So many of you are probably wondering how my classes are going and what exactly I am taking. So here's the skinny ... I am really enjoying my classes thus far. I am thrilled with the passions of my professors and the content is right up my alley. This should be an outstanding semester. So here are the classes I am taking:
1. The Gospel of Matthew in its Jewish Setting - this class is taught by a Messianic Jew who was born in South Africa, lived in Switzerland, moved to the States where he has lived for the majority of his life and then made "Aliyah" (a Jew moving to Israel) about 15 years ago. He just completed his PhD and did his dissertation on the subject of the class. Essentially, the class is him walking us through the book of Matthew and sharing with us what he learned doing his dissertation. Oh yeh, and our reader for the class (a reader is spiral notebook of articles the professor has collected for us to read) is 875 pages long - I have never seen such an enormous reader!!!
2. Rabbinical Thought & Literature - this class is taught by a Jewish Rabbi who is wicked smart. He is not only an ordained Rabbi but also a full-time professor at Hebrew Union College (he is an adjunct at JUC). He is open to dialoguing about Christianity but this guy is as Jewish as it gets. And he is a great guy ... I can't wait to see what all I learn from him this semester.
3. Archaeology 1 - this class is taught by Gaby Barkay, a legendary Archaeologist who has done extensive digging around the temple mount, among many other places. This is the only class I haven't had thus far ... but will have the opportunity to "dig in" next Friday.
4. Ancient Egypt and the Biblical World - so this class is obviously about Egypt. Essentially, we spend the entire semester learning about Egyptian history and how it has influenced the Biblical story, and then we have an 8 day field study trip to Egypt at the end of the semester. Yeh, it sounds like a ton of fun, doesn't it? I can't wait.
5. Physical Settings of the Bible - this is the bread and butter class of this university. This class is the biggest reason why I chose to study in Israel and at JUC (Jerusalem University College for the initiated - and I have no idea how you get University and College in the same title - I am going to ask the director about this sooner or later). Essentially, this class is structured in such a way that you spend the class sessions during the week looking at a particular region, and then you spend a day or two in that region on the weekend. Thus, in addition to our 19 class sessions scheduled for the semester, we spend an additional 16 full days of study in the field. And we make it to every part of Israel in the course of the semester. Now this is the kind of learning that I love!
So there you have it for now. Grace and Peace!