Graduate Theological Union
Study includes the entire biblical corpus, with a specific concentration in either Old Testament/Hebrew Bible or New Testament. In addition to the canonical, deuterocanonical, and extra-canonical materials, courses are also available in the background and literature of early Israel, biblical and post-biblical Judaism, and early Christianity.
Protocols and Area-Related Materials
Core Doctoral Faculty
DAVID L. BALCH • PLTS (New Testament) • Luke-Acts, both exegesis and the visual world of the readers; Paul (Romans, Galatians, Philippians, Corinthians), and post-colonial interpretation; Roman domestic art and architecture; the visual world of early house churches.
AARON BRODY • PSR (Bible and Archaeology) • Archaeology of the Southern Levant; archaeology of religion; cultures of the Hebrew Bible; ancient economy; Tell en-Nasbeh.
STEED DAVIDSON • PLTS (Old Testament) • Postcolonial studies and biblical studies; philosophies of hermeneutics and their relationships to current reading practices; prophetic literature in their ancient Near East context; the book of Jeremiah; early Persian period with a focus on diaspora communities and displaced communities.
JOHN C. ENDRES, S.J. • JST (Sacred Scripture/Old Testament) • Intertestamental literature (Book of Jubilees); Book of Psalms; Dead Sea Scrolls; Wisdom literature; scripture and Ignatian spirituality.
LEANN SNOW FLESHER • ABSW (Old Testament) • Biblical laments; Apocalyptic literature; Psalms; hermeneutics/global perspective; protest literature of the Bible.
GARRETT GALVIN, OFM • FST (Sacred Scripture) • Egypt and the Bible; Deuteronomistic history; Jeremiah; social science and the Old Testament.
BARBARA GREEN, O.P. • DSPT (Old Testament) • Book of Jeremiah; biblical hermeneutics; religion and violence.
GINA HENS-PIAZZA • JST (Old Testament) • Prophets; Deuteronomistic history; feminist readings; new historicism and cultural studies.
EUGENE EUNG CHUN PARK • SFTS (New Testament) • Gospel of Matthew and formative Judaism; new perspective on Paul; Biblical hermeneutics; Dialogues of Plato in Greek.
JEAN-FRANCOIS RACINE • JST (New Testament) • Narrative study of the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles; New Testament textual criticism; Biblical hermeneutics.
ANNETTE SCHELLENBERG • SFTS (Old Testament) • Wisdom literature; Priestly text; anthropology (concepts about humans); reception history; ancient Near Eastern context of the Old Testament.
ANNETTE WEISSENRIEDER • SFTS (New Testament) • Ancient medical texts/iconography and the New Testament; transsubjective pneumatology in Pauline theology; western patristic and Pauline interpretations of Holy Communion against the background of ancient culture and philosophy.
MARY P. COOTE • SFTS (Biblical Greek) • Beginning Greek, Greek reading groups.
MICHAEL GUINAN, O.F.M. • FST (Old Testament) • Wisdom; Psalms; Creation.
TAT-SIONG BENNY LIEW • PSR (New Testament) • Inter(con)textual and interdisciplinary reading/studying of the New Testament; colonial/postcolonial studies; gender/sexuality studies; racial/ethnic studies, particularly Asian American studies; philosophical hermeneutics/literary theory; studies on the Greco-Roman world.
DONN MORGAN • CDSP (Old Testament) • Biblical wisdom literature; education (ancient and modern); Canonical studies.
ALBERT PARETSKY, O.P. • DSPT (Biblical Studies) • The emergence of Christianity from its Jewish context and how late Second-Temple Judaism is appropriated and transformed by the New Testament writers.
SANDRA SCHNEIDERS, I.H.M. • JST (New Testament and Spirituality) • New Testament, esp. Johannine studies; biblical hermeneutics; study of spirituality as an academic discipline; Roman Catholic Religious life.
MARY ANN TOLBERT • PSR (New Testament) • Feminist Biblical hermeneutics; feminist and queer theory; feminism, queer theory, and the Bible; Ancient Mediterranean social, religious and literary history as the context for Christian origins.
MARY DONOVAN TURNER • PSR (Preaching) • Hebrew Bible and preaching; Women, voice and preaching.
A specialized program offered at all schools except SKSM
Designed especially for highly qualified persons planning to pursue doctoral work in biblical studies, the program is also well-suited to persons desiring a terminal degree with a concentration in the biblical languages and a firm background in biblical studies. Prospective students are expected to have semester-length introductory courses in both Old and New Testament studies prior to entry, and advanced standing is available for those students who have previous comparable course work and/or are able to pass a language exam.
Offered at all schools except SKSM
Study in this Area provides a strong foundation in the entire biblical corpus. In addition to the Jewish and Christian canonical, deuterocanonical, and extra-canonical scriptures, study also covers the background literature of early Israel, biblical and post-biblical Judaism, and early Christianity. The critical study of primary texts is emphasized, using a variety of analytical methods, interdisciplinary, and cross-cultural approaches. The development of skill in appropriate languages is central to the program.
Students who complete the degree achieve competence in languages central to the program; acquire skills for the critical study of primary texts; acquire skill in the application of particular methodological approaches to the study of biblical texts; and are prepared to engage at a critical and creative level the far-reaching interdisciplinary discourses that shape research and teaching in biblical studies.
Students will be expected to enter the program with a substantial background in biblical languages (at least six semesters), a start in at least one modern language, some course work in both Testaments, and with specific interests in focusing on one or the other Testament (or in Intertestamental Literature—though with a primary focus declared in OT or NT texts).
Primary Biblical Language: Biblical language exams are offered prior to fall registration each year. Students certify by enrolling in course work until the examinations are passed.
Secondary Biblical Language: Pass a language exam, or complete advanced course with B+ or better.
Biblical Aramaic: Complete one-semester course with B or higher.
Two Modern Languages other than the student’s native language, ordinarily the major research languages of German and French. International students may substitute English.
Diagnostic Language Examinations and Interviews
The entering student will be required to take exams for diagnostic purposes in both Hebrew and Greek prior to fall registration. These language exams will be evaluated prior to the diagnostic interview. A primary advisor in the student’s chosen specialization and a secondary advisor from the other Testament are assigned to meet with the student for a diagnostic conference during registration week. Together the student and advisors will determine areas of interest and competence and identify areas where further study is advisable.
Within the first year, the student will also identify a complementary concentration, which can consist of a traditional area of religious studies (e.g. patristics, rabbinics, ethics, history of religions, theology), or a methodology (e.g. literary criticisms, sociology, anthropology, comparative linguistics, rhetoric, psychology), or a field of history and culture adjacent to but distinct from the Bible per se (e.g., ancient Near East, Greco-Roman world, Judaica), or an interdisciplinary focus (e.g., feminisms, ethnic studies, performance theory, cultural studies). At least 9 units of course work must be taken in the complementary concentration.
Reflection on and practice of teaching are recommended for students anticipating entering the teaching profession. Students are encouraged to take advantage of various opportunities available at the GTU or UCB to develop insights and gain experience in teaching. Those wishing to co-ordinate their teaching experience with the preparation for the general part of their comprehensives may also consult with the convener about a Special Reading Course involving introductions in both testaments to the field.
Two Area Foundation Seminars are required that provide an introduction to the state of biblical studies and the primary methodologies for each Testament; BS 5000, Emerging Questions in Biblical Studies, and four other courses at the doctoral (5000-6000) level are required, selected in consultation with the primary advisor and the complementary concentration advisor.
When course work is completed and languages are certified, students will take the comprehensive examinations. The exams consist of two standardized closed-book tests (one in each Testament, including “Intertestamental”) drawn from the “Areas and Topics” documents for each Testament and two examinations proposed by the student (papers or tests), one in some aspect of the student’s primary Testament and one in some aspect of the complementary concentration. This written work will be followed by an oral examination. All of the examinations will be graded. Part of the oral examination will involve discussion of the student’s dissertation interest.
After successfully completing the Comprehensive Examinations the student submits a dissertation proposal to the Biblical Studies area faculty and the Doctoral Council for approval. An oral defense is conducted upon completion of the dissertation.
- Students must pass (with a B+ or above) at least one year of an intermediate level Biblical Language or pass a Biblical Language Examination at the level of secondary proficiency;
- Area Foundation Seminar (BS 6000), B+ or above;
- At least one 4000 or 5000 level course in the Testament of choice, B+ or above.
Students prepared to move immediately into doctoral level seminar work may petition the Allied Field Advisory Committee to be admitted into Biblical Studies as an allied field.