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Assignment Guide for THBM 420

Assignment 1: Research Essay (Background and Themes)

Date Due – Fri 1st April

Word Length: 2000 words

Double-spaced and typed. You should follow the normal conventions with regard to
footnotes (see Style Manual or Resources for Budding Theologians) and include an
alphabetical bibliography.

For the marking criteria, please see handout “Marking Scheme for Research Essays”

For general information related to background, you might like to start with the
following works: These books may or may not include specific information related to
your topics.

Everett Ferguson, Backgrounds to Early Christianity, 2nd edn

J. Julius Scott, Jr., Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament
Helmut Koester, Introduction to the New Testament Vol 1: History, Culture, and
Religion of the Hellenistic Age
Calvin J. Roetzel, The World that Shaped the New Testament
John E. Stambaugh, The New Testament in its Social Environment
John E. Stambaugh and David Balch, The Social World of the First Christians
Craig A. Evans and Stanley E. Porter, Dictionary of New Testament Background
Joel Green, et al., Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels
David Noel Freedman, Anchor Bible Dictionary (6 vols)

Consultation of the indexes of major Historical Jesus works may also assist. See

J.D.G. Dunn, Jesus Remembered

J.P. Meier, A Marginal Jew (4 vols.)
N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God
Craig Keener, The Historical Jesus of the Gospels

Question 1

Assess the rule of Pontius Pilate of Judea, using the evidence of Josephus, Philo, and
the Gospels. How is he depicted in the gospels in comparison to Josephus and Philo?

See Dictionary of New Testament Background article on “Roman Governors of

Palestine”. See Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels article on “Pontius Pilate”. Also
look up indexes of commentaries on the Gospels to see if they analyse Pilate to any
great degree.
See also:

Warren Carter, Pontius Pilate: Portraits of a Roman Governor (Collegeville: Liturgical

Press, 2003).

J. Taylor, “Pontius Pilate and the imperial cult in Roman Judaea,” New Testament
Studies 52 (2006): 555-582.

B. McGing, “Pontius Pilate and the sources,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 53 (1991):

Craig A. Evans, “Excavating Caiaphas, Pilate, and Simon of Cyrene: assessing the
literary and archaeological evidence” in J.H. Charlesworth (ed.), Jesus and
Archaeology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006), 323-340.

Question 2

Compare and contrast Jesus’ attitude towards women with the Judaism of his day.

See the article on “Women” in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels.

See the article on “Women (NT)” in Anchor Bible Dictionary.

James D.G. Dunn, Jesus Remembered (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), 534-537.

Aida Besancon Spencer, “Jesus’ Treatment of Women in the Gospels,” in R.W. Pierce
and R. M. Groothius (eds.), Discovering Biblical Equality (Downers Grove: InterVarsity
Press, 2005), 126-141; see also Aida Besancon Spencer’s book, Beyond the Curse:
Women Called to Ministry (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1989)

B. Witherington III, Women in the Ministry of Jesus: A Study of Jesus’ Attitudes to

Women and Their Roles As Reflected in His Earthly Life (SNTSMS 51; Cambridge:
University Press, 1984).

Pheme Perkins, "Women in the Bible and its world," Interpretation 42 (1988): 33-44

Jane Kopas, "Jesus and women in Matthew," Theology Today 47 (1990): 13-21.

James A. Borland, “Women in the Life and Teachings of Jesus,” in John Piper and
Wayne Grudem, eds., Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Wheaton:
Crossway, 1991), 113-123.

Kathleen Corley, Private Women, Public Meals: Social Conflict in the Synoptic
Tradition (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1993)
Question 3
Did Jesus speak Greek?

See the article “Languages of Palestine” in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels

See also:

Stanley E. Porter, “Did Jesus Ever Teach in Greek?” Tyndale Bulletin 44 (1993): 199-
235 – available at

Joseph Fitzmyer, “The Languages of Palestine in the First Century A.D.” Catholic
Biblical Quarterly 32 (1970): 501-531.

Maurice Casey, “In Which Language Did Jesus Teach.” Expository Times 108 (1997):

Stanley E. Porter, “Jesus and the use of Greek: a response to Maurice Casey,” Bulletin
for Biblical Research 10 (2000): 71-87 (available online at http://www.ibr-

Aaron Tresham, “The Languages Spoken by Jesus,” Masters Seminary Journal 20

(2009): 71-94 – available at

Stanislav Segert, “The Languages of the Historical Jesus,” Communio Viatorum 44

(2002): 161-173 – available at (this will download the
whole journal. Simply scroll through to the article).

Question 4
Evaluate the diversity of messianic hopes amongst Jews in the period leading up to
Jesus. What light does this shed on the New Testament’s portrayal of Jesus as

Check out articles on “Messiah” in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels and in the
Anchor Bible Dictionary. To get a sense of the Gospels presentation of Jesus as
Messiah, use the index on “Messiah” or “Christ” in your Blomberg textbook; or
Strauss, Four Gospels, One Jesus; or Robert H. Stein, Jesus the Messiah; or Darrell
Bock, Studying the Historical Jesus; or Craig Keener, The Historical Jesus of the
Gospels. This is NOT meant to be an exhaustive list, but rather a place to make a
See also:

R. Hess and M. Daniel Carroll R., Israel’s Messiah in the Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls
(Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003) – examine chapters on messianic belief
between the testaments.

J. Julius Scott, Jr., Jewish Backgrounds to the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker,
2003), 307-324

Stanley Porter (ed.), The Messiah in the Old and New Testaments (Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 2007) – examine chapters on messianic beliefs between the testaments.

E.P. Sanders, Judaism: Practice and Belief (London: SCM, 1992), 279-314

George W.E. Nickelsburg and Michael Stone, Faith and Piety in early Judaism (Valley
Forge: TPI, 1991), 161-202.

Mark A. Elliot, The Survivors of Israel: A Reconsideration of the theology of pre-

Christian Judaism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), 433-514
Assignment 2 – Exegesis Paper on Luke

Due: Fri 6th May, 2011

Word Length: 2500 words

Provide a detailed exegesis of a passage from the English text of the Gospel of Luke.
(Your chosen passage must not be cover the same material as that of your Minor
Essay topic) Your exegesis should reflect an understanding of the historical, literary,
and theological setting of the book. Your paper should display familiarity with
advanced exegesis tools and utilise relevant detail from advanced commentaries.
Double-spaced and typed. You should follow the normal conventions with regard to
footnotes (see the Style Manual or Research Methods and Resources for Budding
Theologians) and include an alphabetical bibliography. Be sure to explore not only
the set readings but also commentaries, other books, and articles in the general

Passages to pick from;

Luke 4:16-30 (Aland 33) Luke 5:17-26 (Aland 43) Luke 7:1-10 (Aland 85)

Luke 7:36-50 (Aland 114) Luke 16:19-31 (Aland 228) Luke 18:1-8 (Aland 236)

Luke 20:20-26 (Aland 280)

Marking Criteria:

 Clear and detailed approach to the task of exegesis, giving due weight to
matters of translation, historical context, literary context, passage structure,
and detailed commentary.
 Clear evidence of comprehensive research on the passage using bibliography,
library books, and journals.
 Evidence of critical evaluation of sources (both primary and secondary), and
knowledge of alternative positions.
 Appropriate formatting of essay, in particular the proper use of citation.
 An additional guide will be distributed on how to do the exegetical paper

A further guide to doing the exegesis paper will be issued later.

Bibliography (n.b. not all of these are evangelical commentaries)

D. Bock, Luke Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Baker, 1994; 1996). 2
J. Green, The Gospel According to Luke. New International Commentary on the New
Testament (Eerdmans, 1997).
I. Howard Marshall, The Gospel of Luke. New International Greek Commentary on the
Greek Text (Eerdmans, 1978).
J. Fitzmyer, The Gospel According to Luke. Anchor Bible. (Doubleday, 1981-85). 2 vols.
L. Morris, The Gospel According to St Luke. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Grand
Rapids, 1974)
John Nolland, Luke. Word Biblical Commentaries (Dallas, 1989-93). 3 vols.
Robert H. Stein, Luke. New American Commentary (Nashville, 1992).
Michael Wilcock, Luke. The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester, 1997)
Francois Bovon, Luke 1:1-9:50. Hermeneia (Minneapolis, 2002).
R. Alan Culpepper, “Luke” in The New Interpreters Bible: volume 9: Luke and John
(Minneapolis, 1995)
Walter Liefeld, “Luke” in The Expositors Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, 1984)
George B. Caird, Luke. Pelican Commentaries (London, 1963)

If you are studying a parable of Jesus in Luke, you should definitely consult:

Kenneth Bailey, Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes (Downers Grove, 2008)
Klyne Snodgrass, Stories with Intent (Grand Rapids, 2008)
Craig Blomberg, Interpreting the Parables (Leicester, 1990)

For the Gospel of Luke, some general accounts of Lukan theology can be found in:

David A. deSilva, An Introduction to the New Testament, pp.316-333.

D. L. Bock, “Luke, Gospel of” in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, pp.502-510.

Good commentaries on Luke will also have a section in their introductions

summarising Luke’s unique theology (look for it as a subheading)

Also, I. Howard Marshall wrote an older, but still relevant work, called Luke:
Historian and Theologian. If you use the index judiciously, you could find much here
to benefit you (i.e. looking at index topics relevant to your passage).

Also, you can search on ATLA using a field called Scripture Citation. In addition, if that
doesn’t work, try searching on some of the topics you have discovered.

Assignment 3 – Exam

Length: 1.5 hours

Due Date: 30 May 2011


You will be asked to pick a series of questions from a larger group. This exam will test
your knowledge of the lecture material and the reading of the textbook by