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The Hebrew Bible

by Harvard University

This course material is only available in the iTunes U app on iPhone or iPad.

Course Description

Taught by Professor Shaye J.D. Cohen, this course surveys the major books and ideas of the Hebrew Bible (also called the Old Testament) examining the historical context in which the texts emerged and were redacted. A major subtext of the course is the distinction between how the Bible was read by ancient interpreters (whose interpretations became the basis for many iconic literary and artistic works of Western Civilization) and how it is approached by modern bible scholarship. James Kugel, former Harvard professor and author of the course’s textbook, contends that these ways of reading the Bible are mutually exclusive. Professor Cohen respectfully disagrees.

Customer Reviews

Authoritative and Engaging

One can only wish that everyone who professes a form of Judeo-Christianity be made aware of the traditions and challenges of real biblical scholarship, as explained here by Shaye Cohen.

Wonderful overview of the Hebrew Bible

Professor Cohen's lectures are incredibly engaging, giving both breadth and depth. An excellent introduction to modern biblical scholarship and the documentary hypothesis. I look forward to taking another course by Professor Cohen - this course has allowed me to enjoy my long commute to work (on the train).

Wonderful course

I loved this course and Professor Cohen's style. He explains the theories of modern bible scholars without the heavy-handed atheism that mars so much of the work in this area. Historical context, scholarly rigor, excellent exegesis, and a wonderfully dry sense of humor. I hope the kids at Harvard appreciate what a gem they have in this man. Thanks so much for making this course available to the public.