Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Hebrew Bible - Open Yale course review

I knew Yale offered great on-line audio, I just ignored them for a long time for the simple reason the content is not syndicated. The courses do not come in a feed. The audio is not a podcast. However, it is a damn pity to let the courses pass on a mere technicality.

One of the jewels in the menu is Professor Christina Hayes' Introduction to the Old Testament, that is to the Hebrew Bible. In addition to the audio/video of 24 lectures, also the handouts and other course material is available. This course invites for such serious study, that more than ever I regretted not being able to follow the discussion sections. Or abandon my day job and blogging and take up one story in the Tanakh and engage in the kind of analysis Hayes relates to us.

The truly amazing thing in this course is that Hayes manages to reveal a world of investigations and interpretations of the Bible's content, covering an enormous amount of it. Each story could receive an entire course in itself, but she has to move on. Yet, never does one feel the course becomes too superficial. Overall, the course deconstructs and reconstructs the Bible, from the revered unified source, to an inapt, compromised compilation of competing traditions, yet, still powerful in its narrative and inspiring for one who agrees to be open for the overt or concealed messages.

More Bible History:
MMW 2 - Classical Traditions,
MMW 3 - History Guided by Religions,
Early Christianity,
Samson, the conflicted hero,
The Historical Jesus.

More Open Yale:
Introduction to ancient Greek history,
Game Theory.

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2 comments:

Chris Gondek said...

I am doing this course right now and am fortunate to have a library that has many, though not all, of the supplementary readings. My advice to anyone thinking about this class is to bite the bullet and buy the Study Bible, which is amazing. The Myths of the Ancient Near East is OK, but you can probably get away with getting out of the library. But do get as many of the supplementary materials as you can get your hands on; they are generally short readings and add a lot to the experience. For example, who knew there were gnostic readings of Homer?

Anne is right on the mark. This is a great class.

The Man called Anne said...

Thanks Chris, I am very happy you are enjoying this course. Many others do so as well. Fortunately it has become syndicated at: http://openmedia.yale.edu/projects/itunesu/rlst145_audio.rss (audio) and at http://openmedia.yale.edu/projects/itunesu/rlst145_video.rss (video)

What you are saying is also very true: it adds to following along WITH the material. It goes for the vast majority of lecture podcasts.

Cheers,
Anne