Course Syllabus

Instructors: Ted Vial & Pam Eisenbaum

T.A.: Michael Laminack 

Course News and Reminders:

Click here to access the most recent "paper" version of the syllabus (v. 4.3).  Please note: A few readings on this syllabus were TBA at the time.  Please utilize the reading assignments listed in the discussion forums for each week.  

Scroll to the bottom of this page for the summary of weekly reading assignments.  For a comprehensive list of ALL requirements for this course, instructions for completing each assignment, and how the assignments are weighted toward you final grade, please click on "Assignments" at your left.

For clarifications about the syllabus, tips, and/or any other additional information we've posted along the way, please see "Announcements."

Course Synopsis:

Debates over biblical authority within Christianity and in the public square are common place in American society.  Such debates have a long history. "Biblical Authority and Interpretation" examines a wide range of perspectives on scriptural authority and interpretation from the history of Christianity and beyond.  Engaging with such a variety of attitudes toward the Bible, its translation, and interpretation will help students think critically about their own use of scripture, and begin to articulate thoughtfully their own positions on the uses of Scripture in our contemporary world. 

Overview and Objectives for this Seminar

1) Students will understand that the role of the Bible in Christian tradition, the various ways in which it has been granted authority, and arguments for its proper interpretation have been contested throughout the tradition.

2) Students will become familiar with the views on the Bible and biblical interpretation of some of the key figures in the history.

3) Students will understand the ways in which modernity has challenged biblical authority and understand the stakes over the debate about the Bible’s status for Christians.

4) Students will have the opportunity to engage with experienced preachers about the use of the Bible in their preaching, and what status the Bible holds in their tradition.

5) Students will practice the skills of theological research and theological writing.

6) Students will begin to articulate their own positions on biblical authority and interpretation.

Click here for more information on the objectives for the First Year Interdisciplinary 
Seminar in general.


For a complete list of assignments and requirements, please click "Assignments" on your left.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due