REL 113: Old Testament Faith and History, spring 2009.    SYLLABUS. RJDKnauth
Class time MWF 2:00-3:05 in B309. Office hours in D-320: W 3:15-4:00pm, T/TH 10-11am, 1:30-2:30pm.
Email: Tel: 321-4298(GAYT), home: 326-3822.
Religion Tutors at ARC: Kirsten Darby, Matthew Martin.


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 TextsA 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: 

1)      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%.

2)      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 quiz grades will be dropped from the average.

3)      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.  Instructor may call on students at random.  Assignments should be 1 page, typed in 12-point, Times New Roman font, single spaced, with 1-inch margins all around.  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 the assigned chapters from the textbook (Hill & Walton) for that week.

5)      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.

6)      A short (6 pg.) Exegesis Project (worth 20% of the final grade, due on Friday, April 3) 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 preliminary paper proposal (see the Exegesis Project Guidelines proposal form), including a statement of your primary biblical text, topic, thesis, and bibliography as specified in the guidelines, will be due on Monday, Feb. 23.  Your revised proposal plus a 1-pg summary description of your proposed argument in substantive outline form will be due in class on Friday, March 13, 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 April 3rd.  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 (Thurs. 4/30, 8:30 am). The exam will be issue oriented in essay format (with some choice).   

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) 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.
    d) 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!  
    e) Attending designated “special speaker” events.


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 (total 168 pgs).
M (Jan. 12)- Introduction: "Salvation History," Genres, ANE context, "distinctiveness."
W (Jan. 14)- "Primeval History:" creation, fall, redemption.
F  (Jan. 16)- 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; OTP 66-75; Pritchard selections**
(total 160 pgs).
M (Jan. 19)- The story of family, problem of heirs. Discuss Abram's call and the binding of Isaac.
W (Jan. 21)- Sweeping drama of feuding brothers. Discuss Esau/Jacob. Religion. *Quiz 1: Genesis.
 F  (Jan. 23)- Joseph cycle – “You intended it for evil, but God intended it for good!” Discuss. Historicity.
 *Asst. 2: Compare the biblical story of Joseph to Pritchard's "Joseph parallels" in
                   ANET pp. 12-16, 24-27, 183-184 (on Electronic Reserve and at library).  
           Do you think they are related?  What do you see as the main point of the Joseph story?

Week 3 Exodus – Liberation and Covenant
  Read Exodus; Hill ch. 3; Friedman ch. 5-7, 11; OTP 85, 101-109 (total 166 pgs).
M (Jan. 26)- The identity of a nation. Liberation, Sinai, covenant. ANE theme pattern, imagery.
W (Jan. 28)- Moses – legendary charismatic leader, intercessor, law-giver.  *Quiz 2: Exodus.
F  (Jan. 30)- Discussion on the Plagues, the Red Sea, the Golden Calf.  Sources?
*Asst. 3:  What happened at the Red Sea?  According to whom?  Do you see any contradiction?
    Use Friedman's source appendix to split up the sources and read each account separately.

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 (Feb. 2)- Leviticus: holiness, sacrifice, covenant.  Jubilee!
W (Feb. 4)- Numbers:  wanderings and conflict stories, name lists and boundaries. *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  (Feb. 6)- Deuteronomy: nature of biblical law, ANE context, continuity and distinctiveness. 

Week 5 Pentateuch Review and Test
  Read Friedman ch. 8-14 (i.e. the rest of the book = 96 pgs).
  Review Hill 1-6 + Appendix, and Pentateuch.
M (Feb. 9)- Source Criticism (J, E, D, P), formation of epic.  *Hand out Review Sheets for Test.*
W (Feb. 11)- Review for Test on Pentateuch (no quiz, no written assignment).  Bible Jeopardy!
F  (Feb. 13)- *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 (Feb. 16)- 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 (Feb. 18)- Issues of conquest/settlement, archaeology – fulfillment of promise! *Quiz 4.
 F  (Feb. 20)- 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 (Feb. 23)- 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 (Feb. 25)- Samuel, Ark Narrative, Philistines and Kingship.
*Quiz 5.
                   *Discuss Exegesis proposal outline. Example argument re Judges.

 F  (Feb. 27)- Saul, David (rise and succession narratives), Solomon. Evaluation of character (small grps).
*Asst. 6:  Discuss David’s wives Abigail and Michal, and how they reflect on David’s character.


SPRING BREAK!  Feb 28 - March 8.  Read Psalms (141 pages), work out your Exegesis proposal!

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 (Mar. 9)- Politics of rebellion, kingship ideology. Elijah cycle: prophetic corrective to kingship.
W (Mar. 11)- Fall of North, Sennacherib invasion: conflicting sources, differing perspectives. *Quiz 6.
F  (Mar. 13)- Josiah vs. Manasseh, theological crisis of exile, reshaping history. Jeremiah & Ezra.
*Asst. 7: Revised Exegesis Project Proposal due Fri. in class. Use provided form plus 
          1 pg. summary description of your proposed argument in substantive outline form.*

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 (Mar. 16)- The Chronicler- starting over again. Discussion. *Review Sheets handed out.*
*Asst. 8: Due Mon! Look at the way Manasseh is presented in Kings vs. in Chronicles.
               Discuss how the differences could best be explained.
W (Mar. 18)- Historical Review, Review for Test 2 on Historical Books.  Bible Jeopardy II.  *Quiz 7.
F  (Mar. 20)- *Test 2 on Historical Books, Hill ch. 7-14 (10% of final grade).


Section 3: The Prophets (Writing Prophets)

 Week 10:  Prophets in the Assyrian Crisis
  Read Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum; Hill ch. 22-23, 28, 30, 33-34
(total 190 pgs).
M (Mar. 23)- Introduction to Prophets. Amos and Hosea. 
W (Mar. 25)- Politics of Assyrian Crisis. Isaiah of Jerusalem, Micah, Nahum, Jonah. *Quiz 8.
                      Discussion re Isaiah's "Call" in Isaiah 6.  Servant songs and Messianic prophecy.
F  (Mar. 27)- Isaiah Continued (ch. 40-66).  Dating disputes and exilic hope.
        Controversy over the unity of Isaiah (focus on Isa 40). 2nd Isaiah as hope for restoration from exile.

Week 11:  Major Prophets in the Crisis of Exile and Restoration
  Read Jeremiah
+Lamentations, Ezekiel; Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi; Hill ch. 24-26 (175 pgs).
M (Mar. 30)- Jeremiah (two versions!), connect w/ Deuteronomistic History (Friedman ch. 5-7).
W (Apr. 1)- Ezekiel: “Can these bones live?” Prophetic symbolism, exile (small groups). *Quiz 9.
F  (Apr. 3)- 
Politics of Restoration, Restoration Prophets - Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.

**Exegesis Projects Due (20% of grade. Deadline Friday midnight, Instructor’s box at office D-320)!  

Week 12: Restoration Prophets and Minor Prophets Overview, Review for Prophets Test
  Read Joel, Obadiah, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Jonah. Read/Review Hill ch. 28-39 (total 140 pgs). 
Review Amos, Hosea, Micah, Nahum, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.
M (Apr. 6)- The Book of the Twelve, prophetic survey (small groups). *Quiz 10. *Prophets Review Sheet*
W (Apr. 8)- Test 3 Review (Bible Jeopardy III). à Test 3 on Monday 4/13.
F  (Apr. 10)- Good Friday – NO CLASS!

Section 4: Wisdom Literature ("Writings")


 Week 13:  Traditional Wisdom and Anti-Wisdom, Job – the Righteous Sufferer
  Read Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Job; Read Hill ch. 16-17, 19-21, OTP 208-214
 (total 177 pgs).
M (Apr. 13)-  *Test 3 on Prophets, Hill ch. 22-39 (worth 10% of the final grade).
W (Apr. 15)-  Proverbs traditional wisdom; Ecclesiastes and the anti-wisdom tradition.
 F (Apr. 17)-   Job and the dilemma of the righteous sufferer - discussion.*  *Quiz 11.
*Asst. 9
: Discuss the guilt/innocence of Job in his challenge to God.
Note esp. Job 31 and OTP.

Week 14:  Praise, Lamentation and Love; Daniel and Esther – Hero Stories and Apocalyptic; Review. 
  Read Song of Songs, Daniel, Esther, 1Macc 1-4, 2Macc 5-10; Hill ch. 15, 18, 27
(total 92 pgs).
  Review Lamentations and Psalms (esp. Ps. 19), already read over spring break. 

M (Apr. 20)- Psalms - hymns for worship, prayer, lament. Lamentations, Song of Songs. *Review sheets.*
W (Apr. 22)- Wisdom tales, hero stories, humor, and apocalyptic: Jonah, Daniel, Esther. *Quiz 12.
*Asst. 10 (due Wed!):  Reflect on the major message of Esther and Daniel for living under foreign rule.   
F (Apr. 24)- Maccabean period
& "Apocrypha." Review for final exam, essay format. Come with questions!

A two-hour Final Exam will follow during Exam Period (Thurs 4/30, 8:30 am; worth 20% of final grade).
The exam is cumulative, covering the entire course, and will consist of quote interpretations and essay questions concerning broader themes and concepts from the entire course.  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.


All papers must be submitted electronically at (class ID 1775900, enrollment password "ot07").  Hard copies should also be submitted in my box 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. 


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 cite sources properly.  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!


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!


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.