The people of ancient Israel left no great works of art or
architecture. They made virtually no contributions to astronomy,
medicine, physics, or biology. They created no mighty
empire. And yet the Israelites are probably the most important of
all ancient civilizations in terms of their impact on subsequent
civilization. As more than one modern scholar has noted, no
member of Western civilization can consider himself fully educated if
he is not familiar with the Israelites and their one contribution to
subsequent civilization, the Bible.
This course will provide the familiarity with ancient Israel necessary
to a good understanding of Western civilization. It will include a
survey of Israelite history from the time of the Patriarchs to
the time of the Great Diaspora (1900 BC--AD 70). It will also include
extensive readings from the Old Testament and the Deuterocanonicals.