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Week Day Date Topic Links and discussion
1 T 1/14/2020

Starting with the New Testament: A Timeline and overview


  1. Suspending a habit: Read biblical writings without Christianity
  2. How Jewish were Christians: Three New Testament Texts that debate the Christian connection to the Jewish tradition and the Hebrew Bible
  3. Jewish history-writing as a response to national defeat
Opening Lecture
  R 1/16/2020

Assignments due today

  • Lecture Quiz (based on last class)


2 T 1/21/2020

Assignments due today

Discussion (reading due today)

  • Read Ruth (NRSV)
  • Read The Old Testament (TOT otherwise known as the rental textbook) 3-26

Reading: Chapters 1 and 2; Ruth


Reading: Book of Ruth

Handouts and Context Links:


Part 1--Conquest: Grief, Betrayal, and Transcendental Homelessness
  R 1/23/2020

Assignments due today

Discussion (reading due today)

  • Reading: Deuteronomy 1-4,5-6 (shema), 7:1-6 (plus others in class);
  • TOT 170-183
  • Herem


  • Wiki Entries (work at computers based on Ruth and Deuteronomy)

Deuteronomy: Extended discussion of Key Passages:

Sin, Abomination, and Other Stuff

Structure and age of Deuteronomy according to scholars (particularly Martin Noth, a German)

  1. Core (chapters 12-26, plus ratification and penalties (28:1-46)) composed 700s in time of Assyrian invasion in north (theoretically); part of prophetic reform movement
  2. Frame: 1-4:40. may be added in the time of Hezekiah and/ or Josiah
  3. More of frame: 31-34 added during exile to introduce Deuteronomistic history (Joshua thru Kings).
    1. Harmonization: chapters 5 (reiteration of decalogue, with variations) and 6-11 may have been added then or later.
  4. Priestly conclusion and re-editing: Passages that reflect exile (28:47-56; 30:1-10) In Post-exile period (before Nehemiah), this book was appended to the Torah/Pentateuch.

Four ways Deuteronomy diverges from worship expressed in Exodus and Leviticus (see R.E. Clements 1965):

  • De-mystification of ark of the covenant. Symbol of divine presence (Exodus) vs. container for tablets (Deut).
  • Centralization of worship: Exodus "In every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you" vs. Deut. "You will seek the place which Yahweh your god shall choose to set his name there" in the tabernacle
  • Theme of election of chosen people magnified
  • Yahweh's bond with all of Canaan--natural or conditional?

Context: Deuteronomy

Film: Kingdom of David (Part 2)

3 T 1/28/2020

Assignments due today

Discussion (reading due today): The Deuteronomic School



Paper 1: Context


Lamentations (in-class) and 2 Chroncles 36

Biblical Context


  R 1/30/2020

Assignments due today

Discussion (reading due today)

Consolation narratives

  • TOT 288-297; 375-386 Ezekiel, prophecy
  • Isaiah 40-55
  • Ezekiel 1-11, 33,37 (NRSV)

Film: Mysteries of the Bible--Prophets


First Isaiah

Context: 1st Isaiah

Reading--Consolation Narrative

Reading: Ezekiel (first scribe who recorded his own prophecy)

  • Ezekiel (chs 1-11, 33,37)

Context and Handouts

Part 2--Return: The Second Temple and the Vassal State
4 T 2/4/2020

Assignments due today

  • Lecture Quiz: Study your notes on prophecy

Discussion (reading due today)


  R 2/6/2020

Wisdom as Goddess: Proverbs, Ruth,and the persistence of the Canaanite Goddess (online class)

Assignments due today



  • Create at least one entry on a themes Wiki page about Ezekiel, Proverbs, and/or the Enuma Elish. You can pick any theme.
  • Proverbs 1.1-8:36; 31
  • Question: What does this passage in 2 Kings tell us about the presence of the goddess in the time of King Josiah (the first to find/implement the laws of Deuteronomy)


Reading: Proverbs


Context: Asherah the goddess


5 T 2/11/2020

Youth, Age, and Death

Assignment due Today

    Read Ecclesiastes. Do a Wiki entry.

Discussion (Reading due today)

Paper Activity: Translating the beginning and end of Ecclesiastes

  • Tools:
  • Other texts you might consider for the paper
    • Proverbs 8 or 31
    • Genesis 1
    • Genesis 32-4
    • Ruth 4
    • 2 Kings 23
    • Ezekiel 1
    • Isaiah 14


Reading: Ecclesiastes

Other handouts


  R 2/13/2020

Living among others

Assignments due today

  • Lecture quiz: based on my discussion of Ecclesiastes and Proverbs

Discussion (reading due today)

Reading: Esther

6 T 2/18/2020

Living Among Others, continued

Assignments due today

  • Wiki: Respond to Jonah and Esther on one or more of the Wiki theme pages
  • Paper 1 (Translation) due by midnight)

Discussion (reading due today)

Reading: Jonah

  R 2/20/2020

Job and the Meaning of Suffering

Assignments due today

  1. Lecture Quiz: Based on Jonah and Esther
  2. Discussion Essay (bring a short essay on this question: How does Job use metaphors to describe his suffering? Why? (use at least 10 examples)

Discussion (reading due today)

  • Job 1-21 (concentrate on Job's chapters)


Reading: Job

Job and Harris ch. 247-256

Context: Theodicy

7 T 2/25/2020 ADVISING DAY: NO CLASS  
  R 2/27/2020

Assignments due today

  • Lecture quiz: based on the first half of Job

Discussion (reading due today)

  • Job 28
  • Job 38-end
Part 3--Assembling and Rewriting the Past: Two Narratives of Origin
8 T 3/3/2020

Assignments due today

  • Reading Quiz: Terms to know on TOT 29-45; Genesis 1-11
  • Wiki entry: based on JOB

Discussion (reading due today)

  • Genesis 1-11 Friedman (note: we will be using the Friedman text for Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, and Leviticus)
  • TOT 29-45
  • Optional: Watch this lecture: Genesis 1-11 in the context of the Ancient near east (to about minute 38)


Narrative one: The Peaceful Assimilation Model

Reading: Genesis 1-11

Important Themes / Words / Names

For comparison: Psalms 14,74 (12-17),89 (8-13); Proverbs 8.22-31

Handouts (context)

  R 3/5/2020

Discussion (reading due today)

  • Genesis 1-11 (NRSV) continued
  • Lecture Quiz: Based on Genesis 1-11

Assignments due today:

Essay Quiz (choose 1): 300 words

  • Apply one of the Themes in Genesis to a story in the first 11 chapters of the Genesis.
  • Compare the 'hymn to Wisdom" (Proverbs 8) to the first chapter of Genesis. Talk about what is different.
9 T 3/10/2020 SPRING BREAK: NO CLASS  
  R 3/12/2020 SPRING BREAK: NO CLASS  
  R 3/19/2020 ""  
11 T 3/24/2020

Assignments due today:

  • Wiki: based on Genesis 1-25
  • Lecture Quiz: based on Genesis 12-25

Discussion (reading due today)

  • Genesis 12-25
  • Abraham, Lot, and Sodom and Gomorra
  • The four authors and their approach to covenant
  • The "Binding of Isaac," martyrdom, and the Documentary Hypothesis



  R 3/26/2020

Assignments due today

  • Reading Quiz: What to study for quiz on TOT 55-90 and Genesis 25-36. This quiz will be available from March 26-28, all day, but you will only have 60 minutes to take it.

Discussion (reading due today)

Genesis 25-36

Matriarchs of Genesis:

Jacob's Covenant

Film about Joseph (and a scene from The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat)

Slides related to Hebrew Bible (from UPenn course) including "Asiatic" migration to Egypt around the time of the patriarchs

Alternate Creation Myths:

The Hebrew Goddess

12 T 3/31/2020

Assignments due today

  • Paper 2 due tomorrow (4/1) at Midnight

Discussion (reading due today)


  R 4/2/2020

Assignments due today

  • Reading Quiz: What to study for Quiz on TOT 138-150; 152-168 and Numbers and Leviticus. You will have from 4/2 - 4/4 (all day) to take the quiz, but you must complete it in 60 minutes.

Discussion (reading due today)


Some takes on lgbtq and Leviticus

Three biblical law codes (each written independently of the rest of the pentateuch):

  • Covenant Code (Exodus 20.22-23.33)
    • Apodictic laws (general laws) and Case Law (Hammurabi: civic and criminal)
    • Worship of Yahweh (20:22-26)
    • 21 -22.17 Old Canaanite Laws (see "elohim" or "judges" 22.7-9). Case law: slavery, injury, property. Similarity to Hammurabi
      • Note: no retributive justice for slaves
    • misc humanitarian and religious (return lost animals belonging to the enemy)
    • ritual calendar, festivals, sabbath
    • Divine promises and curses
  • Holiness Code (Lev 17-26) compiled by P (6th c); 6th century practices retrojected into Sinai sojurn
    • Priestly school, but perhaps later (written by redactors?)
    • Parallels language of Ezekiel
    • Blessings and curses common as consequences of disobedience in near eastern treaties
    • "holiness" (qodesh) = separateness: Do not follow Canaanite statues
    • concentric circles of Holiness: Yahweh, then High Priest (only he can enter the temple), then levites, then Israelites (P and H include resident aliens), then nations. Also circles of place and time (sabbath, holy days, other time)
    • 18-20: Note that the bible has frequent stories of prohibited sexual relationships, especially among Moses and the patriarchs
    • laws about women equate them with property; daughter can be sold as a "slave-wife"
  • Deuteronomic Code (Deut 12-26). Utopian view of past created to spur 8th or 7th c. reforms.
    • Humanitarian revisions to Covenant Code: freeing slaves after six years, slaves must also observe the sabbath, exceptions against adultery law for women raped in the countryside, since their cries for help would go unheard
    • Exalts all levites, not just line of Aaron (perhaps they were part of Deuteronomic school)
      • Needy and protected class (Deuteronomy lays off priests by centralizing worship)
    • Limitations of Monarchal power
    • Concerns about false prophets
    • Use of Assyrian treaty genre
13 T 4/7/2020


  • The Deuteronomistic History: Joshua through Kings
  • Lecture quiz based on above

Summary of next bunch of books

Narrative Two: The Conquest Model or the Deuteronomistic History

Reading: Judges


  • Deuteronomistic theory
  • Alternate theory of Organization: Family History plus National History plus Monarchic History; Joseph story and Judges story act as bridges between them
  • In class:
    • 1 Samuel 8, 9: Kingship
    • 1 Samuel 15, 16: end of God's favor, selection of David
    • 1 Samuel 24, 27, 31: David and Saul
  • 1 Samuel 28 (necromancy, holy war)
  • 2 Samuel 7:1-16 (covenant)
  • 2 Samuel 11-12 (Bathsheba)
  • 1 Kings 3 (succession)
  • 1 Kings 12 (division)
  • 1 Kings 17-22; 2 Kings 1:1-12 (Ahab, Jezebel, Elijah), 2 Kings 9 (Ahab and Jezebel)
  • David Movie: Poet Warrior
  • Archeological investigation into David story (movie)
  • Solomon movie
  • Kingdom of David (Part 2: 35)

Context and Discussion: Kingship narratives

  R 4/9/2020

Assignments due today

Discussion (reading due today)

Reading: Daniel plus 1 Maccabees chapter





The Disappearance of God

Context and Handouts


14 T 4/14/2020

Assignments due today

  • Wiki: based on Daniel


  • The World Between the Testaments: Lecture
  • Discussion of paper 4 (Final)


Lecture and Context

Pseudepigrapha and context


Some other great films of this sort (not assigned for now):

  R 4/16/2020

Watch Banned from the Bible (both parts)

Special Homework Assignment for next class (worth three quizzes)

15 T 4/21/2020

Assignments due today

  • Lecture Quiz: World Between the Tesaments and Banned from

Discussion (reading due today) : Apocrypha and Pseudipgrapha

Reading: The Apocrypha

  • Tobit OR
  • Wisdom of Solomon 7-11 AND 4 Maccabees
  • Wisdom, Matyrdom, and Women of Valor


  • Intertestamental literature: Tobit, Widom of Solomon 4-7, 4 Maccabbees


Paper 4 Info:


  • Final Exam: Critical Thinking (link is to university's definition and rubric). The assignment is on Blackboard.
    • Two drafts. One due by midnight at the latest (no exceptions) on December 3. You must do draft 1 to continue to draft 2.
    • The second version will be due online at final exam time and should address all my suggestions and should be free of grammar errors. I expect you to seek assistance at WALC if you have major errors.
    • NOTE: If you do not revise the first paper according to my suggestions, you will not be able to score above a C on the final exam.
Part 7--New Testament: Radical revisions of a tragic biography
  R 4/23/2020

Assignments due today

  • Wiki (Two Entries) Tobit, Wisdom of Solomon 7-11, and 4 Macabees (choose 2)
  • Paper 4 (first draft) due by tomorrow at midnight (NOTE: your revision is due by midnight on 5/7/2020)

Discussion (reading due today)

  • Re
  • Paul's Mystery cult and the World
    • Thessalonians
    • Romans 4-7
    • James 2
    • I-Corinthians

aul Links

Good films: Kingdom of David Part 4



I (and II) Corinthians

Film: From Jesus to Christ: the First Christians (part II: Paul and the spread of Christianity--54:07) OR Christianity: the first 1000 years (with great accompanying web site)

OR Peter, Paul and the Christian Revolution and part 2

Film: Kingdom of David, part 4 (on campus) or via Youtube (off campus

All gospels


16 T 4/28/2020

Assignments due today

  • Film Quiz: From Jesus to Christ, the first Christians (sections on Matthew, Mark, and Luke

Discussion (reading due today)


  R 4/30/2020


Assignments due today

  • Lecture Quiz: four gospels compared (based on last class)

Discussion (reading due today)

  • Revising and correcting paper 4
  • The fall of the second temple and the beginnings of Rabinnical Judaism (if we get to it)


Gnosticism and the Gnostic gospels
  M 5/4/2020 BIBLE: 12-2:30 PM  
  R 5/7/2020 POETRY WRITING:  8:30-11 AM
  F 5/8/2020 SHAKESPEARE: 12-2:30 PM  
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