Biblical Law & Jewish Ethics: This course investigates the emergence of law and ethics from ancient Mesopotomia, through ancient Israel, into early Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Topics treated include the notion of "person" as a legal and ethical category; the concept of human agency; the distinction between person and chattel; and the distinctive role played by legal hermeneutics in the formation of culture.
Scripture & Interpretation in Israelite Religion and Judaism: Description: Students are asked to study the notion of divine revelation and its impact upon religion, literature, and law. Topics discussed include the concept of the canonical tradition; the role of interpretation of an authoritative text; and the debates about constitutional legal hermeneutics and "originalism."
Bible: Context and Interpretation: Description: An introduction to the modern academic study of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible in the historical context of literature from ancient Mesopotamia, Canaan (Ugarit), and Israel. Readings concern the stories of creation, law, epic conflict, and conquest within Near Eastern and biblical legal texts.
Prophecy in Ancient Israel: Description: This course traces the development of prophecy in ancient Israel within the larger context of ancient Near Eastern history and culture. Students will evaluate the effects prophecy had on politics and law in Ancient Israel and view prophecy cross-culturally through textual analysis. Students will focus on the social, political, and religious concerns of the prophets, noting their origin in biblical law and covenant ideology.
Comparative Seminar in Religions in Antiquity: This seminar investigates the idea of divine revelation and its impact upon religion and literature. It shows how the history of the Bible's creation, transmission and interpretation in Judaism and Christianity can help us think critically about the role of the idea of revelation in the history of religious traditions. Co-taught with Prof. Philip Sellew.