Religious Studies | Prophecy in Ancient Israel
R310 | 25860 | Halberstam, C.


What would the world be like if we had access to individuals who
could reliably predict the future, perform miracles, and speak to
God and the dead?  The world of ancient Israel was populated with
such characters in the form of prophets, who proclaimed their unique
messages and preserved them in writing for future generations.  This
course explores prophecy in ancient Israel as both a social
phenomenon and the source of some of the most exceptional literature
preserved in the biblical corpus.  We will investigate questions
such as: who were the prophets?  What was their social role?  What
are the characteristics of prophetic literature?  How does Israelite
prophecy resemble and differ from similar phenomena in the ancient
world?  What happened to prophecy after the classical biblical
period?
This course is open to students who have no prior experience with
the Bible or the ancient world, but be warned: prophetic literature,
even in translation, is demanding and difficult—close reading of
dense, poetic texts will be an almost-weekly requirement.
Requirements: Three short (4-page) papers; one oral presentation;
final exam.