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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