Religion 111: Introduction to the Old Testament Essay
Religion 111: Introduction to the Old Testament
Course: Religion 111: Introduction to the Old Testament
Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences:
Credit Hours: 3sh
Course Expectations: Outside of class- 20 hours per week
REL 111 Introduction to the Old Testament:
This course is an examination of the writings of the Old Testament, using an historical and interpretive approach to these writings. GER REL and Humanities
Student Learning Outcomes
Student Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to: Means of Assessment
This outcome will be indicated by successful:
–Trace the chronology of Israel’s history from the patriarchal period through the end of the prophetic era emphasizing its significant events, personalities, and cultural settings. –Performance on graded exams/quizzes.
— Study questions
— Questions of the Week
–Identify the various literary genres present
in the Old Testament.
–Performance on graded exams/quizzes.
— Study questions
–Identify aspects of the different moral, ethical, and theological messages of the Old Testament. –Completion of research project.
–Performance on graded exams/quizzes.
— Study Questions
— Questions of the Week
–Develop an interpretive framework through the use of scholarly research tools and methods. –Completion of research project.
Meeks, Wayne A. Gen. ed. The HarperCollins Study Bible New Revised Standard Version. New York: HarperOne Inc., 1996.
Coogan, Michael D. A Brief Introduction to the Old Testament: The Hebrew Bible in its Context. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.
The book can be purchased online through the MOC Bookstore at: http://moc.bncollege.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/BNCBHomePage?storeId=53551&catalogId=10001&langId=-1
1. Careful study of each unit in the textbook, along with parallel reading in the Old Testament itself, is expected. The ability to respond to questions concerning the content of each chapter in the textbook as well as content material in the Old Testament which is related to it is essential.
2. The student is to submit written responses to four sets of study questions found at the end of each chapter in the Coogan text. A list of questions to answer for each week can be found under the assignments for each week on Moodle and in the Course Outline and Assignments at the end of the syllabus. These must be submitted via Moodle by 8:00 p.m. (EST) on the following dates: [Fridays: Oct. 4; Oct. 11; Oct. 18; Oct. 25]. Each assignment is worth up to 10 points.
Late assignments (i.e., assignments turned in after 8:00 p.m. on the day due, even if one minute late) will be penalized 1 point per day for the first three days late. Assignments more than three days late (i.e., after Wednesday following the original due date at 8:00 p.m.) will receive a grade of zero. Please note: 1 point is a big penalty; it roughly equals one and a half letter grades.
All assignments must be formatted as follows: 12-point Times New Roman Font, 1-inch margins, single-spaced. In addition, you must type out each question along with its corresponding number, with your answer to the question below. You must use complete sentences and proper grammar and syntax in your answers. Failure to do so will result in grade deductions. When answering these questions keep these guidelines in mind: “Essay” means at least 300 words; “Discuss” means 125-200 words; “Identify” means two or three sentences; “List” means simply list the things asked for.
All assignments must be saved in MS-Word format as a .doc or .docx file and uploaded as an attachment each week in Moodle. This is the only acceptable method to submit assignments. The file name on each assignment should follow this format: studentname-assignment#.doc (e.g., phelps-questionsweek1.doc). Failure to follow these guidelines may result in a reduced grade for the assignment.
If you are unable to save and send your file as a .doc file, then you can do so as an .rtf or .txt file. Please note, however, that if you choose this latter option, you may be unable to view my comments, since I use the editing function in MS-Word to grade your assignments. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure that all sent files are in a readable format.
Answers to all questions can be found in your textbook or in the Bible. There is absolutely no reason to consult other sources for the answers to the questions. Answers from the Internet or other sources will not be accepted. In addition, all answers must be written in your own words. Direct copying or cutting and pasting from the Coogan text or from any other source constitutes plagiarism and will result in a grade of zero. Be sure to cite your text and notes properly when you use them to answer questions; if you do not you are plagiarizing and will receive a zero.
3. Old Testament Research Project — in 3 parts. You will need to go into a college or university library for research. (Your local public library will probably not have these sources.) DO NOT RELY UPON INTERNET RESOURCES FOR THIS PROJECT. A GREAT DEAL OF ONLINE CONTENT RELATED TO BIBLICAL STUDIES IS NEITHER SCHOLARLY NOR CORRECT (ESPECIALLY USER-GENERATED SITES SUCH AS WIKIPEDIA). The research project is due on Saturday November 2nd at 11:55pm, Week 5. For seated classes, they are due four days after the last day the class meets.
The purpose of this project is to familiarize the student with resources that will enable them to study the Bible from a scholarly perspective. Your assignment will be graded for each section listed in this syllabus.
You must use sources that are on this approved list. Please do not email me requesting to use sources not listed in each of the following sections. The sources listed represent the highest levels of scholarship and as such you will need to use one approved source from each section. Finding them will require visiting a college or university library. “I live hours from a college or university library” only means you will have to plan ahead so you can travel to one.
You will need to plan, over the next 5 weeks, to go to a college or university library to find these sources. The MOC library has plenty of these sources on the shelf and they are ready to be used. Any other college- or university-level library will have some of them as well.
If the college is religiously affiliated, the better chance you will have finding an increased number of approved sources. Public libraries are not the same as college- or university-level libraries. You do not need to buy these sources, which are often expensive, since you can find them in college libraries. Please note that many of these resources are reference works, and are not available for use outside the library. In other words, you cannot check out many of them.
A. Scholarly Journals – Go to NCLive and access one full-text article from one of the religion journals listed below. Do not use a book review for your article. If you do not have the required password for NCLive, contact the library. It is your responsibility to contact the library in a timely manner and understand how to access NCLive so that you can complete this portion of the assignment. Do not wait until the weekend before it is due. You need to plan ahead in order to have time to properly complete this part of the assignment. Remember you will need to have the current password for NCLive. In 2 – 3 pages:
1. Summarize the article.
2. Provide a brief biography of the author/s (one paragraph).
3. Identify three (3) things you learned about the OT or OT study from reading the article.
Approved Journals available at NCLive are: Interpretation, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, Journal of Biblical Literature, Near Eastern Archeology, and Commentary.
B. Bible Dictionary – Familiarize yourself with the dictionary. In a 2 – 3 page paper: 1. Describe the contents of the dictionary (how it is organized, what kind of articles are included, who is the author/editor, whether each article is authored by a different person, etc.). 2. Choose three (3) entries related to the study of the OT. Entries should be at least one column in length.
a. Summarize the entry.
b. Identify the author with a brief biography (1-2 sentences).
c. Share at least one thing you learned from the article.
Approved Bible Dictionaries:
The Dictionary of Bible and Religion, William H. Gentz, ed.
Dictionary of the Bible, James Hastings, ed
Mercer Dictionary of the Bible, Waston E. Mills, gen. ed.
Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, David Noel Freedman, ed.
The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible, John David
The Zondervan Pictoral Bible Dictionary, Merrill C. Tenny, gen. ed. Harper’s Bible Dictionary, Madeleine S. Miller and J. Lane Miller The Interpreter’s
Dictionary of the Bible, Keith Crim, gen. ed. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, gen. ed. Anchor Bible Dictionary, David Noel Freedman, ed.
C. Commentary–Choose one volume from a multi-volume Bible Commentary series. Do not use a one-volume commentary. The volume chosen should be on one of the books of the Old Testament. Familiarize yourself with the Commentary. In a 2 – 3 page paper: 1. Describe the contents of the commentary (how it is organized, what kind of information is included about each book, who is the editor of the series, what translation(s) the commentary uses, who is the author of the commentary on the book of the Bible in the volume you chose, etc.). 2. Choose a scripture passage and read what the commentary says about that passage (e.g. Genesis 1:1-2:4a; 2 Samuel 18:8-18; Psalm 1; Joel 2:28-29, etc.). Summarize what the commentary says about the passage and share at least two things you learned from reading about the passage in the commentary.
The Anchor Bible Series,
The Old Testament Library,
Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary,
Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Interpreter’s Bible, The New Interpreter’s Bible (note this is an updated version from The Interpreter’s Bible), Broadman Bible Commentary,
Note: The New Interpreter’s Study Bible is not an acceptable source, since it is not a multi-volume commentary. Please do not confuse this book with The New Interpreter’s Bible, which is acceptable, mentioned above.
The research project must be formatted as follows: 12-point Times New Roman Font, 1-inch margins, double-spaced. All sources must be documented using proper documentation (MLA, APA, Chicago/Turabian). Note: If you use APA, you must still provide the page number in your documentation. In addition, although each part of this research project is self-contained, a short paper in its own right, the final product should be one document (i.e., do not send three separate documents).
Each section of the final project should be delineated clearly with the start of a new page; there is no need to include a separate title page for each section, however. There is also no need to provide a bibliography after each section; simply include one bibliography at the end of the paper as a whole, which should include all sources used in each of the three sections of the project. Failure to follow these guidelines may result in a grade deduction.
It is very important that you include every section as explained. Failure to use approved sources or to include each specified section will result in points that are available NOT being earned.
The project is due on Saturday _Nov. 2 @ midnight_ via attachment in MS-Word in Moodle. Again, the file name on the assignment should follow this format: studentname-assignment.doc (e.g., williams-finalproject.doc) No late assignments will be accepted. This project is worth up to 20 points.
4. Learning Forum Discussion Board. There is a “question of the week” to provide opportunity for critical thinking and response to the thinking of others in your class. Each student must enter a response to the question of the week in the Course Forum for that week by Thursday at 8:00 p.m. of weeks one through four (starting right now!). The initial response must be a minimum of 400 words. The student must also respond to the comments of at least two fellow students by Sunday at 8:00 p.m. of each week. There will be no points for late work. Each week’s responses are worth up to 5 points. To receive full credit, responses must show evidence of critical analysis and that you have read the course materials. Your response to other students must be more than “I really like your idea.” Instead, tell why you liked or did not like what the other student stated?
These questions are not asking for your opinion. You must interact with the textbook, Biblical readings, and other course materials as well as your classmates. Be sure to substantiate your thoughts with cited scholarly proof. This is not the place to pronounce judgment on other religious perspectives or the perspectives of your classmates. If you disagree with something you read, then support your position with scholarly proof (e.g. “Sunday School” answers will not be accepted). Any comment deemed out-of-bounds will be flagged and no points will be rewarded. In addition to your responses, you may post any thoughts, questions, new ideas, challenges to what you have always thought that you have gained from your reading and class discussion.
Be sure to check the Forum throughout the week. I may post responses to your posts from time to time. I will indicate if you did not receive credit for a post so that you may make sure you have enough posts for that week. Sometimes I may ask you to elaborate on a comment. In order to receive full credit for that post, you will need to do so. It is recommended that you read all posts by the instructor and be familiar with all material raised during the discussion.
Please note that posting all responses in one day or in a short period of time is equivalent to showing up to a seated class for a brief period. If you do not actively participate in the Forum, then by definition you are not meeting the minimum requirements and you will be graded accordingly. Actively participating means checking the Forum often and responding with in-depth answers which show mastery of course material. Minimum participation will yield minimum grades (that means a “C”).
In order to fully discuss your topic, you will want to state what your thoughts were before doing your reading, what you learned from your reading (being sure to cite with proper citation course material in your response) and most importantly how your reading has affected your understanding of the topic.
The questions for each week are as follows: Remember, answer using a minimum of 400 words:
Week One: Initial post Sept. 26 by 8:00 p.m. Responses due by Sun. Sept. 29 at 8:00 p.m. Prior to taking this course, had you ever noticed that Genesis has two creation stories (1:1-2:4a and 2:4b- 2:25)? Based on your current study, what is the purpose of these stories? What are the major themes in these stories? Compare and contrast what they reveal about God. Compare and contrast what they reveal about what it means to be human. Compare and contrast the order of creation in each story.
Week Two: Initial post Oct. 3 by 8:00 p.m. Responses due by Sun. Oct. 6 at 8:00 p.m. “The Ten Commandments” are found in the Old Testament in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. Compare and contrast the versions of the Ten Commandments found in these two scripture passages. How do scholars account for their differences? What does the relationship between the Ten Commandments and Hammurabi’s Code reveal about the role of apodictic law in the Ancient Near East?
Week Three: Initial post Oct. 10 by 8:00 p.m. Responses due by Sun. Oct. 13 at 8:00 p.m. Discuss the differences you have found in your studies between how judges were selected and their method of ruling, and how Kings David and Solomon were selected and how they ruled. How did the change from tribal confederacy under the judges to the monarchial society under a king impact the lives of the people?
Week Four: Initial post Oct. 17 by 8:00 p.m. Responses due by Sun. Oct. 20 at 8:00 p.m. How does Coogan define Old Testament prophecy? Based on Coogan’s definition, how is the term prophecy often misunderstood today? Based on your readings in Coogan, to whom were the prophecies addressed and when were they expected to be fulfilled? What were several themes or concerns of the prophets of the Old Testament? Pay particular attention to Amos, Ezekiel, and Deutero-Isaiah (Isaiah 40-66)?
5. There will be a final exam which must be taken before 11:55 p.m. on Thursday, ___Nov. 7____. The final exam will be available beginning Saturday, _Nov. 2__. You may take the exam at your convenience during the last week of class. It is a timed exam and you will have 2 hours to complete it.
The exam may only be taken once, so once you begin the exam you must finish it. Once your time has expired, the exam is officially over. The best way to prepare for this exam is to review the text, your responses to the study questions, and your instructor’s feedback to your study question response.
Please note: the student is responsible for having a reliable internet connection and a browser that are compatible with the format for the online test.
Please Take Note of the Following Concerning All Assignments: If you are in an Online course: By signing up to take an online course, the student accepts all responsibility for having properly functioning computer equipment and for understanding how to navigate the online course—including but not limited to complete understanding of Moodle, the MOC email system, and how to submit assignments.
In addition, students are responsible for turning all assignments in on time. In the event of an emergency that may hinder the ability to turn something in on time, students should contact the instructor before the assignment is due. If you do not contact the professor before the deadline, it is too late—not contacting me ahead of time means that you have chosen to miss the due date. Determining what constitutes an emergency and whether to accept late assignments is left solely to the instructor’s discretion.
The student’s performance in this course will be evaluated as follows:
Study Questions40 points (10 points per week)
Discussion Board/Question of the Week responses20 points (5 points per week)
Research Project20 points
Final examination20 points
Total Points100 points
Grades will be awarded as follows (please note that the Department of Religion uses a 7-point scale):
A=93-100 ptsExcellent, well above minimum requirements, superior work and subject mastery (In papers, little to no grammatical, spelling or formatting errors. Work contains clear evidence of superior levels of scholarly analysis, synthesis, and relevant application. In discussion board posts there is evidence of superior critical thinking and analysis of course material.)
B=85-92 ptsAbove Average, above minimum requirements, excellent work and subject mastery (In papers, little to no grammatical, spelling or formatting errors. Work contains clear evidence of excellent levels of scholarly analysis, synthesis, and relevant application. In discussion board posts there is evidence of strong critical thinking and analysis of course material.)
C=77-84 ptsAverage, minimum requirements completed, satisfactory understanding of subject (In papers, some grammatical, spelling or formatting errors. Work contains little to no evidence of scholarly analysis, synthesis and relevant application. Majority of work consists of recalling facts, making general summary statements and restating the thoughts of others. In discussion board posts there is evidence of understanding course material but little to no critical thinking or analysis.)
D=70-76 ptsPoor, minimum requirements not met, poor work and understanding of subject (In papers, unsatisfactory amount of grammatical, spelling and formatting errors. No evidence of scholarly analysis, synthesis and relevant application. In discussion board posts there is no evidence of understanding, critical thinking or analysis of course material.)
F=below 70 pts Failing, minimum requirements not met, failing work and understanding of subject. (In papers, below poor amount of grammatical, spelling and formatting error. No evidence of scholarly analysis, synthesis and relevant application.)
Please note: I only give out the grade that you have earned. You are responsible for your grade.
The only acceptable form of e-mail communication for students is the MOC email account. Students may expect messages from me on this account. Failure to check your MOC e-mail account is not an acceptable excuse for missing messages. You are responsible for checking your e-mail on a regular basis (i.e., daily) for messages concerning this course. Failing to check your email on a regular basis is not an excuse for missing important information. If you have difficulties accessing Moodle or your e-mail account, contact Information Technology at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 919.658.2502 ext. 3022.
Academic Questions, Comments or Complaints
All academic issues must be first brought to your instructor. Your instructor’s contact information is at the top of this syllabus.
In the event that you and your instructor cannot resolve an issue, the next step is to contact the Division Chair. The Division Chair’s contact information is also at the top of this syllabus.
To access the Honor Policy and information about Student Success Center Resources and Moye library, please refer to Moodle or the following website: http://www.moc.edu/index.php/academic-honor-policy-and-info-resource
Course Outline and Assignments
1. Email me to introduce yourself and to indicate that you have understood the syllabus. Note: this is the time to ask questions if you have them. If you do not have any questions at this time, I will assume that you understand the syllabus. Saying later on in the course that you have misunderstood something is not an excuse. Include the following statement: I have fully read the course syllabus and understand the assignments and method of grading. I also fully understand what plagiarism is in relation to each assignment, study questions, forum, and project.
You must type your name at the end of the email. If you do not fully understand the syllabus or the honor policy, make sure to ask any questions you may have before sending this email.
2.Read Coogan, Chapters 1-5.
3.Read related passages in the Old Testament.
4. Answer the following study questions, submitting your answers by [Friday __Oct. 4_____ ] at 8:00 p.m. (EST): Chapter 3: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Chapter 4: 1, 2, 3, 4
Chapter 5: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
5.Don’t forget to post your initial Forum posts to the question of the week by Thursday. Week One Initial post due Thursday Sept. 26 by 8:00 p.m. Follow up responses by Sun. Sept. 29 at 8:00 p.m.
6. Begin working on research project.
1.Read Coogan, Chapters 6-10
2.Read related passages in the Old Testament.
3.Answer the following study questions, submitting your answers by [Friday __Oct. 11_____] at 8:00 p.m. (EST):
Chapter 6: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6
Chapter 7: 1, 2, 3
Chapter 8: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Chapter 9: 1, 2
Chapter 10: 1, 2, 3
4.Don’t forget to post your initial Forum posts to the question of the week by Thursday. Week Two initial posts due by Thursday Oct. 3 at 8:00 p.m. Follow up responses by Sun. Oct. 6 at 8:00 p.m.
5.Continue working on research projects.
1.Read Coogan, Chapters 11-15
2.Read related passages in the Old Testament.
3.Answer the following study questions, submitting your answers by [Friday __Oct. 18____] at 8:00 p.m. (EST): Chapter 11: 2, 4, 5, 6, 7
Chapter 12: 1, 2, 3
Chapter 13: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Chapter 14: 1, 2, 3, 4
Chapter 15: 1, 2, 3
4.Don’t forget to post your initial Forum posts to the question of the week by Thursday. Week Three initial posts due by Thursday Oct. 10 by 8:00 p.m. Follow up responses by Sun. Oct 13 at 8:00 p.m.
5. Continue working on research projects.
1.Read Coogan, Chapters 16-22
2. Answer the following study questions, submitting your answers by [Friday __Oct. 25____] at 8:00 p.m. (EST): Chapter 16: 1, 2, 3
Chapter 17: 1, 2, 3, 4
Chapter 18: 1, 2, 3
Chapter 19: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Chapter 20: 1, 2, 3
Chapter 21: 1, 2, 3, 4
Chapter 22: 2, 4
3.Read related passages in the Old Testament.
4. Continue working on your research projects.
5. Don’t forget to post your initial Forum posts to the question of the week by Thursday. Week Four initial posts due by Thursday Oct. 17 at 8:00 p.m. Follow up responses by Sun. Oct. 20 at 8:00 p.m.
1. Read Coogan, Chapters 23-24 and Appendix
2.Research Project must be submitted by Saturday, [__Nov. 2____] at 11:55 p.m. (EST).
2.Take the Final Exam by Thursday, [__Nov. 7____] at 11:55 p.m. (EST).
NOTE: Late week 5 work will not be accepted. Non-negotiable.