Why Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins at Nyack?

Students in Nyack’s AJCO Program are challenged in heart and mind to engage the world of the Bible, and so to hear more clearly the message of Scripture.  No other academic program affords students such a rich opportunity to study Jesus and the world in which he lived.

The AJCO program is unique in that it trains the student in the methods of research in the fields of language, history, religious thought, and material culture which are essential for an understanding of both Judaism and Christianity in Roman antiquity.

AJCO students have the opportunity to:

  • Study and travel to historic locations to consider the land of Israel in the Hellenistic and early Roman periods.
  • Study ancient Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, the three languages spoken in first-century Judaea.
  • Study Modern Hebrew to gain a greater facility in the language of Jesus.
  • Study with world class Christian and Jewish scholars who are leaders in their respective fields and pioneers in the study of New Testament and early Christianity.

At a Glance

Credits:  36
Standard Completion Time:  2 years
Accreditation: Middle States

What Will I Study?

Courses in the land, language and literary thought of the world of Jesus. To prepare our students to engage comprehensively the cultural aspects that shaped ancient Judaism and early Christianity, our program coursework includes:

  • Problems and Methods in Research
  • Historical Geography of the Land of the Bible
  • Modern Hebrew
  • Hebrew Readings in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Early Rabbinical Literature
  • Greek readings in the Synoptic Gospels
  • Readings in the Apocrypha and Jewish Pseudepigrapha
  • Paul and Hellenistic Christianity
  • Study in Biblical Lands

Career Opportunities

The M.A. in Ancient Judaism and Christianity will help prepare students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in New Testament Studies, Historical or Biblical Research, and Linguistics.  Students may go on to work in history, theology, religious studies, philosophy, seminary and a variety of careers including:

  • Bible translation
  • Biblical/Historical Research
  • Biblical Education
  • Clergy/Pastoral/Ministry Director
  • Doctoral Studies in Archaeology, History, Language, Biblical Literature

Our Graduates

  • Pastors
  • Religious Educators
  • Bible Translation
  • Faith Based Non-Profit Leader

Key Faculty

Dr. David Emanuel

Dr. David Emanuel

Associate Professor of Bible

Dr. Jeffrey Garcia

Dr. Jeffrey Garcia

Associate Professor of Bible

Dr. Steven Notley

Dr. Steven Notley

Distinguished Professor of Bible

Program Highlights

  • Three year degree: 36 credit program (48 with 12 credits of Modern Hebrew)
  • Fully online: Except 10-14 day annual residencies abroad
  • Cohort model: Build long-lasting relationships with professors and up to 20 students in your cohort
  • Starts each Fall: Complete in 3 years
  • Launching: Fall 2016

Benefits of the Online AJCO Degree

  • Engage in aspects of language, history, religious though, and material culture for both Judaism and Christianity in late antiquity
  • Challenge your heart and mind to engage the world of the Bible, to hear more clearly the message of Scripture.  No other academic program affords students such a rich opportunity to study Jesus and the world in which he lived.
  • Develop skills in the translation of biblical language and text, advanced academic research methods, and writing.
  • Gain access to leading scholars in their respective fields of discipline (i.e. archaeology, cultural history, and biblical literature)
  • Prepare for further academic, professional or ministerial endeavors by providing them with the skills and information needed for reading the New Testament.
  • Fit into your busy lifestyle undergraduate level courses from the comforts of your own home or while traveling


Dr. R. Steven Notley is the Director of the MA in AJCO at Nyack College. He lived in Jerusalem for sixteen years and received his Ph.D. in Comparative Religions from the Hebrew University, where he studied under the late Professor David Flusser. He is a recognized leader in his field and continues to publish collaboratively with Israeli scholars. Among his list of publications, he coauthored, with Flusser, The Sage from Galilee: Rediscovering Jesus’ Genius (Eerdmans 2007), with Ze’ev Safrai, Eusebius, Onomasticon: A Triglott Edition with Notes and Commentary (Brill 2005), and, with Anson Rainey, the monumental biblical atlas The Sacred Bridge: Carta’s Atlas of the Biblical World (Carta 2005). Recently he completed his second work with Safrai, a pioneering collection and annotated translation of the earliest rabbinic parables that provide the literary and religious context for the parables of Jesus, Parables of the Sages (Carta 2011).

General Prerequisites

  1. Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.0 or above
  2. Successful completion of the proficiency exam in Biblical Hebrew

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the program, candidates are expected to have:

  • Built a historical and geographical framework for interpreting the history and literature of the period.
  • Gained an understanding of the formation, content, and critical questions related to ancient Jewish literature and the New Testament.
  • Traced the history of biblical interpretation in the Second Jewish Commonwealth and nascent Christianity and to understand recent critical approaches to the literature that preserves it.


Online MA in AJCO Courses (3 Credits Each)


  • REL 501 Problems and Methods in Research
  • HIS 501 History of the Land of Israel (333 BCE-135 CE)
  • HIS 502 Historical Geography of the Land of the Bible
  • REL 502 Intertestamental Jewish Literature


  • LAN 501 Readings in Postbiblical Hebrew I: Dead Sea Scrolls 3
  • REL 602 Jewish Hermeneutical Methods & the New Testament 3
  • ARC 501 Land of the Bible: Israel Field Study 3
  • LAN 601 Readings in Postbiblical Hebrew II: Readings in the Tannaim 3
  • REL 601 Early Rabbinical Thought and Literature 3


  • REL 770 New Testament Seminar 3
  • REL 603 Qumran and Hellenistic Christianity (John and Paul) 3
  • LAN/BIB: Greek Readings: Synoptic Gospels 3

NOTE: *Students may choose to study Modern Hebrew in Israel, at another academic institution or through private tutorial.  What is imperative is that s/he attains the level of proficiency expected in the Modern Hebrew proficiency exam given at the end of the program.


After we receive all of your completed application materials, your file will be reviewed and you will receive notification of your admission status.


A financial aid assessment will be made once you are
accepted for admissions AND have completed your FAFSA.


Students must submit this Immunization Record Form prior to enrollment.

Student Loans

Federal Financial Aid

Federal Financial Aid is available to graduate students in the form of loans. This type of financial aid helps cover school expenses, including tuition, fees, books, supplies, and transportation. Students are required to file a FAFSA in order to be eligible for any federal aid. Once you have submitted your FAFSA and you have been accepted to Nyack your Award Letter will inform you of what you are eligible to receive.

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Entrance Counseling (required of all first time borrowers)

Exit Counseling (required of all students entering repayment. i.e.-graduating seniors)

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Maria Arroyo
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Isaac Foster
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