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.