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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title The Letters of Paul
Module Code TP206
School 59
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Jonathan Kearney
Semester 2: Jonathan Kearney
Autumn: Jonathan Kearney
Module TeachersJonathan Kearney
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module is about both the historical Paul and the Saint Paul that Christianity has come to construct from his letters and other literature linked to him. Paul’s letters and those later attributed to him are not only foundational texts of Christianity but also of western culture. We will explore these ancient letters for their content, structure, rhetorical techniques, and social worlds. We will see how theological and academic views of Paul (the “reception of Paul”) have changed over the centuries, especially recently. Students will encounter an overview of the major historical trends in Pauline interpretation and will also be given tools for the literary & historical analysis of Pauline texts, with specific attention to how different contemporary hermeneutics influence how we interpret ancient texts generally. Paul and his communities are studied as a part of late Second-Temple Judaism and within their broader Hellenistic and Roman historical contexts.

Learning Outcomes

1. Situate the Pauline letters in their Jewish and Roman historical contexts.
2. Identify distinctive themes and tendencies in the undisputed epistles of Paul.
3. Learn common patterns in ancient Mediterranean epistles.
4. Reflect critically on historical issues related to the authorship of New Testament letters.
5. Heighten sensitivity towards modern uses of Paul in the public domain, and practice interacting with them sympathetically and ethically.
6. Become more familiar with the disciplines of New Testament Studies, Biblical Studies, and Ancient Mediterranean History, Literature, and Rhetoric.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture22No Description
Assignment Completion15No Description
Independent Study88No Description
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Intro to Paul within the NT

Intro to the Greco-Roman World

Ancient Letters: Beginnings, Endings, Structure

Paul and Apocalyptic Mysticism

Paul and Jesus

Paul's 7 Undisputed Epistles

Paul and Gender: The Pastorals and the 2 Receptions of Paul

The "Perspectives" on Paul

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
AssignmentDetails to be decided100%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • 2017: Jewish Annotated New Testament, 2nd, Oxford University Press, 289861
  • 0: Reinventing Paul, Oxford University Press, 289862
  • 2015: An Introduction to the Study of Paul, 3rd, Bloomsbury, 289863
  • 2022: Jewish and Christian Women in the Ancient Mediterranean, Routledge,
Other Resources

60295, podcast, Anderson, Matthew and Sara Parks, 2020, Intro to Paul's Letters at the Undergraduate Level, Soundcloud, https://soundcloud.com/user-441868857/sets/introduction-to-pauls-letters-at-the-undergraduate-level?utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing, 60296, website, Lopez, Davina C., 0, Paul, Bible Odyssey, SBL, https://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/people/main-articles/paul, 60297, video, Concannon, Cavan, 2021, The Historical Paul: The Paul of History or Faith?, Urbs and Polis, https://youtu.be/G2aYG-U8RwM,
Programme or List of Programmes
AFUAge Friendly University Programme
BAJHBachelor of Arts (BAJH)
BAJPBachelor of Arts (BAJP)
BREBachelor of Religious Education &English
BRHBachelor of Religious Education &History
BRMBachelor of Religious Education & Music

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