REL 113: Old Testament Faith and History, Fall 2009.   SYLLABUS.      RJDKnauth
Class time MWF 9:00-10:05 am in B309. Office hours M/W 2:30-3:30pm, T/Th 3:00-3:30pm.
Office D-320. Email: Tel: 321-4298(GAYT), home: 326-3822. 
Religion Tutors at ARC: Matthew Martin, Kirstin Rose, Felicia Swartz.


The primary purpose of this course is for you to (1) READ THE ENTIRE OLD TESTAMENT and (2) be introduced to some tools and historical background that will help you to understand it.  


Note: *This course is a lot of work!*  It covers a large amount of sometimes difficult material, most of which will probably be completely unfamiliar to the average American church-goer.  Various methods of modern scholarly study will be used.  We will seek to understand the original intentions of the texts, and the religious thoughts they express, within the historical and cultural context of the ancient Near East.  Time will not allow discussion of the entire text in detail, but we will introduce its various genres, historical background, and the major scholarly issues involved with its study.  Weekly quizzes and reflective assignments will provide extra incentive to do the reading, which averages approximately 150 pages per week.

Primary Text:             The Bible.  Any version is fine, but a good study Bible with notes and historical background is helpful. 
                                    The bookstore will carry the Harper Collins Study Bible (NRSV).
Secondary Texts:       A Survey of the Old Testament (2nd ed.), Hill & Walton (“Hill” in syllabus)
                                    Who Wrote the Bible? R. Friedman  
                                    Old Testament Parallels, ed. Matthews (“OTP” in syllabus; 
                                                                                     note historical outline p. 333)

  The course is divided into four sections:           1.  The Pentateuch (Torah)
                                                                        2.  The Historical Books (Former Prophets)
                                                                   3.  The Prophets (Writing Prophets)
                                                                     4.  Wisdom Literature ("Writings")

Course Requirements: 
      Attendance and informed participation (readings having been completed) at all class sessions will be expected (worth 10% of the final grade).  The attendance policy for this course is that there are no excused absences without a written note from a doctor or parent/guardian regarding a serious family or medical emergency (e.g. requiring hospitalization).  Each set of 3 absences lowers your final grade 1%.

      Weekly Quizzes on the readings for that week (worth 10% of the final grade) will take place at the beginning of class each Wednesday as listed in this syllabus, so be sure to complete the readings by Wednesday of each week.  The lowest 2 grades will be dropped from the average.

      Weekly Written Assignments, exercises or reflections on the readings as specified in the syllabus (worth 10% of the final grade) will be collected in class most Fridays, and will be the basis for class discussion on those days.  If participation is scanty, then the instructor will call on students at random.  Assignments should be no more than 1 page single spaced, typed in 12-point Times New Roman font with 1-inch margins all around.  Always print 2 copies, hand one in, and keep the other to take notes on.  Late assignments will be penalized.

4)      Students wishing to make up for absences or missed quizzes may submit Chapter Outline Summaries (1-2 pages each) of assigned chapters from the textbook (Hill & Walton) for that week.

      There will be 3 short (1 hour, non-cumulative) Tests (each worth 10% of the final grade) on each of the first three sections of the course, covering relevant historical background, scholarly theories and content.  Review sheets will be handed out in advance.

      A short (6 pg.) Exegesis Project (worth 20% of the final grade, due on Friday, Nov. 13th) will be required, giving a close thematic analysis of an Old Testament text (or texts) concerning some major issue discussed in class, plus some personal reflection and application of that text.  Your paper proposal (see the Exegesis Project Guidelines proposal form), including a statement of your primary biblical text, topic, thesis, and bibliography will be due on Monday, Oct. 12th.  Your revised proposal plus a 1-pg description in outline form will be due in class on Wednesday, Oct. 21st, and will count as your "written assignment" for that week.  Rough drafts will be accepted until this date.  Prior to turning the completed project in, each student must visit the writing center once (no paper will be accepted without documentation of a visit to the ARC), and solicit one peer review.  Copies of your sources, the original and revised proposals, the peer review (signed by your reviewer) and your "self evaluation" (on the proposal form, including the date of your visit to the writing center) will be turned in along with the final project, which should include an adequate bibliography as specified in the guidelines, on Nov. 13th.  Turn in a hard copy to the instructor's mailbox (outside D-320), and an electronic copy at (class ID 1775900, enrollment password "ot07")

7)      A Final Exam (2 hours, worth 20% of the final grade), covering the entire course, will be given during exam period.  The exam will be essay format (with some choice) and issue oriented.   

8)   Extra Credit will be granted at the instructor's discretion for the following:
    a) Chapter Outline Summaries from the textbook as specified above.
    b) Sets of I.D. flashcards for learning names, dates and books of the Bible, etc.
    c) Attending special events such as the Dever lecture on Nov. 1st.
Creative cartoons, limericks, etc. that capture the message of a particular story or character in the Bible in association with the name (include an explanation) - to be shared with the class.  For example, picture two garden hoses lovingly entwined - one (labeled "Hosea") looks up to heaven; the other with big eyelashes (labeled "wife/Israel") stretches away.  Explanation:  God commanded Hosea to take an adulterous wife (symbolic of unfaithful Israel), whom he repeatedly wooed back despite her infidelity - an example of "prophetic symbolism" representing God's unconditional love for Israel.
    e) Watching "Biblical" movies relating to the Old Testament and submitting points of disagreement with the actual biblical account (citing chapter and verse).  To get credit, the student must also submit movie ticket stubs with theater and date, video receipt with date and time watched, or TV schedule including channel and time watched.  I know you watch these. Get out your Bibles and check up on them for credit!  

Schedule of Classes:

        Section 1: The Pentateuch (Torah)


Week 1:  Introduction, Genesis I: Primeval History  
  Read Genesis 1-11; Hill pp. 18-80, 146-166, 290-303, 384-399, 571-587;
     Friedman Intro. + ch. 2; OTP pp. 9-18, 25-28 (on-line reserve)
(total 168 pgs).
M (Aug. 31)- Introduction: "Salvation History," Genres, ANE context, "distinctiveness."
W (Sept. 2)- "Primeval History:" creation, fall, redemption.
F  (Sept. 4)- Pentateuchal Criticism: J, E, P, D and all that, issues of dating and authorship.
*Asst. 1 (handout, due Fri):  Exercise on evaluating multiple sources in Gen. 1-11 (J vs. P).


Week 2 Genesis II: Patriarchs – Inheritance of the Promise
  Read Genesis 12-50; Hill ch. 2; Friedman ch. 1-4.
  Compare OTP 61-75, Pritchard ANET pp. 24-27 (on-line reserve) re Joseph parallels
(total 160 pgs).
M (Sept. 7)- The story of family, problem of heirs. Discuss Abram's call and the binding of Isaac.
W (Sept. 9)- Feuding brothers. Discuss Esau/Jacob, History, Religion, Drama. *Quiz 1: Genesis.
 F (Sept. 11)- Joseph cycle – “You intended it for evil, but God intended it for good!” Discussion.
*Asst. 2: Discuss Joseph’s deception with regard to Benjamin stealing his cup and its significance, noting parallels to Rachel’s theft of Laban’s idols and the general pattern of deception in Jacob’s life.


Week 3 Exodus – Liberation and Covenant
  Read Exodus; Hill ch. 3; Friedman ch. 5-7, 11; OTP 85, 101-109
(total 166 pgs).
M (Sept. 14)- The identity of a nation. Liberation, Sinai, covenant. ANE theme pattern, imagery.
W (Sept. 16)- Moses – legendary charismatic leader, intercessor, law-giver.  *Quiz 2: Exodus.
 F  (Sept. 18)- Discussion on the Plagues, the Red Sea, the Golden Calf - Sources.
*Asst. 3:  Discuss the Golden Calf story, who benefits from telling it and what is their purpose.


Week 4:  From Covenant to Edge of Promised Land: Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
  Read (skim) Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Hill ch. 4-6, OTP 124-126
(total 210 pgs).
M (Sept. 21)- Leviticus: holiness, sacrifice, covenant.  Jubilee!
W (Sept. 23)- Numbers: wanderings & conflict, name lists & boundaries, Balaam. *Quiz 3.
*Asst. 4: Due Wed! Discuss the differing views of Balaam in: Num 22-25, 31; OTP 124-126;           
Deut 23:3-6; Josh 13:22, 24:9-10; Neh 13:1-3; Mic 6:5; 2Pet 2:15-16; Jude 11; Rev 2:14.
F  (Sept. 25)- Deuteronomy: nature of biblical law, ANE context, continuity and distinctiveness.


Week 5:  Pentateuch Review and Test
  Read Friedman ch. 8-14 (i.e. rest of book = 96 pgs). Review Pentateuch, Hill 1-6 + Appendix.
M (Sept. 28)- Source Criticism (J, E, D, P), formation of epic. *Exam Review Sheet*
W (Sept. 30)- Review for Test on Pentateuch (no quiz, no written assignment).
F  (Oct. 2)- *Test 1 on the Pentateuch, Hill ch. 1-6+App., Friedman, Parallels (10% of grade).


         Section 2: The Historical Books (“Former Prophets”)


Week 6: The Tribal League                                          *Assign skit groups!
Read Joshua, Judges; Hill ch.7-9; OTP 91-93, 141-144, 333-337;
review Friedman ch.1 (total 138 pgs).
M (Oct. 5)- Library Session: Discuss the nature of the Exegesis Project and introduce sources.  
    Meet in Snowden Library. *Choose topics! Example thesis re Saul's death (regicide/suicide). 
W (Oct. 7)- Issues of conquest/settlement, archaeology – fulfillment of promise! *Quiz 4.
 F  (Oct. 9)- Charismatic leadership ideal; anti-kingship vs. pro-kingship. Discussion/Debate.
*Asst. 5:  Is the Book of Judges primarily anti-monarchic or pro-monarchic? Give your evidence.


Week 7:  The United Monarchy, “Golden Age” of Israel
  Read Ruth, 1-2 Samuel, 1Kings 1-11, Hill ch. 10-11, OTP 145-146
(total 148 pgs).
M (Oct. 12)- The tribal league, local hero stories, unity/disunity.  Skits!
*Initial Exegesis Proposal due in class (see Exegesis Project Guidelines proposal form),
  including a statement of your primary biblical text, topic, thesis, and preliminary bibliography.
W (Oct. 14)- Samuel, Ark Narrative, Philistines and Kingship.
*Quiz 5.
                   *Discuss Exegesis proposal outline. Example argument re Judges.

 F  (Oct. 16)- Saul, David (rise and succession narratives), Solomon. Evaluation of character.
*Asst. 6:  Discuss David’s wives Abigail and Michal, and how they reflect on David’s character.


Week 8:  The Divided Monarchy into the Exile: Deuteronomistic History.
  Read 1-2 Kings, Hill ch. 12, OTP 155-190
(total 122 pgs). Review Friedman ch. 4-7 (60 pgs). Politics handout.
M (Oct. 19)-
Politics of rebellion, kingship ideology. Elijah cycle: prophetic corrective to kingship.
W (Oct. 21)- Fall of North, Sennacherib invasion: conflicting sources, differing perspectives.*Q6.
*Asst. 7: Revised Exegesis Project Proposal due Wed. in class (form plus 1 pg. descriptive outline).
 F  (Oct. 23)- Josiah vs. Manasseh, theological crisis of exile, reshaping history.  Jeremiah & Ezra.


Week 9 Exile and Restoration.  The Chronicler’s History.
  Read 1-2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah; Hill ch. 13-14
(total 153 pgs). Review Friedman ch. 8, 13 (28 pgs).
M (Oct. 26)- The Chronicler- starting over again. Discussion. *Quiz 7. *Test 2 Review Sheet.*
*Asst. 8: Due Mon! Look at the way Manasseh is presented in Kings vs. in Chronicles. Explain!
W (Oct. 28)- Historical Review, Review for Test on Section 2.
F  (Oct. 30)- Long Weekend - NO CLASS. 


Week 10:  Test on Histories 
M (Nov. 2)- *Test 2 on Historical Books, Hill ch. 7-14 (10% of final grade).



Section 3: The Prophets (Writing Prophets)


Week 10:  Test on Histories; Prophets in the Assyrian Crisis
  Read Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum; Hill ch. 22-23, 28, 30, 33-34
(total 190 pgs).
M (Nov. 2)-  *Test 2 on Historical Books, Hill ch. 7-14 (10% of final grade).
W (Nov. 4)-  Introduction to Prophets. Amos and Hosea.
F  (Nov. 6)- Politics of Assyrian Crisis. Isaiah of Jerusalem, Micah, Nahum, Jonah. *Quiz 8.
            *No Ass't.  Work on Exegesis Project!


Week 11:  Major Prophets in the Crisis of Exile
  Read Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel; Hill ch. 24-26
(total 154 pgs).
M (Nov. 9)- Jeremiah (two versions!), connection with Deuteronomistic History
(Friedman ch. 5-7).
W (Nov. 11)- Ezekiel: “Can these bones live?” Prophetic symbolism, exile. Small groups.*Quiz 9.
 F  (Nov. 13)-
Isaiah's "call" in ch. 6. Controversy over the unity of Isaiah (focus on Isaiah 6 and 40).
      2nd Isaiah as hope for restoration from exile. Servant songs, Messianic prophecy.
**Exegesis Projects due Friday Nov. 13, midnight, instructor's box
outside D-320 (20% of grade)!  


Week 12: Prophets in the Restoration; Minor Prophets Overview.
  Read Joel, Obadiah, Habakkuk, Jonah, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi;
  Read/Review Hill ch. 28-39
(52+77=129 pgs).
M (Nov. 16)- Politics of Restoration, Restoration Prophets. *Prophets Review Sheet*
W (Nov. 18)- The book of the twelve, prophetic survey.          
Small groups. *Quiz 10.
 F  (Nov. 20)- Review for Test on Prophets (Bible Jeopardy III).

Week 13:  Test, Thanksgiving Break
   Review Hill ch. 22-26, 28-39 for Monday
(50+77=127 pgs).  Read Psalms (after Test 3 of course; total 140 pgs)!
M (Nov. 23)- *Test 3 on Prophets, Hill ch. 15-16, 19-21, 22-39 (worth 10% of the final grade).
W (Nov. 25), F (Nov. 27)- School closed for Thanksgiving Holiday.  Read Psalms!

Section 4: Wisdom Literature ("Writings")


Week 14:  Psalms, Traditional Wisdom and Anti-Wisdom.  
  Read Song of Songs, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Job; Hill ch. 16-21
(185 pgs); rec. OTP 203-228.  
M (Nov. 30)- Psalms - hymns for worship, prayer, lament. Song of Songs.
W (Dec. 2)- Proverbs - the traditional wisdom; Ecclesiastes and Anti-Wisdom. *Quiz 11.
 F  (Dec. 4)- Job and the dilemma of the righteous sufferer - discussion (note esp. Job 31).**
*Asst. 9: Who is on trial in Job, and why?  What is the major question at stake?  How is it answered?


Week 15: Daniel and Esther - Hero Stories and Apocalyptic; Review.
  Read Daniel, Esther, 1Macc 1-4, 2Macc 5-10; Hill ch. 15, 27
(38+24+15=77 pgs).
M (Dec. 7)- Esther (+Jonah). Wisdom tales, hero stories, and humor. *Review sheet.*
*Asst. 10 (due Mon!): Reflect on the use of humor and role reversals in Esther and Jonah.  
W (Dec. 9)- Daniel and apocalyptic. “Apocrypha.” *Quiz 12
Daniel and Esther (
+Jonah). Wisdom tales, hero stories, humor, and apocalyptic. “Apocrypha.”
*Make-up Asst. (Wed): Reflect on the message of Daniel in relation to life under foreign rule.  
 F  (Dec. 11)- Review for final exam, essay format. Come with questions!


A two-hour Final Exam will follow during Exam Period (Dec. 14-18; worth 20% of grade).
The exam is cumulative, and will consist of quote interpretations and essay questions concerning broader themes and concepts from the entire course, for which there will be some choice.  



*Assignments are due on Fridays in class, unless otherwise noted in the syllabus. All assignments should be typed with 12-point Times New Roman font and 1-inch margins all around.  Print 2 copies, keep one.


*Save backups of all your work to your “H” drive space, backed up by ITS each night.


*The Pritchard Reserve Readings on "Joseph Parallels" for week 2 are available on-line via Moodle, as well as in the library at the circulation desk.


Instructions for Electronic Reserves: Supplemental course readings have been placed on electronic reserve through Moodle, at Your username is your Novell login, with your regular Novell password. 


**Papers are officially due on Friday at midnight.  The office doors are locked around 5:00pm.  Papers delivered after 5:00 will obviously not be retrieved until the following Monday, so any papers found in the mailbox on Monday morning will be accepted as being "on time."  Please do not come with last minute excuses asking for a short extension.  Just get it in the box by Monday morning.  Any papers not yet turned in by first thing Monday morning, short of a major illness (with a note from the doctor), family emergency (with a note from parents), or other serious problem, will be penalized at the discretion of the instructor.

Hard copies should be submitted in my box (outside D-320) along with your original and revised proposals, an adequate bibliography as specified in the guidelines, a self-evaluation (including the date of your visit to the writing center, required for all students), a peer review, and copies of your sources.  In addition to the hard copy, papers must be submitted electronically at (class ID 1775900, enrollment password “ot07”). 


A Note on Workload:  This is not high school!  College courses require preparation!
The standard at Lycoming College is 6-9 hours of preparation per week per course, not including class time.  That’s 2-3 hours of preparation for every 1 hour in class.  For this course in general you should plan on spending 6 hours each week just reading (average 150 pages/week; at 25 pages/hour or 2½ min. per page, this would come to 6 hours/wk), plus 1 hour to study for the quiz and 1-2 hours working on the written assignment.  By the way, you should know that introductory 100-level courses such as this, while they do not assume prior knowledge of the subject area, are generally MORE WORK than upper level courses.  This is because the breadth and volume of material covered is greater, and the instructor cannot assume any prior knowledge and therefore cannot just
leave things out.  If you want to be successful in this course, then plan to schedule in your study time!


 A Note on Academic Dishonesty:  Academic Dishonesty is a serious offense at Lycoming College and in this class.  Academic Dishonesty includes failing to give credit to sources used (otherwise known as Plagiarism).  This would include copying material from a book, article or web site without citing your source.  "Paraphrasing" is not sufficient.  If you are using someone else's words you must put the material in quotation marks as well as citing your source.  Even if you paraphrase or summarize, if you are using someone else's *ideas,* you must cite your source, giving specific page numbers, as well as listing the source in your bibliography.  See the Library web pages on the mechanics of how to properly cite sources.  Plagiarism also includes copying material from one of your classmates or from previous students – whether on a formal paper or a short assignment.  You are allowed to discuss assignments together, but when it comes to writing out your answers, you must do your own work and use your own words.  If I receive two assignments (or chapter outline summaries) containing a majority of identical wording, BOTH will receive an “F.” If I receive papers containing substantial amounts of material copied from any source (books, articles, web sites, other student papers, etc.) without the proper citation and credit being given, that student will receive an “F” on the project and will be reported to the Dean. Keep in mind that I have a very good memory, keep my own file of past papers, and also have a web browser.  In addition, all papers will be handed in electronically at, where Lycoming has a college-wide account.  This site will check all papers against the internet and other resources, as well as against papers previously submitted to this and other classes.  Over the past several years I have discovered a number of instances of plagiarism in my classes.  According to school policy, a second infraction of this type in any course at Lycoming College can result in expulsion from the school.  If you do not clearly understand what this means or what plagiarism is, please come and talk to me about it and I will be glad to explain. Remember: the difference between plagiarism and good research is only proper citation!


Disability Accommodation: If you have a specific disability and wish to request academic accommodations to meet your needs, please consult with Mr. Dan Hartsock, Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities.  You may reach him by telephone at 321-4294, or stop by his office on the third floor of Snowden Library in the Academic Resource Center.