Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The Wonders and Challenges of Bible Education
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The Wonders and Challenges of Bible Education

Taught in English


Gain insight into a topic and learn the fundamentals

Howard Deitcher

Instructor: Howard Deitcher

Beginner level
No prior experience required
20 hours to complete
3 weeks at 6 hours a week
Flexible schedule
Learn at your own pace

What you'll learn

  • Explore the topic of children’s spirituality

  • Know how the different standards and educational messages can be used when planning a lesson

  • Analyze different approaches on how to present Biblical characters in order to understand how can be applied in the field.

  • To analyze different approaches on how to present moral education in order to understand how can be applied in the field of Teaching Bible

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There are 7 modules in this course

The Biblical text is rich with vivid descriptions of the various key characters who serve as prototypes for human behavior throughout history. The course will examine a range of different approaches to presenting the Biblical characters including exegetical approaches, historical, literary and psychological insights. During the course, students will be exposed to a variety of Biblical narratives as well as multiple approaches that highlight some of the educational challenges at hand. In this course, we will explore the challenges in the exciting world of teaching the Bible, from a range of different perspectives: historical context, psychological input, and artistic interpretations. We will learn tools to engage students of all ages in the meaningful study of Biblical texts and work together to understand Biblical characters. We will analyze the philosophical, educational, moral, and theological challenges of learning and presenting the Bible to our students, as well as different pedagogical and textual techniques to teach Biblical characters in a compelling and meaningful way, and how to adapt the approaches and techniques we use in the classroom to match our educational goals. We will also explore how social and historical norms have impacted our understanding of Biblical characters, as well as their role as national heroes to the present day. We will discuss philosophy for children and its role in modern moral education. Topics that will be covered include: Ideological, philosophical, and educational issues in teaching Bible; Identifying educational goals; Using images to enrich Bible education; Using literary skills to analyze Biblical texts; Challenges of teaching classic Jewish texts; Literary tools to analyze Biblical characters; Grappling with the moral challenges posed by Biblical characters’ words and actions; Historical, social and normative factors in presenting Biblical characters; Different approaches to presenting Biblical characters; Addressing the moral behavior of Biblical characters; Identifying and analyzing different approaches to moral education; Exploring a “paradigms of inquiry” approach to teaching moral dilemmas in the Bible; Learning how to use different “hats” to interpret Biblical stories; Examining Biblical characters who serve as national symbols. This course has been adapted for Coursera based on the online course, “Curriculum and the Teaching of Jewish Texts”, taught by Dr. Howard Deitcher, as part of the Blended M.A. in Education, with a specialization in Jewish Education, at the Melton Centre for Jewish Education at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

What's included

1 video3 readings1 quiz1 discussion prompt

In this module, we will examine the following topics: a. Overview of Tools for Analyzing Biblical Characters. b. Educational Goals in Bible Education. c. Educational Messages in teaching Bible texts.

What's included

5 videos5 readings1 quiz1 discussion prompt

In this module, we'll deal with three main issues: a. Challenges in Teaching Classical Jewish texts today. b. How do we broach theological issues?. c. Teaching Genesis 18, 1-15.

What's included

5 videos2 readings1 quiz1 discussion prompt

In this module, we will look at the following topics: 1. An overview of the course to date 2. Different types of characters 3. Literary tools for analyzing Biblical characters 4. We will use the tools that we learned in this lesson in order to examine Samuel 2 6:10.

What's included

4 videos3 readings1 quiz1 discussion prompt

This module consists of two lessons: In the first lesson, we will discuss the following issues: 1 Historical, social and normative factors in presenting Biblical characters 2. We will look at a rabbinic text that addresses the moral dilemma of teaching Bible 3. Different approaches by medieval and modern commentaries 4. Four modern approaches to presenting Biblical characters 5. At the conclusion of the lesson, we will study a text together and suggest possible ways to address these challenges. In the second lesson, we will explore the following topics: 1. How do we summarize the life experiences of a Biblical character? 2. Key factors in appreciating the life of a Biblical character.

What's included

9 videos6 readings2 quizzes3 discussion prompts

This module consists of two lessons: In the first lesson, we will examine several approaches to wrestling with morally challenging texts, covering: 1. Different approaches to moral education 2. The paradigms of inquiry approach 3. How to relate to lies in Biblical texts. We will ask ourselves: How do these various approaches respond to the moral, ethical and educational challenges that present themselves as we study certain Biblical texts? In the second lesson, we will focus on King David as a national symbol. The three main topics will be: 1.Biblical Characters as national symbols: educational implications 2. Different hats of interpretations 3.Four different ways of presenting King David as a national symbol.

What's included

11 videos5 readings2 quizzes2 discussion prompts

What's included

1 peer review


Howard Deitcher
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
1 Course278 learners

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