Course Syllabus

Prof. Mark K. George
Office: I-113, (303) 765-3168
Office hours: I am happy to arrange a meeting with any student. Please contact me by email to make arrangements.
Weekly gatherings (optional): I will hold weekly "Bible & Contemporary Issues Happy Hours" (BCI HH) on Zoom every Thursday, 7:00–8:00 pm MT, except in Wk 10. Should fewer than 3 people be able to join me, I reserve the right to close out the happy hour in the first 10 minutes. Please note this meeting has a password, and you will enter a waiting room before reaching the session.

Elyse Pierce, GTA (Graduate Teaching Assistant)

BCI Happy Hour: each week (Wks 1–9) on Thursday evening at 7:00 pm MT (Zoom link here), Mark will open an optional synchronous Zoom session. The purpose? To hang out, chat about what we're learning, have conversation, be with one another. Mark will not present new materials or expect what is discussed during these sessions to be material for which you are accountable. Rather, think of these sessions as opportunities for a conversation over an adult beverage (since we are not on campus and thus unable to walk over to a bar or coffee shop and have conversation together). It's informal. It's ungraded. It's optional. It's fun and relaxing!

Catalogue Course Description

Using current events and issues as a starting point, various approaches for reading the Bible are studied to see how they help interpret the Bible in light of those issues. This course helps students learn more about exegesis and become more comfortable interpreting the Bible with scholarly tools along with understanding how these tools provide a means of addressing current issues with the Bible as a theological resource.

Extended Course Description

The Bible (Hebrew Bible and New Testament) is an accepted cultural resource in the United States that seems to go without question or challenge in public discourse. This is particularly true for those of us who participate in Christian and Jewish communities that hold the Bible as having a particular authority. It is, however, a set of texts that require questioning, interpretation, and challenge. This course, designed for master’s degree students, seeks to enhance students’ skills in reading and interpreting the Bible in the context of the current issues facing our communities. Our regular examination of contemporary issues, explored from a variety of perspectives and angles, will be paired with an examination of the Bible as we consider how it might function as a resource for communities negotiating these issues.


Either the introductory course in Hebrew Bible or the introductory course in New Testament.

Course Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • be better able to analyze contemporary issues from a variety of perspectives and theological understandings;
  • think in creative and informed ways about how biblical texts can be brought into conversations about contemporary issues;
  • demonstrate improved critical knowledge and reading skills related to the Bible and its contexts;
  • have greater knowledge of critical approaches to the Bible and its contexts as well as familiarity with using them.



New Revised Standard Bible (NRSV). This is the translation we will use in the course for all class and written work. Digital or print format is acceptable, but please note that there are very few apps that contain the NRSV due to copyright license fees, so please make sure your chosen app includes it and you have it readily available. If you would like to purchase a print copy of the NRSV, we recommend Harold W. Attridge, ed. The HarperCollins Study Bible-Student Edition: Fully Revised and Updated. San Francisco: HarperOne, 2006. ISBN 9780060786847.

Additional readings will be made available each week.

All students are expected to have full access to at least one high-quality breaking news source, such as The New York Times, The Washington PostThe Wall Street Journal, SlateBBC, Fox News (the news side), NPR, PBS NewsHour, The Atlantic, etc. It must be a source that reports on current events using their own reporters and bureaus. In other words, this is not a news aggregator or social media platform (yes, that includes Facebook, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).

Exegesis Papers Help from the GTA
Grade Scale & General Grading Rubrics
Guidelines for Paper Respondents

Revision date: 30 March 2022

The syllabus and assignments are subject to change at any time at the sole discretion of the professor.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due