Introduction to the Old Testament III

The main objective of this course is to provide a detailed description of the content of the text of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, of the history of the literature and of the isagogics of ancient Israel. This objective will be achieved through the employment of the various books of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible as primary sources and extra-biblical texts as secondary sources. While the course takes a historical and archaeological approach as regards to the accounts and literature of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, much time will be allocated for questions and facts of theological, ethical and sociological nature. The goal is also to facilitate engagement with the methods and/or approaches and furthermore with the results of modern biblical scholarship.

The specific objective of this course is to introduce the student to the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible by means of its historical, literary and religious context. Topics to be tackled include the primeval and patriarchal periods, the exodus, the Sinai covenant, the desert wanderings, the conquest and monarchic traditions, the message of the prophets, the place and relevance of wisdom texts, and the exilic and post-exilic periods. The course homes in on the interpretative enterprise en ensemble, on the authors/editors/redactors/compilers and historical background of the individual books of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and its wider cultural milieu in the ancient Near East. Theological facets of these ancient works are also explored, shifting from the theoretical issues to the more practical matters of daily life and experience. This course does presume medium level competence in terms of the content of the Hungarian text of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible on the part of the student. Therefore, the student with previous knowledge of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible will experience this course to be advantageous but those who lack such an acquaintance will not be at disadvantage.

Competences

Specific competences

By means of this course, the student will acquire a solid working knowledge of the literature, history and religion of ancient Israel. The student will learn to employ the various books of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible as primary sources and extra-biblical texts as secondary sources. While the course takes a historical and archaeological approach as regards to the accounts and literature of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, the student will also learn to interact with questions and facts of theological, ethical and sociological nature. The student will also learn how to engage with the methods and/or approaches and furthermore with the results of modern biblical scholarship. More specifically the student will:
  • acquire exposure to the history and literature of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and also to the recent archaeological developments that intersect with Ancient Israel and Judah;
  • be educated at a basic level in the critical analysis of different literary forms and genres;
  • accumulate significant knowledge with respect to the theories regarding the genesis and development of the Torah;
  • earn basic familiarity with those extra-biblical texts, which illuminate the literary form of the Torah;
  • be acquainted with the most important issues of the historiography of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible.

General competences

By means of this course, the student will be able to utilize the various interpretational and hermeneutical methods and/or approaches presented in other fields of humanities, such as classical literature etc. Through the interaction with the results of the various archaeological data pertaining to the accounts and literature of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, the student will be able to make connections with the current geography and history of the Middle-East. The student’s knowledge and comprehension of current political issues regarding the Middle-East will also be enhanced. The student’s ability to work in a team will also be improved, as his/her oral or writing skills, respect and also development of professional thinking and ethics, usage of computers and the proficiency to solve questions pertaining to the interpretation of ancient texts. The student will also gain some expertise in recognizing and respecting cultural and ethnic diversity present in the relevant ancient texts. The student will be encouraged to be imaginative in terms of his/her theological thinking and future homiletical practice, whereby nurturing a constant openness towards the possibility of new discoveries in this field of study.

Course structure

# Title
1 The Necessity of the Academic Study of the Bible. Introduction to Torah/Pentateuch Criticism and the Components of the Four-Pronged Hypothesis System: The Older Documentary, the Supplementary, the Fragmentary and
2 The Various Critical Methods Employed in Torah/Pentateuch Criticism and the Arguments for the Analysis of the Torah/Pentateuch
3 The Four Narrative Strands and the Three Law Collections
4 The Slick Move: Going Behind the Documents, Modifications and Alternatives
5 The Historical Reliability of the Torah/Pentateuch and the Extent and Nature of the Mosaic Authorship and of the Arguments for the Antiquity and/or Lateness of the Torah/Pentateuch
6 The Sinai Narrative. Test Case and Future Paradigms. The Themes and the Rhetoric of the Torah
7 The Book of Genesis/Bereshit. Themes in Genesis/Bereshit: God’s Temple-City, the Royal Lineage, the Blessing of the Nations, the Forfeiture of the Paradise Land, the Loss of the Edenic Environment and the Faith of Abram/Abraham
8 Historiography of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. Historical Overview of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible Times I.: Mesopotamia to the Time of the Patriarchs (2900-2000 B.C.), the Patriarchal Period (2000-1600 B.C.) and Egypt to the Time of the Exodus
9 The Book of Exodus/Shemot Themes in Exodus/Shemot: Revelation of God, the Pesach, the Sinai Covenant and the Holy Tabernacle
10 Historical Overview of Old Testament / Hebrew Bible Times II.: Egypt during the Time of the Exodus and the Wilderness Wanderings on the Sinai Peninsula
11 The Book of Leviticus/Wayyikra. Themes in Leviticus/Wayyikra: The Phenomenon of Holy, the Sacrificial System and Clean Versus Unclean Victuals
12 The Book of Numbers/Bamidbar. Themes in Numbers/Bamidbar: The Odyssey to the Promised Land and the Odyssey Disruptive Murmurings
13 The Book of Deuteronomy/Devarim. Themes in Deuteronomy/Devarim: Love and Loyalty and the Election of Israel
14 Recapitulation

Total estimated time

Classroom study Course Seminar Practice
2 hours/week 2 0 0
28 hours/semester 28 0 0
Individual study Hours/sem
Total estimated time 124
Studying course notes and bibliography 60
Further documentation in libraries, electronic platforms, or on the field 28
Preparing essays, papers, or documentation 8
Personal tutoring 0
Total individual study 96

Examination

Attendance: The course relies significantly upon the material discussed in class. Therefore, attendance is significantly related to one’s success in the course. Reading: The student ought to read all the assigned readings for the class. If a student consistently appears to be unprepared the class participation grade will be adversely affected. The lecturer reserves the right to assign quizzes to those who obnoxiously refuse to prepare for upcoming classes. Cheating, plagiarizing, copying, etc. are not tolerated.

Bibliography

Book

Collection of studies