Well, I (Brad) am beginning my sixth week of classes for this second semester. As was the case with the first semester, I have outstanding classes. I am still blown away by how much I am learning in such a short period of time. The only main difference between last semester and this semester are the number of field study days. This is largely due to the fact that I don’t have “Physical Settings” this semester. I still have a number of field studies, though, and on those weekends that are empty we (as a family) travel to different sites. So in a sense, I am in the field almost as much as the first semester … it’s just that many of those days my classmates are Shallon and Denyon (which is awesome). Anyhow, here are the titles and descriptions of the classes I am taking this semester.
Cultural Backgrounds of the Bible ~ This class is an investigation of various aspects of life in ancient times (society, social and personal identity, forms of subsistence, economy, art forms, religious expression and the like) to help understand biblical life and customs more accurately. My professor for this class is Paul Wright, who I had for “Physical Settings” and “Ancient Egypt and the Biblical World” in the first semester, and who I greatly enjoy as a teacher.. This class is hands down my favorite class this semester.
The Parables of Jesus and Rabbinic Meshalim ~ This class is an analysis of the genre of parables within the social, cultural, literary and religious context of Rabbinic Judaism. This course emphasizes the context of Jesus’ parables by comparing them to the Rabbinic Meshalim (parables). Essentially, we look at parables of Jesus and then look at classical rabbinic literature to see if there are helpful connections that shed light on the teachings of Jesus. This class is taught by Rabbi Moshe, who I had for “Classical Rabbinic Literature” in the first semester. Rabbi Moshe has to be one of the greatest guys I have ever met. I love the guy! And his classes are outstanding. By the way, Shallon is auditing this class.
Biblical Archaeology II ~ This class is a survey of the results of the archaeological investigations of the Persian, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine periods in the land of the Bible; emphasis is placed upon relating archaeological findings to historical records such as those of the Bible. This class is a continuation of “Biblical Archaeology I” from the first semester with the same professor, Gaby Barkay, teaching this class as well. Gaby is a brilliant archaeologist and teacher. I have greatly enjoyed him both semesters. And Shallon is auditing this class as well.
History of the Second Temple Period ~ This class focuses on the historical, cultural and religious development of the Jewish people in the land of the Bible during the Persian, Hellenistic and early Roman periods. Focus is given on the historical framework of the period, the development of religious ideas and institutions, and the seminal influences which shaped early Judaism and Christianity. This class is taught by Yigael Levin, who I did not have last semester, but he is a brilliant man and I am enjoying him a lot.
Historical Geography of the Land of the Bible During the Old Testament Period ~ This class on the study of the historical geography of the land of the Bible as represented in
ancient texts (the Bible as well as Egyptian, Mesopotamian and Canaanite sources). Emphasis is placed on the interrelationship of history and geography during the Bronze and Iron Ages, including settlement, economic, military, and communication factors in ancient Israel. This class is taught by the legendary Anson Rainey. Although the class feels a big “dry” at times, it is an honor and privilege to learn under this great scholar.