I’m teaching my popular course Introduction to Biblical Scholarship on the New Testament online in March. This is for anyone (you don’t have to be an expert) who wants to be better equipped to debate the Bible or understand the Bible. You will learn a lot of useful and surprising facts and skills. More than almost any Christian you meet.
You’ll even learn how to understand a lot about the New Testament in the original Greek, without having to learn Greek! Ever want to know how to test the merits of an English translation? Well this is the course for you!
So if this is something that interests you, click above to register. And if you know anyone you think would love to take a brief, affordable course like this, let them know about it!
The only required course text (which students should purchase as soon as possible) is my anthology Hitler Homer Bible Christ (available in print or kindle). We will use its contents as springboards for learning and discussing all manner of issues related to textual, historical, and literary analysis in New Testament studies. All other course materials (articles and/or video lectures) will be provided for free, including research papers by various scholars we’ll discuss, and excerpts from critical scholarly editions of the Bible in the original Greek (no prior knowledge of Greek will be required), public online tools, and other readings and resources.
So what exactly will be covered?
Official Course Description:
Richard Carrier (Ph.D.), who has years of training from Columbia University in paleography, papyrology, and ancient Greek, will teach anyone the basics of how to investigate, criticize, and study the New Testament from the perspective of how its text is constructed from manuscripts, as well as how to work from the original Greek without learning anything more than the Greek alphabet and the international terminology of grammar, and how to investigate and make the best use of academic and peer reviewed biblical scholarship.
Students will learn how to: locate words in the Greek text of the Bible, and find their definitions using online resources, and to use that skill to critically examine English translations; check if the manuscripts disagree on what the text says at that point, and what to make of that if they do; talk and reason about disagreements in the manuscripts, as well as the differing valences of words between modern translations and ancient originals; discern what kinds of errors and deliberate alterations are common in the biblical manuscripts; and how to use scholarship on the New Testament critically and informedly.
This course will also be a basic introduction to the contents of the New Testament and its composition, textual history, and assembly. After a month you will have a much better understanding and skill-set for studying, discussing, and arguing over, the content and history of the Christian Bible, as well as learn fascinating and interesting things about ancient history and how we know what we know about it from the perspective of how all ancient writing has been preserved yet distorted in transmission.
As usual, these courses are one month long, and you learn at your own pace and on your own time, and participate as much or as little as you want (many just lurk and read the assigned readings and resulting discussion threads).