The Bible: Old Testament

Whether you regard it as the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament, there’s no denying that it’s a complex and fascinating text, written by many people over a vast period of time, yet still displaying an overarching unity. Our purpose in this course is to consider it as both a collection of disparate books and as a unified whole. We will study its three major divisions—the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings—and draw upon a range of methodologies, including source criticism, literary criticism, and the exegetical practices of different religious traditions. We will pay attention to the Bible’s historical and cultural settings and consider issues resulting from translation. In the final weeks of the course, we will consider the differences between the “Hebrew Bible” and the “Old Testament.” Students will come away from this class with a greater understanding of the many ways these ancient writings have been both understood and misunderstood.