SYLLABUS: HISTORY-TELLING IN THE BIBLE

Hebrew Studies 417/Jewish Studies 417/Religious Studies 417

Spring, 2010

Course web site: http://imp.lss.wisc.edu/~rltroxel/history/index.html

Class email list: hebrst417-1-s10@lists.wisc.edu

Ronald L. Troxel, Ph.D.

email: rltroxel@wisc.edu

1348 Van Hise Hall; 263-1972

Office Hours:  Tuesday, 11:00-12:00; Thursday, 12:00-1:00

Goals

1. To become acquainted with the story of Israel's origins and existence as narrated in the Torah, Joshua through Kings, and the books of Chronicles.

2. To understand how writers in ancient Israel accounted for their nation's history and how their methods of telling that story compare with historiography elsewhere in the ancient Mediterranean world.

3. To understand the writers' assessments of ancient Israel's history and the ideological perspectives from which they wrote them.

Requirements

1. Read the prescribed pages from the textbooks and the passages listed under the rubric "BT" in each day's assignment.

2. Attend class, ask questions and take accurate notes. The assigned readings offer important introductions and discussions, but they are simply a starting point. The class sessions will supplement, clarify, and query those readings, especially as we examine specific, representative passages.

3. Write three examinations: February 23; March 25; and May 14.  These exams will test your knowledge of the readings and the material covered in class. the second and third exams will test only the material covered since the previous exam.  Barring extraordinary circumstances, you are expected to take each exam at the time it is scheduled.

4. Write a paper (8-10 pages) on a topic in ancient Israel's historical books. The paper will be due Thursday, March 18, at the beginning of class. A quarter grade reduction will be assessed for papers turned in later that day, and a half grade reduction will be imposed for each day a paper is late.  Additional information about the paper is available via a link at this point in the online syllabus.

5.  If you are registered for honors credit, please contact me early in the term.

Course Grades

Course grades will be computed using the following values:  first exam, 20%, second exam, 25%, third exam, 30%; the paper, 25%.

Office Hours

I will be available in my office (1348 Van Hise) 11:00-12:00 on Tuesdays and 12:00-1:00 on Thursdays. If neither of these times is compatible with your schedule, please contact me (rltroxel@wisc.edu) to arrange an appointment.

Required Texts

Campbell, Antony F.  Joshua to Chronicles: An Introduction.  Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 2004.

Mann, Thomas W.  The Book of the Torah.  Atlanta: Westminster/John Knox, 1988.

Nelson, Richard D. The Historical Books. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1998.

Whybray, R. N.  Introduction to the Pentateuch.  Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,1995.

Additional readings will be available via electronic reserves.

Schedule of Class Assignments

KEY

Wh = R. Norman Whybray, Introduction to the Pentateuch

TM = Thomas W. Mann, The Book of the Torah

AC = Antony Campbell, Joshua to Chronicles

RN = Richard D. Nelson, The Historical Books

ER = Material available online in the library's Electronic Reserves (accessible via the online syllabus).

BT = Required Bible text reading associated with the day's topic

WEB = Materials to be downloaded from a link on the online syllabus

Changes/deletions/additions will be noted in this color font.

Week One

January 19: Introduction

January 21: Ancient Historical Records and History-telling

RN 17-29

For a copy of this lecture, click here.

Week Two

January 26: Israelite History-telling

ER Duane Christensen, "The Lost Books of the Bible" and Jacob Licht, "The Hebrew Bible Contains the Oldest Surviving History"

BT 1 Samuel 9

For a copy of this lecture, click here.

January 28: Troxel ill

Week Three

February 2: The Chronicler's Use of Sources

RN 77-78, 149-164

WEB Bring to class document 4.1, 4.2, 4.2b, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 4.7, 4.8, 4.9 (bringing these to class will simplify note-taking)

Those unfamiliar with the narrative of Israel's life in its land or who want a quick review should visit this brief overview, based on Joshua-Kings.

 For a copy of this lecture, click here.

February 4: The Chronicler's Aims

ER John J. Collins, "Introduction to the Hebrew Bible, The Books of Chronicles"

WEB Print and bring to class a set of parallels between Samuel-Kings and Chronicles.

For a copy of this lecture, click here.

Week Four

February 9: The Historian's Sources in Joshua through Kings

BT 1 Samuel 8-12

WEB: Read, print, and bring to class the summary of 1 Samuel's reports of the origins of the monarchy.

For a copy of this lecture, click here.

February 11: Deuteronomy

Wh 85-104

BT Deuteronomy 1:1-4:43

For a copy of this lecture, click here.

Week Five

February 16: Deuteronomy and the Torah

ER Moshe Weinfeld, "Deuteronomy's Theological Revolution"

BT Deuteronomy 4:44-10:22

WEB Print and bring to class this chart on the structure of Deuteronomy.

For a copy of this lecture, click here.

February 18: The Deuteronomistic History and Joshua

RN 67-76 (down to "The Chronistic Books") & 79-92

AC 25-44 (down to "Neither soldierly nor sacral") READING NOTES.

BT Joshua 1-8, 23

Those unfamiliar with the narrative thread of Joshua through 2 Kings or who want a quick review should visit this brief overview of Joshua-2 Kings.

Week Six

February 23: EXAM 1  To access the questions for the first exam, click here.

February 25: Judges

RN 93-108

BT Judges 1-4, 13-16

ER Ellis Easterly, "A Case of Mistaken Identity"

For a copy of this lecture, click here.

Week Seven

March 2: 1 Samuel (Samuel)

RN 109-128

AC 119-131 (down to "Political Moves to Establish David as King") READING NOTES.

BT Deuteronomy 17:14-20

For a copy of this lecture, click here.

March 4: 1 & 2 Samuel (Saul and David)

AC 131-155  READING NOTES.

ER Emanuel Tov, "The David and Goliath Saga"

BT 1 Samuel 16; 2 Samuel 7

Week Eight

March 9: 1 & 2 Kings

RN 129-148

AC 203-210 ("The Kingdoms of North and South" down to "Prophetic Traditions:  Elisha") READING NOTES.

March 11: 1 & 2 Kings

ER Richard E. Friedman, "And Not only Deuteronomy"

AC 210-220  READING NOTES.

         WEB print a copy of this diagram of the Deuteronomistic History

For a copy of this lecture, click here.

Week Nine

March 16: The Documentary Hypothesis

Wh 1-10

ER Peter Craigie, "The Law."

WEB: Read the two versions of the flood story on the page entitled "The Story of the Flood" and study the questions at the top of that page.  Rather than the diagram of the Deuteronomistic History the syllabus said would be posted here, please download the one attached to the March 11 assignment, above.

Anyone unfamiliar with the story line of the Torah or wanting a "refresher" should review the online presentation, "The Pentateuch: Its Narrative Thread," accessible at this point on the online syllabus.

March 18: Alternatives to the Documentary Hypothesis

RN 45-63

Wh 12-27

*PAPER DUE

Week Ten

March 23: The Primeval History (Genesis 1-3)

Wh 29-47

TM 10-19 (down to "Two Murders (chap. 4)"

BT Genesis 1-3

WEB: Print and bring to class the grid for Genesis 1:1-2:3

March 25: EXAM 2 To access the questions for the second exam, click here.

* * * * * * * * * * SPRING BREAK * * * * * * * * * * *

Week Eleven

April 6: Troxel absent

April 8: The Primeval History: J, the Flood, and Noah's Family

ER Lawrence Boadt, "Genesis 1-11."

TM 19-29

BT Genesis 4, 9:1-11:9

WEB: Bring to class the page Genesis 6:5-8:22

For a copy of this lecture, click here.

Week Twelve

April 13: The Primeval History: The Tower of Babel and P's Genealogies

ER Victor Hurowitz, "Understanding the Priestly Source."

BT Genesis 5, 11:10-32

For a copy of this lecture, click here.

April 15: The Abraham Cycle (Genesis 11:27-25:18)

Wh 49-61

TM 29-50

BT Genesis 11:27-15:21

Week Thirteen

April 20: The Jacob Cycle (Genesis 25:19-36:43)

ER Richard E. Friedman, "Deception for Deception:  Who Breaks the Cycle?"

TM 51-66

BT Genesis 25:19-34; 27:1-40; 32:1-32

For a copy of this lecture, click here.

April 22: The Joseph Cycle (Genesis 37:1-50:26)

TM 66-77

ER Gerhard von Rad, "The Joseph Narrative and Ancient Wisdom."

BT Genesis 37:1-39:23; 47:1-49:1

For a copy of this lecture, click here.

Week Fourteen

April 27: Beginning of the Life of Moses (Exodus 1-11)

Wh 63-72 (down to "The Plagues of Egypt")

TM 78-86 (down to "2. Let My People Go")

BT Exodus 1-3

For a copy of this lecture, click here.

April 29: Escape from Egypt (Exodus 12-15)

Wh 72-77 (down to "The Journey through the Wilderness")

TM 86-95 (down to "5. From Egypt to Sinai")

ER Ronald S. Hendel, "Exodus:  A Book of Memories."

WEB: bring to class the page on Exodus 14 (the story of the deliverance at the sea, according to J & P)

For a copy of this lecture, click here.

Week Fifteen

May 4: In the Wilderness (Exodus 15:22-18:27; 32-34; Numbers 1:1-25:18)

Wh 77-82

BT Exodus 16-18, 32-34

WEB click here for a diagram to be used in lecture

For a copy of this lecture, click here.

May 6: Sojourn at Sinai

TM 98-105, 111-124

ER Baruch J. Schwartz, "What Really Happened at Mount Sinai?"

WEB click here for a diagram to be used in lecture

BT Exodus 19-21

For a copy of this lecture, click here.

May 14, 12:25 p.m. Van Hise 104:  EXAM 3