The Letters of St. Paul

Course Description

Created by Rev. Jerome Neyrey. S.J., for STEP, the aim of the course is to read the letters of Paul as sympathetically as possible. This will require us not simply to read the documents repeatedly, but to read them in the cultural context in which Paul lived and wrote. For this purpose, I have provided five units of detailed notes in outline form. You should follow each unit's material, Bible in hand, and use the outline notes as a guide to your own careful reading of the letter. Not every single part of this course is equally important. But the top of the line is the text of the letters of Paul in your New Testament! This is the most important part of the course and reading the text many times is not negotiable.

Course Content

Unit 1

  1. Letters and 1st Thessalonians
    1. Introduction to the Catholic approach to Scripture and Biblical criticism
    2. Letters in the New Testament
    3. Philemon
    4. 1 Thessalonians

Unit 2

  1. Philippians

Unit 3

  1. 1st Corinthians

Unit 4

  1. Galatians

Unit 5

  1. Romans

Course Format

  • Created by Notre Dame Theology Professor.
  • Eight weeks in duration, with one week for orientation.
  • Typically 15-20 students in each course.
  • All lecture text and required reading available in course.
  • Supplemental readings are provided to encourage further exploration of topic, internet links provided for all readings.
  • Written assignments (150-200 words) required.
  • Facilitator moderated chat sessions with students in the course.

Required Texts

  • All course materials are available online in the course.

Participation Requirements

  • View or read the lecture for each unit.
  • Read assigned texts; keep notes, questions, and comments for class discussion.
  • Participate in the class discussion using the Forums area: post at least 2 comments, questions, or responses per unit.
  • Write 150-200 words in response to the assignment in each unit.
  • Participate in at least 3 scheduled chat sessions throughout the course.
  • Complete the course evaluation.

Time Expectations

5 to 8 hours per week, depending on your learning style and schedule.

Course Certificate

A certificate of completion awarding 55 contact hours will be sent upon completion of all course requirements.

Meet the Developer

Rev. Jerome Neyrey, S.J.

Rev. Jerome Neyrey, S.J.

Within New Testament studies, Rev. Neyrey claims competence in Greco-Roman philosophy, rhetoric and study of the progymnasmata. His scholarship includes two books each on Matthew and Luke and Paul, and a book on John. He authored the Anchor Bible commentary 2 Peter, Jude. His research articles have touched on all the gospels, most of Paul's letters, Hebrews, and topics such as miracles and prayer. Rev. Neyrey's current research project is God, In Other Words: Cultural Interpretation of the Christian Deity. His main scholarly effort has long been on the use of social science models and concepts for the interpretation of biblical documents. This enterprise has been captured in his recent book on Matthew, Honor and Shame in the Gospel of Matthew, and the book he co-authored with Bruce Malina on Paul, Portraits of Paul, An Archaeology of Ancient Personality. He currently sits on four editorial boards for journals with a New Testament focus.

B.A., 1963, and M.A., 1964, Saint Louis University; M.Div., 1970, and M.T.H., 1972, Regis College, Toronto; Ph.D., 1977, Yale University