This is the "official" course website. Some items will be
repeated on the HILR Canvas course website for your convenience.
  Course Content:   
  1. HILR Course Catalog entry (pdf)
  2. Longer course description (pdf)
  3. Welcome letter (pdf)
  Reading in Preparation for Meetings:  

Week 1: November 5, 2018: Background; Monolatry  (pdf)

We have some heavy lifting to do in our first week so that everyone has a chronological framework within which to place the events we'll be discussing. If nothing else, please be certain that you can recite the begin and end dates for the Persian Period and the Hellenistic Period!

Slides from class (arrow keys to advance, return)

Week 2: November 12, 2018: Monotheism and Theodicy  (pdf)

We now want to know about monotheism and how it differs from polytheism. What is evil?

Slides from class (arrow keys to advance, return)

Week 3: November 19, 2018: The Book of Job  (pdf)

The Book of Job famously asks why bad things happen to good (devout) people. Given the unsatisfactory answers, it's no wonder some Jews looked for alternatives.

Slides from class (arrow keys to advance, return)

Week 4: November 26, 2018: Divine Justice; Jewish Apocalypticism  (pdf)

After a review of the texts for divine justice, we look at the transition from prophecy to apocalyptic.

Slides from class (arrow keys to advance, return)

Week 5: December 3, 2018: The Historical Jesus  (pdf)

Did Jesus preach a message based on Jewish Apocalypticism?

Slides from class (arrow keys to advance, return)

Week 6: December 10, 2018: The Gospel of Mark; Secret Mark  (pdf)

How does the Gospel of Mark portray Jesus? How did the Church and the Rabbis treat apocalypticism?

Slides from class (arrow keys to advance, return)

  Additional resources:  
  • The Jewish Study Bible online: you can access the JSB online with your Harvard Library privileges. See these instructions: [howto pdf] [URL]
  • Harvard course on the Hebrew Bible (Shaye Cohen) [link]
  • Yale course on the Hebrew Bible (Christine Hayes) [link; click on "sessions"]
  • Timelines:
    • Overview of Biblical Eras: [link]
    • Basic Ideas Timeline: [link]
    • Advanced Ideas Timeline: [link]
    • Index of Timelines: [link]
  • An excellent book about the rapid growth of Christianity: Rodney Stark, The Rise of Christianity (1997) [Amazon]
  • Stephen Mitchell's introduction to his translation of the Book of Job [link]
  Fundamental facts:  
  1. Jesus was a Jew who preached to other Jews about how to be good Jews.
  2. Prior to Christianity, religion had nothing to do with what you believed; you belonged if you participated in the ritual life of the community. Rabbinic Judaism continued this tradition.