University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Biblical Spirituality: Discovering God's Face in Human Experience

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Sacred Scripture, Hebrew and Greek

DESCRIPTION The Bible witnesses to the many and varied ways in which the people of Israel and the early Christian communities experienced God and responded to this experience. The first part of this study-unit will study the Old Testament, in which the fundamental experience of God is that of the Saviour who brought out his people from Egypt and who continued to intervene in the history of his people. God made a covenant with the Israelites and expected them to live by his Law.

The second part of the study-unit will concentrate on the experience of God in the New Testament communities that was primarily centred around Jesus’ life and teachings. Jesus is God Incarnate and the way the first Christians experienced Jesus after his resurrection and ascension heavily reflected the way they experienced God in their everyday life.

Study-Unit Aims:

By the end of this study-unit students will be able to:
- outline a good overview of the Bible.
- describe the Bible as a witness to the experience of God made by biblical Israel and the early Christian communities.
- name the various approaches to the spiritual life present in the Old and in the New Testaments.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- describe the spirituality inherent in the Bible through the perspective of Old and New Testament anthropology;
- summarize the experience of God in history, with special focus on the Law as response to God;
- describe the prophets’ experience of God;
- identify the experience of God in the cult;
- illustrate the wise men’s experience of God and God as Creator;
- illustrate the Psalms as dialogue with God;
- identify the experience and silence of God in the death of Jesus within the Marcan Community;
- illustrate the fundamental call of the Johannine Community: “remaining in” God, remaining Christians;
- paraphrase the particular experience of God in Paul's life and teachings.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- appraise the various perspectives of different Biblical books concerning the experience of God;
- apply the different Biblical theologies of the experience of God in both the Old and the New Testaments;
- integrate the literary, historical, and theological facets of the different divisions of the Bible;
- formulate an overview of key contributions in Biblical theology scholarship.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

- COGGINS Richard, Introducing the Old Testament, Oxford 1990.
- CERESKO Anthony R., Introduction to Old Testament Wisdom. A Spirituality of Liberation, New York 1999.
- BASSLER Jouette M., God (NT), in Anchor Bible Dictionary, II, edited by David Noel Freedman, New York 1992, 1049-1055.

Supplementary Readings:

- SAWYER John F. A., Prophecy and the Biblical Prophets, Oxford 1993.
- BONORA Antonio (a cura di), La spiritualità dell’Antico Testamento, Bologna 1987.
- DUNN James D.G., God and humankind, in The Theology of Paul the Apostle, London – New York 1998, 27-78.
- GUTHRIE Donald – MARTIN Ralph P., God, in Dictionary of Paul and his Letters, edited by Gerald F. Hawthorne – Ralph P. Martin, Downers Grove/IL 1993, 354-369.
- HURTADO Larry W., God, in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, edited by Joel B. Green – Scot McKnight – I. Howard Marshall, Downers Grove/IL – Leicester 1992, 270-276.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment Yes 50%
Assignment Yes 50%

LECTURER/S Joseph Ciappara
Paul Sciberras

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
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