Rightly recognized as one of the world's most important spiritual texts, the Bible has shaped thousands of years of faith, art, and human history. Yet for all its importance to believers and nonbelievers alike, we rarely engage with the Bible as a collection of unique narratives that were only later united into what we now know as the Old and New Testaments. And these different texts - historical narratives, dramatic visions, poems, songs, letters - speak to a broad range of experience, from joy and wonder to tragedy and mystery.
The diversity of material in biblical books like Exodus, Isaiah, Psalms, Mark, and Revelation has prompted people throughout history (from religious scholars to celebrated artists to everyday worshippers) to ponder and debate the meaning of these classic texts. To truly understand and appreciate the Bible's many perspectives on faith, war, suffering, love, memory, community, and other enduring themes, it is enlightening to use a literary approach to reading and thinking about these separate books.
Enjoy an intellectual adventure like no other in Reading Biblical Literature: Genesis to Revelation, which offers a comprehensive, book-by-book analysis of the Bible from the fascinating perspective of literature and narrative. Delivered by acclaimed religion scholar Professor Koester of Luther Seminary, these 36 lectures guide you through ancient stories, empowering you to engage with the books of the Bible as richly meaningful texts. From the lives of figures like Moses and King David to the Gospel accounts of Jesus and the formation of the earliest Christian communities, you get an unforgettably vivid sense of the Bible as a tale filled with complex characters, dramatic conflicts, universal themes, inspirational wisdom, hidden meanings, revolutionary crises, and powerful life lessons. No wonder it's considered the greatest story ever told.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
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"Well Done! Perfect summary with excellent hist"
Perfect summary with excellent historical and theological context. Good experience for all faiths. Delight to listen to.
"Didn't like the approach taken by the professor"
When I first saw this course I thought this is exactly what I've been waiting for. The Great Courses offer some very well-thought out courses on religion but there didn't seem to be one that covered all or most of the books of the Bible from a literary perspective. However, after finishing this course I wish the professor would've taken a different approach. Specifically one that involved discussing all of the major events in each of the books and for the most part in the order they appear in the traditional Bible. Instead, while he covered most of the books he did so out of order and chose to focus on a specific aspect of a book and discussed the events in the book that relate to that point vs. a chronological approach to the stories in the books and then discussing themes. I love good analysis of unifying themes but I thought this type of course would first concentrate on all of the major contents of the books themselves.
If you are interested in topics such as the Bible offering different perspectives on a similar topic, character analysis, and the dynamics of the early formation of Christian communities then this just may be the course for you. On those merits the course was well done. However, that wasn't what I thought I'd be getting. the title of the course gave the impression (to me at least) that it would contain more in-depth summaries of the books. Based on those expectations the course did not meet what I thought was the intended objective.
• The professor calls out that the most revered of Bible heroes (Abraham, Jacob, etc.) are actually portrayed as very flawed humans at times in the Bible narrative and provides examples; It is their human foibles that makes them so fascinating
• The professor brought an interesting perspective on the wisdom books in Lecture 13: The books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job present three different takes on the meaning of life and to what extent we can control our destinies
• An Interesting take on the book of Mark: the professor’s main theme centered on the nature of the kingdom of God proclaimed by Jesus; The professor explains how Jesus revealed its nature, how it was redefined from traditional Jewish views, and how it evolved from restoration of life/healing to forgiveness and to service
• Not every book of the Bible was covered (1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Song of Solomon, Joel, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Philippians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 2 Timothy, Titus, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude)
• Not every story in the books that were discussed ended up being covered (i.e. the fallen angels, Noah’s drunkenness, and Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis); The professor chose to focus on a specific aspect of a book and discussed the events in the book that relate to that point vs. a chronological approach to the stories in the books and then discussing themes
• The professor chose to discuss the books in historical order vs. their traditional order in the Bible (for example Amos and Hosea were covered before Isaiah, Proverbs before 2 Kings, Isaiah before Ezra, etc.); This type of format would seem more applicable if the course was about the history of biblical times vs. literature study; The hopping around was a little disorienting for one well-versed in Bible structure/book sequence
"scholarly and listenable"
insights made me want to return to the actual texts for more study. professor was credible throughout without seeming dogmatic. Thanks
"Great analysis, could go deeper"
An excellent analytical look at an iconic book. I learned a great deal. It's only flaw is that it was too short. In many parts it went very deep. But many potential insights were passed over for the length of the course.
"A lot of detail"
This was really well done. It helps to learn of cultural backgrounds, how specific words translate over, etc.
"Wonderful Overview of the Bible"
I would highly recommend this lecture series. Prof. Koester gives valuable explanations of the contexts of the various books of the Bible, giving me insights I have not received in other Biblical textbooks or lectures.
"Should be titled "Bible Stories for Idiots""
This would have been better if it provided more scholarly and academic information about the Biblical texts, rather than a simple dumbed-down retelling of the stories.
No, this "Great Course" is a complete waste of time. I did not learn anything from it.
Vocal performance was fine. The content lacked any value.
Professor Craig R. Koester
I sincerely hope this "Great Course" does not represent what is taught about the Bible and western religions in college courses today.
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