Trinity Western University

Course Descriptions

Religious Studies, Graduate Courses

    NB: RELS 611-692 are graduate courses. New Testament courses require a minimum of two years of Greek and Old Testament courses require a minimum of two years of Hebrew. For further information about course co-requisites, prerequisites, and when courses are offered, see the Graduate Program in Biblical Studies section or contact the Biblical Studies Graduate Program director.


  • RELS 611 Advanced Old Testament Exegesis (3 sem. hrs.)

    The principles of Hebrew exegesis are reviewed and applied to several examples of the genres found within the Old Testament.

    Prerequisite(s): A minimum of two years of Hebrew. With the instructor's consent, second year Hebrew Readings may be taken as a corequisite.


  • RELS 612 Advanced Old Testament Seminar (3 sem. hrs.)

    Old Testament Seminar presupposes RELS 611 (or equivalent) and is offered every spring semester. Seminar topics are selected from the following: Old Testament Textual Criticism, Genesis, Exodus, Major Prophets, Minor Prophets, Daniel, Psalms, Chronicles and the Rewritten Bible, Inner-Biblical Exegesis, History of the Hebrew Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hebrew Bible, and Old Testament Theology. Among other things, students are asked to research and report on various aspects of the seminar topic. One of the purposes of the course is to acquaint students with current issues in the field and to encourage the development of critical thinking.


  • RELS 621 Advanced New Testament Exegesis (3 sem. hrs.)

    The principles of Greek exegesis are reviewed and applied to several examples of the genres found within the New Testament.

    Prerequisite(s): A minimum of two years of Greek. With the instructor's consent, second year Greek Readings may be taken as a corequisite.


  • RELS 622 Advanced New Testament Seminar (3 sem. hrs.)

    New Testament Seminar presupposes RELS 621 (or equivalent) and is offered every spring semester. Seminar topics are selected from the following: Matthew, Luke-Acts, Prison Epistles, Hebrews, Old Testament Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, Apocryphal Gospels and the New Testament, the Septuagint and the New Testament, the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament, the Targums and the New Testament, Anti-Semitism and the New Testament, and New Testament Theology. Students are asked to research various aspects of the seminar topic and report back to the seminar. One of the purposes of the course is to acquaint students with current issues in the field and to encourage the development of critical thinking.


  • RELS 631 The Deuteronomistic History (3 sem. hrs.)

    This course reviews the emergence, aims, and interpretive techniques of the Deuteronomistic history, including the (re)interpretation of Mosaic, conquest and royal traditions. Of special interest is the presentation of the founding and confirming of the Davidic dynasty.


  • RELS 632 Historical Jesus (3 sem. hrs.)

    This course reviews several of the most promising recent developments in Jesus research. Sources, the criteria of authenticity, Jesus' contemporaries, and Jesus' understanding of the Kingdom receive emphasis. Special attention is given to the Dead Sea Scrolls and their relevance for Jesus research.


  • RELS 633 Themes of the Pentateuch (3 sem. hrs.)

    This course reviews the principal themes of the Pentateuch, emphasizing the presentation of Yahweh as Creator and covenant Maker. Critical interpretation of the Pentateuch, including the classic statement of the Documentary Hypothesis, is assessed.


  • RELS 634 Mark (3 sem. hrs.)

    This course reviews recent research in the Gospel of Mark as it pertains to Mark's community and its interpretation of the Jesus tradition, as well as to the question of the historicity of Mark's presentation of the story of Jesus.


  • RELS 640 Advanced Greek Readings (3 sem. hrs.)

    This course exposes students to a variety of Greek texts that are important for understanding the language and literature of the Greek New Testament. These texts include the Septuagint, papyri, inscriptions, and various extrabiblical writings such as the apocryphal gospels. Students are led to appreciate the literary conventions and genres of the Greco-Roman world.


  • RELS 641 Isaiah (3 sem. hrs.)

    This course reviews the historical prophet Isaiah and the political circumstances in which he lived. It also considers the subsequent formation of the Book of Isaiah, including its various components and perspectives, its unified message and various features of inner-interpretation.


  • RELS 642 Romans (3 sem. hrs.)

    This course explores the nature of Paul's argument in his letter to the Roman Christians, with special emphasis on the apostle's scriptural defense of the Christian gospel and his understanding of the relationship of Gentiles to Israel.


  • RELS 643 Psalms (3 sem. hrs.)

    This course examines the Psalms as the primary window into Israel's worship, especially during the pre-exilic period. Features of both corporate and individual faith are brought to light.


  • RELS 644 John (3 sem. hrs.)

    This course reviews the various questions of sources, relationship to the Synoptic Gospels, Christology, use of the Old Testament, religious background, and early Jewish/Christian polemic.


  • RELS 645 Wisdom Literature (3 sem. hrs.)

    This course offers an analysis of the biblical and intertestamental wisdom literature with a special emphasis on the Book of Ecclesiastes, i.e. Qohelet.

    Prerequisite(s): Knowledge of Hebrew (RELS 245 and 246)


  • RELS 647 The Dead Sea Scrolls (3 sem. hrs.)

    This course surveys the Dead Sea Scrolls and the light they shed on Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity. Themes of major sectarian scrolls are studied; recently published scrolls and fragments are evaluated.


  • RELS 648 Advanced Greek Studies (3 sem. hrs.)

    This course introduces students to various technical features involved in the study of New Testament Greek. These studies include treatment of aspects of advanced Greek grammar, textual criticism, the influence of the Septuagint on the New Testament, the literary and linguistic influence of literary Greek on the New Testament, and the relevance of Greek study for New Testament exegesis.


  • RELS 649 Rabbinic Literature (3 sem. hrs.)

    This course introduces the student to the most important rabbinic writings (e.g., Mishnah, Talmud, and the Midrashim). Sessions consist of readings and introductory lectures concerned with the origin and editing of this literature, its purposes, and the types of scriptural and logical arguments employed. Selected writings are studied in greater depth; depending on the makeup of the class, some passages are read in Hebrew and others in English.


  • RELS 650 Introduction to Biblical Archaeology (3 sem. hrs.)

    This course is scheduled as the Summer session study tour of Israel (cf. RELS 350). It offers students the opportunity to study important topographical and archaeological sites, including digs in progress, and to view several important finds in the Israel National Museum.


  • RELS 652 Syriac (3 sem. hrs.)

    The course offers students an introduction to Syriac. Although the emphasis falls on the Peshitta, students are exposed to other Syriac writings.

    Prerequisite(s): A minimum of 6 sem. hrs. of Hebrew and may, at the instructor's discretion, require a minimum of 3 to 6 sem. hrs. of Aramaic.


  • RELS 655 Introduction to Aramaic (3 sem. hrs.)

    This course, which presupposes a minimum of 6 sem. hrs. of Biblical Hebrew, offers students an introduction to Biblical, Qumranic, and Targumic Aramaic.


  • RELS 656 Readings in Aramaic (3 sem. hrs.)

    This course, which presupposes RELS 655, guides students through selected readings in Biblical, Qumranic, and Targumic Aramaic.


  • RELS 658 Mishnaic and Qumranic Hebrew (3 sem. hrs.)

    This course, which presupposes a minimum of 6 sem. hrs. of Hebrew, offers students an introduction to Mishnaic and Qumranic Hebrew and guides students through selected readings.


  • RELS 660 Biblical Interpretation in the 16th Century (3 sem. hrs.)

    This course introduces students to the principles and practice of Biblical interpretation during the Reformation period. Of special interest are the commentaries and scriptural arguments in support of important doctrines.


  • RELS 670 Pre-Nicene Christianity (3 sem. hrs.)

    A detailed examination of the background and development of Christian thought and life in the period spanning the Apostolic Fathers through to the Council of Nicaea (325). The course analyzes the complex formulation of Pre-Nicene Christianity through the writings some of its most influential thinkers, leaders, and movements (both orthodox and heretical) with an eye toward identifying major developments in early Christian theology and practice. An attempt is also made to understand the variety of Christianities which contended for dominance as the church strove to define itself and to establish its place in the world.

    Cross-listed: HIST 670.


  • RELS 671 Development of Christian Doctrine

    Does Christian doctrine necessarily develop or is it delivered once and for all in the Bible? This question forms the main concern of this course as it exposes students to the idea of doctrinal development in Christian theology. Through a selection of ideas, persons, issues, and institutions that have contributed to the idea of doctrinal development it encourages students to grapple with the inevitable change of history as it relates to Christian doctrine.

    Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing.


  • RELS 690 Research Design (1 sem. hr.)

    Research Design introduces students to the principles of topic selection and thesis development. Special instructions regarding either Old Testament or New Testament thesis development are provided.


  • RELS 691 Thesis I (5 sem. hrs.)

    In Thesis I, which presupposes RELS 690, the student, in frequent consultation with his/her advisor, selects a thesis topic and begins research. The completion of an annotated bibliography, a summary of relevant scholarly views, and original translation(s) of relevant primary texts are required.


  • RELS 692 Thesis II (6 sem. hrs.)

    In Thesis II, which presupposes RELS 691, students work toward the completion of their thesis. Minimally, a first draft should be completed. No grade is assigned for RELS 692 until the thesis is finished, accepted, and successfully defended. If the thesis is not completed and defended in the spring semester or the following summer, the student is to continue in the program by registering for RELS 695.


  • RELS 695 Continuous Registration (no credit)

    Continuous Registration maintains the student's enrolment in the program and is taken only when all required courses are completed and only as a continuation of the incomplete RELS 692. Although no credit is given for RELS 695 there is a fee charged for each semester, including the summer semester, of Continuous Registration.

    Continuous Registration maintains the student's enrolment in the program and is taken only when all required courses are completed and only as a continuation of the incomplete RELS 692. Although no credit is given for RELS 695 there is a fee charged for each semester, including the summer semester, of Continuous Registration.

back to top

This page contains official TWU academic program information.