• Thanks to everyone who participated in Summer Session! We are shipping our New Testament Cornerstone Certificates today!  It's not too late to submit your essays to receive your certificate! Email your essays to programsofstudy@faithlife.com.
  • How To Apply For New Testament Cornerstone Certificate:  If you have worked your way through all of the video segments for each Summer Session course, it is time to write your reflection paper and to apply for your New Testament Cornerstone Certificate!  Please write a one page (750 word max) reflection paper about each Summer Session course. The paper may be the genre of your choosing (e.g., opinion, response, summary, critique, application, review, etc.). After you have completed the one paper for each Summer Session course, apply for your New Testament Cornerstone Certificate by emailing programsofstudy@faithlife.com. The email should include: -Your Full name  -Your Mailing address -Attach all 3 essays (750 word max) in a PDF or Word Document  We will review the essays and mail New Testament Cornerstone Certificates of Completion within 7-10 business days.
  • Thank you all so much for working through this course together. I’ve appreciated the comments and community notes very much. It is great to have our notes remain as added lasting content for this course that we can switch on and off. Feel free to add more to the community note discussions as you review this material in the future. One of the great parts of the Faithlife Group community component to Mobile Ed courses is that you don’t have to lose the community after the cohort experience ends.   Please don’t forget to write a one page (no more than 750 word) reflection paper for the course. Email it to programsofstudy@faithlife.com. The paper may be writtenin the genre of your choosing (e.g., opinion, response, summary, critique, application, review, etc.) This is the last requirement for this portion of the New Testament Cornerstone certificate program. I want to see how many people can earn this certificate this summer.   The next course, NT211: The Gospels and Acts, is already on its second day. I’ll look forward to seeing the discussion in that course this week. Please join in if you haven’t done so already. https://faithlife.com/mobile-ed-summer-session-nt211   Thanks again for the discussions and the shared encouragements to continue learning about the New Testament.
  •  — Edited

    Quick note from Dr. Brueggemann: I noticed that quite a few people joined NT281 sometime after the start of the moderated summer sessions. If you did that, or if you fell off the schedule and continue at your own pace, I would encourage you to post to the discussions page for this course. I'll continue to moderate and interact with those postings, and maybe some of your fellow scholars will continue contributing and following the discussions.
    1. In considering the content of this course, it has struck me that besides the practical application of increasing my own familiarity with the Biblical text and the critical process, the primary use I will find for the content is the practical application of apologetics, which Dr. Heiser addresses in particular ways. The process by which the New Testament has been transmitted to us is not a simple one, though not overly complicated, either (as some would make it out to be). In an age when skepticism towards Christianity seems almost state-sanctioned, speculation about the complexity of New Testament transmission flourishes on ignorance of the actual process involved. Dr. Heiser presents the course material in such a way that all Christians should be able to cut-their-teeth on it in helpful ways: to come to a deeper and more mature view on inspiration; to develop a respect for the history of transmission; to see through speculations regarding the unreliability of the text of the New Testament that are periodically leveled in the public square; to begin to speak knowledgeably about the process of textual criticism. Dr. Heiser begins the course by clarifying his terms. I found this refreshing, as so much discourse these days seems to be undertaken without doing so: people speak at cross-purposes, without really hearing or understanding one another, simply because they assume common understanding of certain terms and neglect the task of clarification. In this he examines the name given to this collection of books: why we call them, collectively, the New Testament and what we mean by doing so. With these foundational matters addressed, he proceeds to look at Biblical inspiration, and what we mean when we call Scripture the Word of God. Inspiration should be seen as the process whereby God uses particular people at particular times, armed with particular ways of expressing themselves, so that what He intends to convey is conveyed. In part, God’s inspiration is not recognizable until the community of faith spends time with the text and hears Him speaking to them through it. What such a view of inspiration effects is a respectable faith that is not so easily dismissed by wider society as are some views that people hold to. A large section of the course focuses on the transmission of the texts of the New Testament. This history is valuable, though I will skip summarizing it here as space is limited and I hope to look to the course’s instruction on Textual Criticism. By the time we arrive at the protestant translations of the Greek texts, there are really two primary groups of texts/traditions that we are concerned with: the Alexandrian and the Byzantine. The discipline of Textual Criticism, which Dr. Heiser describes in quite helpful ways, is the process whereby the ancient manuscript evidence is collated, examined, and a translation made – not just from one particular manuscript, but from the end result of this examination. This is a rigorous and meticulous process which is largely unappreciated by society, as evidenced in the arguments that are popularly levelled against Scripture. Arguments against the reliability of the New Testament based on the time frame, or on textual variants, or on human error in transmission, or on intentional textual corruption due to scribal faith-bias – none of these arguments holds any water when the process of textual criticism is understood. This, then, becomes a valuable discipline for apologetics. It turns out that Christians aren’t unreasonable and unreasoning (ie. un-critical), when it comes to Scripture. In many ways I found this course to be refreshing for me – both because it reminded me of things I had learned before and because the manner in which these things were taught was respectful of the faith. I would recommend this course to others.
      1. I recommend a 3 part series from Day of Discovery titled: The Bible - Why Does it Endure? with Drs Daniel Wallace and Peter Williams. We showed it to our adult Bible class along with some Bible study on the subject. The series is available on DVD to purchase or it can be viewed on their web site: http://dod.org/programs/the-bible-why-does-it-endure-part-i/   Part 2 and part 3 are also available to view online.
      2. Thanks, Jim!  I'll check it out.
    2. started a discussion

      DiscussReview and afterthoughts by Hamilton R.

      God bless:

      The course was very good. I was kind of overwhelmed by the amount of subtopics that came up.

      The platform that allowed interaction was good, as it allowed to bounce off ideas, and get valuable input.

      One of the things that I would have liked would have been a glossary.

      Key terms are defined differently by different authors, who operate under different traditions.

      I thought that the author of this Mobile ed course, is able to see objectively at issues, and be impartial, letting the evidence and facts make a statemement.

      I would have loved to see the definition of key terms as per the author, as I think that would enable one to grasp the core concepts intrinsic to them.


      Something which I think is crucial, and was not explicitly dealt with: the attitude and the ethics part of the Christian worldview when it comes to study of the Scriptures and textual criticism of it.

      Attitude: check all, retain what is good. We are to become good discerners of   key issues when it comes to the faith.

      An objective, impartial attitude, letting the evidence available speak for itself is very important. 

      Textual criticism is key to all the other sub specialities, it provides the deliverable necesary for right:

      Biblical, systematic, historical, and practical theology.

      (see): http://sites.silaspartners.com/cc/article/0,,PTID314526_CHID598016_CIID2031516,00.html  

      So an exacting attitude to learn to use internal and external evidence to ascertain the originality of the text is imperative.

      This leads me to a suggestion:

      It would be nice to have a reference link to a resource that list the 150 or so "major, serious, etc." textual variants that many men of God have found through time.

      Now, in a more particular way:

      I was dissapointed to see that in the interactions (general posts) the topic of the possibility of Matthew 28:19 baptism formula being spurious was considered by some as a theological and not a textual criticism problem.

      Such formula has no parallel passage, does not agree with the general speech of Jesus, was not obeyed by Peter in uttering Acts 2:38, and was not used in any instance of baptism in the NT, all of which clearly points to make it a very suspect text, deserving a close textual criticism study.

      There is no manuscript that goes to the 50 - 150 A.D. that supports that reading. 

      Some argue that the Didache does, but it is an extra canonical witness, and it should have less weight than the internal evidence presented by the Bible itself.

      This problem from my point of view is one of the most important textual criticism issues, as per NT211, forgiveness of sins is key in the New Covenant, and from Bible witness, the same happens only in the name of Jesus Christ.

      And this ties to the ethics part of the christian worldview: we need to take the tradition lenses off, and take a close look at the issue.

      We are told that is key to identify if theological agenda is a cause of intentional change to Scripture, and this particular case seems to be pointing as being one such case.


      On another note, a suggestion that I have is to have a way to be able to ask questions directly to the facilitator:

      One such I had and was not answered, was the perceived usefulness and perceived rating of the following:


      Other than that the course was superb.


    3. Consider that Peter likely advised the writting of Mark
      If we consider that Peter likely advised the writing of Mark, then this concept is even more important. Peter wouldn't have made up this rebuke. It would only be included if it was real.
      1. In Segment 54 where Dr. Heiser discusses the Johannine Comma, he say that 1st John 5:8 wasn't in Erasmus' first edition and that it is considered by most to be "inauthentic".   When doing some additional study concerning the Johannine Comma, I noted that the Lexham Bible Dictionary says the following:  "The comma, or short literary clause, claims that the three persons of the Trinity remain one God.  The later addition to the text of 1st John 5:7-8 is italicized (I've used Caps) in the following quote:  "For there are three that testify IN HEAVEN- THE FATHER, THE WORD, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT- AND THESE THREE ARE ONE.  AND THERE ARE THREE THAT TESTIFY ON EARTH- the Spirit, and the water, and the blood- and these three are in agreement."  It appears that the part of verse 8 not capitalized is indeed in the text of the NT.   Am I accurate in my assessment or have I missed something?
        1. Course reflection: It can be expected that many who take this course will be familiar with the material in several of the segments: this course was very helpful in its comprehensive approach and identifying and filling in many gaps, also in clarifying the significance of some less well understood facts and concepts. Given the major focus of the course was on the origin and transmission of the Greek New Testament, it gave rise to several questions which will warrant further study and for which answers may not always be readily available. 1. Given the chronological scope of the NT is between 50 and 100 AD, and that the Apostles were sent out to the ends of the earth to spread the Gospel (orally) before this period of documentation, what ancient non-Greek manuscripts might exist in churches established by those Apostles who ventured outside the boundaries of the Roman Empire, based on local attempts to document what they had been taught? (Discounting Gnostic material and what is known as the Gospel of Thomas). An example might be whatever the church in Kerala (India) might have from before the colonial period. 2. Given that there appears to be some legitimacy in the concept that Galilean Aramaic (akin to Syriac) would have been more likely than Greek as the language of early local oral transmission of the Gospel stories, is it possible that the original Greek NT autographs were written by amanuenses who not only did the writing but also the translation into Greek based on dictation in Aramaic? This might help explain some of instances cited in the reference below to suggest that the Gospels of Matthew and Luke had Aramaic originals. (ref: Old Syriac Gospels, Studies and Comparative Translations. Wilson E. Jan (2003), Gorgias Press, LLS:SYRGSPSTDY) 3. Several segments of the course highlight areas where the consensus on available ancient Greek NT manuscripts differs from the Latin (presumably Jerome’s) Vulgate. Given the timeframe (and location in Bethlehem) in which Jerome translated the NT into Latin, it would seem likely that Byzantine majority text manuscripts were not the only source Jerome used. Is there information available to us regarding which if any currently identified Greek NT manuscripts were used by Jerome to produce his original Latin version of the NT? For example, was Vaticanus already in Rome by this time or was this available to Jerome in Bethlehem and subsequently sent to Rome? Or are there sufficient obvious differences between Vaticanus and Jerome’s Latin to suggest the Jerome had access to other manuscripts now lost to us (subsequently destroyed or placed where they have not yet been re-discovered), but did not have access to Vaticanus? (Ref: Saint Jerome. Cutts, Edward L. SPCK, LLS:LTNFTHRSCUTTS02 ) Two suggested improvements to the course came to mind: a. The word “discovery” related to Tischendorf and Sinaiticus seems a little inappropriate. According to codexsinaiticus.org, on their page on the History of Codex Sinaiticus, there is a written record re the existence of the Codex as early as 1761 following a visit by Vitaliano Donati. In the next paragraph it is stated that some time between 24 May and 1 June 1844, the monks at Saint Catherine’s brought the Codex to Tischendorf’s attention. “Discovery” would seem appropriate when someone stumbles across or unearths an artifact that was previously unknown to other living persons. In this case it would seem that the existence of Codex Sinaiticus was well known to the monks in the St. Catherine’s Monastery and it would seem logical that the Greek Orthodox hierarchy in this region were also aware of its existence. It was the western church that was made aware of the nature and importance of the Codex by Tischendorf. b. The various Quizzes and Final Exam would benefit from having the text of the Bible passages, rather than just the reference available when questioning the nature of the variants they contain. (eg: It would be helpful if “Philemon 2” could bring up the actual text on mouse-over)
          1.  — Edited

            Congratulations on your completion of Summer Session: NT281 How We Got The New Testament! We hope you have enjoyed these ten days of video lectures and we encourage you to continue your studies by completing the Logos Mobile Ed New Testament Cornerstone Certificate!