This is likely my last post for this year. Maybe one more on the best books I read in 2009.
Once we make it to 2010, I plan to resume the series on American Evangelicalism and Old Testament scholarship. Next up: The Boom and Bust of Biblical Archaeology. But now it's time for an announcement:
Classes for the Spring semester at Amarillo College will begin on Tuesday, January 19, 2010. This time around, I'm scheduled to teach the following courses:
The New Testament (RELG 1302), Mondays and Wednesdays, 9:00-10:15 AM.
A first-year survey course. I try to get to all 27 books of the NT. Before that, the class spends some time on units like "Why Study the New Testament?" and "The New Testament Canon." Like my Old Testament course, this one frustrates me. We're always just getting started with a book when it's time to move on. But move on we do. At the beginning of this college-teaching thing, I remembered one such O.T. survey course I took many years ago. I felt so let down when, at the end of the semester, we were about halfway through Judges! I vowed never to do something like that in a survey course. So the class stays on pace.
Life of Paul (RELG 2302), MW, 10:30-11:45 AM.
A second-year course focused on the life, letters, and legacy of Paul the Apostle. Using the two primary sources (Paul's letters and the Book of Acts) the class establishes a minimal biography. As we work our way through, we survey each letter at the point where it was most likely written. Thus, the first letter we get to is either Galatians (ala Ben Witherington) or 1 Thessalonians (ala Abe Malherbe), depending on how I'm feeling about it at the time. I usually start with Galatians. Do you think that's right? Anyway, the last letter we take up is 2nd Timothy. And, yes, I consider all thirteen letters in the Pauline corpus to be genuine, although we do give some attention to the case against Paul's authorship of the Pastoral Letters. At the end of the semester, we usually have a couple weeks to take up special themes like Paul and the Holy Spirit, high-profile women in Paul's network (a.k.a., "Women's Role in the Church"), and Pauline ethics (e.g., homosexuality).
Introduction to World Religions (PHIL 1304), MW, 1:30-2:45 PM.
I begin this course by telling my students that this is the most impossible one I teach. "Impossible" because it's just so vast. Besides, what do I really know about Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Islam? A lot more than I used to. But still next to nothing. Almost all of them are in the same situation, although I occasionally have, for example, an Asian student who grew up in a Buddhist family. But we begin with a strong dose or reality regarding what students should hope for the course to accomplish. If at the end of the semester they have a basic, working glossary of five or six major world religions, then it's a success. In my opinion, this is the sort of course that really should be taught to all high-school seniors. Religious literacy in the United States is astonishingly low. We really can and should do better.
Elementary Biblical Hebrew II (RELG 2312), Thurs., 7:00-9:45 PM. (Sorry, no link for the syllabus. But here's the textbook we're working through).
Following our start in August with more than 50 students, as of last week about 20 were still showing up. We'll see what the numbers are like in January. Many are called, but few are chosen. This class is one of the highlights of my week. Not only do I get to sing and read and study Hebrew, my enthusiasm never fails to make Michele roll her eyes, groan, and call me a nerd. All the better.
If you're interested in any of these courses, to register you need to follow the appropriate links at the Amarillo College website. Also, anyone is welcome to audit my classes. I don't require auditors to register. You may simply come to class. However, I would appreciate it if you would call just to let me know who you are, and that you're planning to sit in. Phone: 806-372-5747.