skip to primary navigationskip to content

New Testament & Early Christian MPhil Pathway

New Testament & Early Christian MPhil Pathway


Course Co-ordinator: Dr Simon Gathercole

The set text for the Exegesis and Method in New Testament Study seminar will be Galatians.

Prerequisites for study

Students should have a degree in Theology with a strong New Testament component and at least two years’ study of New Testament Greek.  Students who wish to do a dissertation in New Test must do the Michaelmas Term module (Method and interpretation in New Testament studies) and may choose a second module, after discussion with their supervisor, from either the Lent Term module in New Testament or an appropriate module from another subject area.  They will also be required to do an approved language or skill.  Students who are doing an M.Phil. in another subject area may take a New Testament module.  If they can demonstrate that they have studied New Testament Greek for at least two years.



Module 1: Michaelmas Term: Methods and interpretation in the New Testament (Galatians)


This module will use Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians as a way of exploring major issues in the method of studying New Testament texts.


There will be 4 classes of 1.5 hours on Galatians for which candidates will be expected to prepare approximately a chapter of Greek.  Candidates will be required to write an extended essay on the epistle based upon one of the following subjects:


     Paul’s use of scripture in the Epistle to the Galatians

     Reconstructing the debate in Galatia

     Galatians and Apocalyptic

Module 2: Lent Term: Issues in the study of early Christianity.  Students are also to attend the classes in Advanced Greek


The module will seek to explore a number of major issues in the study of early Christianity, making use in particular of early Christian texts outside the New Testament canon, including works of the so-called Apostolic Fathers, the apocryphal New Testament, and the apologists.  It will also explore a variety of methods of study.


There will be 4 seminars of 1.5 hours each on the following subjects.  Students will be expected to undertake prior reading of both primary sources and secondary literature for these seminars:

     The parting of the ways

     Early Christianity and women

     Early Christianity and the state

     Difference and diversity

Candidates will be assessed by an extended essay of 5,000 words on one of the themes covered.  A precise title for the essay will be decided by the candidate and his or her supervisor by the second week of term.


Students undertaking a dissertation in New Testament are required to take EITHER a language paper OR a skills paper.  They should make their decision in discussion with their dissertation supervisor.

(A) Languages: students for the New Testament M.Phil. may either (i) take any language except Elementary Greek or Intermediate Greek from the list of languages (eg Hebrew, Latin, German), or (ii) take Advanced Greek, covering the texts in the third year undergraduate paper in New Testament Greek (C1b), and the MPhil 'Advanced Greek' seminars.  This will be examined by a paper involving exegetical comment as well as seen and unseen translation.

(B) Skills: Courses in New Testament textual critism and, when available. Epigraphy will be offered.  Please see the separate listing for courses available each year.