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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Undergraduate Course: Bible and Archaeology (DIVI10071)

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 examines how the Bible and Archaeology complement each other by a consideration of methodological and theoretical issues, and an examination of selected case studies.
Course description Academic Description:
The academic fields of 'the Bible' and 'Archaeology' are broad and may be highly contentious (e.g., ASOR's disavowal of Biblical Archaeology). Depending on the specific area of focus (e.g., exodus), arguments may become rather heated. Nonetheless, it is recognized that the literary narratives, poetry, laws, parables, biographical details, letters, etc embedded within the biblical texts of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament reflect some degree of reality that may be illuminated, supplemented or corrected by archaeological evidence. Archaeology, likewise, can benefit from biblical evidence to contextualise, explain and give meaning to mute artefacts. The two fields are distinct, but they are incontrovertibly related. Some of the Dead Sea Scrolls are not just biblical texts, but they are also the earliest archaeological artefacts of the emergence of authoritative scriptures.

This course is conceived broadly to accommodate the many topics and methodological issues that arise and may be studied under the general rubric. Thus, for instance, a colleague whose expertise is in the Hebrew Bible may teach the course as part of the debate about the history of ancient Israel. Alternatively, another whose interest and training lie in the Graeco-Roman period could focus on the trial of Jesus in the praetorium of Pilate and his crucifixion on Golgotha.

Syllabus/Outline Content:
Below is a sample syllabus. The texts studied and weekly breakdown may change from year to year.
1. Methodological Considerations: Bible and Archaeology
2. Joshua 1-11 and the Archaeology of Iron Age I
3. 2 Samuel 6-7 and the Ophel
4. Jeremiah 27-28 and the Al Yahudu Tablets
5. Deut 12 and Mount Gerizim
6. Prologue of Jubilees and Khirbet Qumran
7. Matthew 2:16-18 and the Herodian Temple of Jerusalem
8. Mark 15:2-20 and parallels, and the Jerusalem Praetorium
9. Luke 7:1-10 and the Bathhouse in Capernaum
10. 2 Cor 12: 9 and the Cult of Asclepius in Acrocorinth
11. Revision

Student Learning Experience Information:
Students' learning experience will consist of a mixture of lectures, group work, discussion, and debate. Through these they will enhance their close and critical reading skills, develop their ability to analyze and debate, practice their verbal and written skills, and think on their feet.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Bible and Archaeology (BIST10055)
Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Show that they are aware of the methodological and theoretical issues related to the study of the Bible and Archaeology.
  2. Show that they have acquired a good knowledge of selected biblical passages and archaeological sites.
  3. Show an enhancement of their critical and analytical skills in evaluating scholarly discussions of biblical and archaeological topics.
  4. Show an improvement in their verbal and written presentations in person (at a seminar) and writing (essay).
  5. Show that they have further enhanced their ability engage in oral debate and logical argument.
Reading List
Indicative Bibliography:
The specialist literature on each one of the topics is immense and is not included here. The following provides an indicative list of the resources, already ordered for EUL, which will aid students in navigating from topic to topic.

Charlesworth, James. (2014). Jesus and Temple: Textual and Archaeological Explorations. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress.

Cline, Eric H. (2009). Biblical Archaeology. A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: OUP.

Dever, William H. (2017). Beyond the Texts: An Archaeological Portrait of Ancient Israel and Judah. Atlanta: SBL.

Finkelstine, Israel and Silberman, Neil Asher. (2001). The Bible Unearthed. Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of its Sacred Texts. New York: Touchstone.

Hezser, Catherine. (2010). The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Daily Life in Roman Palestine. Oxford: OUP.

Lipschits, Oded. (2018). The Fall and Rise of Jerusalem: Judah Under Babylonian Rule. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns.

Lipschits, Oded and Blenkinsopp, Joseph. (eds.) (2018). Judah and Judeans in the Neo-Babylonian Period. Winona Like, IN: Eisenbrauns.

Magness, Jodi. (2011). Stone and Dung, Oil and Spit. Jewish Daily Life in the Time of Jerusalem. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Master, Daniel (ed) (2013). Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Archaeology. Oxford: OUP.

Mazar, Amihai. (1990). Archaeology of the Land of the Bible. Volume I. 10,000-586 B.C.E. New Haven, CT: YUP.

Meyers, Eric M. (1997). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East. Volumes 1-5. Oxford: OUP.

Meyers, Eric M. and Chancey, Mark. (2012). Archaeology of the Land of the Bible. Volume III. Alexander to Constantine. New Haven, CT: YUP.

Moreland, Milton C. (ed) (2003). Between Text and Artifact. Integrating Archaeology in Biblical Studies Teaching. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature.

Murphy-O'Connor, Jerome. (1998). The Holy Land. Oxford Archaeological Guides. 4th edition. Oxford: OUP.

Pearce, Laurie and Wunsch, Cornelia. (2014). Documents of the Judean Exiles and West Semites in Babylonia in the Collection of David Sofer. CDL Press.

Price, Randall and House, H. Wayne. (2018). Zondervan Handbook of Biblical Archaeology. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Richelle, Matthieu. (2018). The Bible & Archaeology. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson. (NCL).

Schmidt, Bryan (ed) (2007). The Quest for the Historical Israel: Debating Archaeology and History of Early Israel. Atlanta: SBL.

Steiner, Margreet and Killebrew, Ann E. (2014). The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Levant c. 8000-332 BCE. Oxford: OUP. (NCL).

Stern, Ephraim. (2007). Archaeology of the Land of the Bible. Volume II. The Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian Periods (732-332). New Haven, CT: YUP.

Ussishkin, David. (2013). Megiddo-Armageddon: The Story of the Canaanite and Israelite City. Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Curiosity for learning
- Skills in reading ancient literary texts
- Analytical skills in assessing and evaluating archaeological artefacts
- Verbal and writing skills of expression
- Critical skills in dissecting an argument
KeywordsHebrew Bible,contemporary issues,hermeneutics,ideological criticism
Course organiserProf Timothy Lim
Tel: (0131 6)50 8919
Course secretaryMiss Rachel Dutton
Tel: (0131 6)50 7227
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