Instructor: Amy Erickson, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible
Course Description: This course introduces students to important themes in the Hebrew Bible, including creation, identity and ethnicity, history and memory, power, violence and war, hope, justice, and the nature of God and the gods. The course also covers the historical development of the literature, religion, and culture of ancient Israel, and methods and interpretive strategies for understanding ancient texts.
“To be sure, the Bible never was easy reading; and the finest interpretation cannot and should not make it so. Whatever one wrote in ancient Israel, it was not for speed-reading…Reading the Bible has always demanded that one be prepared for contemplation.”
--Gerhard von Rad, “How to Read the Old Testament,” in idem, God at Work in Israel (trans. John H. Marks; Nashville: Abingdon, 1980 [German orig.: 1974]),10, 18.
1. The Bible (NRSV)
Any study bible is fine as long as the translation is NRSV (New Revised Standard Version). Here are a few I recommend:
-The Peoples’ Bible: New Revised Standard Version With the Apocrypha. Edited by Curtiss Paul DeYoung, et al. Fortress, 2008.
-HarperCollins Study Bible: Student Edition: Fully Revised & Updated. Edited by Harold W. Attridge, et al. Society of Biblical Literature; HarperOne, 2006. ISBN-10: 0060786841 | ISBN-13: 978-0060786847
-The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version. Edited by Michael Coogan, Marc Brettler, et al. Oxford University Press, 2018.
-The New Interpreter's Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version With the Apocrypha. Edited by Walter Harrelson. Abingdon Press, 2003.
2. Coogan, Michael. A Brief Introduction to the Old Testament. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Second Edition. (note: a third edition is available, but I prefer the second edition). ISBN-10: 0199830118 | ISBN-13: 978-0199830114 | Edition: 2
3. Wilda C. Gafney, Womanist Midrash: A Reintroduction to the Women of the Torah and the Throne. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2017.
4. Brown, Michael Joseph. What They Don’t Tell You: A Survivor’s Guide to Biblical Studies. Louisville: Westminster Knox, 2011 or 2000 (either version is fine). ISBN-10: 066422220X • ISBN-13: 978-0664222208
*Note: I’ll be asking you to read Michael Brown’s book prior to the first class session
Matthews, Victor Harold, and Don Carlos Benjamin. Old Testament Parallels: Laws and Stories from the Ancient Near East. Revised and Expanded Third Version. Mahwah, N.J: Paulist Press, 2007 (I believe this one is available in e-book form through the library). • ISBN-10: 0809144352 • ISBN-13: 978-0809144358
A Warning about Googling the Bible. Short version: don't do it. Click on the link for the whole story (aka, your instructor's tirade).
A Warning about Plagiarism. Short version: don't do it. Click on the link to see if you're vulnerable.
Zoom Check-In Meetings
Thursday 9-10:15 a.m. Weeks 2, 5, 8
Week 2. Check in. I'll field questions about the course design and about the material from the first week and a half.
Week 5. Exegesis Exercise (Josh 2, 6)
Week 8. Exegesis Exercise (Isa 52:13-53:12)
The syllabus page shows a table-oriented view of the course schedule, and the basics of course grading. You can add any other comments, notes, or thoughts you have about the course structure, course policies or anything else.
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