Religion 21 Professor Niditch Ancient Israel Chapin 114

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Required Reading:

Sept. 10, 12:

1. Joel Rosenberg, "Biblical Narrative," in Barry Holtz, ed., Back to the Sources, 31-71 (buy or reserve).

2. Genesis 1-11.

3. S. Niditch, Chaos to Cosmos, 13-69 (reserve); Ancient Israelite Religion, 50-63.

4. "The Epic of Creation" (Enuma elish), pp. 228-277 in S. Dalley Myths from Mesopotamia (buy); also available in A. Heidel, ed., The Babylonian Genesis (Enuma elish) and in Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts (ANET), pp. 60-72 (reserve).

Sept. 17:

1. "Atrahasis," pp. 1-38 in S. Dalley Myths.

2. Tablet XI of the Gilgamesh Epic, in Pritchard, The Ancient Near East, pp. 65-71 (also in Dalley, 109-116, Heidel, The Gilgamesh Epic, pp. 80-93, and in the Penguin edition, pp. 108-113, all on reserve). Read as much as you wish of the epic as a whole. Gilgamesh, distressed by the death of his dear friend and alter ego Enkidu, sets out to find immortality. His journey brings him to the home of Utnapishtim, survivor of a great flood. Think in terms of comparisons to the tale of Noah.

3. Oxford History, p. 4-31 (buy or reserve).

II. Sept. 19, 21, 24, 26: The Patriarchs: Genesis 12-50

1. To examine the legends of the patriarchs on a literary level: Think in terms of a) the pattern of events in each narrative; b) the motivation of characters; c) the point of view of the author, the stories' themes and purposes; d) the style of each narrative.

2. To raise questions about the relation of these stories to historical and cultural contexts. Was there a "patriarchal age" in the history of Israel or is this a literary construct?

3. To examine the use of multiforms in Genesis. That is, to note how similar patterns of content are applied to different biblical characters. (See for example questions (2), (5), and (6) (in your study guide for section II).

4. To firmly establish in our minds the notion of covenant, the relationship between humans and God.

5. To gain a sense of the importance of rights to the land, a theme constantly evoked in Gen 12-50.

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