REL 200

The History and Literature of Ancient Israel

This course examines the development of Israel first as a people and then as a nation amidst the dynamic setting of the ancient Near East. It focuses on the religious development as depicted in the Hebrew scriptures in light of the social, religious, and political fabric of the various societies with particular attention to the emergence of Israel, its religious distinctiveness, and its formation as a people and a nation. This course seeks to 1) situate the biblical material amidst the powerful sacred stories and rituals in ancient near eastern societies; 2) discern the mix of religion, politics and societal behavior evident in ancient Israel, especially in light of events in Egypt and ancient Mesopotamia, 3) explore the impact that the Hebrew Bible had (and continues to have) in the development of western civilization and modern society (e.g., literature, the arts, politics) and 4) introduce tools used by interpreters of the Bible to understand the texts in their literary, social, and historical contexts.

Prerequisites: Students who have REL 200/201 transfer credit may not take this course.