Course Syllabus

ICS 240811 W19, ICT3201HS L0101 / ICT6201HS L0101 – God in Flesh and Blood: Revolutions in Christology

Institute for Christian Studies
Toronto School of Theology

Winter 2019

Instructor Information

Instructor:                Nik Ansell, PhD, Associate Professor

Office Location:                ICS

Telephone:                (416) 979-2331 x251

E-mail:                        nansell@icscanada.edu

Office Hours:                By appointment

Course Identification

Course Number:        ICS 240811 W19, ICT3201HS L0101 / ICT6201HS L0101

Course Format:                In-class 

Course Name:                God in Flesh and Blood: Revolutions in Christology

Course Location:        ICS Learning Studio, Knox College

Class Times:                Thursdays, 9:30am – 12:30pm

Prerequisites:                N/A

Course Description

How does the biblical portrayal of Jesus relate to the narrative movement(s) of the Hebrew Bible? To what extent do the OT themes of exile and return, old age and new age, help deepen our understanding of the birth and crucifixion of the Messiah? If we worship Jesus, are we to worship his humanity as well as his divinity? Does Mary’s encounter with Gabriel, who is a named presence in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament only in the Book of Daniel, indicate that her conception of Jesus is to be read apocalyptically? Is it significant that Elizabeth initially greets Mary with words otherwise associated with Jael and Judith? These are some of the exegetical and theological questions we will consider in this engagement with issues at the edge, and at the heart, of contemporary Christology. Conversation partners will include: James Dunn (Did the First Christians Worship Jesus?), Jane Schaberg (The Illegitimacy of Jesus), and N.T. Wright (The Day the Revolution Began).

Course Resources

Required Course Texts/Bibliography

Marcus Borg and N.T. Wright, The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1999), chaps. 11–12. (ICS Library: BT202 .B646 1999; Knox College Caven Library: McKay Resource Centre, BT202 .B646 1999; Robarts Library: BT202 .B646 1999X. The Knox College and Regis College libraries also have 2007 editions.)

James Dunn, Did the First Christians Worship Jesus? The New Testament Evidence (Louisville, NJ: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010). (ICS Library: BT590.C85 D86 2010; Trinity College, Victoria University Emmanuel College: BT590 .C85 D86 2010)

Andrew T. Lincoln, Born of a Virgin? Reconceiving Jesus in the Bible, Tradition, and Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2013), chaps. 4–5 (Knox College Caven Library, Regis College Library, Trinity College Library: BT317 .L56 2013)

Jane Schaberg, The Illegitimacy of Jesus: A Feminist Theological Interpretation of the Infancy Narratives. Expanded Twentieth Anniversary Edition (Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2006), chaps 1–3. (ICS Library, Robarts Library, Trinity College Library: BT314 .S39 2006)

N.T. Wright, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion (San Francisco: HarperOne, 2016). (Robarts Library: BT453 .W754 2016X; Trinity College: BT453 .W754 2016 TRIN)

Course Website(s)

Course Learning Objectives/Outcomes

Graduate Level

Each graduate program has detailed statements of “degree level expectations” (goals and outcomes) found in the respective program Handbooks. The harmonized course goals and outcomes (below) describe the level of knowledge and skill that will be characteristic of a typical graduate of the program. Instructors are required to develop a statement of learning outcomes for each course. These outcomes will provide benchmarks for course evaluation/grading and program assessment. Doctoral students are typically required to demonstrate higher levels of ability or expertise.

GRADUATE “DEGREE LEVEL EXPECTATIONS”

CORRESPONDING COURSE GOALS AND OUTCOMES

CORRESPONDING COURSE ELEMENTS / ASSIGNMENTS

EXPECTATIONS:

In this course students are expected to demonstrate the following:

1. Depth and Breadth of Knowledge is defined as a set of increasing levels of understanding within a student’s area of specialization, methodologies, primary & secondary sources, historical developments and inter-disciplinarity.

Recall the core theological concerns and the main lines of argument (both exegetical and theological) of three important works in contemporary Christology.

Weekly reading and in-seminar leadership

2. Research and Scholarship is defined as the ability to identify a new or unresolved question, to locate that question within a corpus of scholarly research & assess critically the relevant literature, to adopt a methodology(-ies), and to then formulate a thesis and reasoned argument(s) on the basis of the evidence.

Clearly identify a contested Christological issue of their choice, assess the strengths and weaknesses of at least two alternative perspectives on that issue, formulate a thesis of their own with respect to that issue, and articulate their thesis, with supportive reasoning, to other members of the class.

Research paper and classroom presentations

        

3. Level of Application of Knowledge is defined as the ability to engage in self-directed or assisted research, and the ability to produce innovative or original analysis within the context of graduate seminars and courses. In some cases this includes the application of a research language.

Hone their interpretative and assessment skills by presenting at least two reflections pieces on the weekly readings that combine the written (and supplementary oral) formulation of their pertinent textual observations and questions geared to fruitfully evoking and provoking class discussion concerning how best to defend, criticize, and/or further develop the arguments of the texts in question.

Classroom presentations and structured classroom discussions

4. Professional Capacity or Autonomy is defined as the ability to translate the knowledge gained in other research or professional settings, e.g., to undertake further studies in their area of concentration; or to enter or return to other professional vocations for which an advanced understanding of Theological Studies is necessary or beneficial.

(Does not apply.)

5. Level of Communication Skills is defined as clear and effective communication in both oral and written forms; the construction of logical arguments; the making of informed judgments on complex issues; and facility with standard conventions of style for scholarly writing. Cohort formation is a component of all graduate programs.

Hone their interpretative and assessment skills by presenting at least two reflections pieces on the weekly readings that combine the written (and supplementary oral) formulation of their pertinent textual observations and questions geared to fruitfully evoking and provoking class discussion concerning how best to defend, criticize, and/or further develop the arguments of the texts in question.

Classroom presentations and structured classroom discussions

6. Awareness of the Limits of Knowledge is defined as the recognition that Theological Studies is a complex discipline, comprising: a broad array of subject areas; methods and sources; various ecclesiastical traditions and social contexts; and, insights from other disciplines. 

Clearly identify a contested Christological issue of their choice, assess the strengths and weaknesses of at least two alternative perspectives on that issue, formulate a thesis of their own with respect to that issue, and articulate their thesis, with supportive reasoning, to other members of the class.

Research paper and classroom presentations

Evaluation

Requirements

The final grade for the course will be based on evaluations in [three] areas:

Graduate Students:

(1) Participation (20%) – 50–70 pages per week

(2) Seminar papers (30%) – 2–3 seminar presentations of 2–3 pages, single-spaced

(3) Final paper (50%) – 4000-5000 word paper (MA), 5000–7000 word paper (PhD) on a biblical passage/topic/motif related to course materials and/or discussions

Grading System

                A+ (90-100)                

                A (85-89)                

                A- (80-84)                

                B+ (77-79)                

                B (73-76)                

                B- (70-72)                

                Failure

Please see the appropriate handbook for more details about the grading scale and non-numerical grades (e.g. SDF, INC, etc).

Late work (Graduate). Graduate students are expected to hand in assignments by the date given in the course outline. [The instructor should stipulate the penalty for late work.] This penalty is not applied to students with medical or compassionate difficulties; students facing such difficulties are kindly requested to consult with their faculty adviser or basic degree director, who should make a recommendation on the matter to the instructor. The absolute deadline for the course is the examination day scheduled for the course. Students who for exceptional reasons (e.g., a death in the family or a serious illness) are unable to complete work by this date may request an extension (SDF = “standing deferred”) beyond the term.  An SDF must be requested from the registrar’s office in the student’s college of registration no later than the last day of classes in which the course is taken. The SDF, when approved, will have a mutually agreed upon deadline that does not extend beyond the conclusion of the following term. If a student has not completed work but has not been granted an SDF, a final mark will be submitted calculating a zero for work not submitted.  

Course grades. Consistently with the policy of the University of Toronto, course grades submitted by an instructor are reviewed by a committee of the instructor’s college before being posted. Course grades may be adjusted where they do not comply with University grading policy (http://www.governingcouncil.utoronto.ca/policies/grading.htm) or college grading policy. 

Policies

Accessibility. Students with a disability or health consideration, whether temporary or permanent, are entitled to accommodation. Students in conjoint degree programs must register at the University of Toronto’s Accessibility Services offices; information is available at http://www.accessibility.utoronto.ca/. The sooner a student seeks accommodation, the quicker we can assist.

Plagiarism. Students submitting written material in courses are expected to provide full documentation for sources of both words and ideas in footnotes or endnotes. Direct quotations should be placed within quotation marks. (If small changes are made in the quotation, they should be indicated by appropriate punctuation such as brackets and ellipses, but the quotation still counts as a direct quotation.) Failure to document borrowed material constitutes plagiarism, which is a serious breach of academic, professional, and Christian ethics. An instructor who discovers evidence of student plagiarism is not permitted to deal with the situation individually but is required to report it to his or her head of college or delegate according to the TST Basic Degree Handbook and the Graduate program Handbooks (linked from http://www.tst.edu/academic/resources-forms/handbooks and the University of Toronto Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters http://www.governingcouncil.utoronto.ca/AssetFactory.aspx?did=4871. A student who plagiarizes in this course will be assumed to have read the document “Avoidance of plagiarism in theological writing” published by the Graham Library of Trinity and Wycliffe Colleges http://www.trinity.utoronto.ca/Library_Archives/Theological_Resources/Tools/Guides/plag.htm

Other academic offences. TST students come under the jurisdiction of the University of Toronto Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters http://www.governingcouncil.utoronto.ca/policies/behaveac.htm.  

Back-up copies.  Please make back-up copies of essays before handing them in.

Obligation to check email. At times, the course instructor may decide to send out important course information by email. To that end, all students in conjoint programs are required to have a valid utoronto email address. Students must have set up their utoronto email address which is entered in the ACORN system. Information is available at www.utorid.utoronto.ca. The course instructor will not be able to help you with this. 416-978-HELP and the Help Desk at the Information Commons can answer questions you may have about your UTORid and password. Students should check utoronto email regularly for messages about the course. Forwarding your utoronto.ca email to a Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo or other type of email account is not advisable. In some cases, messages from utoronto.ca addresses sent to Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo accounts are filtered as junk mail, which means that emails from your course instructor may end up in your spam or junk mail folder. Students in non-conjoint programs should contact the Registrar of their college of registration.

Email communication with the course instructor.  The instructor aims to respond to email communications from students in a timely manner. All email communications from students in conjoint programs should be sent from a utoronto email address. Email communications from other email addresses are not secure, and also the instructor cannot readily identify them as being legitimate emails from students. The instructor is not obliged to respond to email from non-utoronto addresses for students in conjoint programs.  Students in non-conjoint programs should only use the email address they have provided to their college of registration.

Course Schedule

Week 1

TBA                        Introductions

Wright, The Day the Revolution Began, chaps. 1–2

Week 2

TBA                        TBA
                        Wright, The Day the Revolution Began, chaps. 3–5

Week 3

TBA                        TBA
                        Wright, The Day the Revolution Began, chaps. 6–8

Week 4

TBA                        TBA
                        Wright, The Day the Revolution Began, chaps. 9–10

Week 5

TBA                        TBA
                        Wright, The Day the Revolution Began, chaps. 11–12

Week 6

TBA                        TBA
                        Wright, The Day the Revolution Began, chaps. 13

Week 7

TBA                        TBA
                        Wright, The Day the Revolution Began, chaps. 14–15

Week 8

TBA                        TBA
                        Dunn, Did the First Christians Worship Jesus? chaps. 1–2

Week 9

TBA                        TBA
                        Dunn, Did the First Christians Worship Jesus? chaps. 3–4, conclusion

Week 10

TBA                        TBA
                        Borg/Wright, chaps. 11–12

Schaberg, The Illegitimacy of Jesus, chap. 1

Week 11

TBA                        TBA
                        Schaberg, The Illegitimacy of Jesus, chap. 2

Lincoln, Born of a Virgin? chap. 4

Week 12

TBA                        TBA
                        Schaberg, The Illegitimacy of Jesus, chap. 3

Lincoln, Born of a Virgin? chap. 5

Week 13

TBA                        JM paper presentations; Conclusions

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Course Syllabus Template

Up-dated: September 2017