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Learner Reviews & Feedback for The Bible's Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future by Emory University

4.7
162 ratings
50 reviews

About the Course

With its walls razed to ground by Babylon’s armies, Jerusalem joined a long line of ancient vanquished cities—from Ur and Nineveh and Persepolis to Babylon itself. While some recovered from the destruction, others did not. But none responded to political catastrophe by fashioning the kind of elaborate and enduring monument to their own downfall that we find in the Bible. Most conquered populations viewed their subjugation as a source of shame. They consigned it to oblivion, opting instead to extol the golden ages of the past. The biblical authors in contrast reacted to loss by composing extensive writings that acknowledge collective failure, reflect deeply upon its causes, and discover thereby a ground for collective hope. Working through colorful biblical and ancient Near Eastern texts, and drawing on an array of comparative examples, the course illustrates the thoroughgoing manner with which biblical authors responded to defeat by advancing a demotic agenda that places the community at the center. The aim of the biblical authors was to create a nation, and they sought to realize this goal via a shared text, which includes stories and songs, wisdom and laws. This corpus of writings belongs, without a doubt, to humanity’s greatest achievements. Whereas the great civilizations of the Near East invested their energies and resources into monuments of stone that could be destroyed by invading armies, the biblical authors left a literary legacy that has been intensively studied until the present day. More important, these authors’ visionary response to defeat brought to light a radical new wisdom: the notion that a people is greater than the state which governs it, and that a community can survive collapse when all of its members can claim a piece of the pie and therefore have a reason to take an active part in its collective life....

Top reviews

CS

Oct 12, 2016

It's a very good course if you want to know how the bible came into being, events that happened from the very beginning and how the bible continues to remain and be read even today. Wonderful!

RS

Feb 03, 2019

A deeply thought provoking and challenging course that exceeded my expectations, chiefly, by the way it helped me connect the ancient past with the present.

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1 - 25 of 49 Reviews for The Bible's Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future

By juliana l

May 06, 2017

As a person who is considering a Christ centered career, it is nice to see and study the history of the bible and know more deeply why it is the way it is. Even reading the recourse information has answered questions I had, and as I finish the class I hope to learn a LOT more.

By Sven S

Nov 29, 2018

Great course, very interesting and good lecturer

By 周润泽

Jan 30, 2019

It helped me so much not only in interpretation of Bible but also in my understanding of formation of Nationalism. It even helped me to study early North American history and New England colonists' psychology and life.

By A.J. T

Feb 02, 2019

Awesome, awesome, awesome course. There is a wealth of information contained in this course, the way the course is presented conducive to learning, and the professor goes out of his way in explaining things very easy to understand terms. Highly recommended.

By robert s

Feb 03, 2019

A deeply thought provoking and challenging course that exceeded my expectations, chiefly, by the way it helped me connect the ancient past with the present.

By Patricia N W

Sep 13, 2018

The first of many classes I intend to take on this subject. Please have others.

A great class that brought many new thoughts and many revelations.

By Gustavo O

Sep 14, 2018

Very good teacher and the course is amazing! Thank you for share!!

By Jereesh K E

Oct 11, 2018

Very much interesting information

By David K

Feb 16, 2017

I found this course very interesting, and learnt a great deal about how and why the Bible came to be written.

By Saleh M

Nov 03, 2016

it would be better if we could do exams without buying certificate

By Edi d

Aug 30, 2016

This course has mad me look at the Bible in a completely new and exciting way.

By Richard H

May 23, 2016

I like Dr. Wright's observation of the Levant bridge between the 2 main powers of the day.

By Macx S

Dec 06, 2016

Very great course for believers and non belivers, packed with useful information

By Jacqueline W

Jan 02, 2017

As a casual participant with a general interest I found this course to be enlightening - it helped me ground the fragments that I had already learned here and there about the Bible in historical, social, geographic (in particular) and political contexts and thus weave those fragments into a narrative that makes sense to me. This JW thanks Emory's JW!

By David H

May 17, 2018

Great course, it gave me plenty to think about.

By Fiona M M

Apr 03, 2017

I enjoyed this class and was amazed by how the Bible came about and the fact that it survived 2.5 millennia. I will be reading the Bible with a new understanding because of this course. I wish there were additional courses on the Bible on Coursera.

By Liao, B

Jan 30, 2017

Great!

By Dina R

Jun 08, 2016

Very interesting discussion about the writing of the Hebrew Bible. Particularly enjoyed the interviews with experts in the field.

By Andrea P

Apr 28, 2016

Really interesting thesis about the impetus behind the formation of the Hebrew Bible. Makes a convincing case by linking the historical, geographical, archaeological, and textual evidence. Great lectures and guest lectures. Also provides a case for why studying the bible is important even for secular humanists and atheists. Includes really interesting ideas about the genesis (pun intended) of modern conceptions of nations and states.

By Rosalee C

Aug 07, 2016

This is a very enlightening course. I loved it.

By Randall L T

Jun 17, 2016

Really fantastic. A lot of great information and insight and interesting interpertations. A lot of superb thoughts to think about. Very well taught. Kept my interest through the entire series. Professor was easy to follow. A lot for me to

By Guillermo I R

Jul 18, 2017

Un curso excepcional

By Federico C

Jun 07, 2018

Great teacher

By jorge e j d

Jan 31, 2018

Muy Bueno. Gracias por este excelente curso. un abrazo desde Bogotá , Colombia

By David H

Jan 23, 2018

This course is very involved but logical and follows a nice path of learning. Anyone wishing to see and understand how life was and how it was perceived and reported is quite interesting and gets the grey matter working. Thoroughly enjoyable.