed to discover its abiding significance. Prerequisite: BITH 315, 316, or 374. (2)

BITH 389. Doctrine of the Holy Spirit. An investigation of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, with reference to the biblical foundations and significant historical and contemporary developments. Trinitarian and Charismatic issues will be discussed, as well as an emphasis on the Spirit’s cosmic work. Additionally, this course aims to encourage a deeper understanding of the Spirit’s role in our lives. Prerequisite: BITH 315, 316, or 374. (2)

BITH 391. Doctrine of Salvation. This course examines God’s saving action through Jesus Christ’s work of redemption. The doctrine of salvation considers the relationship between divine action and human faithfulness in justification and sanctification, and includes discussion of the church’s ministry of reconciliation with a view toward forgiveness, justice, and hope. Prerequisite: BITH 315, 316, or 374. (2)

BITH 392. Doctrine of Scripture. A survey of biblical, historical, and contemporary views of the origin and nature of Scripture, focusing on the issues of inspiration and inerrancy. Non-evangelical perspectives will be evaluated in the light of biblical and theological considerations. Prerequisite: BITH 315, 316 or 374. (2)

BITH 393. Theological Anthropology. A theological examination of the nature of persons with special reference to issues raised by modern philosophy and psychology. Prerequisite: BITH 315, 316, or 374. (2)

BITH 394. Postmodern Theologies. A survey of theologians and theologies styled (usually by themselves) as “Postmodern”, with attention to their corollary effects upon traditional Christian doctrines. Some assessment is also made of the terms “postmodern”, “postmodernism”, and “postmodernity”, along with responses to them among evangelicals. Prerequisite: BITH 315, 316, or 374.

BITH 395. Christian Ethics. An examination of the history, methodology, and content of Christian ethics with application to specific contemporary issues, which vary with each offering. Prerequisite: BITH 315, 316, or 374. (2)

BITH 396. Roman Catholic Theology. An introduction to the Roman Catholic Church, addressing the basic features of Roman Catholic culture, including: the Catholic Imagination, Catholic Spirituality, and Catholic Devotion. This course also addresses distinctive characteristics of Roman Catholic doctrinal theology and ethics, including: the Church, Revelation, Holy Scripture, Tradition, Gospel, Salvation, Sacraments, the communion of saints, and Mary. Furthermore, students will be given the opportunity to experience and critically reflect upon the distinctive characteristics of Roman Catholic worship and liturgy. Prerequisite: BITH 315, 316, or 374. (2)

BITH 397. Readings in Roman Catholic Theology. This course provides an in-depth treatment of a particular author, doctrine or issue from within the Roman Catholic tradition. Since this course deals with primary sources, and the reading and writing load is substantial, it is more suitable for students in their third or fourth year of study. Course may be repeated for different topics. Prerequisites: BITH 315, 316, or 374 and BITH 396. (2)

BITH 398. Eastern Orthodox Theology. This course provides an introduction to Eastern Orthodox theology and practice. Topics such as divine revelation, the Trinity, the Bible, tradition, salvation, the sacraments, and the saints will be discussed. Students will also be given the opportunity to experience and critically reflect upon the distinctive characteristics of Eastern Orthodox worship and liturgy. Prerequisites: BITH 315, 316, or BITH 372. (2)

BITH 399. Readings in Eastern Orthodox Theology. An in-depth treatment of a particular author, doctrine, or issue from within the Eastern Orthodox theological tradition. Course may be repeated for different topics. Prerequisites: BITH 315, 316, or BITH 372, and BITH 398. (2)

BITH 425. Biblical Theology. A study of the major theological themes within the Old and New Testaments, based upon the biblical text and the writings of major biblical theologians. The course will also consider the historical development and interrelationship of these themes throughout the successive periods of biblical history. Prerequisite: BITH 325.

BITH 431. Old Testament Criticism. A study of the history, method, and results of modern historical-critical approaches to the Old Testament literature. Attention will also be given to a critical assessment of these developments from an evangelical perspective. Prerequisites: BITH 211 or 221 or 212, or ARCH 211 (or passing the Old Testament Competency Examination) and BITH 325. (2)

BITH 433. Jeremiah. Jeremiah's time was one of crisis and change for Israel. Therefore, his book has much to offer to the church and the Christian today. Historical, literary, and theological approaches will be used in the study of Jeremiah. Prerequisites: BITH 211 or 221or 212, or ARCH 211 (or passing the Old Testament Competency Examination) and BITH 325. (2 or 4)

BITH 434. Minor Prophets. A chronologically structured analysis of the message of the twelve prophets, giving special attention to historical background and the nature of prophetism in the OT and the Ancient Near East (ANE), theological emphases, contemporary application, and trajectories bridging the corpora and the liberal arts. Prerequisites: BITH 211 or 221 or 212, or ARCH 211 (or passing the Old Testament Competency Examination) and BITH 325. (2)

BITH 438. Wisdom Literature. A selection from the Old Testament wisdom books, Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. The apocryphal books of Jesus ben Sirach and the Wisdom of Solomon may also be read and studied in relation to canonical wisdom. Prerequisites: BITH 211 or 221 or 212, or ARCH 211 (or passing the Old Testament Competency Examination) and BITH 325. (2)

BITH 443. Hebrew Exegesis. Exegesis of books or selected portions of larger books of the Hebrew Old Testament. Capability of translation is assumed because of the prerequisite. The purpose of the course is not to teach Hebrew grammar but to interpret the Old Testament from the Hebrew text. Course may be repeated for different topics. Prerequisites: BITH 211 or 221 or 212 or ARCH 211 (or passing the Old Testament Competency Examination) BITH 325, and HEBR 401x. (2 or 4)

BITH 449. Old Testament Topics. Study of an Old Testament portion or theme. Course may be repeated for different topics. Prerequisites: BITH 211 or 221 or 212, or ARCH 211 (or passing the Old Testament Competency Examination) and BITH 325. (2 or 4)

BITH 451. Greek Exegesis. Exegesis of books or selected portions of larger books of the Greek New Testament. Capability of translation is assumed because of the prerequisite. The purpose of the course is not to teach Greek grammar but to interpret the New Testament from the Greek text. Course may be repeated for different topics. Prerequisites: BITH 213 or 214, or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination) BITH 325, and completion of GREK 201. (2 or 4)

BITH 452. New Testament Criticism. A study of the history, method, and results of modern historical-critical approaches to the New Testament literature. Attention will also be given to a critical assessment of these developments from an evangelical perspective. Prerequisites: BITH 213 or 214, or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination) and BITH 325. (2)

BITH 454. Mark. A study of the second gospel focusing on Mark's portrait of Jesus as the catalyst of the Kingdom and as suffering servant. Attention will be given to the relationship between literary forms and religious function in the writing of the gospel. Prerequisites: BITH 213 or 214, or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination) and BITH 325. (2)

BITH 455. Interpreting the Synoptic Gospels. This course applies technical methods of study to the Synoptic Gospels to determine the form and function of the narrative message. Prerequisites: BITH 213 or 214, or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination) and BITH 325. (2)

BITH 456. Parables of Jesus. An examination of the parabolic teaching of Jesus then (in its first-century Palestinian cultural setting) and now (its message to twenty-first-century Christians and society). Emphasis on the history of interpretation, especially contemporary literary-aesthetic approaches. Prerequisites: BITH 213 or 214, or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination) and BITH 325. (2)

BITH 457. John. A comprehensive study of John's gospel. Its insights into personal spirituality, both in the first century and today, will be emphasized in the context of current critical Johannine scholarship. Prerequisites: BITH 213 or 214, or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination) and BITH 325.

BITH 458. Acts of the Apostles. A study of the Book of Acts focused on the geographic and ethnic spread of the gospel, the birth and development of the apostolic church, the gospel’s relationship to the Jewish and wider Greco-Roman social worlds, and the theology of Acts. Prerequisite: BITH 213 or 214, or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination and BITH 325. (2 or 4)

BITH 461. Romans. A chapter-by-chapter analysis of Paul's argument in the book of Romans with special emphasis on Paul's view of humanity, salvation, Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Prerequisites: BITH 213 or 214, or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination) and BITH 325. (2 or 4)

BITH 462. Pastoral Epistles. Careful investigation of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus. Detailed textual analysis will lead to better understanding of the joys and struggles of Christian leadership under Paul's direction. Social roles and cultural issues affecting the Church will receive special attention. Prerequisites: BITH 213 or 214, or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination) and BITH 325. (2)

BITH 469. New Testament Topics. Study of a New Testament portion or theme. Course may be repeated for different topics. Prerequisites: BITH 213 or 214, or ARCH 213 (or passing the New Testament Competency Examination) and BITH 325. (2 or 4)

BITH 483. Theology of Augustine. A critical analysis of Augustine’s theology, including the Confessions and his anti-Pelagian writings, and selections from his homilies and commentaries. Prerequisite: BITH 315, 316, or 374.

BITH 484. Theology of Thomas Aquinas. A critical analysis of Thomas Aquinas’ theology, primarily from the Summa Theologiae, and also including readings from his Commentaries. Prerequisite: BITH 315, 316, or 374.

BITH 485. Theology of Martin Luther. A critical analysis of the theology of Martin Luther, with attention to his essential writings in the areas of the task of theology, the Word of God and Scripture, the Righteousness of God and salvation, the church, the sacraments, the two kingdoms and the Christian life. Prerequisite: BITH 315, 316, or 374. (2)

BITH 486. Theology of John Calvin. A critical analysis of the theology of John Calvin, with primary attention to the Institutes of the Christian Religion, and also including attention to his Commentaries. Prerequisite: BITH 315, 316, or 374.

BITH 488. Theology of Barth. This course represents a significant engagement with the work of the most important Reformed Protestant theologian since Schleiermacher. It offers a critical examination of one of the most significant, constructive dogmatic and moral theologians of the twentieth century. A close reading of a primary text is undertaken with a view toward understanding Barth’s dogmatic work as a theology of reconciliation and freedom. Prerequisite: BITH 315, 316, or 374. (2)

BITH 489. Advanced Topics in Christian Thought. In-depth treatment of some theological category (pneumatology, soteriology, Scripture) or the application of Christian thought to contemporary issues such as feminism, racism, and economics. Course may be repeated for different topics. Prerequisite: BITH 315, 316, or 374. (2 or 4)

BITH 494. Senior Seminar. A capstone, integrative seminar for Biblical and Theological Studies majors to be taken in the senior year. It will draw upon hermeneutical, exegetical, and theological tools to address current issues critical to Christian faith and practice. Prerequisites: BITH 325 and BITH 374; senior standing with BITH major. (2)

BITH 495. Directed Study. Independent study by qualified students in a special category or topic not offered in a regular course. (1-4)

BITH 496. Internship. Graded pass/fail. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing with BITH major. (1-4)

BITH 499. Honors Thesis. By application only. (2 or 4)

Religion Courses (RELI)

RELI 212. World Religions: Asia. A survey of the living religious traditions of South and East Asia, including that of Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Parsees, Taoists, Confucianists, and Shintoists. Diversity designation. (2)

RELI 214. World Religions: Middle East. A survey of the living religious traditions of the Middle East, emphasizing Judaism and Islam. Diversity designation. (2)

RELI 362. Judaism. An introduction to the historical development of the religion of Judaism, including Messianic Judaism; its origins, literature, Holy Days, rituals, theologies, movements, and future. A visit to a synagogue service is an integral part of the course. (2)

RELI 364. Islam. A study of the origins of Islam in Arabia and its spread throughout the world. Special attention is given to Mohammed, the Qur'an, major tenets of Islam, different sects within Islam, the interface between Christianity and Islam, and the recent rise of Islamic fundamentalism.

RELI 492. Topical Studies. A phenomenological investigation across several religious traditions. Topics such as fundamentalism, cosmology, sacred writings, or mysticism will be covered. (2 or 4)

RELI 495. Directed Study. (1-4)

Revision Date: July 1, 2014

 

 

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