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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Undergraduate Course: Second Temple Judaism (DIVI10066)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course aims to introduce students to Second Temple Judaism by the study of important facets of the Jewish religion from its post-exilic origins (515 BCE) to the beginning of the rabbinic period (200 CE). Alongside an historical study of the period will be religious topics and themes (eg Temple, the Dead Sea Scrolls, messianism, Pharisees) that are particularly important for students of Biblical Studies.
Course description Academic Description:
The course is a study of ancient Judaism in the Second Temple period, from the end of the Babylonian exile (ca. 515 BCE) to the beginning of the rabbinic period (ca. 200 CE). The overall approach is basically historical, but because of the nature of the extant evidence, a great deal of attention is given to the interpretation of Jewish literary texts from this period. In any given semester, the course may focus either on a particular set of texts (e.g., histories, apocalypses, Greek Jewish texts) or on a particular theme (e.g., temple, law, messianism). The primary focus of the course is the Second Temple Jewish texts themselves, but other relevant ancient texts and also modern critical treatments will be brought in where relevant.

Syllabus/Outline Content:
The course will focus on one or more Jewish texts from the Second Temple period, including late-biblical books like Ezra, Nehemiah, and Daniel, other apocalypses like the Book of the Watchers, 4 Ezra, and 2 Baruch, novellas like Tobit, Judith, and Joseph and Aseneth, wisdom texts like Ben Sira and Wisdom of Solomon, legal texts like 4QMMT and the Mishnah, histories like 1-2 Maccabees and Josephus's Antiquities, and more. Other ancient sources on Jews and Judaism (e.g., Greek and Roman historians, geographers, satirists, material and documentary remains) will also be consulted where relevant. Select readings from key modern critics will be assigned relative to the particular letter or theme for that semester.

Student Learning Experience Information:
The course meets once each week for a two-hour block, with a schedule of readings to be carried out before each meeting. The normal pattern will be that, in any given week, one hour is devoted to interactive lecture, the other hour to seminar-style discussion of primary texts. Student numbers permitting, over the course of the semester each student will give one short presentation on one of the texts for his or her assigned day. Through participation in lecture and seminar discussions, as well as through the written work and the examination included in the assessment schedule, students will demonstrate their achievement of the intended learning outcomes.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Second Temple Judaism (BIST10037)
Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesPermission of the Course Manager.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of critical issues in the study of Second Temple Judaism.
  2. Articulate independent, well-reasoned positions on these interpretive issues.
  3. Criticise important secondary literature on Second Temple Judaism.
  4. Undertake independent exegetical research on ancient Jewish texts.
  5. Present the results of research in coherent, structured written form.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Independence of mind and initiative
- Ability to gather, evaluate and synthesise different types of information
- Analytical ability and the capacity to formulate questions and solve problems
- Ability to engage critically with the meaning of documents and recognise that meanings may be multiple
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Matthew Novenson
Course secretaryMiss Rachel Dutton
Tel: (0131 6)50 7227
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