RELG306

Over the last two centuries, archaeologists (both professional and amateur) have extensively excavated the lands depicted in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. Often digging with sacred texts in hand, they have uncovered a voluminous corpus of archaeological remains related to ancient Israel, early Judaism, and Christianity. This course introduces students to the comparative study of the material and literary production of the peoples who lived in ancient Palestine, from 1000 B.C.E. to 640 C.E. We will critically examine the ways that archaeological finds can – and cannot – contribute to our understanding of the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, Dead Sea Scrolls, classical Rabbinic Literature, and related texts. In addition, we will uncover the major interpretive issues that face scholars today. In each unit, following an overview of the period”s material culture, we will examine two sets of primary sources – one textual, one archaeological; critically evaluate modern interpretations and syntheses; and explore how material culture can address topics pertinent to the academic study of religion. This course makes extensive use of visual media, including Power Point presentations. No prerequisites.
Prerequisites: None