Advanced Biblical Hebrew II*
Dr. John C. Reeves
Office hours: R 2:00-3:00; or by appointment
*This specific course requires as its minimum prerequisite: (1) the successful completion at UNC Charlotte of ‘Introduction to Biblical Hebrew I’ and ‘II’; or (2) an equivalent sequence of introductory biblical Hebrew courses at another institution of higher learning; i.e., amounting to two semesters, three quarters, or one year; or (3) the verbal permission of the instructor.
A critical reading and translation of biblical, non-biblical, and postbiblical Hebrew prose and poetic texts. This semester we will concentrate on narrative and prescriptive literature associated with the Torah/Pentateuch. Occasional attention will be given (where relevant) to alternative intrabiblical or even extrabiblical renditions of the assigned readings, pertinent material in the early versions (Samaritan Pentateuch, Septuagint, Targum, and Peshitta), Qumran and medieval manuscripts, rabbinic midrash, parascriptural works (e.g., Jubilees; 11Q Temple), and the medieval commentaries (Rashi, Ibn Ezra, et al.).
Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (ed. K. Elliger, et al.; Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelstiftung, 1977), or later reprints of this edition. Alternatively, one may use the relevant portions of the Miqra’ot gedolot or just about any other Hebrew edition (e.g., Koren; Kittel; Letteris) provided there is no western translation adjacent or in near proximity to the Masoretic Text.
Supplementary readings and/or exercises will be assigned or distributed by the instructor as needed. It is highly recommended that students have convenient access to primary source and/or western language versions of most of the alternative ‘renditions’ mentioned above as well as Qur’ān.
a. Diligent attendance and preparation. Almost perfect attendance is an essential requirement for this course. Each class session builds upon the knowledge gained and skills acquired during previous meetings. Moreover, oral recitation and group study/discussion comprises practically the entirety of every class session. The instructor’s assessment of one’s attendance, class preparation, oral recitation, and verbal contribution to class discussions constitutes 100% of the final course grade for undergraduates; 50% of that grade for post-baccalaureates and graduates.
b. Research project (Graduates and post-baccalaureates only!). One (1) formal research project to be presented in oral and written form (at least 15 double-spaced pages, exclusive of notes and list of sources) that focuses upon a particular topic relevant to the philological, literary, or reception-history study of pentateuchal and/or allied traditions. In consultation with the instructor, the student should select a topic of individual interest that permits such an extended exposition, analysis and/or evaluation. Both components of the research project account for the final 50% of the course grade.
c. Final class. A required final class for all enrolled students will be held on the date and at the time officially mandated for the final examination for this course by the UNC Charlotte administration. Further details regarding the class will be provided later in the semester.
d. Each student is responsible for all lectures, class discussions, assignments, and announcements, whether or not he/she is present when they occur.
a. The grading scale used in this course is as follows:
91-95+ A = demonstrable mastery of material; can creatively synthesize
81-90 B = some demonstrable proficiency in control of material & analysis
71-80 C = satisfactory performance of assignments; little or no analysis
61-70 D = inadequate and/or faulty understanding of material
0-60 F = unacceptable work
Moreover, √+ = A-; √ = C+; √- = D, and a 0-70 evaluation for graduate students = U.
b. One of the requirements of this course is to complete the work of the course on time. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons for late work—an illness or other emergency. ‘Emergency,’ however, does not include your social involvements, travel plans, job schedule, disk and/or printer failures, the state of your love life, your obligations to other courses, or general malaise over the state of the world. The world has been in a mess as long as anyone can remember, and most of the world’s work is done by people whose lives are a mass of futility and discontent. If you haven’t learned yet, you had better learn now to work under the conditions of the world as it is. Therefore:
1) All assignments are due at their announced dates and times. In other words (and please note well!), there will be NO MAKEUP OPPORTUNITIES scheduled. All missed assignments (these include weekly oral recitations!) will be averaged as a 0 in the computation of the course grade. No exceptions will be considered or granted.
2) For accounting purposes, letter grades bear the following values: A=95; A-=92; B=85; C+=78; C=75; D=65; F=30.
3) Since your diligent physical participation is critical for the success of this course, attendance at class meetings will be monitored by the instructor. One absence is regrettable; two absences are the limit of tolerability. Three (3) or more absences will result in an automatic F for the course. Please note that the instructor does not distinguish ‘excused’ from ‘unexcused’ absences. Unsanctioned late arrivals and early departures will be tallied as absences.
4) Policy regarding Audits: the instructor expects auditors (whether formally enrolled as such or not) to meet the same attendance, preparation, and oral participation standards as those students who are taking the course for credit. The instructor does not expect auditors to prepare and submit any written assignments, although they are certainly welcome to do so.
c. The Cuneiform Studies Laboratory (located in Macy 216) houses a number of lexical and grammatical aids (both print and electronic) for the close study of biblical and postbiblical Hebrew. Please consult with the instructor for access to this learning resource and the regulations regarding its use.
d. Assistance and solicitation of criticism is your right as a member of the class. It is not a privilege to be granted or withheld. Do not hesitate to request it nor wait too late in the course for it to be of help.
Some Supplemental Bibliography for Assessing Pentatech/Torah
(not all of which are necessarily available in Atkins Library)
Joseph Blenkinsopp, The Pentateuch: An Introduction to the First Five Books of the Bible (New York: Doubleday, 1992).
______, Prophecy and Canon: A Contribution to the Study of Jewish Origins (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1977).
Antony F. Campbell and Mark A. O’Brien, Sources of the Pentateuch: Texts, Introductions, Annotations (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993).
Ronald E. Clements, One Hundred Years of Old Testament Interpretation (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1976). See his chapter on the Pentateuch.
S. R. Driver, An Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament (9th ed.; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1913), esp. pp. 1-159.
Otto Eissfeldt, The Old Testament: An Introduction (trans. Peter R. Ackroyd; Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1965), 155-241.
Michael Fishbane, Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel (Oxford: Clarendon, 1985).
______, Biblical Text and Texture: A Literary Reading of Selected Texts (Oxford: Oneworld, 1998). A convenient reprint of a classic title first published in 1979.
Richard Elliott Friedman, Who Wrote the Bible? (New York: Summit Books, 1987).
______, “Torah,” Anchor Bible Dictionary (6 vols.; Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1992), 6:605-22.
Louis Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews (7 vols.; Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1909-38).
Stephen A. Kaufman, “The Temple Scroll and Higher Criticism,” Hebrew Union College Annual 53 (1982): 29-43. Empirically demonstrates how one ‘sectarian’ torah scroll was redacted from different source documents.
Yehezqel Kaufmann, The Religion of Israel: From its Beginnings to the Babylonian Exile (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960).
Israel Knohl, The Sanctuary of Silence: The Priestly Torah and the Holiness School (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995).
James L. Kugel, The Bible As It Was (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997).
Ernest W. Nicholson, The Pentateuch in the Twentieth Century: The Legacy of Julius Wellhausen (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998).
Martin Noth, A History of Pentateuchal Traditions (1972; repr., Chico, Calif.: Scholars Press, 1981).
Ilana Pardes, The Biography of Ancient Israel: National Narratives in the Bible (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000).
______, Countertraditions in the Bible: A Feminist Approach (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992).
John C. Reeves, “Some Explorations of the Intertwining of Bible and Qur’ān,” in Bible and Qur’ān: Essays in Scriptural Intertextuality (ed. John C. Reeves; Leiden/Atlanta: Brill/Society of Biblical Literature, 2003), 43-60.
John W. Rogerson, ed., The Pentateuch (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996).
Joel Rosenberg, King and Kin: Political Allegory in the Hebrew Bible (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986).
S. David Sperling, The Original Torah: The Political Intent of the Bible’s Writers (New York: New York University Press, 1998).
Jeffrey H. Tigay, “Anthology in the Torah and the Question of Deuteronomy,” in The Anthology in Jewish Literature (ed. David Stern; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 15-31.
______, ed., Empirical Models for Biblical Criticism (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1985). With regard to the inherent plausibility of source criticism, see especially the first two chapters and the appendix.
John Van Seters, “Recent Studies on the Pentateuch: A Crisis in Method,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 99 (1979): 663-73.
Geza Vermes, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English (New York: Allen Lane/Penguin, 1997).
Moshe Weinfeld, Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972).
Julius Wellhausen, Prolegomena to the History of Ancient Israel (1878; repr., New York: Meridian, 1957). Enormously influential for subsequent scholarly reconstructions of the literary history of the biblical books. No serious student of biblical literature can ignore this work.
R. Norman Whybray, Introduction to the Pentateuch (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1995).