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REL 150 Final Exam Study Guide

Spring 2020


Be able to define or describe the following terms in a sentence or two and/or highlight two or three key points (such as might be included in a multiple-choice or matching-type question).

Alexander the GreatPassion PredictionsEpistle vs. LetterE. P. SandersParaclete
HellenizationLast SupperIntegrity Covenantal Nomism“The Jews”
Maccabean RevoltCatechesisAuthenticityNew Perspective on PaulElder
PhariseesParousiaF. C. BaurPistis ChristouAntichrist
SadduceesPseudonymity“Tentmaker”Righteousness of GodDocetism
TempleMessianic Secret“Zeal”Body of ChristGnosticism
SynagogueGethsemane Factionalism in CorinthPrincipalities and PowersTesting the Spirits
Jesus of History vs. Christ of FaithGolgotha / Calvary The Lord’s Supper Prison Epistles
Old QuestApostle“Thorn in the Flesh”Pastoral Epistles
No QuestKingdom of GodPaul’s Sufferings “Early Catholicism”
New QuestParableJerusalem CollectionApocalyptic
Third QuestHoly SpiritIdol MeatGenre
Source Criticism“Palestinian” JewsJustification (by Faith)Dualism
Form CriticismHellenistic Jews“In Christ”Beloved Disciple
Redaction CriticismJerusalem Conference “Judaizers”Composite Authorship
QCircumcisionFruit of the SpiritBrown Hypothesis
Synoptic ProblemGod-fearersPaidagogos“Signs”
ParenesisDefilement & PurgationRudolf Bultmann“I Am” Sayings
Sermon on the MountApostasyAlbert Schweitzer Farewell Discourse

Points to Ponder

Be able to discuss the following issues in a brief essay.

  1. What is “hellenization”? What is its relevance to the study of the New Testament? How did Jews in the Hellenistic era respond to the challenges of hellenization?
  2. What do scholars mean when they speak of the relationship between the “Jesus of history” and the “Christ of faith”? What were the major periods or phases of the “quests of the historical Jesus”? Who were the key figures? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each period?
  3. Albert Schweitzer’s critique of the Old Quest of the historical Jesus was that 19th-century scholars had modernized Jesus and remade him in their own image. To what extent do Christians today fall into the same trap? To attempt to answer this question, discuss the “problem of the historical Jesus” and scholarly attempts to address that problem in modern times. How have the various quests helped to refine the contemporary understanding of the Jesus of history?
  4. What are some of the major themes of each of the four Gospels? How did Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John depict the person of Jesus? What did they want their readers to understand about him? What strategies did they use to communicate their message?
  5. Describe the significance of Hellenistic Jews in the early Jerusalem church. What made Hellenistic Jews different from “Palestinian” Jews? Name two prominent Hellenistic Jewish leaders and the role(s) they played in the expansion of Christianity.
  6. Discuss the place of the book of Hebrews in early Christian thought. What issues does Hebrews address, and how does the book offer guidance for believers whose backgrounds were shaped by the religious currents and customs of the first century?
  7. Describe Paul’s relationship with the church in Galatia. What issues led to the conflict and frustration the letter of Galatians reveals? What was Paul’s response to these problems?
  8. Describe Paul’s relationship with the church in Corinth. How did Paul respond to the problems that had arisen in the Corinthian church both with respect to questions of order, discipline, and theology and with respect to challenges to his own authority?
  9. How have 20th-century scholars approached the question of Pauline theology? What have been the major options for understanding the central concerns of Paul’s thought? Specifically, what did Schweitzer, Bultmann, and Sanders contribute to the study of this topic?
  10. What are the major themes or emphases in Ephesians? In the Pastoral Epistles? What concerns are central to these letters, and how are they addressed? Why do many scholars believe that books like the Pastoral Epistles are deutero-Pauline?
  11. What is “apocalypticism”? Describe the phenomenon of apocalyptic as both a religious mindset and a literary genre. Discuss the book of Revelation as an example of apocalyptic thinking and the apocalyptic genre.
  12. Describe the distinctive nature of the Gospel of John. Give some examples of features that set this Gospel apart from Matthew, Mark, and Luke. How do you account for these unique features?
  13. Describe the situation to which the Johannine Letters were addressed. Namely, what crisis seems to have overtaken the Johannine churches? What instructions or warnings did the Elder impart to leaders and churches struggling to cope with this crisis.

Format of the Exam

Part I. Forty multiple-choice questions worth 5 points each, based on the key terms listed above and assigned Scripture readings (200 points).

Part II. One essay question (100 points). You will have a choice between three of the following questions:

  1. Based on your academic study of the New Testament this semester, propose an answer to the question “Who was the Historical Jesus?” Be sure to interact with various scholarly approaches to this question, noting their strengths and deficiencies. Regardless of your personal faith, how has this study challenged and/or enlarged your understanding of Jesus?
  2. Summarize the variety of expressions of Jewish faith that were to be found in the world of Jesus. What were the major “sects” or parties? How did they interact with each other? In your opinion, where might Jesus himself have fit most comfortably?
  3. Describe how the author of Hebrews uses the imagery of sacrifice and priesthood to argue for the superiority of Jesus. Why might a first-century author embrace this imagery?
  4. Trace the role of the Holy Spirit in the books of Luke and Acts. What does Luke mean by this term? Where does the Holy Spirit appear in the narrative, and what does the Holy Spirit do?
  5. Discuss the diversity of the New Testament. Cite examples from the Synoptic Gospels, the writings of Paul, and at least one other New Testament book to highlight key New Testament themes. Where do you perceive differences of opinion or outlook with respect to these themes? Where do you find unity, if not uniformity?
  6. Cite several examples of how the Gospel of John is distinct from the Synoptic Gospels. How do you understand these differences and what they may imply about the nature of John’s Gospel? Is the Gospel of John “history,” “allegory,” or something else?


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