Reading Sacred Scripture: The Letters of St. Paul
Meet Your Instructor
Dr. Najeeb T. Haddad is Chair and Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Notre Dame of Maryland University (Baltimore, MD). He received his PhD in New Testament and Early Christianity from Loyola University Chicago in 2018, and is a parishioner of the Nativity of the Theotokos Antiochian Orthodox Church in Hunt Valley, MD.
There are 10 classes beginning on Jan 31st, through zoom, and will be offered every other week (except for the two weeks prior to Pascha).
The purpose of this course is twofold: (1) to understand what St. Paul was saying against the backgrounds of early Christianity, early Judaism, and the Greco-Roman world (content); and (2) to understand how one goes about interpreting Paul (method) within an Orthodox theological framework.
We know more about Paul of Tarsus than we know about any other New Testament author. During his lifetime he was one of the most controversial figures in early Christianity. He was a Pharisee, a Christian missionary, a community organizer, and someone who was both deeply committed and highly opinionated. The purpose of this course is twofold: (1) to understand what St. Paul was saying against the backgrounds of early Christianity, early Judaism, and the Greco-Roman world; and (2) to understand how one goes about interpreting Paul (method) within an Orthodox theological framework. We shall try to get a sense of Paul, his faith, and his vision. We shall analyze several of his letters in detail to understand the positions he took, the arguments he made to support his positions, and the cultural and religious context in which he made those arguments. This course will also pose questions that take into consideration our modern Christian practices regarding Paul. Moreover, we will analyze the different ways Paul could inform contemporary Orthodox pastoral concerns.
Explain the significant events leading to the development of the early Christian movement, as located within the Pauline churches
Situate the Pauline Epistles in the wider context of Greco-Roman culture, including its historical, socio-cultural, and religious environments.
Demonstrate knowledge from an Orthodox Christian theological perspective of the intersections between the Pauline Epistles and selected contemporary issues, including ethics, social, political, economic, or cultural issues.
Analyze and interpret New Testament texts, beliefs, and practices using standard scholarly methods and tools.
Trace the Orthodox development of Christological views from 1st century up to the present day,