This unit provides an introduction to New Testament history, texts, and theology. Beginning with the letters of Paul as the earliest extant Christian literature and surveying the development of gospel literature as well as other forms of early Christian writing, it considers the rise of the early Christian movement and explores the range of developing theological beliefs that characterised the first two generations of early Christianity. In using the New Testament texts as the main source for investigation, the unit draws attention to the diversity of texts, genres, theologies and perspectives within the New Testament itself and considers a number of critical historical, literary and theological issues that emerge from the study of New Testament texts.

Unit code: BN8010P

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Foundational

Unit discipline: New Testament

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Describe the complexities of the historical, cultural, religious, and theological world of the New Testament including the relationship between Judaism and hellenism


Identify the different genres of New Testament literature and the forms of critical analysis appropriate to their interpretation


Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the New Testament texts, the historical development of early Christianity and emerging theological convictions within the Christian movement.


Write a critical exegetical study of one early Christian text, exploring the historical, literary, and theological issues raised by the text demonstrating an awareness of scholarly debate and identifying strengths and weaknesses in scholarly argument


Integrate methodological understandings and skills in order to demonstrate critical theological and historical reflection in the study of a NT passage

Unit sequence



lectures, group exercises, tutorials

Indicative Bibliography

  • NRSV Study Bible (New Oxford Annotated Bible or Harper Collins Study Bible) - recommended for purchase
  • Boring, M. Eugene. An Introduction to the New Testament: History, Literature, Theology. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2012.
  • Brown, Raymond E. An Introduction to the New Testament ABRL. New York: Doubleday, 1997.
  • deSilva, David. An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods, and Ministry Formation, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 2004.
  • Dunn, James D. G. Christianity in the Making, Volume 2: Beginning from Jerusalem. Grand Rapids / Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2009.
  • Klauck, H. J. Ancient Letters and the New Testament: A Guide to Context and Exegesis, Waco, Texas: Baylor, 2006.
  • Levine, Amy-Jill, The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus. New York: Harper Collins, 2007.
  • McDonald, Lee Martin and Stanley E. Porter, eds. Early Christianity and Its Sacred Literature. Peabody: Hendrickson, 2000.
  • Rowland, Christopher. Christian Origins: The Setting and Character of the Most Important Messianic Sect of Judaism. 2nd ed. London: SPCK, 2002.
  • Theissen, Gerd. The New Testament: History, Religion, Literature. Translated by John Bowden. London / New York: T & T Clark, 2003.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Variant 1


Essay on Pauline epistle

1500 25.0
Book Review

Review of Levine's Misunderstood Jew

800 15.0
Exegetical Essay

Exegesis of a gospel passage

2500 30.0

Reflective essay on interpretive task

1200 20.0
Tutorial Paper/Seminar Paper

Tutorial exercises / participation

500 10.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 17 Sep, 2021

Unit record last updated: 2021-09-17 12:20:07 +1000