The Syllabus Should Be Checked At Least Once A Week In Case There Are Revisions.
New Testament Syllabus
RPH 120
Spring 2017
MWF 9:00-9:50
Paul Custodio Bube, Ph.D.
Office Hours: Lyon 321
MWF: 10:00 a.m. - noon.

TR: 9:30-11:00 a.
or by appointment
Phone: 870-307-7351

Required Texts:

Bart D. Ehrman – The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings  (sixth edition) (check for on-line study materials)
HarperCollins Study Bible
Quizzes, assignments, exams, etc. can be found in Schoology

If you are interested in a very good -- and free -- computer based Bible study program, click below:

Nature and Purpose of the Course:

This course provides an overview of most of the New Testament and how scholars analyze it. Students will be expected to do a fair amount of reading in both the New Testament portion of the Bible and the Ehrman textbook. The course introduces students to the historical-critical method of biblical study and illustrates a number of ways this method helps us to understand the New Testament documents in their original contexts.

Students will bring varying backgrounds and expectations about the Bible, in general, and the New Testament, in particular. It is not the aim of the course either to convert the unbeliever nor to subvert the faith of the believer. However, it is the position of Lyon College's Program in Religion and Philosophy that faith and reasoned learning are compatible and mutually enhance each other. The course aims at helping students to read biblical texts with the same care and intelligent analysis as they would read an ancient piece of literature, a historical document, a philosophical essay, or an ancient letter. (By the way, all these sorts of writings can be found in the New Testament.)

This course approaches the New Testament texts as documents of faith central to the Christian heritage, and looks upon these texts as having a unique role in revealing the nature of God and how humanity is invited to respond to God. A guiding assumption behind this course is that the Truth revealed in the biblical texts is best apprehended when one critically examines them in the context of their original language, social setting, and history. To do so means putting aside many theological assumptions in order to allow the texts to speak to us with the same sort of freshness as they did to their first readers. Thus, a guiding rule-of-thumb for reading and interpreting texts in this course is to ask, “How would the first readers of this text have understood it?”

As we begin this course, let me suggest a prayer, “For the Spirit of Truth,” to guide all of us:

From the cowardice that dares not face new truth,

From the laziness that is contented with half truth,

From the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth,

Good Lord, deliver me. United Methodist Hymnal #597

Course Objectives:

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will:

  • Read and become familiar with representative concepts, theories, and methods in New Testament studies
  • Deomonstrate critical thinking by identifying strengths and weaknesses of diverse positions in New Testament studies
  • Demonstrate inquiry and analysis and writing skills by engaging in basic critical research about an assigned New Testament passage
  • Take steps to integrate faith (broadly construed to include one's philosophy of life) and reason


Honor Code

All graded work in this class is to be pledged in accordance with the Lyon College Honor Code. The use of a phone for any reason during the course of an exam is considered an honor code violation. On electronic exams, there will be a place for students to click that they are pledging their work. On all other assignments, students should type or write "Pledged" on the assignment, followed by their name and student ID number. (For example, "Pledged, Harry Potter 7311980.")


Class Attendance Policy

Students are expected to attend all class periods for the courses in which they are enrolled. They are responsible for conferring with individual professors regarding any missed assignments. Faculty members are to notify the Registrar when a student misses the equivalent of one, two, three, and four weeks of class periods in a single course. Under this policy, there is no distinction between “excused” and “unexcused” absences, except that a student may make up work
missed during an excused absence. A reminder of the college’s attendance policy will be issued to the student at one week, a second reminder at two weeks, a warning at three weeks, and notification of administrative withdrawal and the assigning of an “F” grade at four weeks. Students who are administratively withdrawn from more than one course will be
placed on probation or suspended.

In this class attendance and participation count for 10% of your final grade. It is the student's responsibility to check this online syllabus at least once a week in case the schedule is changed. Normally, the class schedule below will be projected on the screen before each class. Thus, there is no reason why a student should not know when a quiz, exam, or assignment is due. Be sure to check your e-mail every day. This is Lyon College policy, and it is the main way I communicate with students outside class. If a student receives an e-mail indicating that an exam is available to take, and she/he misses the exam because she/he did not read the e-mail, that is the student's fault and the exam will receive a zero. If you are having problems with your Lyon email, contact Information Services at



Students seeking reasonable accommodations based on documented learning disabilities must contact the Provost at 870-307-7332.

Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct

Title IX and Lyon’s policy prohibit harassment, discrimination and sexual misconduct. Lyon encourages anyone experiencing harassment, discrimination or sexual misconduct to talk to Clarinda Foote, Title IX Coordinator, or Patrick Mulick, Dean of Students and Title IX Investigator, about what happened so they can get the support they need and Lyon can respond appropriately. Lyon is legally obligated to respond to reports of sexual misconduct, and therefore we cannot guarantee the confidentiality of a report, unless made to a confidential resource (Chaplain, Counselor, or Nurse). As a faculty member, I am required to report possible Title IX violations and must provide our Title IX coordinator with all relevant details. I cannot, therefore, guarantee confidentiality.

Course Requirements:

Students will be expected to complete all reading assignments on time, attend all classes, take all quizzes and exams, and write an analysis of one of the passages found at (due April 18). To avoid plagiarism, students should read the MLA Handbook's discussion of plagiarism and consult with someone in the writing lab or with me prior to turning in the paper. It is not enough simply to list all the works consulted at the end of a paper.  All information and ideas which a student finds from the works consulted must be specifically cited at the point in the paper where that information is included. Students may find it helpful to make an appointment with the Writing Center on the second floor of Alphin Hall to obtain help with their papers and to clarify what is and is not considered plagiarism.

On-line quizzes.  Students are required to take 15 on-line quizzes over readings by the dates assigned.  The quizzes are made up of short, objective questions (e.g., multiple choice, matching, and true/false) available on Schoology.  The quizzes are based on the idea of mastering the information, therefore, students may take a quiz as many times as they want prior to the date the quiz is due to receive the grade they want. However, keep in mind that once the date of the quiz has passed, the quiz cannot be re-taken and the grade cannot be changed.

Exams build upon previous material (glossaries, on-line quizzes, and exams), so in a sense each exam is cumulative. There will be an objective section to each exam and an essay section.  The exams will also be on-line and will be timed with an expiration time like the quizzes. Unlike the quizzes, a student may take the exam only once.  There will be study guides posted through the course website for each exam. Exams will emphasize the material covered since the previous exams, but there may be questions from the previous exams and quizzes on the current exam.

All graded work in this class is to be pledged in accordance with the Lyon College Honor Code.

CELL PHONES, COMPUTERS, AND OTHER ELECTRONICS: Cell phones should either be turned off or put on silent or vibrate in class. They should be put away and not visible. Texting during class is not permitted. If you are awaiting an emergency call, then you should sit near the class entrance, and when your phone vibrates, you should quietly exit and take your call in the hallway out of earshot of our class and other classes. Students may NOT use computers in class unless given permission by the professor. Listening to iPods or other mp3 or similar players is prohibited in class. Violation of these requirements will adversely affect your participation/attendance grade for the class.


Grades will be weighted as follows:





Attendance & Participation


Analysis of Assigned Passage


Final Exam


COLLABORATION:  Students are encouraged to help each other in preparing for exams and exchanging ideas and advice on papers.  However, in keeping with the Lyon College honor code, the term paper, and actual written work on exams are to be done by the student her or himself.


Although this is a freshman level course with only one paper, I would like you to create electronically (e.g., a folder on your I-drive) a portfolio in which you save your paper and any other papers you may do in RPH courses. This will not be graded, but in the event you do take other RPH courses, Dr. Beck and I would like to be able to ‘see’ your progress and I hope you would want to reflect upon your work. Because RPH classes are so ‘holistic’ in their approach to human affairs, both of us hope that what you write will be connected to your other academic work and to the choices you make in other dimensions of your lives. Those of you who are considering majoring and minoring in RPH are required to keep a portfolio. Making this a requirement in every class means that those of you who have not yet decided whether to major or minor will have the portfolios on-line and accessible, making it very easy to declare a major or minor (see catalog for requirements).

bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)

Please note: Students seeking reasonable accommodations based on documented learning disabilities should contact the Office of Academic Services at 307-7332.
Last day to drop with no record of the course is January 25
 Last day to drop with a W is March 20   

bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)bd14578_.gif (200 bytes)

Course Outline: [Note: this schedule is subject to revision and should be checked by students at least once a week.]

(E) = Ehrman’s book; the name of a book in the New Testament (e.g., the Gospel of Mark) indicates that the entire book should be read unless otherwise indicated.

Jan. 11-13:

Introduction to Course and to Basics of Biblical Studies.
Take the on-line sample quiz, "Christmas Quiz" on Schoology

Jan. 16:

(No classes on Jan. 16 in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Consider volunteering at a local charity to make it a "day on" rather than a "day off.")
Jan. 18-23: Read Ch. 1 "What is the New Testament? The Early Christians and Their Literature" (E)
Notes on Ch. 1

Chapter 2 "Do We Have the Original New Testament" (E)  
Notes on Ch. 2

Recording of lecture 1/18
Recording of lecture 1/20
Recording of lecture 1/23
Jan. 23:
Take on-line quiz #1 by Jan. 23, 8:00 a.m.

Jan. 25-30:

Read "The Greco-Roman World of Early Christian Traditions" – Ch. 3 (E) and "The Jewish World of Jesus and His Followers" - Ch. 4 (E)
Notes on Ch. 3 & 4
Recording of lecture 1/25
Recording of lecture 1/27
Recording of lecture 1/30
Jan. 25
Take on-line quiz #2 by Jan. 25, 8:00 a.m.

Feb. 1-6:


Read "The Christian Gospels: A Literary and Historical Introduction" - Ch. 6 (E) and "The Synoptic Problem and Its Significance for Interpretation" – Ch. 8 (E)
Feb. 1:
Take on-line quiz #3 by Feb. 1, 8:00 a.m.
 Due by Feb. 6:
Exam#1 [click here for study guide] This exam will be found on-line on Schoology. The exam must be taken by 11:59 p.m. February 6.  After that time, the exam will expire.

Feb. 8-13:

Read Gospel of Mark & "Jesus, the Suffering Son of God: The Gospel according to Mark" ch. 7 (E)  Notes
Recording of lecture 2/08 
Recording of lecture 2/10
Recording of lecture 2/13
Recording of lecture 2/15
Feb. 8:

Take on-line quiz #4 over Mark by Feb. 8, 8:00 a.m.

Feb. 15-20:

Read The Gospel of Matthew & "Jesus, the Jewish Messiah: The Gospel according to Matthew" ch. 9 (E)  Notes
Recording of lecture 2/17
Recording of lecture 2/20
Recording of lecture 2/22
Feb. 15:
Take on-line quiz#5 over Matthew by Feb. 15, 8:00 a.m.

Feb. 22-27:

Read The Gospel of Luke & "Jesus, the Savior of the World: The Gospel according to Luke" – ch. 10  (E)  Notes on Luke
Feb. 22:
Take on-line quiz#6 over Luke by Feb. 24, 8:00 a.m.

Mar. 1-3:

Read Acts of the Apostles & "Luke's Second Volume: The Acts of the Apostles" – ch. 19 (E)
Mar. 1:
Take on-line quiz#7 over Acts by Mar. 1, 8:00 a.m.
Mar. 6-10: Spring Break
Mar. 13-17: Read The Gospel of John & "Jesus, the Man Sent from Heaven: The Gospel According to John" - ch. 11 of Ehrman
Recording of lecture 3/13
Recording of lecture 3/15
Recording of lecture
Mar. 13:
Take on-line quiz#8 over John by Mar. 13, 8:00 a.m.

Due by Mar. 18:

Exam#2 over The Gospels & Acts
[click here for study guide] This exam will be found on-line Schoology. You will have up to 2 hours to complete the exam. The exam must be completed by March 18 at 11:59 p.m. After that time, the exam will expire .

Mar. 20-24:

Read 1 Thessalonians & "Paul the Apostle: The Man and His Mission" & "Paul and His Apostolic Mission: 1 Thessalonians – chs. 20 & 21  (E); Notes
 Mar. 20:
Take on-line combined quiz#9 & 10 over chs. 20 & 21 by Mar. 20, 8:00 a.m.
Mar. 27-31:
Read 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians; Galatians; Philippians; Philemon & "Paul and the Crises of His Churches: 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, and Philemon" – ch. 22 (E);
 Mar. 27:
Take on-line quiz#11 over ch. 22 by Mar. 27 8:00 a.m.

Apr. 3-5:

Read Romans & "The Gospel according to Paul: The Letter to the Romans" – ch. 23 (E)
Recording of lecture 4/12
Recording of lecture 
Apr. 3:
Take on-line quiz#12 over ch. 23 by April 3, 8:00 a.m.

Apr. 7-12:

Read 2 Thessalonians; Colossians; 1 & 2 Timothy & "In the Wake of the Apostle: The Deutero-Pauline and Pastoral Epistles – ch. 25 (E)

Notes on Deutero-Pauline & Pastoral Epistles

Recording of lecture 4/19 
Recording of lecture
Apr. 7:
Take on-line quiz#13 over ch. 25, by Apr. 7, 8:00 a.m.


Easter Break

April 18:

Passage analysis is due by midnight.

Apr. 19-21:

Read "Christians and Christians: James, the Didache, Polycarp, 1 Clement, Jude, & 2 Peter" ch. 29 (E)
Recording of lecture 4/21
Recording of lecture
April 19:
Take on-line quiz#14 over ch. 29 by Apr. 19 8:00 a.m.

Apr. 24-28:

Read Revelation & "Christians and the Cosmos: The Revelation of John, The Shepherd of Hermas, and the Apocalypse of Peter" – ch. 30 (E)
Apr. 24:
Take on-line quiz#15 over ch. 30 by April 28, 8:00 a.m.

FINAL EXAM (taken on Schoology--due by Monday, May 1 at 12:30 p.m.)  [click here for study guide]

 © 2012-2017 Paul Custodio Bube