Course Syllabus

Instructor: Eric C. Smith, Ph.D.

Catalog description: An introduction to the literature and history of ancient Israel and early Judaism with special attention to the various methods appropriate to studying the Hebrew Bible.

Additional description: As a breadth course, this class is designed to provide a one quarter survey of the Hebrew Bible. It is organized according to the canonical ordering of the Hebrew Bible. Students will study the content and themes of the books of the Hebrew Bible, their historical and social backgrounds, and scholarly interpretations and approaches to the materials. Among the objectives of the course is to prepare students for further coursework in biblical studies and to develop each student’s skills in critical, close reading of biblical texts.

How the Course Will Work: See the How the Course Will Work discussion for all the details! 


---The Bible (*NRSV*).

Any study bible is fine as long as the translation is NRSV. I recommend The New Oxford Annotated Bible, New Revised Standard Version with Apocrypha (5th edition). Coogan, Michael, ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. ISBN: 978-0-19-027608-9

---Coogan, Michael. A Brief Introduction to the Old Testament. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

ISBN-10: 0199830118 | ISBN-13: 978-0199830114 | Edition: 2

(The first edition is also fine, but you are responsible for figuring out the page numbers that correspond to the second edition)

---Brown, Michael Joseph. What They Don’t Tell You: A Survivor’s Guide to Biblical Studies. Louisville: Westminster Knox, 2000.

  • ISBN-10: 066422220X ·  ISBN-13: 978-0664222208

*Note: this book is discussed early in the first week, so you might want to read ahead to finish it by then

Matthews, Victor Harold, and Don Carlos Benjamin. Old Testament Parallels: Laws and Stories from the Ancient Near East. Revised and Expanded 3rd Version. Mahwah, N.J: Paulist Press, 2007.

  • ISBN-10: 0809144352 ·  ISBN-13: 978-0809144358


Overview and Objectives


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Course Summary:

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