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

257 ratings
89 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

Aug 19, 2020

The course develops ways of considering the Hebrew Bible that empowers a believer in another faith tradition with a greater scope to look beyond assumptions about literal truths and polemic tropes.

Oct 11, 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!

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51 - 75 of 88 Reviews for The Bible's Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future

By صالح م

Nov 3, 2016

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

By Naokichi D

Mar 9, 2018

Enriching historical knowledge in every course material.

By Rosalee C

Aug 7, 2016

This is a very enlightening course. I loved it.

By Sven S

Nov 29, 2018

Great course, very interesting and good lecturer

By David H

May 16, 2018

Great course, it gave me plenty to think about.

By Brigette M

May 26, 2021

Very enjoyable and insightful class Thank you

By Hadar Z

Nov 6, 2021

very interesting, from many different angles.


Aug 1, 2020

Amazing insight into the Biblical world.

By Fr. D J E

Oct 11, 2018

Very much interesting information

By Marco S d P

May 16, 2016

Grest course! I do recommend!

By Pamela m k

Aug 14, 2016

Outstanding in every way.

By Winston A W

Nov 29, 2020

Excellent, thank you.

By Guillermo

Jul 18, 2017

Un curso excepcional

By Maria C V B

Mar 11, 2020


By Federico C

Jun 7, 2018

Great teacher

By Lloyd H

Apr 1, 2021


By Pastor S M

Jan 27, 2021

love it!!!

By Andreina L K

Jun 9, 2019

Me encanto

By Lyola T

Apr 11, 2020


By Steven R C

Nov 14, 2019

Thank you

By Rodrigo A R O

Aug 20, 2018

muy bueno

By Luz-Elena C

Aug 1, 2017

Best one!

By 廖斌洲

Jan 30, 2017


By Ross M

Jul 26, 2019

The most detailed MOOC I have ever seen. Very high quality videos, presentation and content. I like the fact that there are many links to explore and do futher learning.

Some of the transcription is a little ropey/plain wrong and you have to google what you think you've heard to get the word/name etc. And there are the odd fragments where a question is asked and then it goes off on a tangent and you're not quite sure if you did actually get the answer but otherwise a really, really good course and excellent instructor.

By Carolyn S

Jul 14, 2020

I just completed The Bible's Prehistory, Purpose and Political Future which was fascinating and informative. Dr. Wright's book "David" was helpful and enlightening. However, I did not expect the amount of reading involved in the module reading section; I do intend to go back and read some of the papers that I was not able to read at the time. This course has definitely encouraged me to explore further into this subject. Thank you for allowing me to participate. Carolyn Smith