Masters of Theology and Letters - New Saint Andrews College

Master of Arts

in Theology and Letters

The Master of Arts in Theology and Letters (M.A.) is a limited-enrollment, academically rigorous, two-year course of graduate studies for those aspiring to recover a faithful, Reformed, philological approach to theology. All students need to be able (as a minimum) to work comfortably within either Hebrew, Greek, or Latin. Students will be able to study biblical or systematic theology using the philological method. This course is suitable for Bible translators, systematic theologians, those seeking pastoral training, and anyone interested in pursuing a philological approach to the study of texts in their original language. The M.A. program thus provides students a unique opportunity to explore both philology and theology as they apply to numerous areas of the life of the Church.

Language study turns the student from layman to legitimate.


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Additional Programs of Interest

Graduate Class Instructors

Ben Merkle

President, Fellow of Theology

Mitch Stokes

Senior Fellow of Philosophy

Timothy Edwards

Academic Dean, Fellow of Theology

Jonathan McIntosh

Fellow of Humanities

Joseph Tipton

Fellow of Classical Languages

Timothy Harmon

Lecturer of Reformed Systematics

Course Offerings

Sola Scriptura and the Rules of Theology (Mitch Stokes)

Generally, the resolution of theological disagreement requires an agreed-upon “theological rule book,” a rule book that can adjudicate between competing theological views.  During the Reformation, this of course became particularly salient as Protestants boldly claimed that the Church had been following the wrong set of theological rules.  But which theological rules are the correct ones, and who decides, and by what criteria?  And even if everyone had agreed that Scripture (alone) is the correct rule book, what interpretive rules ought we use to determine what the rule book actually says?  Again, says who, and by what criteria?  This course navigates these issues, discussing how contemporary Christians might properly deal with the fact that many theological disagreements are second-order, or “meta” disagreements: disagreements about the fundamental rules of theology.

The Epic Tradition in Poetry and Literature (Peter Escalante)

Epic poetry is one of the great roots of Western literature. It flourished especially among peoples speaking Indo-European languages from Ireland to India and reveals cognate conceptions and practices of religion, politics, and art inherited along with the related languages. Christians in Europe encountered it primarily through Virgil and slowly absorbed its themes while transfiguring them through a Biblical sensibility, eventually producing their own epic works while also sometimes seeing the Bible in epic terms. In this course, students will look at this long literary arc from Homer and Virgil to Ariosto and Milton primarily through Lewis’ critical categories of “primary and secondary epic”, and end with a consideration of 19th and 20th century critical retrievals of elements of epic form.

Theological Poetics (Jonathan McIntosh)
This graduate seminar is a study in the philosophical and theological meaning and significance of the act and product of human making, or what J.R.R. Tolkien called “sub-creation.” The course examines how the act of poiesis sheds light on and even achieves a development within God’s own act of creation, albeit under his ordination, and considers how human making represents a unique and possibly even privileged form of human knowing. Authors studied include Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Nicholas of Cusa, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Martin Heidegger, Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis.
Abraham in the Bible and Tradition (Timothy Edwards)

This course will focus on a close reading of the Abraham narrative found in Genesis 11:27-25:11 alongside interpretations of events within this narrative found in other books of the Old Testament, the New Testament and post-biblical Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions. Students will examine how these interpretive traditions have read the biblical narrative and how Abraham became a point of divergence between Judaism, Christianity and Islam and not a point of convergence.

Intermediate Hebrew (Timothy Edwards, year-long)
Beginning with narrative texts and proceeding on to more difficult poetic and prophetic texts the student will interact with a variety of genres of Biblical Hebrew as well as varying levels of difficulty. Class time is spent translating these set texts, with the instructor expecting the student to understand the vocabulary, syntax and grammar of the passage and can discuss the issues that surround each verse. Attention will be given to matters of exegesis as well as reception history of the text, particularly in the early translation traditions, to the extent that this sheds light on the philological issues in the text.
Texts Studied: Genesis 1-4, 6-9;, 11-22; Psalms 63. 110, 120-134; Joel.
Advanced Hebrew (Timothy Edwards, year-long)

This course builds upon the foundation laid in Hebrew 601-04 and aims to take the student from the Biblical period through to the Medieval period through a select reading of set texts. The first two terms will proceed from the more challenging prophetic/poetic texts to Hebrew inscriptions from the Biblical period. The course will then proceed to reading selected Hebrew texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls and 2nd Temple literature and proceed to reading select Rabbinic texts, finishing with the Medieval Hebrew Grammarians and some Medieval Hebrew Poetry.

Texts Studied: Habakkuk 1-3; Exodus 15; Judges 5; Deuteronomy 32-33; Mesha Stele; 1QpHab; Selections from the Hodayot, 11Q Melchizedek; Mishnah Sanhedrin 10; Pesikta de Rav Kahana 1:1-4; Selections from Midrash Tehillim 1; Mikraot Gedolot (medieval grammarians) on Genesis ch.3; Medieval Poetry: War (Shmuel HaNagid); Open the Gate, You lie in My Palace, Tell the Boy, Winter with its Ink (Solomon Ibn Gabriol); Love in me Stirs, A Gift of Cheese (Yitzhaq Ibn Khalfoun)

Reformation Era Latin Historians (Jospeh Tipton)

An important move in the development of modern historiography was made by those Protestants who used Latin to chronicle the unmistakably momentous events happening all around them. This course will read selections from these Protestant historians, such as Johann Sleidan, Richard Dinoth, John Foxe, Johannes Lerius, Joachim Camerarius, and others in the original Latin and explore what goals they set out to accomplish, what methods they followed in doing so, and why and how they used Latin to achieve those goals. The selections will cover a range of fascinating subjects running from a Calvinist colony sent to the New World, the sack of the Rome by imperial troops, the wars of religion in France culminating the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, to the Protestant martyrologies of John Foxe and Jean Crespin. On the whole, the course will attempt to locate Reformation Era Latin historiography on the spectrum between Classical and Renaissance history writing and the rise of modern historiography in the nineteenth century.

Reformation Satire (Joseph Tipton)

The sixteenth century was in many ways a century of satire. From posters and pamphlets to woodcuts and engravings, the era oftentimes expressed itself in caricature and lampoon. This course will explore satire as expressed in the Latin writings of figures such as Erasmus of Rotterdam, Ulrich von Hutten, Eobanus Hessus, Antonius Corvinus, Celio Secondo Curione, and Johann Hasenberg. It will look at common motifs, themes, and strategies, explore the literary traditions it taps into, and consider its objectives, both those it hoped to achieve and those it actually did. Particular attention will be paid to the use of Latin in its various styles, “dialects,” and registers and the effect the language itself was meant to have on its readership.

Reformed Systematics (Timothy Harmon)

This course is a year-long introduction to Systematic Theology from a Reformed perspective. We will approach theology as an exercise of regenerate reason, following the Creator’s instruction in Holy Scripture, to the end of fellowship with Him. Undertaken with the saints in the economy of salvation, derivative of God’s perfect knowledge, and reliant on His gracious provision, our theological reflection will embrace practices befitting its task, including confession, prayer, and praise. We will contemplate individual theological topics in view of the whole, giving careful attention to the placement of and connections between different elements. While using Berkhof’s arrangement as our primary guide, we will consider supplementary sources along the way.


Requirements for the Master of Arts in Theology and Letters Degree

Candidates for the M.A. degree must pass a total of 32 credits, with a minimum grade of MCH (B-) in each course. The M.A. degree requirements include:

  1. Four, two-credit terms of a Theological Foundation seminar: Translation Theory and the Work of Theology (8 credits total)
  2. Ten, two-credit M.A. Seminar Electives (20 credits total)
  3. M.A Research Project (4 credits total)
  4. Final Oral Exam
  5. Attendance at Graduate Forum

NSA in partnership with Dallas International University (formerly, Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics) to prepare Bible Translators

New Saint Andrews College has a cooperative agreement with Dallas International University that will facilitate New Saint Andrews graduates becoming Bible translators. Up to fifteen New Saint Andrews graduate credits will be transferable into the Dallas International graduate degree in Applied Linguistics with fifteen Dallas International credits transferable into the New Saint Andrews Master of Arts in Theology and Letters degree (as well as eighteen credits into our Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Culture).

Degree Calendar

Year AYear BYear A/BElectives (Year A and/or B)
JerusalemTranslation Theory and the Work of Theology I
(2 credits)
Reformed Systematics I
(2 credits)
M.A. Thesis Project
(4 credits)
Examples of Electives Offered
  • Hebrew Text-Reading Classes
  • Greek Text-Reading Classes
  • Latin Text-Reading Classes
  • Synoptic Issues in OT Law
  • Sola Scriptura and the Problem of the Criterion
  • Abraham in the Bible and Tradition
  • Anselm
  • Theological Poetics
    (2 credits per elective)
NiceaTranslation Theory and the Work of Theology II
(2 credits)
Reformed Systematics II
(2 credits)
Year-long Wenden House Translation Projects and Assigned Readings
(4 Credits)
ChalcedonTranslation Theory and the Work of Theology III
(2 credits)
Reformed Systematics III
(2 credits)
WestminsterTranslation Theory and the Work of Theology IV
(2 credits)
Reformed Systematics IV
(2 credits)

2019-2020 Calendar

Jerusalem Term

August 6-9, 2019 — Prologus Studiorum

August 9, 2019 — Orientation & Convocation

August 12, 2019 — Jerusalem Term Begins

September 30-October 4, 2019 — Final Examination Week

October 4, 2019 — Jerusalem Term Ends

October 7-11 2019 — Fall Break

Nicea Term

October 14, 2019 — Nicea Term Begins

November 25-29, 2019 — Thanksgiving Break

December 9-13, 2019 — Final Examination Week

December 13, 2019 — Nicea Term Ends

December 16, 2019 — Christmas Break Begins

Chalcedon Term

January 13, 2020 — Chalcedon Term Begins

March 2-6, 2020 — Final Examination Week

March 6, 2020 — Chalcedon Term Ends

March 9-13, 2020 — Spring Break

Westminster Term

March 16, 2020 — Westminster Term Begins

May 4-8, 2020 — Final Examination Week

May 7, 2020, Thursday — Commencement

May 8, 2020 — Westminster Term Ends


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