Background Readings for Biblical Studies
Greco-Roman Emphasis

AP 404 & AP 405, Fall 2010
Mark Moore
Office: 624-2518 x2711
Home: 782-8379



Objectives | Projects | Schedule | Grades | Class Policies | Essential Reading

Course Description: Backgrounds for Biblical Studies is a course on primary readings which sheds light on the culture, history, and theology of the Biblical text. Those enrolled in AP 404 will be expected to read 2,000 pages of primary material and produce a commentary on one chapter of the book of Acts using these sources. Each student will also highlight material pertaining to one particular theological issue that arises from their chapter of Mark. As a class, we will cover every chapter of Acts. Those enrolled in AP 405 will add an additional 2,000 pages of readings and can uses this course as an Apologetics elective. (The class is scheduled for Thursdays 1:30-3:30 p.m.).

  1. To become familiar with the primary documents pertaining to Biblical studies and become proficient in using them to augment one's understanding of canonical texts.

  2. To develop reading strategies for ancient literature particularly by locating texts in their geographic, literary, and ideological contexts.

  3. To produce a commentary on Acts using nothing but primary texts.

  4. To identify and trace at least one theological/philosophical concept through the primary texts to see how and why it is dealt with in various ways by various communities/authors.


  1.  Readings: Each student will read the assigned material as outlined on the calendar below. S/he will add marginal comments which explain how the passage augments our understanding of a specific phrase or text out of the book of Acts. In addition, s/he will highlight any passages which address his/her theological topic.

  2. Presentation: Each week each student will have five minutes to report on their highlighted items and marginal comments. The class will then arbitrate which highlights should be added to the final commentary.

  3. Paper: Each student will be responsible for his/her own chapters of Acts (or other passage as assigned by the moderator). In addition, each student will be responsible for combining all the student comments into a single document (as divided up by the moderator). Thus, each student will be responsible for producing an edited copy of some of the original sources and each student will be responsible for the final commentary on Acts for his/her chapter.


Most readings can be found in one of the following sites:

Library of Ancient Texts Online
Greek and Roman Authors


8/26    Introduction

9/2      Cicero (106–43 b.c.e.), Roman philosopher, politician, and lawyer.

           Purchase Selected Works of Cicero (tr. Harry M. Hubbeli; Roslyn, NY: Walter Black, Inc., 1948). Read “Second Speech Against Verres,” “Letters on his Consulship and Exile” and “Selection from The Republic: Scipio’s Dream,” “Letters on the Civil War,” “Letter After Caesar’s Assassination,” and “First Philippic Against Mark Antony.”

9/9     Lucretius (99–55 b.c.e.) Roman poet and philosopher.
AP 404 reads "On the Nature of Things," books 1-3; AP 405 adds books 4-6

9/16    Seneca the Elder (c. 54 b.c.e. – c. 39 c.e.) Roman rhetorician and equestrian
AP 404 reads books 1-3; AP 405 adds books 4-6. You must purchase this book.

9/23    Philo (20 b.c.e.– 50 c.e.) Hellenistic Jewish Philosopher
AP 404 Read: Flaccus, Hypothetica, Embassy to Gaius, and Every Good Man is Free
AP 405 Add any essays from Philo totaling approximately 100 pages.

9/30    Josephus (37– c. 100 c.e.) Hellenistic Jewish Historian
AP404 will read Wars of the Jews book 1, chapter 14 through book 2, chapter 9 and books 4-6. AP405 will also read the parallel sections in Antiquities of the Jews using the parallel tool at:

10/7    Dio Chrysostom (c. 40–120 c.e.) Roman orator, writer, philosopher, and historian.
AP 404 Read: Discourses On Kingship, Cynic, Roman Overlords, Corinthian; AP 405 adds Hunter, Olympic,
AND Quintilian (c. 35 – c. 100 a.d.) Roman rhetorician
AP 404 Read: Intitutio Oratia 4; AP 405 Intitutio Oratia 5

10/14  Reading Break. Lecture on Jewish Background Literature

10/21  Plutarch (46–120 c.e.) a Greek historian and biographer
AP404 reads Theseus & Romulus; Alexander & Caesar; Tiberius & Caius;

            AP405 adds Lysander & Sulla; Agesilaus & Pompey; Aratus; Artaxerxes; Galba; Otho.

10/28  Tacitus (56–117 c.e.) Roman senator and historian.
AP404 reads Annals; AP405 adds Histories.

11/4    Suetonius (c. 69/75–after 130 c.e.) Roman equestrian and historian.
AP404 Twelve Caesars (up through Nero)
AP405 Galba and following

11/11  Epictetus (55–135 c.e.) Greek Stoic philosopher
AP404 reads discourses 1&2; AP405 adds
discourse 3 & 4

11/18  Lucius Flavius Philostratus the Athenian (c. 170–247 c.e.) Greek Biographer
AP 404 reads Life of Apollonius volume 1; AP405 adds volume 2




Special Topic


Ben (Icnprch) Cross



Josh (all-n) Hutchinson  


Chaz (std) Robbins  


Sasha (gidynluv) Greer  


Tara (tkovr) Schaubert  


 Steven (evn) Eynon



 Nathan (icndy) Schultz



    ADA Accommodation: If you have a disability and are requesting an accommodation, please contact the Executive Director of Admissions at 417-624-2518 Extension 2006 as soon as possible.

    Attendance: Absences over 6 will result in the failure of this course as outlined in the college catalogue (page 53-4). Four tardies will be counted as one absence. If a student arrives fifteen minutes after class or leaves fifteen minutes before class is over it will be counted as an absence. 

    Homework: Late work is unacceptable. Assignments and projects are due at the beginning of the class period on which they are assigned.  If you are absent, you are still responsible for having your work brought to class and turned in for you. All work is to be typed unless otherwise noted.

    Tests: Should you miss an exam you will take a different exam and you will have exactly one week to make it up from the class period on which it was given. You may take it at the testing center (L12) after paying a $5 late fee in the business office.

    Cheating/Plagiarism: Cheating will result in a zero on the assignment in question and a mandatory meeting with the dean of students to determine further discipline which may include failure in the class or dismissal from the college. Cheating  includes but is not limited to (1) using material from another student for tests, memory, or term papers, (2) not properly citing sources in papers and assignments so as to make it look original, (3) using cheat sheets – written or electronic – for tests or quizzes.

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