HEBR 221: Readings in OT Narrative – Exodus, Fall 2009.  SYLLABUS.              RJDKnauth
Class T/Th 9:45-11:35 am in D-302.  Office Hours M/W 2:30-3:30pm, T/Th 3:00-3:30pm in D-320.
Tel: 321-4298 (xGAYT), home: 326-3822 (DAN-DUBB), email: knauth@lycoming.edu; web: www.lycoming.edu/~knauth
ARC Tutors for Hebrew:  Matthew Martin, Ian Shepherd

A critical reading of the Hebrew text of selected narrative portions of the Old Testament with special attention being given to exegetical questions.  This semester we will be focusing on the book of Exodus.  The purpose of this course will be to develop and practice your ability to read and understand biblical Hebrew narrative, as found in the book of Exodus.  We will continue to develop a basic working vocabulary with a goal of mastering words occurring 50 times or more in the Hebrew Bible (section 4 in Mitchel).  We will also discuss unusual points of grammar that come up in the readings, and become familiar with the standard research tools and references for biblical Hebrew language and grammar.  Finally, as time permits, we will discuss larger issues of theology, historical background and scholarly criticism in relation to the book of Exodus with a standard exegetical approach.  Exodus is an extremely rich book, with a wide variety of types of text and themes which were pivotal for the national identity of Israel.  Starting with the book of Exodus, we can come to a much deeper understanding of the Old Testament generally.  Any student with a minimum of 1 yr of Biblical Hebrew may register for this course (prerequisite HEBR 102 or equivalent).
 


TextbooksBiblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS)
                     Nahum Sarna, Exodus (JPS Torah Commentary)
                   
Mitchel, Vocabulary for Biblical Hebrew (you may also find Vocabulary Cards helpful)
                    Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon (BDB)
Indispensable References (available in library, but worth purchasing):
                    Kittel, Biblical Hebrew (available with audio cassette and answer key)  
                    A Reader’s Hebrew-English Lexicon..., Armstrong, Busby and Carr (ABC)
                    NIV Interlinear Old Testament or Hendrickson’s Interlinear Bible
                    Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance
                    New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance (w/ "Strong" numbers)   
                     The Bible (any English version, complete)
                    Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar, Gesenius, Kautzsch and Cowley (GKC)
               (other Hebrew grammars you may consult in my office: Jouon, Waltke, Williamson, Lambdin) 
Other useful references (available in library on Reference or Reserve, will point you to further useful bibliography):
                     The Book of Exodus, Brevard Childs (especially his "Textual and Philological Notes")
                     Exodus (Anchor Bible, 2 vol), William Propp
                     Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic, Frank Moore Cross
                     
Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture, Brevard Childs
                     Who Wrote the Bible?, Richard Friedman (on reserve)
                     Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, Emanuel Tov (in my office)
                   Anchor Bible Dictionary and New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible
 


Course Requirements:
1)    Attendance and Participation, readings having been prepared: 10% of final grade.
          Each set of 3 absences and/or lack of preparedness lowers your final grade by 1%. 
2)  Reading logs should be prepared for the readings for each session.  Logs will be spot-checked,
          discussed in class, and collected en mass at the conclusion of the course: 10 % of final grade.** 
3)    Weekly Vocabulary Quizzes (usually at the beginning of class on Thursdays).
          15 quizzes, worth 15 % of final grade.
4)    Three Translation Tests: worth 10% each for a total 30 % of final grade.
5)    Final Exam (Oral plus Take-home Translation): 15% of final grade. 
6)  Five short Research Assignments (due Thursdays for discussion in class): 20 % of final grade.*   *Research Assignments should not exceed 2 pages.  They will be due in class as marked in the syllabus and will be discussed at that time.  The final assignment will involve transcription, transliteration and proposed translation of an ancient inscription in paleo-Hebrew script.

**"Reading Logs" should be prepared for each class session according to instructions in the syllabus saying "Prepare Exod __:__" (generally 3-4 pgs in BHS per session).  In preparing the text, you may use any tools you like, including Grammars, Lexicons/Dictionaries, Commentaries, English versions, etc.  When reading in class, plan to use only the plain Hebrew text from BHS, plus ABC, plus your reading log.  Your reading log should include the date, start and finish times, and verses prepared, noting any points of grammar that were not immediately obvious to you (e.g. verb analysis/parsing, suffixes, etc.), and a basic English definition for any Hebrew word that you looked up in the lexicon.  Be prepared to discuss these in class.  You need not include words already in ABC unless you felt it necessary to look them up in BDB as well in order to get a better sense of their meaning.  You may also note any grammatical constructions which you find to be unusual or especially interesting.  The majority of most class sessions will be spent reading the biblical text with the aid of these reading logs, and discussing the points of grammar that you found to be difficult and have therefore noted in your logs.  Please note that the ideal reading log would (eventually) be largely empty because your familiarity with the vocabulary (not including that in ABC) and grammar would allow you to read the text competently with minimal outside aids.  In this case your log would consist only of those forms which are especially unusual or interesting, as you will find noted in GKC and other reference Grammars.  Please do not write reams and reams.  Less is better.  Do NOT write out your English translation of the verse.  The Logs will be checked weekly and then collected en mass at the end of the semester, and will be evaluated on a "good faith effort" basis for 10% of the final grade.
 


Schedule of Classes:   

Week 1:  Grammar Review; Beginning to Read Hebrew (again)   
 Review Vocabulary in Mitchel Section 1(A-D).  Review major points of grammar for verbs. 
T  (Sept. 1)- Review major points of grammar.  Hand back finals from HEBR 102, discuss. 
   Exodus as THE formative Israelite experience. 
Th (Sept. 3)- Quiz 0 – English to Hebrew – discuss! Quiz 1 on Vocab (>500): Mitchel Section 1A-D. 
    "Reading Log" and "Word Study."  Begin reading Exodus 1 together as time permits.

Week 2:  Introduction, Birth of Moses 
 Prepare Exod 1-2.  Read Sarna pp. 3-13; rec. Childs I-III (pp. 1, 5-7, 28).  
 Review Vocabulary 2A-E (>200).  Review major points of grammar for nouns.
  Issues to think about: Oppression, Remembering, Genesis Links, Abandonment, ANE Parallels,
    characterization of Moses – establishing Moses’ identity.  
T  (Sept. 8)-   Prepare Exod 1:1-2:10 (w/ log), continue reading Moses birth story.
    Discuss value of Hebrew Grammars (GKC, Waltke, Williamson).
Th (Sept. 10)- Prepare Exod 2:11-25 (w/ log). Quiz 2 Vocab 2A-E.
    Research Assignment 1:  Do a "word-study" on zakar.

Week 3:  The Call of Moses  
  Read Exod 3:1 - 7:7, Sarna pp. 13-37; rec. Childs IV-VI (pp. 49-51, 92-3, 110-111). 
  Review Vocabulary 3A-G (>100).  <-- (this will be the toughest section!)
  Issues:  Characterization of Moses, Midianite Hypothesis, Sources (duplicate calls?).
T  (Sept. 15)- Prepare Exod 3:1-4:31
Th (Sept. 17)- Prepare Exod 5:1-7:7.    Quiz 3 on Vocab 3A-G.
    In-class Exercise:  How is Moses' character developed in Exod 1-7 (at least 6 ways).
          Note significant parallels or other textual/linguistic clues to their significance (e.g. in 2:11-14).

Week 4:  Miraculous Plagues in Egypt: Natural Phenomena? Religious Polemic? Bedtime Stories?  
  Read Exod 7:8-11:10, Sarna pp. 37-53; rec. Childs VII (pp. 128-30).  
  Learn Mitchel Vocabulary 4A.
  Issues: Autonomous Choice; Corporate Responsibility.  Science vs. Theology.
T  (Sept. 22)- Prepare Exod 7:8-13, split up rest of plagues (3 plagues each, with partner). 
            Blood, Frogs and Gnats:      _______________ (Exod 7:14-8:15[E=19])
            Flies, Livestock and Boils:    _______________ (Exod 8:17[E=20]-9:12)
            Hail, Locusts and Darkness:   _______________ (Exod 9:13-10:29)
Th (Sept. 24)- Prepare Exod 11:1-10Quiz 4 on Vocab 4A. 

Week 5:  The Passover;  Test 1
  Read Exod 12:1-13:16, Sarna pp. 53-68; rec. Childs VIII (pp. 182-4).   
  Learn Mitchel Vocabulary 4B. 
  Issues: Passover, consecration of first born.  
T  (Sept. 29)- Prepare Exod 12:1-13:16 (Passover).
Th (Oct. 1)-  Quiz 5 on Vocab 4B.  Translation Test 1 on Exod. 1-13.

Week 6:  The Exodus and Reed Sea Crossing  
  Read Exod 13:17-15:21, Sarna pp. 68-83, Cross CMHE ch. 6 (res); rec. Childs IX-X (pp. 217-18, 242-3).
  Learn Mitchel Vocabulary 4C.
  Issues: ANE imagery: battling Sea Dragons. Exodus theme.
T  (Oct. 6)- Prepare Exod 13:17-14:31 (Exodus and Reed Sea crossing - Sources).  
Th (Oct. 8)- Prepare Exod 15:1-21 (Song of the Sea), discuss Asst. 2 + Cross.  Quiz 6 on Vocab 4C.  
    Research Asst 2: Separate the Reed Sea crossing accounts into sources J/P (Friedman).
                      Look for corresponding linguistic or stylistic features distinctive to each.

Week 7:  Wilderness Wanderings and Complaining 
  Read Exod 15:22-18:27, Sarna pp. 83-102; rec. Childs XI-XV (pp. 266, 273-4, 305, 310-2, 320-1).
  Compare Numbers 10:29-14:45, Numbers 16-17, 20, 25.  
Learn Mitchel Vocabulary 4D.
Issues: Function of complaining stories, links with Numbers. Midianite Hypothesis.
            Sources P vs. E - Jethro/Reuel, Sinai/Horeb.  Moses, Aaron: rival priestly houses?
T  (Oct. 13)- Prepare Exod 15:22-17:16 (Complaining).  
Th (Oct. 15)- Prepare Exod 18:1-27 (Jethro).
   Quiz 7 on 4D.  
     Discuss issues of textual criticism, introduce BHS apparatus.  In-class Exercise.

Week 8:  Sinai Theophany and Revelation 
  Read Exod 19:1-25, 20:15-18[E=18-21], 24:1-18; Sarna pp. 102-107, 115, 150-155;
    rec. Childs XVI, XIX (pp. 342-4, 498-9). Compare Exod 33:18-34:7, Deut 5:4-5, 22-31.
  Learn Mitchel Vocabulary 4E.
  Issues: Sacred mountain as "Axis Mundi" (connecting place of heaven/earth).  
            Storm/Volcano imagery.  Who/what is God?  Seeing God. 
T  (Oct. 20)-  Prepare Exod 19:1-25, 20:15-18[E=18-21]
Th (Oct. 22)- Prepare Exod 24:1-18Quiz 8 on 4E.  Discuss Research Asst. 3.
    Research Asst 3:  Note apparent contradictions in theophany texts.
                        Are there linguistic clues that would suggest distinct sources here?

Week 9:  Ten Commandments; Test 2
  Read Exod 20:1-14[E=17], Sarna pp. 107-115; rec. Childs XVII (pp. 387-8).
  Compare Deut 5:1-22, Lev 19, Exod 34:10-28.  
  Learn Mitchel Vocabulary 4F.
  Issues:  What is the Law? Types and origins. Reflections on the nature of God.
T  (Oct. 27)-  Prepare Exod 20:1-14[E=17].  The "Ten Words" - traditional unit, variant versions.
    Research Asst 4 (due Tues!): Using the accent marks and linguistic parallels as your guide,
                        Separate out and analyze the "Ten Commandments" as poetic verse.
Th (Oct. 29)- Quiz 9 on Vocab 4F.  Translation Test 2 on Exod 13-20.

Week 10:  Covenant Code  
  Read Exod 20:19[E=22]-23:33, Sarna pp. 115-150; rec. Childs XVIII (pp. 446-51).  
  Learn Mitchel Vocabulary 4G.
  Issues: Historical precedents: Hammurabi, etc.; continuity/distinctiveness.  Hunger for Justice.
T  (Nov. 3)-  Prepare Exod 20:19[E=22]-22:30[E=31]
Th (Nov. 5)- Prepare Exod 23:1-33.   Quiz 10 on 4G.
Due to time constraints, we will skip Exod 25 – 31 on the construction of the tabernacle.  :-(

Week 11:  The Golden Calf and Mt. Sinai Theophany 
  Read Exod 32:1-33:23, Sarna pp. 202-215; rec. Childs XXI-XXII (pp. 555-7, 583-4). 
  Compare Num 8:13-19, 1Kings 12, 1Kings 19.  
  Learn Mitchel Vocabulary 4H.
  Issues: Idolatry or alternative throne iconography? Dedication of Levites. Presence of God.
T  (Nov.  10)- Prepare Exod 32:1-35
Th (Nov. 12)- Prepare Exod 33:1-23, 34:5-9. Quiz 11 on Vocab 4H.

Week 12:  Covenant Renewal, Blessing and Dedication  
  Read Exod 34:1-40:38, Sarna pp. 215-237; rec. Childs XXIII (pp. 603-604).  
  Learn Mitchel Vocabulary 4I.
  Issues: New tablets of covenant, covenant renewal.  Blessing, Dedication. 
T  (Nov. 17)- Prepare Exod 34:1-35, 35:1-36:7, 40:34-38
Th (Nov. 19)- Quiz 12 on Vocab 4I. Library Research Session – get resources for Paleo-Hebrew Inscription.
                 Consult ARC Hebrew Tutor Matthew Martin for help on Paleo-Hebrew Inscription.

Week 13:  Test 3, Vocabulary Drill; Thanksgiving Break  
  Review Mitchel Vocabulary 4A-I for special review quiz next week!  
T  (Nov. 24)-  Translation Test 3 on Exod. 20-35;  Vocabulary Drill on 4A-I.    
Th (Nov. 26)- *Thanksgiving, No Class.*  Review Vocabulary!!!!!

Week 14: Paleo-Hebrew Inscription, catch-up and review
   Learn Vocabulary 4J; continue to review Vocabulary 4A-I for special review quiz on Tuesday.
T  (Dec. 1) -  Discuss Paleo-Hebrew Inscription, due in class!  Quiz 13 on 4A-I cum.
    Research Asst 5 (due Tues!):  Paleo-Hebrew Inscription – transcribe, transliterate, translate.
Th (Dec. 3) -  Finish Inscription; read from Exod 36-40 cold. Quiz 14 on Vocab 4J.

Week 15:  Major Themes, Review for Exam
  Learn Vocabulary 4K. Review Mitchel Section 4 Vocabulary (4A-K).
T  (Dec.  8)- Discuss major themes of book, review for exam. Special reading:  John 1.
Th (Dec.  10)- Quiz 15 on Vocab 4K. Read random passages from Exodus. Hand out Take-home exam.

Final Exam to follow during Exam Week; Take-home will be due at the scheduled time of the exam.  Oral exams will also be conducted individually at that time.

Back to Knauth home page