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Cultures & Contexts

 Ancient Israel


Professor Daniel Fleming

Professor Daniel Fleming

  • Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, Faculty of Arts & Science, New York University
  • Ph.D. 1990 Harvard; M.Div. 1985, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; B.S. 1979 Stanford.
  • Bio & Publications


About the course

You may think you know ancient Israel quite well, or you may be sure you know nothing. In either case, this course is designed to make the acquaintance from scratch. My ancient Israel is strange, sometimes shocking, diverse, and mostly hidden. It can be approached from archaeology and non-biblical writing as well as from the Bible as its most famous artifact. I am a biblical scholar and student of ancient literature, so this class will lean toward what is written, embracing the Bible as a source. In a broadly chronological framework, we will ask what I hope to be unfamiliar questions, trying to get you to see things you had not considered before. The course assumes no prior knowledge, and all knowledge is built from the ground up based on “primary evidence,” the actual material from the ancient world – including the Bible. Every full-class meeting will involve conversation in response to some piece of primary evidence, with expectation that students have as much right as any scholar to figure out who these people are for themselves.


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Course Readings 

  • The Jewish Study Bible (JPS Tanakh translation)
  • The Oxford History of the Biblical World, Michael D. Coogan editor
  • Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible, by Karel van der Toorn


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