Fall 2013

Close Readings:  The Classics of Judaism and Christianity

Listed in: Religion, as RELI-370

Formerly listed as: RELI-20


Stewart A. Moore (Section 01)


This seminar offers an opportunity for students to engage in the close reading of one or two classic works in the history of Judaism or Christianity. The texts chosen will vary from year to year. In fall 2013 the course will focus on the biblical book of Judges.  We will read the vivid and violent stories of Judges as a reflection of the actual emergence of the Israelites as an ethnic group in the central highlands, and ask how well the text reflects the historical reality, as best we can reconstruct it archaeologically.  We will also read Judges as a collection of tales gathered together later in Israelite history, near the end of the independent life of Israelites under a native monarchy: what social work did these stories of ancient days do for their readers? We will introduce ourselves to the work of anthropologists and sociologists on how ethnic identity is constructed in the modern world, and ask how this research can be applied to ancient Israel.  Finally, subsequent communities of interpreters have used the stories of Judges to build their own identities, and we will study and compare the readings of the early church fathers, rabbinic writings, and later thinkers, including the ongoing influence of Judges in literature and art. 

Fall semester.  Visiting Lecturer Moore.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Fall 2013