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Indiana University Bloomington
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Course Description

Introduction to the Old Testament / Hebrew Bible (3 cr)
Jason Mokhtarian
REL-A 210 #30415
MW 11:15-12:30 BH 310

The Hebrew Bible is a foundational text of Western civilization. The goal of this course is to familiarize you with this collection and to understand its development over time in an ancient culture that was radically different from our own. Besides the texts that make up the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, we will also consider non-biblical texts that were written and read in the same period, including writings from the Dead Sea Scrolls, placing them in a broader historical and cultural context of Jewish Antiquity. How were these writings created, interpreted, used, and collected by ancient communities in the formative period that gave birth to Judaism and Christianity?

Throughout the course, we will discuss how the texts of the Hebrew Bible have been read and interpreted in very different ways by ancient religious communities and by modern biblical scholars. This approach is meant to encourage reflection on our own reading practices, and to understand how the assumptions we bring to a text, and the context in which we read it, affect the meanings that it comes to make.