“For such a time as this”: Insights and Issues from the Books of Ruth and Esther for Today – We will read the books of Ruth and Esther together with a cloud of witnesses from the past and present who found them not only life giving but also, especially in the case of Esther, deeply troubling. We will examine techniques and strategies used for reading these and other Old Testament narratives through history. We will explore the contexts of Ruth and Esther within both the ancient world and Scripture. We will examine their contents making use of a variety of traditional and innovative interpretive techniques and strategies (including reading within the context of the Ancient Near East, theological exegesis, disaster and trauma studies, and narrative criticism). We will consider how these books speak to us as individuals and as the church in the twenty-first century. The class will include lectures, class presentations, and small break-out group discussions.
The Prophets of Israel This course surveys prophecy in ancient Israel. Topics to be considered will be as follows: the meaning of prophecy, the form and function of prophetic speech, the individuals who participated in the prophetic “office”, (the subjects of prophecy) and the audience of prophecy (the objects of prophecy), the social location of prophecy and its development within the broader ancient near eastern culture. Attention will also be given to the preservation of prophetic speech in writing and the collection and redaction of the oracles of the prophets.