Academic Programs 

Hebrew Bible Survey I   (SC-519)
Fall 2003

An introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures, this course will apply historical-critical methods of study to develop a framework for understanding the origins of the texts and the relationship of the texts to one another. Attention will be given to contemporary theories of biblical interpretation. Survey I will cover the materials in the Torah and Prophets (Genesis-Kings).  


Meeting Day, Time and Dates: 
Tuesdays, 7:00-9:20 p.m.

Cleotha Robertson
Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies and Pastor of Sound View Presbyterian Church, New York

Contact Information:
(860)  509-9500

Course Syllabus

1.  Course Description

This course is designed to give the student a basic knowledge of the Hebrew scripture.  Hebrew Bible Survey I will cover the Torah and the Deuteronomistic History (Joshua – Kings).  The students will be exposed to the historical critical method as well as other interpretive perspectives.  The students will read the Bible along with secondary materials and in this process gain a deeper appreciation of the Bible and acquire competent exegetical skills.


Students are expected to read the biblical texts assigned for each session as well as the secondary material.  Priority should be given to the biblical passages.  Students will also be required to generate two questions or comments each week per book for the assigned Bible readings.  These questions should be kept in a journal.

There will be a Midterm Examination on October 21.
 The first part of the examination will contain short answer identification of biblical terms.  The second part of the examination will contain essay questions based upon assigned readings, themes of the Torah, lectures and classroom discussion.

There will be a Final Examination on December 9. 
The format of the final examination will be identical to the midterm examination.  The first part of the examination will consist of short answer terms.  The second part of the examination will consists of essay questions based upon assigned readings, themes of the Historical books, lectures and classroom discussion.

A 10 – 12 page exegesis paper  will be due on January 13, 2004.


3.  Required Books  (Available for Purchase)
  1. Steven L McKenzie and M Patrick Graham, Eds. The Hebrew Bible Today: An Introduction to Critical Issues. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998.
  2. Andrew Hill and John Walton.  A Survey of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991.
  3. D.A. Carson, R.T. France, J.A.Motyer, G.J. Wenham, Eds. New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition. Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press.

4. Reserved Readings (On reserve in the Library)

  1. Victor P. Hamilton. Handbook On The Pentateuch: Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1982.  
  2. Victor P. Hamilton. Handbook to the Historical Books. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001.

5.    Class Schedule

September 9        Introduction to the Course:  Creation and Paradise Lost

Genesis 1 – 3
Hill & Walton, pp. 47 – 67.

September 16       The Primordial History and the Ancestors

Genesis 4 –36  
Mckenzie & Graham, pp.  3 – 49.
Hill & Walton, pp. 67 – 79.

September 23        Joseph, Moses and the Exodus

Genesis 37 - 50
Hill & Walton, pp. 81 – 99.
Hamilton, Pentateuch, pp. 129 – 180.

September 30         Wilderness and Legal Traditions

Exodus 15:22 - 40
Hill & Walton, pp. 114 – 130.
Hamilton, Pentateuch, pp. 185 –209.

October 7             Wilderness and Legal Traditions

Leviticus and Deuteronomy
Hill & Walton, pp. 100 – 113, 130 –143.

October 14             The Conquest: Joshua/ Exegesis Overview

Hill & Walton, pp. 140 – 166.

October 21              Midterm Examination

October 28              The Conquest: Judges

Hill & Walton, pp. 192 –207.
Hamilton, Historical Books, pp. 97 – 106.

November 4              The Rise of the Monarchy: I Samuel

I Samuel
Hill & Walton, pp. 169 – 176
Mckenzie &  Graham, pp. 53 – 68. 

November 11              The Monarchy is Established: II Samuel

II Samuel
Hill & Walton, pp. 209 – 225.

Wenham, Motyer, Carson, France, pp. 296-297,321-333.

November 18              Prophets and Kings: I Kings

I Kings
Hill & Walton, pp. 227 – 243.
Wenham, Motyer, Carson, France, pp. 334 –337.

November 25               Prophets and Kings: II Kings

II Kings
Hill & Walton, pp. 250 – 265.

December 2                 Issues in the Study of the Old Testament

Hill & Walton, pp. 571 – 585.
Wenham, Motyer, Carson, France, pp. 1 – 19.

December 9                 Final Examination


Aharoni, Yohan and Michael Avi Yonah. The Macmillan Bible Atlas (New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1968).

Alter, Robert. The Art of Biblical Narrative (New York: Basic Books, 1981).

Alter, Robert. The World of Biblical Literature (New York: Basic Books, 1992).

Alter, Robert and Frank Kermode, Eds.  The Literary Guide to the Bible (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987).

Anderson, Richard. W. Understanding the Old Testament (Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall Press, 1998).

Armstrong, Karen. In the Beginning: A New Interpretation of Genesis (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996).

Bach, Alice, Ed. Women in the Hebrew Bible (New York and London: Routledge, 1999.

Bandstra, Barry L. Reading the Old Testament 2nd Edition (Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1999.

Bellis, Alice O. Helpmate, Harlots and Heroes (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1994).

Blenkinsopp, Joseph.  The Pentateuch (New York: Doubleday and Company, 1975).

Boling, Robert C. Judges.Volume 6A. The Anchor Bible Commentary (Doubleday and Company, 1975).

Boling and Wright, Joshua. Volume 6. The Anchor Bible Commentary (Doubleday and Company, 1982).

Bright, John. A History of Israel, 3rd Edition. (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1981).

Brueggemann, Walter. Old Testament Theology (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992).

Childs, Brevard. Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979) 

Coogan, Michael D, Ed., The Oxford History of the Biblical World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998).

Coogan and Tadmor, II Kings. Volume II. The Anchor Bible Commentary (Doubleday and Company, 1988).

Craigie, Peter C. Ugarit and the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983).

___________. The Problem of War in the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978).

Cross, Frank.  Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic (Cambridge: Harvard University Pres, 1973).

De Vaux, Roland. Ancient Israel: Social Institutions, Volumes 1 and 2 ( New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1965).

Douglass, Mary.  Purity and Danger: An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1966).

Eilberg, Schwartz, Howard.  The Savage in Judaism:  An Anthropology of Israelite Religion and Ancient Judaism (Bloomington; Indiana University Press, 1988).

Exum, J. Cheryl. Fragmented Women (Valley Forge: Trinity Press International, 1993).

Fee, Gordon D. and Douglas Stuart.  How to Read and Study the Bible for All Its Worth (Zondervan, 1981).

Fewell, Donna Nolan Gunn, David M. Gender, Power and Promise (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993).

Fisch, Harold. Poetry With a Purpose (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988).

Fishbane, Michael. The Exegetical Imagination: On Jewish Thought and Theology (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998).

Flander, HenryJ., Crapps, Robert W. and Smith A. People of the Covenant 4th Edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988).

Frankel, Ellen. The Five Books of Miriam (San Francisco: Harper, 1996).

Freedman, David Noel, Ed., Dictionary of the Bible (Grand Rapids and Cambridge:  Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000.

Freidman, R. Elliott. Commentary on the Torah (San Francisco, 2001).

Gunkel, Herman.  The Legends of Genesis (Schocken, 1964).

Gunn, David M. The Fate of King Saul (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1984).

Habel, Norman. Literary Criticism of the Old Testament (Phildelphia: Fortress Press, 1971).

Hamilton, Victor P. Handbook on the Pentateuch (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1982).

_______________. Handbook on the Historical Books (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001).

Harrison, R.K. Introduction to the Old Testament (Eerdmanns, 1970).

Hauer, Christian E. and Young, William A. An Introduction to the Bible: A Journey into Three Worlds, 5th Edition.  (Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall Press, 2001).

Hayes, John H. Introduction to the Bible (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1971).

Hayes, John H. and Carl R. Holladay. Biblical Exegesis: A Beginner’s Handbook (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1987).

Heschel, Abraham J. The Prophets, Volumes I and II (New York: Harper & Row, 1962).

Holtz, Barry W. Back to the Sources: Reading the Classic Jewish Texts (New York: Summit, 1984).

House, Paul R. Old Testament Theology (Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1998).

Jeansonne, Sharon P. The Women of Genesis (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990) 

Johnson, James Weldon.  God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse (New York: Penguin Books, 1927).

Josipovici, Gabriel. The Book of God: A Response to the Bible (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1988).

Kugel, James.  In Potipar’s House: The Interpretive Life of Biblical Texts (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990).

Levenson, Jon D. The Hebrew Bible: The Old Testament and Historical Criticism (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1993).

Levine,Baruch A. Numbers 1 – 20. Volume 4. The Anchor  Bible Commentary (Doubleday and Company, 1983).

_____________. Numbers 21 –36. Volume 4A. The Anchor Bible Commentary (Doubleday and Company, 2000).

Mays, James L.,Ed. Harper’s Bible Commentary (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1988).

McCarter,Jr., P. Kyle.  II Samuel. Volume 9. The Anchor Bible Commentary (Doubleday and Company, 1984).

McKenzie, Steven L. and M. Patrick Graham, Eds. The Hebrew Bible Today: An Introduction to Critical Issues (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998).

McKenzie, Steven L. and Stephen R. Haynes, Eds. To Each Its Own Meaning (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1999).

Mendenhall, George E. Ancient Israel’s Faith and History (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001).

Miller, J Maxwell.  The Old Testament and the Historian (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1976).

Newsom, Carol and Sharon Ringe. The Women’s Bible Commentary (Philadelphia: Westminster John Knox Press, 1992).

Niditch, Susan. Folklore and the Hebrew Bible (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1993).

Noth, Martin.  The Deuteronomistic History (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1981).

Polzin, Robert.  Samuel and the Deuteronomist (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989).

Polzin, Robert and Eugene Rothman.  The Biblical Mosaic: Changing Perspectives (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1982).

Pritchard, James B. Ed. The Ancient Near East. Volume 1 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1958).

__________________. The Ancient Near East. Volume 1 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975).

Rast, Walter E. Tradition, History and the Old Testament (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1972).

Rosenberg, David, Ed., Contemporary Writers Read the Jewish Bible (San Diego: Harcourt, Brace and Jovanovich, 1987).

__________________. King and Kin: Political Allegory in the Hebrew Bible (Bloomington; Indiana University Press, 1986).

Rowley, H.H., Ed. The Old Testament and Modern Study (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961).

Russel, Letty M. Ed., Feminist Interpretation of the Bible (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1985).

Sailhammer J.H. The Pentateuch as Narrative (Zondervan, 1992).

Sandmel, Samuel.  The Hebrew Scriptures: An Introduction to Their Literature and Religious Ideas (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978).

Schwartz, Regina, Ed. The Book and the Text: The Bible and Literary Theory (Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell Press, 1990).

Simon, Uriel. Reading Prophetic Narrative (Indianapolis and Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1977).

Streete, Gaile C. The Strange Woman (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1977).

Stuart, Douglas. Old Testament Exegesis: A Primer for Students and Pastors: 3rd Edition (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001).

Trible, Phyliss.  Rhetorical Criticism: Context, Method and the Book of Jonah (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1994).

Tucker, Gene. Form Criticism of the Old Testament (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1971).

Unger, Merrill F. Introductory Guide to the Old Testament (Michigan: Zondervan, 1961).

Vangemeren, Willem A. Interpreting the Prophetic Word (Michigan: Zondervan, 1990).

von Rad, Gerhard. Genesis: A Commentary (Philadelphia: Westminster 1991).

______________. Holy War in Ancient Israel. Translated and edited by Marva J. Dawn (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991).

______________. Old Testament Theology. Volume I (New York: Harper and Row, 1962).

Vos, Geerhardus. Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1948).

Weinfeld, Moshe. Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School (Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 1992).

Wenham, G.J. Genesis 1 –15. Word Bible Commentary (Word, 1987).

___________. Genesis 16 –50. Word Bible Commentary (Word, 1994).

Wilson, Robert R. Sociological Approaches to the Old Testament (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984).

7.      Commentaries 

1. Anchor Bible Commentary Series
2. Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible
3. The Old Testament Library Series
4. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries
5. Word Bible Commentary  Series
6. Jewish Publication Society Bible Commentary Series
7. The International Critical Commentary Series
8. Commentary on the Old Testament in 10 Volumes (Keil and Delitzsch)
9. New International Commentary of the Old Testament
10. New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary: A Commentary in 12 Volumes


1. Anchor Bible Dictionary
2. Zondervan Pictorical Dictionary of the Bible
3. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
4. International Dictionary of the Bible
5. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament
6. Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament
7. New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis
8. Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament

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