MELC 552 A: Wisdom Literature in the Bible and the Ancient Near East

Spring 2024
Meeting:
MW 10:30am - 12:20pm / SAV 156
SLN:
17273
Section Type:
Lecture
Joint Sections:
GLITS 313 A , C LIT 360 A , MELC 352 A
Instructor:
"WISDOM LITERATURE IN THE BIBLE AND THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST"
Syllabus Description (from Canvas):

What does a wise life look like, according to the people of the ancient Middle East? This course will consider the books of Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes in the Hebrew Bible as well as sources from Egypt and Mesopotamia. Did Solomon plagiarize Egyptian texts? Why are there so many stories about trees arguing with one another? And is wisdom in the Hebrew Bible understood in a fundamentally different way than it is in Egypt and Mesopotamia?

This course meets as MELC 352 (undergraduate), C LIT 360A (undergraduate), and MELC 552 (graduate). It should be on the approved elective lists for Jewish Studies, Comparative Religion, and Global Literary Studies (GLITS).

No prerequisites. 5 credits A&H. No final exam - there will be a final creative project instead!

Syllabus draft 2/28/24: MELC 352 Wisdom Lit in the Bible and ANE-1.docx

 

Course objectives:

By the end of this course, students are expected to learn

  • to recognize the major regions and cultures of the ancient Middle East
  • to recognize and contextualize the characteristics of a “wise life” in ancient literary traditions such as the Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and biblical traditions
  • to analyze the similarities and differences between biblical and extrabiblical wisdom traditions
  • to identify four genres of wisdom literature by their distinctive characteristics
  • to synthesize their understanding of wisdom genres and of wise action in a wisdom tale of their own
Catalog Description:
Draws on sources from Sumer, Egypt, Babylon, Syria, Hatti, and Israel. Highlights how conception of wisdom and wisdom literature genres varied and developed across the ancient Near East. Answers questions such as: What does it mean to be wise? How do people convey what they think wisdom is in stories, proverbs, and instructions?
Credits:
5.0
Status:
Active
Last updated:
May 27, 2024 - 8:17 am