THE 1501 The Hebrew Bible Saint Joseph s University / Fall 2007 M, W, F: 9:00-9:50 / 10:00-10:50 Course website on Blackboard

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1 THE 1501 The Hebrew Bible Saint Joseph s University / Fall 2007 M, W, F: 9:00-9:50 / 10:00-10:50 Course website on Blackboard Professor Dr. Bruce Wells / Bellarmine 208 / phone: / Office hours: Monday and Wednesday 11:00 11:50 / 2:45 3:45 Please feel free to come and see me. If the office hours do not work for you, let me know and we can schedule an appointment. I will be happy to make time for you, if you should have questions or concerns that you would like to talk about in person. Textbooks Berlin, Adele, and Marc Zvi Brettler. The Jewish Study Bible. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Friedman, Richard E. Who Wrote the Bible? San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, THE 1501 (Wells) Course Pack available at the university press on City Avenue. Course Description This course will examine the biblical traditions and texts of the Hebrew Scriptures as products of particular historical and cultural communities, and as literary and theological documents. Course Objectives To obtain a critical understanding of the content of the Hebrew Bible (primary assessments: inclass performance, written essays) To engage the major viewpoints of current scholarship on the writings that comprise the Hebrew Bible (primary assessments: written essays and final exam) To gain exposure to the cultures, history, and literature of the ancient Near East (primary assessment: in-class performance) To learn basic methods of biblical research (primary assessment: annotated bibliography) To develop the ability to analyze critically primary and secondary sources (primary assessment: written essays and final exam) Requirements, Assignments, and Grading Students can earn a total of 250 points in the three different areas listed below. Class Preparation, Performance, and Quizzes (75 points / 30% of course grade). Students are expected to do the assigned reading, to make interesting and valuable contributions to whole-class discussions, to participate cooperatively in small-group discussions, and to demonstrate through their participation critical engagement with course material. Grades assigned for in-class performance will be largely subjective, based on the professor s overall impression of a student s efforts. In-class performance grades will be figured out of a total of 25 points. Students are also expected to participate in an on-line discussion board, hosted by the course s Blackboard website. Grades for participation in the on-line discussions will also be figured out of a total of 25 points. See the course website for more details on this requirement. Students should expect pop quizzes on any day that reading is due. A student s lowest quiz grade will be dropped. If a student is absent for a quiz, that is the grade that will be dropped. No make-up quizzes will be allowed except in extraordinary circumstances. Quiz grades will be based on a total of 25 points. Writing Assignments (75 points / 30% of course grade). Students will submit two 3-5 page essays during the semester. Students will choose which essays they would like to write from a list of several different options (see below). Essays must be typed, double-spaced, submitted on standard 8½ by 11 paper, and

2 THE 1501 (Wells) / Syllabus / page 2 printed in a readable font style and size. submissions will not be accepted. Essays will be graded by means of the following criteria. (1) Critical Comprehension: Does the essay demonstrate clear understanding of the given topic and critical analysis of key aspects of that topic? (2) Coherence: Does the essay have a clear thesis with logical arguments to support it? (3) Originality: Does the essay reflect the student s own analysis of and thinking on the topic? (4) Mechanics: Does the essay use correct grammar and a writing style appropriate to academic work? Each essay will be worth 20 points. Below is the list of possible topics for these essays. Students should check the course website for detailed instructions regarding each topic. a) Comparison of biblical texts with non-biblical texts from the ancient world b) Critique of the ideas of Who Wrote the Bible? c) Critique of the minimalist vs. maximalist debate among biblical scholars d) Overview and analysis of relevant discussions with persons outside of class e) Analysis of a biblical text using a particular critical methodology Students will also submit an annotated bibliography on a topic of their choice. All of the work for this assignment will be worth 35 points. Detailed instructions regarding the annotated bibliography will be distributed later in the semester. In contrast to the essays, each student s final annotated bibliography must be submitted as an attachment to an message. All late writing assignments will be discounted by 2 points per calendar day. Midterm and Final Exams (100 points / 40% of course grade). Both exams will be worth 50 points. The midterm exam will cover course content that has been important during the first several weeks of the semester. The final exam will be primarily an essay exam that will focus on two aspects of the students learning in this course. First, it will ask students to demonstrate how modern, critical scholarship on the Hebrew Bible can inform and contextualize the understanding of biblical texts. Second, it will give students the opportunity to show how the skills and knowledge they have gained can be applied to the analysis of new issues that have not been previously discussed in the course. Students may choose, with the professor s permission, to do an in-depth research paper in lieu of the final exam. Instructions for the paper will be distributed later. Grading Scale A student s final course grade will be assigned based on the scale below. Four percentage points are assigned to each grade category (except for the category of F). I will reserve the right to figure the grades on a curved scale. Typically, this will occur only if it is beneficial to student grades A A B B B C C C D D F If a student does all of the assigned work in an adequate and average manner, that student will typically receive a grade in the C range. Grades in the B range are given for very good work. Grades in the A range are for excellent or outstanding work. Grades in the D range are for below average or poor work. More detailed descriptions of each range are below. A excellent comprehension of material, insightful analysis, creative synthesis of material, frequent and highly valuable contributions in class, clarity in spoken communication, no issues with mechanics in written communication

3 THE 1501 (Wells) / Syllabus / page 3 B C D very good comprehension of material, solid analysis, good synthesis of material, frequent and valuable contributions in class, clarity in spoken communication, no major issues with mechanics in written communication adequate comprehension of material, some acceptable analysis, early stages of synthesis of material, some interesting and valuable contributions in class, clarity in spoken communication, few significant issues with mechanics in written communication difficulty in comprehension of material, little analysis, very little synthesis, infrequent contributions in class, some difficulty with clarity in spoken communication, significant problems with mechanics in written communication Students with Disabilities For those who have a documented learning, physical, or psychological disability and who are requesting reasonable academic adjustments, you are encouraged to contact Services for Students with Disabilities (Room 113, Science Center, or ) early in the semester. If you suspect that you have an undiagnosed disability (learning, physical, psychological), please contact Services for Students with Disabilities to discuss this concern. You should also discuss instructional needs and accommodations with your professor as early in the semester as possible. All requests for extended-time testing must be discussed with your professor at a minimum of one week prior to the date of each exam. Academic Honesty Policy It is expected that students work in this course will be conducted in keeping with the highest degree of academic honesty. Acts of dishonesty such as (but not limited to) cheating, unauthorized collaboration, and plagiarism will not be tolerated. The Academic Honesty Policy of Saint Joseph s University will be enforced. The text of the full policy can be found in the Student Handbook. Important Notes Changes to the syllabus, important announcements, and other information will be sent to students via . These communications will go to students SJU accounts. Other accounts will not be utilized. Students may send messages from other accounts but should check their SJU accounts on a regular basis in order to be sure they are not missing important communications regarding this course. All mobile phones and other electronic devices (check with professor for possible exceptions) should be turned off or placed in silent mode during class. If a student is absent for a class, the student should check with other students in order to obtain lecture notes or any other information that was missed. Students should not the professor, simply asking to be told what happened during that class session. Important items that require contact with the professor, such as assignments that were not turned in due to an absence, should be discussed in person if at all possible. Course Schedule (see the following pages) The course textbooks are identified below as follows: JSB = The Jewish Study Bible; WWTB = Who Wrote the Bible?; CP = Course Pack for THE 1501 (Wells). Readings from the Hebrew Bible are identified by chapter number(s) and the biblical book in which they occur. Unless otherwise specified, all readings and other assignments are due on the Wednesday of the week for which they are assigned.

4 THE 1501 (Wells) / Syllabus / page 4 Week 1 / Aug. 27 Aug. 31 Topic: Introduction to the Course / Historical Overview / Critical Methodologies Print (for Wed.), read through, and bring to class the Historical Overview notes on website Read (for Fri.) CP reading from Harris (his pages 1-33; CP 9-24); JSB Prepare (for Fri.): What questions does the Harris reading bring up for you? Week 2 / Sept. 4 Sept. 7 (Labor Day on Sept. 3) Topic: Issues of Textual Transmission / Creation Myths Read JSB ; Genesis 1-3; WWTB 15-49; CP reading from Matthews and Benjamin (their pages 9-18; CP 85-90) Prepare: Some scholars say that Genesis 2 and 3 sound very different from Genesis 1. What differences do you observe and what might be the reasons behind those differences? Week 3 / Sept. 10 Sept. 14 Topic: Torah, part I Early Myths and Traditions Read JSB 1-11; Genesis 4-9, 15-17, 21-22, 25, 27, 29, 34-35; WWTB 50-88; CP reading from Matthews and Benjamin (their pages 19-40; CP ) Prepare: What do you think the meaning of Genesis 6:2-4 could be (the phrase divine beings is, literally, sons of God in Hebrew)? Week 4 / Sept. 17 Sept. 21 Topic: Torah, part II Ancestral, Exodus, and Wilderness Traditions Read Genesis 37-45; JSB ; Exodus 1-3, 5-9, 12, 14-16; JSB ; Numbers 12-14; WWTB Prepare: What is puzzling about the encounters that Moses has with Yahweh in Exodus 3 and 6? What are some possible ways to understand them? Week 5 / Sept. 24 Sept. 28 Topic: Torah, part III Sinai, Covenant, and Law Read Exodus 19-24; JSB ; Leviticus 17-19; JSB ; Deuteronomy 19-25; CP reading from Matthews and Benjamin (their pages ; CP ); WWTB Prepare: What parallels did you notice between the biblical and the non-biblical texts? What did you find in the non-biblical texts that is similar to Deut 22:23-27? What about Deut 22:28-29? How can these similarities be explained? Due (Friday): Essay #1 / choose from essay topics a), d), or e) Week 6 / Oct. 1 Oct. 5 Topic: Midterm Exam / Bibliography Assignment / Nevi im, part I The Deuteronomistic History and Conquest Traditions Assignments (for Wednesday): Midterm Exam on Wednesday, October 3 Assignments (for Friday): Print, read through, and bring to class the Deuteronomistic History notes on website Read Deuteronomy 6, 12-13; 2 Kings 17, 22-23; JSB ; Joshua 1-3, 6-12, Prepare: What specific connections exist between Deuteronomy 12 and 2 Kings 22-23? Any similarities in terms of specific words or phrases?

5 THE 1501 (Wells) / Syllabus / page 5 Week 7 / Oct. 8 Oct. 12 Topic: Nevi im, part II Competing Traditions within the Deuteronomistic History Due (Monday): Five-item bibliography on topic of student s choice (this is the initial step for the annotated bibliography assignment; see specific instructions on that assignment for further information) Read JSB ; Judges 1-5, 11-16, 19-21; JSB ; 1 Samuel 1-3, 8-11, 16-17, 24-26; CP reading by Tov (his pages 51-61; CP 34-39); WWTB Prepare: What is the meaning of the story in Judges 19-21? How does that serve the purpose of the Deuteronomistic History? Due (Friday): Ten-item bibliography (this may include the five items that were on the previous bibliography) Week 8 / Oct. 17 Oct. 19 (Fall Break on Oct. 15 and 16) Topic: Nevi im, part III Propaganda and Stories of David, Solomon, and the Nation s Division Read 2 Samuel 1, 5, 7, 11-13, 15, 18-19; JSB ; 1 Kings 1-3, 9-12, 15-18; CP reading by McCarter (his pages ; CP 40-47); WWTB Prepare: (1) To what other instances in the texts about David could you apply McCarter s reasoning? (2) In the story of the two prostitutes in 1 Kings 3, which one the prostitute who speaks first or the one who speaks second turns out to be the mother of the living child? Week 9 / Oct. 22 Oct. 26 Topic: Nevi im, part IV The Demise of Israel and Judah / The Minimalist Debate Read 2 Kings 3, 5-6, 9-10, 14-15, 18-21, 24-25; CP reading from Matthews and Benjamin (pp ); Hershel Shanks, The Biblical Minimalists, and Philip R. Davies, What Separates a Minimalist from a Maximalist? (these articles are available on-line at this site must be accessed via the library s e-resources portal) Week 10 / Oct. 29 Nov. 2 Topic: Nevi im, part V Pre-Exilic Writings in the Latter Prophets Read JSB , ; Hosea 1-3, 9-11; JSB ; Amos 1-6; JSB ; Isaiah 1, 6-11; JSB ; Jeremiah 1-6, 18-19, 30-31; CP Harris ( ; CP 49-51) Prepare: Try to set aside what you may have heard previously about Isa 7:14. What do you think the statement in this verse meant in its original historical context? Two other children with unusual names are mentioned in nearby verses (7:3 and 8:1-4). What purpose do they serve in the situation described in chapters 7 and 8? Week 11 / Nov. 5 Nov. 9 Topic: Nevi im, part VI Exilic and Post-Exilic Writings in the Latter Prophets / The Development of Monotheism Due (Monday): Essay #2 / choose from essay topics a), b), c), d), or e) Read JSB ; Ezekiel 1-4, 8-10, 16, 37; Isaiah 40, 45, 53; CP reading from Smith (his pages ; CP 52-59); CP reading from Arnold and Beyer (their pages 50-62; CP ); JSB ; Jonah 1-4; JSB ; Haggai 1-2 Prepare: How is the character Jonah portrayed in the book of Jonah? Is he the hero or the villain? What is the point of chapter 4 in the overall portrayal of the character?

6 THE 1501 (Wells) / Syllabus / page 6 Week 12 / Nov. 12 Nov. 16 Topic: Kethuvim, part I Introduction to the Writings / Psalms and Proverbs Read JSB ; Psalms 1, 8, 19, 23, 105, 143; JSB ; Proverbs 15-16, 19, 22; CP reading from Arnold and Beyer (their pages ; CP ) Prepare: What similarities do you notice between the wisdom literature of the Bible and the wisdom literature from other ancient Near Eastern societies? Week 13 / Nov. 19 Nov. 20 Due (Tuesday by ): Annotated bibliography of at least 3 items related to your research topic NO CLASS SBL ANNUAL MEETING AND WEEK OF THANKSGIVING Week 14 / Nov. 26 Nov. 30 Topic: Kethuvim, part II The Questioning of Orthodoxy Read JSB ; Job 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 31, 38-42; JSB ; Ecclesiastes 1-4, 9, 12; CP reading from Murphy (his pages and 69-86; CP 61-80) Prepare: Some scholars suggest that the book of Job portrays the character Job as being on trial. If this should be right, what is Job on trial for and how does the trial seem to end? Week 15 / Dec. 3 Dec. 7 Topic: Kethuvim, part III Post-Exilic History and Lore Read JSB ; 1 Chronicles 18-22; JSB ; Esther 1-10; JSB ; Daniel 3, Prepare: Some scholars have suggested that the book of Esther fits the genre of comedy. How do you think the story in Esther could be interpreted in this way? Week 16 / Dec. 10 Review for Final Exam Final Exam: For section 101 (9:00 a.m. class) Friday, December 14, 9:00 a.m. For section 102 (10:00 a.m. class) Saturday, December 15, 9:00 a.m.

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