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The Bible's Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future, Emory University

4.7
132 ratings
42 reviews

About this Course

With its walls razed to ground by Babylon’s armies, Jerusalem joined a long line of ancient vanquished cities—from Ur and Nineveh and Persepolis to Babylon itself. While some recovered from the destruction, others did not. But none responded to political catastrophe by fashioning the kind of elaborate and enduring monument to their own downfall that we find in the Bible. Most conquered populations viewed their subjugation as a source of shame. They consigned it to oblivion, opting instead to extol the golden ages of the past. The biblical authors in contrast reacted to loss by composing extensive writings that acknowledge collective failure, reflect deeply upon its causes, and discover thereby a ground for collective hope. Working through colorful biblical and ancient Near Eastern texts, and drawing on an array of comparative examples, the course illustrates the thoroughgoing manner with which biblical authors responded to defeat by advancing a demotic agenda that places the community at the center. The aim of the biblical authors was to create a nation, and they sought to realize this goal via a shared text, which includes stories and songs, wisdom and laws. This corpus of writings belongs, without a doubt, to humanity’s greatest achievements. Whereas the great civilizations of the Near East invested their energies and resources into monuments of stone that could be destroyed by invading armies, the biblical authors left a literary legacy that has been intensively studied until the present day. More important, these authors’ visionary response to defeat brought to light a radical new wisdom: the notion that a people is greater than the state which governs it, and that a community can survive collapse when all of its members can claim a piece of the pie and therefore have a reason to take an active part in its collective life....
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41 Reviews

By Sven Standhardt

Nov 29, 2018

Great course, very interesting and good lecturer

By Jereesh K Elias

Oct 11, 2018

Very much interesting information

By Gustavo Otaviano

Sep 14, 2018

Very good teacher and the course is amazing! Thank you for share!!

By Patricia Norman Willson

Sep 13, 2018

The first of many classes I intend to take on this subject. Please have others.

A great class that brought many new thoughts and many revelations.

By mary hollinrake

Aug 21, 2018

Professor Wright TRULY "knows his stuff." I am sure that he is brilliant and in the videos you can just see his brain racing ahead of his speech. One senses that there is so much more he wishes he could convey to his students in the limited amount of time. Very interesting course.

By Rodrigo Andrés Rivero Olcay

Aug 21, 2018

muy bueno

By Federico Cardelle

Jun 07, 2018

Great teacher

By David Hill

May 17, 2018

Great course, it gave me plenty to think about.

By Naokichi Donggay

Mar 09, 2018

Enriching historical knowledge in every course material.

By jorge eliecer joya duarte

Jan 31, 2018

Muy Bueno. Gracias por este excelente curso. un abrazo desde Bogotá , Colombia