Teaching and Studying New Testament Exegesis and Theology

In the 1st year of study, teaching in New Testament exegesis and theology offers an introduction to the Gospels, the Pauline Letters and Acts, to the world of Jesus and the history of the early Jesus-movement, and to the principles and methods of biblical exegesis and hermeneutics. In the 2nd and 3rd year of study, the courses offered inform about the different New Testament statements and specific teachings about God, introduce the question of the historical Jesus, and discuss the beginnings of Church as a space and instrument of transmission of the Gospel and faith in Christ.

In the 4th and 5th year, the lectures offered analyse passages from the New Testament gospels, from the Pauline Letters, and from other New Testament writings. They provide a deeper understanding of the specific theological and literary characteristics and intentions of these writings. In addition to lectures, seminars offer the possibility to practice the methods of biblical exegesis and to deepen the knowledge, skills, and expertise in New Testament studies.

In order to provide a better understanding of the New Testament writings in the context of their origins and the beginnings of the Jesus-movement, all courses taught consequently refer to literature, culture and religions of the Greco-Roman world.

You can find the current courses on our e-learning platform Moodle here
You can find the current courses in the lecturing system of the Unisverität Erfurt (E.L.V.I.S.) here 
You can find an overview of the courses held and theses supervised by the chairholder here

O-Phase | 1st year of study (M.Theol., partially B.A.)

Introduction to the New Testament Gospels (winter term, every year)

The lecture introduces main issues of the analysis and interpretation of the New Testament Gospels. Central themes are the origins of the gospels, their form, and their theologies. The lecture informs about the synoptic problem, the Two-source hypothesis, and the reconstruction of the sayings collection Q and its theology and socio-cultural background.

Introduction to Paul and Acts (summer term, every year)

The lecture deals with the letters of Paul and the Acts of Apostles as sources that offer information about the life and faith of the first Christian believers and communities. Special intention is given to the biography and missionary activity of Paul and to the form and content of his letters. Significant differences between the information given by Paul and the account of Acts are discussed in order to reconstruct the beginnings and early history of the Jesus-movement and Christian mission.

The New Testament Writings and their Historical and Cultural Context (summer term, every year)

The first part of the lecture introduces the way of understanding the New Testament and informs about the methods of the historical criticism in New Testament exegesis. The second part of the lecture offers an introduction to the world and time of Jesus and the first Christian believers. Central aspects are politics, religion, and culture.

Q-Phase | 2nd and 3rd year of study (M.Theol., partially B.A.)

God in New Testament Writings (winter term, even year)

Jesus believed in the God of Israel whom he referred to as “father of all faithful”. The early Christian communities, however, were convinced that they can speak appropriately about God only if they talk about the death and the resurrection of Jesus at the same time. The lecture analyses and discusses central texts from the New Testament that deal with the God of Jesus and the God of the first Christians.

Jesus of Nazareth – the Person and His Message (summer term, odd year)

Who was Jesus of Nazareth? What did he teach? How trustworthy are the gospels as historical sources? Is it possible and necessary to investigate the biography and original teaching of Jesus? – Inspired by these questions this lecture is supposed to show that the New Testament Gospels still contain reliable information about the historical Jesus but mixed with theological interpretation.

The Church in New Testament Writings (winter term, odd year)

The lecture analyses central text of the New Testament and discusses the question of Jesus as founder of the church, the development of practise and organization of early Christian communities, and the origins of church ministries.

M-Phase | 4th and 5th year of study (M.Theol., M.A. TuW, M.Ed.)

The lectures of the M.A. level analyse passages from a single writing of the New Testament or discuss special issues of New Testament theology. The lectures are intended to deepen the understanding of New Testament exegesis and theology and to further develop the expertise in New Testament Studies.

The lectures offered deal with theological and historical questions concerning the New Testament gospels and the Jesus tradition, central themes and concerns of Pauline theology and its importance and significance, the reception and transformation of Pauline theology in the pseudepigraphic Pauline writings, the theology of the Johannine writings and their historical and religious background, New Testament and early Christian pseudepigraphy, the reception and transformation of early jewish apocalyptic traditions.

The lectures of the M.A. level focus on a solid knowledge and profound skills in New Testament exegesis and studies: Students must be able to analyse and interpret any text from the New Testament, using an established set of scholarly tools and methods. They must be able to understand and describe the way how they are formed and influenced by the socio-cultural background of their time. They must be able to understand the theological concern and impact of New Testament writings and to adequately introduce them to current discussions within theology as well as in the daily live of church(es) and society.

Seminars and Courses of Further Studies

The seminars deal with current questions and discussions on New Testament and early Christian literature. They want to intensive joint work on topics from the history of the Jesus movement and early Christianity or on the New Testament world and time (historical, cultural, religious and literary context).

Topics of the seminars include the analysis and interpretation of New Testament and early Christian writings (or selected passages), questions of New Testament theology (doctrine of God, Christology, soteriology, doctrine of grace, anthropology, ecclesiology, eschatology, ethics, etc.) as well as the history and culture of the New Testament world and the history of early Christianity. In addition to the principles and methods of historical criticism, recent approaches in literary studies will also be considered. Methods and concerns from the fields of history and cultural studies, social sciences and gender studies will also be discussed.

A special seminar is offered for those working on theses (M.Theol., M.A., Ph.D.) in the field of New Testament studies. It is intended to give them the opportunity to present their own research and to discuss their results. General questions on New Testament exegesis are deepened, methodological competence is expanded, and interdisciplinary competence is introduced. The seminar, therefor, is preferably offered in inter-university cooperation and across disciplines and fields of expertise.

Principles of Teaching and Studying New Testament Theology and Exegesis

The teaching offered by the department of New Testament Theology and Exegesis is committed to the “European Qualifications Framework“ (EQF) and the principles of consecutive study. The courses of the three phases (cycles) of study represent different levels of knowledge and build on each other in terms of content and methodology. Knowledge and competences from earlier phases, therefore, are required to achieve the goals and learning-outcomes of courses of the next phases.

Students are expected to acquire a most comprehensive and highly specialised knowledge in the field of New Testament studies.

Courses of the 1st year impart basic knowledge of the New Testament Gospels, of Paul and the Pauline writings, of the early history of the Jesus movement witin its historical and cultural environment, as well as of the methods of historical criticism.

Courses of the 2nd and 3rd year impart a more specialised knowledge about the theological impact of New Testament writings. The courses especially focus on knowledge about Jesus of Nazareth as the central object of New Testament studies and Christian theology as well as on an understanding of central themes and questions of Pauline theology.

Courses of the 4th and 5th year apply the already acquired knowledge and competences in analysing and interpreting New Testament writings. Knowledge from previous courses must be related to new questions.

Exams | Information


In the New Testament Exams, the following materials are generally allowed and will be provided by the exam chairperson/supervisor:

    Einheitsübersetzung (2016)

    Novum Testamtentum Graece (28th edition)

    Greek-German dictionary

In the modules of the O-Phase, which are conducted together with the Old Testament, a separate edition of the Bible may be used.

Final Examination / Basic Module Magister Theologiae (H/M-Phase):

Students of Magister Theologiae 2015 or 2021 can find information in Moodle for the examination in the basic module New Testament (H/M-Phase; 4th/5th year of study). Please register at https://elearning.uni-erfurt.de under Modul-Exams!

Basic Bibliography for New Testament Studies can be found here
Further links for your New Testament studies can be found here