Washington University in St. Louis
Campus Box 1121
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
History of law; Religions of the ancient Near East; History of scriptural interpretation
- Exodus in the Jewish Experience: Echoes and Reverberations, ed. by Pamela Barmash and W. David Nelson (Lexington Books, 2015). Introduction "The Exodus: Central, Enduring, and Generative,” and Chapter 1 “Out of the Mists of History: The Exaltation of the Exodus in the Bible,” by Pamela Barmash.
- Homicide in the Biblical World (Cambridge University Press, 2004).
Articles and Book Chapters:
- “The Book of Ruth: Achieving Justice Through Narrative.” Project TABS (Torah And Biblical Scholarship) – TheTorah.com http://thetorah.com/book-of-ruth-achieving-justice-through-narrative/
- “Cain.” Bible Odyssey Website (Society of Biblical Literature). http://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/people/main-articles/cain.aspx
- "The Narrative Quandary: Cases of Law in Literature," Vetus Testamentum 54 (2004): 1-16.
- "Blood Feud and State Control," Journal of Near Eastern Studies 63 (2004): 183-199.
L23 1771 Freshman Seminar: The Exodus in the Jewish Experience
This course will investigate how the Exodus has been, and continues to be, a crucial source of identity for both Jews and Judaism. We will explore how the Exodus has functioned as the primary model from which Jews have created historical self-understanding and theological meaning. We will investigate how and why this story continues to be vital to Jews throughout the unfolding of the Jewish experience. How does the Exodus remain pertinent? How has the Exodus been re-imagined multiple times throughout the history of Judaism? Why has the Passover celebration been transformed radically in different Jewish communities? We will analyze many types of expression: historical sources, liturgy, art, commentaries, theology, literature, film, mysticism, and music. Same as home course L75 JNE 1771.
L23 208F Intro to Jewish Civilization
This course is a selective survey of the historical, religious, cultural, literary, and political development of Judaism from antiquity to the present. Topics include the development of the Bible and subsequent textual tradition of Judaism, the basic concepts of Jewish religious thought, Jewish law, custom and ritual, and art. The course will highlight a variety of Jewish communities in different cultural and geographical settings, such as the Jews in the Roman Empire, Jewish life under Medieval Islam and Christianity, and the Jewish experience in modern Europe, the US, and Israel. Each week a different topic will be studied through primary and secondary readings (in translation), to be supplemented by audiovisual materials. Same as home course L75 JNE 208F.
L23 300 Intro to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
A survey of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) examined in the historical and cultural context of the ancient Near East. Traditional Jewish and Christian interpretation of the Bible is discussed. No knowledge of Hebrew required; no prerequisites.
L23 3012 Biblical Law and the Origins of Western Justice
This course explores how law developed from the earliest periods of human history and how religious ideas and social institutions shaped law. The course will also illuminate how biblical law was influenced by earlier cultures and how the ancient Israelites reshaped the law they inherited. The course will further analyze the impact of biblical law on Western culture and will investigate how the law dealt with those of different social classes and ethnic groups, and we will probe how women were treated by the law. Same as home course L75 JNE 3012.
L23 3101 The Problem of Evil
The question of how God can allow evil to occur to righteous or innocent people has been a perennial dilemma in religion and philosophy, and the Holocaust has impelled a rethinking of the problem of evil. We will study the classic statement of the problem in the biblical book of Job, the ancient Near Eastern literature on which Job is based, and traditional Jewish and Christian interpretation of Job. We will spend half of the semester on the theological, philosophical and narrative responses to the Holocaust. Graduate Students wishing to take this course should enroll in L75 5101.
L23 374C Kings, Priests, Prophets, and Rabbis: The Jews in the Ancient World
We will trace Israelite and Jewish history from its beginnings in the biblical period (circa 1200 BCE) through the rise of rabbinic Judaism and Christianity until the birth of Islam (circa 620 CE). We will explore how Israel emerged as a distinct people and why the rise of the imperial powers tranformed the political, social, and religious institutions of ancient Israel. We will illuminate why the religion of the Bible developed into rabbinic Judaism and Christianity and how rabbinic literature and institutions were created. Same as home course L75 JNE 301C.
L23 3750 In the Beginning: Creation Myths of the Biblical World
This course will study myths and epic literature from the Bible, ancient Egypt, the ancient Near East and ancient Greece about the birth of the gods, the creation of the world and of humanity, and the establishment of societies. These masterpieces of ancient literature recount the deeds of gods and heroes and humanity´s eternal struggle to come to terms with the world, supernatural powers, love, lust, and death. This course will examine how each culture borrows traditions and recasts them in a distinct idiom. The course will further examine different approaches to mythology and to the study of ancient cultures and the Bible. Same as home course L75 JINE 3751.
L23 385D Topics in Biblical Hebrew Texts: Biblical Poetry
We will read selections of biblical poetry, including the love poetry of the Song of Songs and the religious poetry of the Psalms, in the original Hebrew, and will explore their connection to the culture of Ancient Israel. We will analyze theories about biblical poetry and their consequences for interpreting biblical texts. Special attention will be paid to strategies of biblical interpretation in order to acquire literary competence in biblical Hebrew and to be free from the authority of translations and commentaries. Prereq: BHBR 384/584 or instructor´s permission. Same as home course L35 BHBR 385D.