RELI 4001 - F16 Syllabus.docx

RELI 4001 - F16 Syllabus.docx - RELI 4001 Fall 2016...

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RELI 4001 Fall 2016 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible Instructor Tyler Kelley - [email protected] Peabody Hall, Room 213 Office hours: 9:00-10:00 A.M. Monday & by appointment Course Description This course is designed as an introduction to both the Hebrew Bible and scholarship related to it. The course will focus on the books of the Torah (Genesis-Deuteronomy) and the Former Prophets (Joshua-Kings). Students will learn the content of these books as well as various critical methods that have been used to better understand them. Emphasis is placed on first understanding the biblical texts in their original context. The composition of biblical literature and the relationship between these books and other ancient Near Eastern literature will also be discussed. Students will be expected to read for every class, and to come to class ready to discuss and engage critically with the material. Course Goals As your instructor, I will attempt to foster an environment of both respect and honest inquiry in order to encourage students to engage in critical thinking. This means that as a class we should work towards asking questions (of everything) and learning how to find the resources that can lead us to good answers. I will also provide you with the full range of materials and support that you need in order to be successful in this class. This course will center around four main topics: -The content of the books under discussion. Students will be expected to know the major people and events from each book. They will also be expected to have an understanding of the structure of these books. Knowing the content of these books is key to evaluating any arguments about composition or context. -The composition of these books. None of the books of the Bible discussed in this course began life in their current form; all of them have a long compositional history that is, in some measure, recoverable. Students will be expected to learn the methods scholars have used to understand the history of these books and to determine the relationship of the various parts of a book to the other parts. Understanding the compositional history of a biblical book is key to understanding anything else about it (also important in this regard is learning to recognize the difference between a source and the historian or compiler using that source). -The context in which these books were written. When was this written? Who wrote it? Who was his (or her) audience? What was the author’s worldview/ideology? Why did the author choose to present the information in the way that he (or she) did? Why did a historian or compiler choose to order his sources in the way that he did? Answering these questions requires that one pay close attention to the details of a text.
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