DCU Home | Our Courses | Loop | Registry | Library | Search DCU

Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title The Gospels: Critical Themes and Issues
Module Code TP403
School 59
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Miriam Jane De Cock
Semester 2: Miriam Jane De Cock
Autumn: Miriam Jane De Cock
Module TeachersMiriam Jane De Cock
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Repeat Examination

The purpose of this module is to enable students to reflect critically on key themes and issues related to the academic study of the New Testament, with a particular focus on the four canonical Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Students explore the background and formation of gospels as a genre, and the field of historical Jesus research in which the gospels play a starring role. Students will also practice analysing texts from a variety of perspectives.

Learning Outcomes

1. Situate the Gospels and the gospel genre in their Jewish and Roman historical contexts.
2. Reflect critically on historical issues related to the background and formation of the Gospels.
3. Describe the different themes, tendencies, and portrayals of Jesus in the four gospels.
4. Practice applying various hermeneutics or theoretical lenses of approach.
5. Become familiar with the history of developments in historical Jesus research.
6. Demonstrate a broad knowledge of Jesus’ life and thought based on a critical evaluation of the major sources (the gospels) in conjunction with other sources.
7. Heighten sensitivity towards modern uses of the 'Jesus-story' in the public domain, and practice interacting with them sympathetically and ethically.
8. Work towards becoming an independent researcher.
9. Improve both oral and written communication skills.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Independent Study48Weekly readings
Lecture24Lectures and Workshops
Assignment Completion53CA Preparation
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

What is a gospel?

History and Hermeneutics

The Gospels in Literary Context: The New Testament

The Gospels in Historical Context: early Roman Judaism

Primary Texts: Mark, Matthew, John, Luke/Acts, Q


Reception: gospels that didn't make the cut

The Prologue as an 'overture' to the gospel as a whole

The encounters between Jesus and other characters in the gospel narrative

The principal themes of the last supper discourse

The portrayal of Jesus in the passion narrrative

The transforming presence of the risen one in the resurrection narratives

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
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

  • Powell, Mark Allan: 2019, Fortress Introduction to the Gospels, 2nd, Fortress,
  • Parks, Sara, Shayna Sheinfeld, and Meredith Warren: 2022, Jewish and Christian Women in the Ancient Mediterranean, Routledge,
  • Schussler Fiorenza, Elisabeth: 1990, Bread Not Stone: The Challenge of Feminist Biblical Interpretation, T&T Clark,
  • Sugirtharahah, R.S.: 2012, Exploring Postcolonial Biblical Criticism: History, Method, Practice, Wiley-Blackwell,
  • Greenough, Chris: 2020, Queer Theologies: The Basics, Routledge,
  • Junior, Nyasha: 2015, An Introduction to Womanist Biblical Interpretation, Westminster John Knox,
  • Burkett, Delbert: 2002, An Introduction to the New Testament and the Origins of Christianity, CUP,
  • Ehrman, Bart: 2019, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, 7th, OUP,
  • Bond, Helen: 2012, The Historical Jesus: A Guide for the Perplexed, Bloomsbury,
  • Borg, Marcus: 2012, Evolution of the Word: The New Testament in the Order the Books Were Written, HarperOne,
Other Resources

60298, video, O'Loughlin, Tom and Sara Parks, 2018, What is a Gospel?, YouTube, University of Nottingham, https://youtu.be/zsJno1fjX1o, 60299, website, Denzey Lewis, Nicola, 0, Does the Bible Relate to History "As It Actually Happened?", Bible Odyssey, SBL, https://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/tools/bible-basics/does-the-bible-relate-to-history-as-it-actually-happened, 60300, video, ReligionForBreakfast, 2014, How did the New Testament Form?, YouTube, https://youtu.be/SCy7NuujCLc, 60301, video, UsefulCharts, 2021, Who Wrote the Bible? Episode 5: Gospels and Acts, YouTube, https://youtu.be/Z6PrrnhAKFQ,
Programme or List of Programmes
BREBachelor of Religious Education &English
BREDEBachelor of Religious Education &English
BREDHBachelor of Religious Education &History
BREDMBachelor of Religious Education & Music
BRHBachelor of Religious Education &History
BRMBachelor of Religious Education & Music

My DCU | Loop | Disclaimer | Privacy Statement