New Testament

Course of Study Description

The emphasis of the Emory New Testament (NT) Course of Study is on the study of texts in their historical contexts, the history of biblical interpretation, and New Testament theology. Instruction is given in the traditional critical methods that have been formative for contemporary New Testament scholarship; these are supplemented by newer approaches, including literary, rhetorical, text-linguistic, and social analysis of texts.

As a way of fostering interdisciplinary approaches, students are required to do substantial work in at least one field of study outside the New Testament. Examples of outside fields include patristics, theology, ethics, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, ancient history, literary criticism, linguistics, or some area of another religious tradition such as Judaism, Islam, or Hinduism.

The New Testament faculty is alert to the implications of many other special types of research. The program is supported by a strong Hebrew Bible faculty, as well as by other programs of the Laney Graduate School. In addition, students may pursue studies elsewhere in the graduate school, including the interdisciplinary Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts and the departments of Philosophy, History, Anthropology, and English. At the same time, students in New Testament seminars benefit from the participation of students from other programs.

The two years of formal course work provide opportunity for concentrated study in the field of New Testament interpretation: history and literature of the New Testament (ancient and modern), exegesis, theology, and the world of the New Testament (Literature of the Second Temple Period and Social History of the New Testament Period). In keeping with the Graduate Division of Religion’s overall emphasis on interdisciplinary work, students also take course work in Hebrew Bible and their designated outside areas in addition to the first-year colloquy. These courses assist students not only in preparing for their preliminary examinations but also in determining and refining areas of dissertation research.

Preliminary Examinations

In addition to the general language requirements of the Graduate Division of Religion, New Testament students must demonstrate competence in Biblical Greek and Hebrew. Competence in Greek is demonstrated through a written exam, which must be completed successfully before the end of the first year of course work. Competence in Hebrew is demonstrated either through the Hebrew Bible exegesis exam or through the successful completion of a Hebrew Bible exegesis course.

Before work on the dissertation can begin, competency in the field of New Testament interpretation must be demonstrated in six areas:

  1. The world of the New Testament (backgrounds)
  2. Hebrew Bible
  3. History and literature
  4. Exegesis
  5. Theology
  6. A designated outside area

Competence in the first two areas may be demonstrated either through course work or by a special written examination. Competence in the latter four areas must be demonstrated by a series of preliminary examinations administered after the completion of course work.

Special Requirements

Students and faculty in the New Testament Course of Study meet each month for social interchange and for discussion of research papers and recent advances in the field not covered in seminars. These meetings are attended by New Testament faculty from other academic institutions in the Atlanta area as well.

In conjunction with the graduate school’s TATTO program, each student is required to undertake two teaching assistantships and one teaching associateship and to participate in the GDR’s Teaching Religion seminar. Ample opportunities for TA work are available in the Department of Religion, Candler School of Theology, and other programs in the graduate school.

Selected Courses

RLR 814. Jewish Backgrounds to the New Testament

RLR 815. Greco-Roman Backgrounds to the New Testament

RLR 816R. New Testament Theology

RLR 817. History of the Interpretation of the New Testament

Recent Dissertations and Placement

Dissertations written for the program cover a wide range of topics and approaches. The program also enjoys an excellent placement record. Over 95 percent of our students have secured full-time employment in an academic position by the time they graduate. 


Jarrett Knight,
Director at COGITO: A Forum for Faith and Reason


Jennifer Vija Pietz,
“Founding Women and their Fate: Mary Magdalen and La Malinche in the History of Interpretation”

Jonathan Potter, "Rewriting Moses and Mark: The Composition of Luke's Gospel in Light of Rewritten Scriptural Narratives"

Alexander Phillip Thompson, “Raised from Ignorance to Knowledge: Recognition and the Resurrection Appearance of Luke 24”


Michael Suh,
"Power and Peril in Corinth: 1 Corinthians 51-13, 10:1-33, and 11:17-34 as Temple Discourse"

Jennifer Wyant,
“A Tale of Two Sisters: Mary and Martha of Bethany and the Construction of Christian Discipleship”


Eric Moore, "
Claiming Places: Reading Acts of the Apostles as a Colonizing Narrative"

Brandon Wason,
"All Things to All People: Luke's Paul as an Orator in Diverse Social Contexts," Curator or Archives and Manuscripts, Pitts Theology Library, Emory University"


John Boyles, "Unevolved: A Study in Diverse Christian Social Organization" Assistant Professor of New Testament, Abilene Christian University

George Branch-Trevathan, "The Sermon on the Mount and Spiritual Exercises," Assistant Professory of Religion," Thiel College, Pennsylvania

Christopher T. Holmes, “Moving Beyond Persuasion: Glimpses of the Sublime in Hebrews 12:18–29,” Post Doc, McAfee School of Theology


Yoshimi Azuma, "Resurrection in the Johannine Plot"; Candler School of Theology, Visiting Scholar

Jill Marshall, "Women Praying and Prophesying: Gender and Inspired Speech in First Corinthians" Visiting Professor, Wingate College

Shively Smith, "Live as Strangers in Your Own Land: 1 Peter and Diaspora Discourse" Boston University School of Theology

Devin L. White,"Teacher of the Nations: Ancient Educational Traditions and Paul's Argument in 1 Corinthians 1-4," 5-Year Post-doc, Australian Catholic University, Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry


Edward P. Dixon, Director, Center for Christianity and Scholarship, Duke University

Justin P. Schedtler, Visiting Assistant Professor of New Testament, Macalester College