‘The Bible’s Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future’ – free course

I just signed up for this free class offered by Emory University.

 

Now, I know the old saying, “you get what you pay for.” However, Emory’s Candler School of Theology is one of the top institutions for biblical studies in the nation. It’s more like pulling the card ‘Bank Error in your Favor, Collect $200.’

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You can also sign up for this free class here.

 

Here are the course objectives,

To show: 

—how biblical scholars work with archaeological and comparative texts to study the Bible’s formation;
—how the Bible emerged from large-scale corporate crisis and rupture;
—that in our present state of uncertainty and instability we have much to learn from the various strategies the biblical authors adopted to create an enduring “people of the book”;
—that one doesn’t have to believe in God or accept the historicity of the Bible in order to appreciate its profound political messages;
—that the Bible offers modern societies a model for creating communities around a shared collection of texts, songs, and laws;
—and that the Bible itself has a major role to play in our futures.

 

Course Syllabus

Week 1: The Riddle That Has Yet To Be Solved
The Bible’s Purpose
Books in Ancient Religions
Between “Church and State”
Theologies of the Bible
A Shared Text
The Bible as a “Pedagogical Program of Peoplehood”

Week 2: The Rise and Fall
Israel’s Place in the World of the Ancient Near East
The Emergence of Two Competing Kingdoms
Military Triumphs
The Onslaught of Imperial Powers
Defeat and Deportation 
Conditions of Conquest

Week 3: The Making of the Bible as a Response to Defeat
Diaspora and Divided Communities
Creating a Shared Past and Common Ancestors
The Pentateuch and Historical Narratives
One People with Multiple Law Codes
Creating a Collection of National Songs and Laments
Reinterpreting Prophecies
Comparative Cases: English and German History  

Week 4: Reinventing the Hero
Martial Valor, Masculinity, and Martyrdom
Long Life versus Glorified Heroic Death
The New Role of the Family
From Battles to Building
Comparatives Cases: From the Crow Nation to Jane Austen

Week 5: A Wise and Discerning People  
The Role of Education
National Education Programs: From 19th Century Germany to the Dalai Lama
From Deuteronomy to Ezra-Nehemiah
Freedom of Information and Open Access
Making Priestly Knowledge Public
The Attempts of the State to Control Prophets 
Divine Knowledge for the People, Not Solely the King  
The Reason Why Biblical Writings Survived Catastrophes 

Week 6: Beyond Morality: The Bible as a Political Model
One God
Covenantal Ethics of Peoplehood
The Bible as an Attempt to Unify Rival Communities
The Bible’s Impact on Political Identities Throughout the World
The Bible’s Role in the Public Sphere and in Secular Society
The Bible as a Model for New Forms of Community 

 

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