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Indiana University Bloomington
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Course Description

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Introduction to Old Testament/Hebrew Bible (3 cr)
Laura Carlson Hasler
REL-A 210 (5837)
TR 4:00-5:15 (WH120)
GenEd A&H, GenED WC, CASE A&H, CASE GCC

Adam and Eve. Noah and the flood. The Burning Bush. Moses and the Ten Commandments. Many of us are familiar with these and other stories from the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament), a familiarity learned in synagogue, church, and devotional readings, as well as from movies, songs, and fiction. This course offers students an academic way to engage those stories. We will think about the Hebrew Bible in its Mediterranean and Near Eastern contexts, the collective authorship of the Torah, and the relationship of the Bible to other ancient writings, such as the Dead Sea scrolls and early Christian writings. To do so, we will examine how the collected writings of the Hebrew Bible have been read and interpreted in different ways by ancient religious communities and by modern scholars, an approach intended to encourage reflection on our own reading practices. The takeaway from this course is a greater appreciation of the variety, complexity, and ambiguity of one of the most important collections of texts in Western culture.