This course surveys the major books and ideas of the Hebrew Bible (also called the Old Testament) examining the historical context in which the texts emerged and were redacted. A major subtext of the course is the distinction between how the Bible was read by ancient interpreters (whose interpretations became the basis for many iconic literary and artistic works of Western Civilization) and how it is approached by modern bible scholarship. James Kugel, former Harvard professor and author of the course’s textbook, contends that these ways of reading the Bible are mutually exclusive. Professor Cohen respectfully disagrees.
The course syllabus is your primary roadmap; it contains general information about the course and lists the topics covered and assigned readings for each of the 25 lectures. Video recordings of each lecture can be viewed alongside Prof Cohen's lecture notes. A series of timelines is available to illustrate aspects of the course which unfold over time: the Overview timeline shows the major eras of Israelite history and the Ideas-Basic timeline illustrates the succession of major ideas.
The About tab contains a link to suggestions about how to view the course.
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