220a: Literature of the Bible: Old Testament Fall 2002
(Cross-listed with Religious Studies)
This course is designed to introduce students to the various kinds of literature to be found in the Hebrew Bible and to a variety of approaches to the material, so as to encourage the critical reading of Biblical literature, with attention to the different methods of reading required by different literary kinds: myths and legends, historical narrative, lyric poetry, etc. Texts are generally read in their historical context, and in the order in which they were composed: Torah (or Pentateuch), Historical Books (Joshua through Kings), Prophets, and Writings (Psalms, Wisdom Literature, sundry narratives). Some attention is also given to the so-called Apocrypha, or non-canonical texts (parts of Esther and Daniel as well as Judith). Students are encouraged to ask questions about the meaning of different texts in light of the circumstances in which they were composed, the forms in which they were written, and the discoverable purposes of the authors.
The class will be conducted primarily by discussion, punctuated by occasional lectures. Written requirements will include frequent quizzes, three short-answer hour exams, three short essays, and an essay final exam.