© Rabbi David L. Kline  

What’s Going On Here, VII     Rabbi David L. Kline       BOLLI     Spring 2012

Continuing the Intro to Bible courses, we focus on the stories, narratives as found in Bible.  Selections from the three sections of Tanach (Bible): Torah (Pentateuch), N’vi’im (Joshua through Malachi), K’tuvim (Psalms through Chronicles) The object is twofold.  First, literary appreciation, reading for pleasure, discovering a past world of creative writing, an ancient genre.  This will include critical reading to distinguish between factual and fictional passages.  Second, relating to our ancestors, our history and idea development.
            Prior knowledge is desirable but the course will be appropriate for any level student.  Participants will be encouraged to make class presentations.
            Most of the assigned stories can be found on my blog, “Good to be a Jew.”  See the right hand column, headed “Bible Project.”  Click on a title and follow the instructions.
Required:             Bible, Hebrew or any translation.  Footnotes/commentary desirable
Suggested:             Richard Eliot Friedman, Who Wrote the Bible, $ 5
                        Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative, $ 15

1.   March 6
Two Creation Stories            Genesis 1-3
A)  “The First Week,”  B)  “In the Garden.”                       
            Babylonian creation story
            Egyptian creation stories
            Greek,  Hesiod: Cosmogeny
            Google your curiosity.
 How does theory differ from myth?   What’s the weltanschauung?   Who is God?

2.   March 13
The Man and His Woman and Their Kids                        Genesis 4-6
Life expectancy?  Whose families are these?  Brotherly hate?

3.   March 20
Avraham Avinu                        Genesis 12-23
Classic, with Rashi        At the window labeled “CHUMASH,” enter the chapter and verse you want.  You will see a translation of the text.  Select a verse and you will be linked to the Rashi commentary.
Classic critical        At the site, select Genesis (6th on the list).  In the “View the book” window at the left margin, select “Read Online.”  What you will see is a photo of the book.  Place cursor over image of page edges and numbers will appear.  Click to go to any page.  Search by flipping pages. 
Joseph Campell   (Google “Joseph Campbell” Abraham, bottom of 1st  page)
What do we hope to find when we tell stories about our ancestors?

4.    March 27
Yitschak                        Genesis 24-27
A) Rivkah at the well  B) Child rearing  C) Travel precautions  D) Food is destiny
Rashi and Critical commentaries as above
Wife/sister motif   (Speiser, in Anchor Genesis)
Have we got skeletons in the closet?            Are we at risk?           

5.   April 3
Ya’akov                        Genesis28-36
A) Ladder  B) Trickster tricked  C)  Assistant wives  D) Genetic engineering E) God and gods  F)  Trickster > Wrestler   G)  Semireconciliation
Rashi and Critical commentaries as above
Anita Diamant,  The Red Tent
Arthur Waskow,  God Wrestling
Who wrestles with God? 

6.   April 17
Gid’on                        Judges 6-9
Judge or king?  Charisma or birth?  Tribe or nation?

7.   April 24
Sh’lomo the King   I Kings 1-11
Google: Solomon
What’s a good king?   Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown?


8.   May 1
Return From Babylonia     Ezra   1-10,  Nehemiah 1-13  (see reading guide)
Apocrypha 1 Esdras 3-4

9.     May 8
The process of change, Malka Simkovich, BOLLI Scholar.

10.    May 15
Torah for 5th century BCE

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