ICS Calendar Title: Biblical Foundations

ICS Course Code: ICS 1108AC/2108AC F13

Instructor: Dr. Nik Ansell

Term and Year: Mondays, 7:00-10:00 pm, Fall 2013

Last Updated: September 11, 2013  Note: This syllabus is under development


1. Course Description

2. Course Learning Goals

3. Course Requirements

4. Required Readings and Schedule

5. Some Recommended Readings

1. Course Description

This course will explore the Bible as the ongoing story of and for God and creation, paying special attention to the way in which God's story is intertwined with that of humanity and the world. In asking whether and in what way the biblical narrative finds its future in our ongoing narratives, we will attempt to identify which hermeneutical methods might help us discern its significance for present day life, including the academic enterprise.

2. Course Learning Goals

a.) To become (more) familiar with the Bible read and interpreted as an ongoing story of/for God and creation, creation and God

b.) To increase our ability to think creatively and constructively about the relationship between the biblical text, academic reflection, and contemporary discernment

c.) To deepen knowledge and awareness of key hermeneutical issues relevant to biblical interpretation

3. Course Requirements

a.) Total reading: 1250 pages total, including research for paper, of which approximately 40-70 pages per week is required to prepare for session.

b.) In-seminar leadership: Presentation of draft of course paper, leadership in discussion of readings, including written assignments

c.) Description of course paper: MA 4,000-5,000 (PhD: 5,000-7,000) word exegetical study of a biblical passage, book, theme or topic that assesses rival interpretations, relates to something of academic significance to you and engages issues raised throughout the course. Due by relevant ICS/TST deadline.

d.) Description and weighting of elements to be evaluated:

Class participation: 20% [TST 25%]

Written class assignments: 20% [TST 25%]

Research paper: 60% [TST 50%]

4. Required Readings and Schedule

(arranged by session and in suggested order)

Titles in bold and underlined refer to books of the Bible.

Please use a good contemporary translation (NRSV, NIV, tNIV, NJB, etc.) rather than a paraphrase such as the New Living or The Message, though these are good for comparison.

If you wish to compare translations at any point, there are good online resources such as:



Titles in BOLD refer to the texts that you will need to obtain.

Session 1: Sept. 9


Session 2: Sept. 16

J. Richard Middleton, “A New Heaven and a New Earth: the Case for a Holistic Reading of the Biblical Story of Redemption,” Journal for Christian Theological Research 11 (2006): 73-97. Available online at: http://www.luthersem.edu/ctrf/JCTR/Vol11/Middleton_vol11.pdf

Nicholas Ansell, “On (Not) Obeying the Sabbath: Reading Jesus Reading Scripture,” Horizons in Biblical Theology 33/2 (Fall 2011): 97–120  

Session 3: Sept. 23


Al Wolters, “Thoughts On Genesis,” Calvinist Contact (14 December, 1990): 4

Crispin Fletcher-Louis, “Commentary: Genesis 1.26 and Exodus 20:4f,” Third Way (December 1999): 21

Crispin Fletcher-Louis, “Commentary: Genesis 1.26 and Ephesians 1:22,” Third Way (January 2000): 21

Nik Ansell, “Commentary: Genesis 1.27f, Daniel 2:35 and Ephesians 1:22f,” Third Way (February 2002): 24

David Smith, “Commentary: Genesis 11.1-9,” Third Way (May 1999): 20

Nik Ansell, “Genesis 18:16–33: A Covenantal Rereading” (unpublished paper)

Nik Ansell, “Commentary: Genesis 22,” Third Way (April 2004): 16

together with: Paul Borgman, Genesis: the Story We Haven't Heard (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2001), 112 [ ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS1235.2 .B584 2001]

Nik Ansell, “Commentary: Genesis 11.4 and 22.15-17a,” Third Way (Summer 2004): 15

Session 4: Sept. 30

Nicholas Ansell, The Annihilation of Hell: Universal Salvation and the Redemption of Time in the Eschatology of Jürgen Moltmann (Milton Keynes, UK: Paternoster Press, 2013), 353–59 [on Gen 32]

Nicholas Ansell, “The Call of Wisdom/the Voice of the Serpent: a Canonical Approach to the Tree of Knowledge,” Christian Scholar's Review, 31/1 (Fall 2001): 31-58

Session 5: Oct. 7


Nik Ansell, “Commentary: Exodus 19:5-6,” Third Way (November 2002): 22

John H. Sailhamer, “Appendix B: Compositional Strategies in the Pentateuch” in idem., Introduction to Old Testament Theology: a Canonical Approach (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995), 272-289 (ROBA: BS1192.5 .S23 1995X)

Session 6: Oct. 14 (Thanksgiving - alternative date??)

Judges 19–21

Nicholas Ansell, “This Is Her Body . . . : Judges 19 as Call to Discernment” in Tamar’s Tears: Evangelical Engagements with Feminist Old Testament Hermeneutics, ed. Andrew Sloane (Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2011), 112–70  [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS1199 .W7 T36 2012].

Calvin Seerveld, “Proverbs 10:1-22: From Poetic Paragraphs to Preaching” in Reading and Hearing the Word: From Text to Sermon. Essays in Honor of John H. Stek, ed. Arie C. Leder (Grand Rapids: Calvin Theological Seminary/CRC Publications, 1998), 181-200 (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BV15 .R43 1998)

[Reading Week: Oct. 21-25]

Session 7: Oct. 28

Walter Brueggemann, The Land: Place as Gift, Promise, and Challenge in Biblical Faith. Second edition (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2002). [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS543 .B78 2002] chaps 1–4


Session 8: Nov. 4

Brueggemann, The Land, chaps 5–7

Nicholas Ansell, “For the Love of Wisdom: Scripture, Philosophy, and the Relativization of Order,” in The Future of Creation Order, ed. Gerrit Glas, Jeroen de Ridder, Govert Buijs, and Annette Mosher (Dordrecht: Springer, forthcoming 2013/14).

Session 9: Nov. 11

Brueggemann, The Land, chaps 8–10


Crispin Fletcher-Louis, “Commentary: Mark 13.24f and 30f,” Third Way (September 1998): 20

“(Some of the) OT Allusions/Echoes/Quotations in Mark 13”

Session 10: Nov. 18

Brueggemann, The Land, chaps 11–12


Session 11: Nov. 25


Nicholas Ansell, “Appendix: Birthpangs of the New Creation” in The Annihilation of Hell: Universal Salvation and the Redemption of Time in the Eschatology of Jürgen Moltmann (Milton Keynes, UK: Paternoster Press, 2013), 391–423.

Sessions 12 and 13: Dec. 2 and Dec. 9 

Student Presentations

5. Some Recommended Readings

*Note: Items on the ICS Library Reserve Shelf from this list may be borrowed for 5 days.

(a small selection from numerous possibilities!)

If recommending substantial yet not over-technical commentaries, I would begin with:

The Berit Olam series [OT/Hebrew Bible] (The Liturgical Press)

The Interpretation series (Atlanta: John Knox Press)

The New International Biblical Commentary series (Hendrickson)

The New Interpreter's Bible [12 volumes] (Abingdon Press)

The Smyth & Helwys series (Smyth and Helwys)

The Tyndale series (Eerdmans)

The Westminster Bible Companion series (Westminster/John Knox Press)

In addition to the three contrastable “Study Bibles” (edited by Barker, Harrelson and Meeks, respectively) in the following list, single volume Bible commentaries include: The New Bible Commentary (IVP), The New Jerome Biblical Commentary (Prentice-Hall) and Harper's Bible Commentary (Harper and Row)

Bernard W. Anderson, The Unfolding Drama of the Bible. Third Edition (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1988). [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS605.2 .A5 1988]

Nik Ansell, “Hell: the Nemesis of Hope?” in Her Gates Will Never Be Shut: Hell, Hope & the New Jerusalem, by Bradley Jersak (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2009), 191-210 [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT836.3 J47 2009]

Kenneth L. Barker, Gen. ed., The NIV Study Bible. Revised edition (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002)

Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen, The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2004) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS635.3 .B37 2004]

Craig Bartholemew, Colin Greene and Karl Moller, eds., Renewing Biblical Interpretation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000). [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS476 .R45 2000]

Richard Bauckham, God and the Crisis of Freedom: Biblical and Contemporary Perspectives (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002)  [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT810.3 .B38 2002]

_____, “Reading Scripture as a Coherent Story” in Ellen F. Davis and Richard B. Hayes, ed., The Art of Reading Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2003), 38-53 [TRIN: BS476 .A76 2003]

G. K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), chaps. 1–2 (pp. 23–80) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS680 .T4 B42 2004]

John W.Drane, Introducing the New Testament. Third edition ((Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2010); Revised [=Second] edition (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001). [TRIN: BS2330.2 .D7 2001]

_____, Introducing the Old Testament. Third edition ((Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2011); Revised [=second] edition (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001) [SMC: BS1140.3 .D73 2001]

David N. Freedman, ed., Anchor Bible Dictionary, vols. 1-6 (New York: Doubleday, 1992). [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS440 .A53 v.1-6]

Terence E. Fretheim, God and World in the Old Testament: a Relational Theology of Creation (Nashville, TH: Abingdon, 2005) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS1199 .C73 F74 2005 ]

_____, The Suffering of God: an Old Testament Perspective (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1984) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS1199 .S82 F74 1984]

Norman G. Gottwald and Richard A. Horsley eds., The Bible and Liberation: Political and Social Hermeneutics. Revised edition (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2002) [ROBA (1993 ed.) BS476 .B49 1993]

Robert M. Grant with David Tracy, A Short History of the Interpretation of the Bible. Second edition, revised and enlarged (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress, 1984) [ROBA: BS500 .G73 1984]

Walter J. Harrelson, ed., The New Interpreter's Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version. Revised version (Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 2003) [TRIN: BS191.5 .A1 2003 .N49 2003]

Hendrik Hart, Setting Our Sights by the Morning Star: Reflections on the Role of the Bible in Postmodern Times (Toronto: Patmos Press, 1989) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS538.3 .H377]

Yoram Hazony, The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture (Cambridge University Press, 2011) [ICS Library: ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS1186 .H39 2012]

Wayne A. Meeks, Gen. ed., The HarperCollins Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books (San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins, 1993) [Emmanuel College Library: BS191.5 .A1 1993 .N49]

J. Richard Middleton, The Liberating Image: the Imago Dei in Genesis 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos, 2005) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS661 .M49 2005]

Ched Myers and Elaine Enns, Ambassadors of Reconciliation, volume 1: New Testament Reflections on Restorative Justice and Peacemaking (New York: Maryknoll: Orbis, 2009) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS2545 .J8 M94 2009 v.1]

James H. Olthuis, et al., A Hermeneutics of Ultimacy: Peril or Promise? (Lanham: University Press of America, 1987). [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS476 .O54]

Mike Riddell, God's Home-Page: a Journey Through the Bible for Postmodern Pilgrims (Oxford: The Bible Reading Fellowship, 1998) [not in ICS or UTL library holdings]

Calvin G. Seerveld, How to Read the Bible to Hear God Speak: a Study in Numbers 22-24 (Sioux Center, IA: Dordt College Press, 2003), xi-xiii. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS580 .S44 2003]

Calvin G. Seerveld, The Greatest Song: in Critique of Solomon (Toronto: Tuppence Press, 1963) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS1490 .S4 1967]

Willard M. Swartley, Slavery, Sabbath, War & Women: Case Issues in Biblical Interpretation (Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1983). [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS670 .S93 1983]

Phyllis Trible, God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1978) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS1171.2 .T74]

Kevin J. Vanhoozer et. al., eds. Theological Interpretation of the New Testament: a Book-by-Book Survey (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2008) [TRIN: BS2397 .T43 2008]

______, et al., eds. Theological Interpretation of the Old Testament: a Book-by-Book Survey (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2008) [ROBA: BS1171.3 .T493 2008X]

Al Wolters, “No Longer Queen: the Theological Disciplines and Their Sisters” available at: http://www.paideiacentre.ca/story/no-longer-queen-theological-disciplines-and-their-sisters#attachments

Christopher J.H. Wright, Old Testament Ethics for the People of God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2004) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS1199 .E8 W77 2004]

N.T. Wright, Paul: in Fresh Perpective (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005). [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS2651 .W748 2009]

______, The Last Word: Beyond the Bible Wars to a New Understanding of the Authority of Scripture (New York: HarperCollins, 2005) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS480 .W83 2005]

______, The New Testament and the People of God: Christian Origins and the Question of God, volume 1 (London: SPCK; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1992) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS2398 .W75 N4 v.1]

John Howard Yoder, The Politics of Jesus: Vicit Agnus Noster. Second edition. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1994) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: 1st ed. BT202 .Y63 ; 2nd ed. ROBA: BT202 .Y63 1994]

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