Next year I have been given the opportunity to design and teach a course in the Winter and Spring quarters at UCLA. Last year I was given the same opportunity and designed a course titled: Paul, the New Testament, and Ancient Letter Writing. While the course was extremely enjoyable and the students learned a lot, I have decided to design two new courses this year. One of the courses will be called The Historical Context of the Earliest Christian Texts. In this course I plan to have the students examine questions such as what is the purpose of the text, what can we determine about the author, the community to which it was written, and many other important aspects of each text.
I am seeking input on which texts I should use. The problem is that the course meets only once per week and will have 9 meetings for which a text can be assigned. Thus with said limitations, here are my initial thoughts.
1. Paul – 1 Thessalonians, Galatians
2. Paul – Romans
3. Mark, Matthew
7. Ignatius (not sure which letter yet)
9. Undecided – perhaps The Gopsel of Thomas and another shorter text
Which texts would you include? The target audience is intelligent, hard working, undergraduate students who will have drastically different levels of previous experience with these texts, many of them will have never opened a Bible. I look forward toyour input.