Below is a list of the papers provided as part of the Biblical Studies strand.
BS510/610 Exploring the Bible (15 credits)
Compulsory for all students
This course explores the historical, literary, and theological aspects of the Bible. It will survey the central characters and events of the Bible, examine the variety of genres found in the Bible, and discuss key theological themes emphasized within the Bible. Particular attention will be given to the colonial contexts of biblical texts.
BS511/611 Interpreting the Bible (15 credits)
What is interpretation? How does one go about doing it? Why and how should one read the Bible? What is the goal of biblical interpretation? This course introduces students to theories and methods of biblical interpretation and their applications. The aim is to enable students to understand the task of interpretation, to use the tools of biblical studies, and to critically analyse biblical texts, and engage with the Bible in a transformative manner.
BS612 Reading the Bible in Oceania (15 credits)
What do readers in Oceania find in the Bible? What do they avoid? What do they overlook? This course will engage these questions, provide opportunities for participants to name their interests and blind spots around some of the current concerns and struggles that agitate the people of Oceania-island space and ways, migration and labour, sexuality and spirituality, church and discrimination, diaspora and nativism. This course will draw upon resources written by and around natives of Oceania also.
BS620 Deciphering the Bible (15 credits)
This course offers a basic guide to Biblical Hebrew and New Testament Greek. Each language will be delivered every other semester to enable students to read simple texts in the original languages of the Bible, and to use tools like lexicons and dictionaries for in-depth study of texts.
BS621 Decolonising the Bible (15 credits)
This course explores the political impact of empires on the composition of biblical texts and on their subsequent interpretation. It analyses the ways that imperial interests are both embedded in and critiqued by biblical texts. It then turns to the way the Bible was deployed in imperial adventures of the past centuries. In colonial contexts, the Bible was used as both a mechanism of dominion and a resource for resistance to the unjust excesses of empire. This ambivalent legacy endures in our world today, because even though countries have achieved independence, the old colonial dynamics persist. How do indigenous Christians in colonized contexts interpret a book that has been used to justify their oppression? Why would they even read it? How do women in these circumstances cope with being doubly colonized, disabled both by their national origins (and race, ethnicity) and also by their own (subjugated) men? And have biblical scholars unconsciously served the colonial enterprise by pursuing the “historical” meaning of texts and marginalizing readings that are too political and impassioned?
BS522/622 Women in/and the Bible (15 credits)
This course involves a study of the place of women in biblical literature. We will investigate the historical contexts of specific biblical tests, building a picture of what life was like for women in ancient Israel and the ancient Mediterranean world. This class will also critically consider the influence of these tests on the lives of women and men in the church and will question their significance for life in the twenty-first century.
BS530/630 Violence in/and Sacred Texts (15 credits)
This course is an analysis of narratives and injunctions in sacred texts, specifically the Bible [and the Qur’an], dealing with violence, which will serve as the basis for an examination of how individuals and groups use these sacred texts and images found therein to ground or justify their actions.
BS631 The Bible and Public Life in Aotearoa (15 credits)
This course looks at how the Bible is used in public discourses and engagements; in films, media, and arts, as well as the challenges posed by public issues like gender justice, neoliberalism, neo-colonialism, violence, human trafficking, and so forth. Engagement with people in public settings will be part of the course so students can have some idea of the reality on the ground vis-à-vis social visions of the Bible.
BS531/632 Special Topic: Acclimatising the Bible (15 credits)
This course follows two acclimatising lines: First, we will study biblical texts and their interpretations from the current contexts of climate change. Are the selected ancient biblical texts, and their latter day interpretations, relevant for the current climate changing context? How do those texts and interpretations help and/or hurt struggles for climate justice? Second, we will reflect on ways of acclimatising the bible, not just in terms of climate change but with respect to life struggles in general. Instead of seeking to make the text speak in our contexts, the second part of this course is about “talking back” to the bible – in order to acclimatise the bible, in different ways. This second aspect “pokes” at mainline contextual hermeneutics.
BS532/632 Special Topic: Scriptures and (in)Justices (15 credits)
BS632 Scriptures and (in)justices This course will study scriptural texts from the major world religions under the frames of, and in response to the cries for, justice. The primary aims of studying these texts are (1) to understand the religious teachings behind and/or inspired by these texts and (2) to name and unravel biases (that is, injustices) associated with these religions and scriptures. The scriptures to study will include selections from Manusmriti (on varna/caste), Quran (on jihad), Hebrew Bible (on ethnic elitism) and Christian Bible (on gender and sexuality). In what ways do these texts proclaim and demand acts and cultures of justice? And in what ways do they propagate and conceal injustice? How might we read these and other scriptural texts justly?
REBS650 Research Essay in Biblical Studies (30 credits)
This option is for those who have completed the core and required courses for a Biblical Studies strand with an average B grade or above. The duration for the project is one full semester. A research proposal has to be approved by the Ranston Lecturer in Biblical Studies prior conducting the research. The research project is equal to two courses.