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Courses taught to date:
Biblical Hebrew I & II
In Biblical Hebrew I, students begin their studies in Hebrew language and translation. Students will learn the main principles and usages of biblical Hebrew, including syntax, grammar, and vocabulary. Students will also acquire critical awareness of translation issues, a skill set they can apply to any translated work.
In Biblical Hebrew II, students continue their studies in Hebrew language and translation. Students further their understanding of the main principles of biblical Hebrew, including syntax, grammar, and vocabulary. Hebrew II focuses on the verbal system. Students will also acquire critical awareness of translation issues, a skill set they can apply to any translated work.
Hebrew Bible (Traditional & Hybrid)
In Hebrew Bible, we read the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament; Tanak) as both a historical work and one of the greatest literary collections of all time. We study both the ancient Near Eastern context in which the Bible was written, and also ways in which modern social contexts shape its interpretation today. We also analyze select passages in terms of literary genre, theme, symbol, and motif. All of these will bring us to discussion of the world-views and moral and social principles embedded in the Bible and how they influence our world today. We will also look at the history and historical use of the book itself, including what we have learned about the Bible from the Dead Sea Scrolls and later scribal traditions.
Judaism (Traditional & Online)
What is Judaism? What makes someone a Jew or Jewish? In this class, we examine how Judaism has been practiced throughout history, from the ancestor stories of the Hebrew Bible to the modern day. We sample many primary, classical Jewish texts in order to understand developments in Jewish thought throughout space and time, and explore some of the common themes that have tied together people of diverse historical periods and geographical locations, such as community, ritual, survival, and the relationship of Jewish (and other) communities to God. There will also be an experiential component based on site-visits, guest speakers, and a learning portfolio on a topic of the student’s choice.
Upper Level Undergraduate & Graduate Courses:
Comparative Method in the Study of Religion
Graduate Independent Study
Creation & Humanity
Why am I here and what is my place in the world? In this class, students engage a wide-variety of answers to this timeless question. We focus on primary texts regarding the creation of the world and humanity’s role within the world from multiple religious traditions, from ancient Near Eastern mythologies to modern spiritualties and film. Themes of the course include the tension between humankind and nature, and humanity’s relation to the divine, nature, and one another; we also discuss issues of inequality and sustainability.
Emergence of Monotheism
Monotheism, the belief in a singular deity, did not arise out of nothing. Rather, the emergence of monotheism was a multi-stage process spanning several millennia and involving numerous religious traditions, primarily Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This process was marked by internal and external conflict, as individuals and communities struggled to distinguish themselves from their non-monotheistic predecessors and neighbors, while often attempting to convince others to do the same. In this class, we begin with the ancient Near Eastern religious environment in which the idea of monotheism first appeared, then turn our attention to how the movement toward monotheism shapes the texts of the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and Quran. We also look to archaeological sites and case studies in material culture to fill out our understanding of the lived experiences at play in the emergence of monotheism.
Hebrew Bible Exegesis
In Hebrew Bible Exegesis, students will further their knowledge of the Hebrew language inductively by translating passages of the biblical text. Students will also learn about the history of the Hebrew Bible, its manuscript and print traditions, and its literary forms. In this class, we will focus on the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS), including analysis of its apparatuses and notations, while being exposed to various reading aids and critical volumes.
The Moses Traditions
The “Abrahamic Traditions” (Judaism, Christianity & Islam) are described as such because each tradition situates its origin in the figure of Abraham, yet there is another foundational figure who looms even larger in all three traditions—Moses. The Moses Traditions traces Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions about Moses from the Hebrew Bible through modern America, and in so doing brings into the foreground the religious and inter-religious importance of this beloved figure. Drawing from over 2,500 years of texts and traditions, students come away with a deeper understanding of: 1) how the figure of Moses is shaped and reshaped throughout history and across the globe, 2) how religious traditions portray and redescribe foundational figures to suit the ever-changing needs of their communities, and 3) how to engage a multi-faceted, culturally-embedded, and millennia-long collection of traditions in a way that yields fruitful insight into the inner workings of the religious imagination.
Women & Religion
In Women and Religion, we will examine religious texts and practices from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam with a concentration on the political, social, and religious lives of women. The course will begin with ancient Near Eastern goddesses and move chronologically through the modern period and into the lives of women in the Abrahamic Traditions today. Along the way, we will explore both Feminist and Womanist modes of reading, as examples of how ideology and text may be brought together in order to highlight a specific theme.
ADDITIONAL COURSES PREPARED TO TEACH
Introduction to the Study of Religion
New Testament & Early Christianity
Origins & Transmission of the Bible
Ancient Near East / Archaeology
Ancient Near Eastern Religions
Archaeology of the Ancient Near East
The Bible & the Pickaxe
Mesopotamia: Fact & Fiction