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Last modified: 18 Aug 2020 14:30

Course Overview

What we know today as the New Testament, a single book between two covers and most often bundled with the Old Testament, is in fact a small library of twenty-seven texts produced by various followers of Jesus between the 30s and about 120 of the Common Era. The small collection has had an enormous impact not only on Christian churches but also on the whole of Western civilization until today. This course explores the origins of these texts, their authors and audiences, and the events behind them. It neither requires nor expects any prior experience with these texts. Download course guide.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 1
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr J Thomas Hewitt

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Either Programme Level 1 or Programme Level 2
  • Any Undergraduate Programme
  • Distance Learning

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The New Testament is a small library of 27 texts, produced by followers of Jesus in the period AD 30 to 120 or so, which has had a unique impact on Western civilization. This course explores such issues as these: the formation of the New Testament collection; the NT manuscripts that have reached us, and the problems of establishing the "correct" text and translation; criteria for establishing the authorship and chronology of the texts; what Paul's letters reveal about both his self-understanding and that of other groups in the first Christian generation; what the gospels and Acts reveal about unity and diversity in the second generation and possibly later; what other NT writings and texts that did not find a place in this collection have to say about these issues. Since these texts hint at the complex relations between the new groups of Christ's followers, on the one hand, and both Jewish and Graeco-Roman society on the other, those questions also arise in a preliminary way.

In light of Covid-19 and the move to blended learning delivery the assessment information advertised for courses may be subject to change. All updates for first-half session courses will be actioned no later than 1700 (GMT) on 18 September 2020. All updates for second half-session courses will be actioned in advance of second half-session teaching starting. Please check back regularly for updates.

Summative Assessments

1000 word essay 50%

1500 word essay 50%


Resit: 2000 word essay 100%

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome

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