NEAREAST 291 - Humanities Topics in Near Eastern Studies
Section: 001 The Problem with the Bible
Term: WN 2018
Subject: Near East Studies (NEAREAST)
Department: LSA Middle East Studies
Requirements & Distribution:
May be elected twice for credit.
Primary Instructor:

“It ain't the parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it's the parts that I do understand” (Mark Twain). For the last two thousand years, Jewish readers of the Bible have expressed similar sentiments.

Since almost the moment it was canonized, the Bible has been a book out of context. Originally composed for a small ethnic group (barely more than an extended family) living in a provincial desert kingdom, the Bible would soon begin a world tour as the Jewish offspring of that original ethnic group established communities across the globe. The Bible would follows its readers to imperial Rome, medieval Persia, early modern India, and contemporary Poland.

As Jews interacted with each new community and developed new values and aesthetics in dialogue with the surrounding culture, they would inevitably discover that the ancient Middle Eastern text that they embraced as the word of God was not entirely in keeping with their current understanding of what was good and proper. This course is about how these diverse Jewish readers grappled with their doubts about the Bible and repeatedly transformed Jewish religious culture in the process.

NEAREAST 291 - Humanities Topics in Near Eastern Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM
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