Understanding the Bible

We will complete reading and writing assignments, which ask us to reflect on readings and the larger cultural context in which these were written. Specifically, we will be examining biblical texts, which will serve as the content focus for our reading, critical thinking and writing. The course will introduce students to the tools of modern biblical scholarship, which help uncover the original meaning of texts in the social and political contexts in which they were written. It will discuss how the books of the bible evolved from oral tradition to written texts and how cultural factors shaped their form and purpose. Continuities and discontinuities between the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Scriptures will be highlighted, focusing on issues such as core values, moral laws, meaning of history, and relationships with other religions beyond the Judeo-Christian tradition.