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Study information

Reading New Testament Letters

Module titleReading New Testament Letters
Module codeTHE2044
Academic year2022/3
Module staff

Dr Logan Williams ()

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Module description

This module will give you the opportunity to engage in close reading of two New Testament letters, one from among those written by the apostle Paul, one from among those attributed to other authors, or widely thought to be pseudonymous. Those with knowledge of ancient Greek can engage the texts in their original language, but this will not be expected or assumed. These letters, in various ways, are of enormous influence in the history of Christianity, the development of Christian theology, and the cultures and media of societies shaped by Christianity. The module will also give you the opportunity to reflect on our perspectives as readers, and on how different contexts, identities, and agendas shape the process of interpretation.

In order to take this module successfully, you should ideally have studied THE1102 Christian Origins (or THE1109 Introduction to the History and Literatures of the Bible) and THE1101 The Bible: Past and Present. These are, however, not formal prerequisites and students interested in the module without prior experience of biblical studies should discuss this with the module leader.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims first and foremost to enable you to engage in close and reflective reading of two New Testament letters (in English translation or in their original Greek). More specifically, it aims to inform you about the origins and contexts of these letters, to engage you in discussing the meaning of the texts, in light of scholarly discussion, and to reflect on the processes of reading and interpretation, and our contexts and influences as readers.
Your own close engagement with the text and with relevant scholarship will be a crucial part of the learning process, and seminars will give you opportunity to discuss the interpretation of these letters. You will develop your skills in close reading and in critical reflection on interpretation.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Read a New Testament text closely and in detail, to contextualise it historically
  • 2. Reflect on the embodied perspectives of different readers

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Engage with relevant scholarship
  • 4. Construct a reflective, analytical argument

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Plan, structure, and produce to deadline a piece of written work
  • 6. Conduct independent (guided) research on a set topic

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • What does it mean to read? An introduction to interpreting New Testament letters
  • Introduction to the selected Pauline letter, its socio-historical context and key issues
  • Close reading of the selected Pauline letter
  • Introduction to the selected non-Pauline/pseudonymous letter, its socio-historical context and key issues
  • Close reading of the selected non-Pauline/pseudonymous letter

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1111 x 1-hour lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching2211 x 2-hour seminars
Scheduled Learning and Teaching12 x 30 minute group tutorials
Guided Independent Study266Private and/or small group study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Seminar presentations10 minutes1-6Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay (exegesis)453000 words1, 3, 5Written comment
Essay (issues of interpretation – set titles)453000 words2-6Written comment
Seminar participation101000 words1-2Oral and group feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1, 3, 5Referral/deferral period
EssayEssay2-6Referral/deferral period
ParticipationText comment1-2Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Dale Martin, New Testament History and Literature (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012)
  • Udo Schnelle, History and Theology of the New Testament Writings (London: SCM, 1998)
  • Paula Gooder, Searching for Meaning: An Introduction to Interpreting the New Testament (London: SPCK, 2009)

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  •  Commentaries on the selected texts will be important
Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date