Bekiut Nevi’im Rishonim

Faculty: Michael Hattin

Level: Open to all

Description: Navigating the Bible

The books of the Prophets or “Nevi’im” that comprise the second (and largest) section of the Tanakh are terra incognita to many of us. Aside from some celebrated passages, much of the material that constitutes the prophetic works – including their historical setting, primary themes, and literary techniques – is, to quote Isaiah, “like the words of a sealed book”.

In this course, we will remedy that situation by embarking upon a broad and comprehensive survey of the first, narrative section of the Nevi’im, namely the books of Joshua/Yehoshua, Judges/Shoftim, Samuel/Shmuel and Kings/Melachim. This will necessarily entail a fair amount of preparatory weekly reading by course participants, whether in Hebrew or in translation. In class, we will construct a geographical and historical framework, explore important themes and motifs, and trace the textual continuity that underlies the Hebrew Bible as a whole. Along the way, we will cover a thousand years of Biblical history as we encounter every significant character and event in the story of the people of Israel! We will meet two times a week and instruction will be in English.

Required text: a Hebrew Tanakh with translation.