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AHIS2050 – Biblical and Near Eastern Literature and History

2020 – Session 1, Weekday attendance, North Ryde

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, any references to assessment tasks and on-campus delivery may no longer be up-to-date on this page.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts staff and students

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Convenor
Kyle Keimer
Contact via email
by appointment
Javier Alvarez-Mon
Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
40cp at 1000 level or above
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description

Delve into the traditions, myths and history of ancient Israel, as set within its broader ancient Near Eastern context. This includes discussions of the antecedent societies in ancient Mesopotamia and Syria from which the Israelites descended, from whom they borrowed and adapted cultural aspects, and against whom they ultimately contended. Explore what the Bible and ancient Near Eastern literature have to say about these contemporary cultures, and the light that can be shed on them by both archaeological evidence and modern critical study. Learn how the Israelites interpreted their present by a re-narration of their past and how they came to situate and differentiate themselves theologically from the peoples that surrounded them.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: Articulate the literary genres of the biblical text and be able to set them within their social context as illuminated through a knowledge of comparable Near Eastern texts, key issues in the study of this area, and aspects of the cultures studied in this unit
  • ULO3: Analyse source material, including the archaeological record, ancient sources, and modern scholarship
  • ULO2: Identify key archaeological, textual, and historical issues in the study of the ancient Near East and the relationship of those issues to the study of ancient Israel and the biblical text
  • ULO4: Synthesize acquired knowledge and understanding to produce critical analytical compositions

Assessment Tasks

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Assessment details are no longer provided here as a result of changes due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts staff and students

Delivery and Resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19.

Please check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status

This class is offered In Person (Internal) and Fully Online Virtually (OUA is Fully Online Virtual only) (External). Internal students will meet in-class for seminars while external students will access course material via the iLearn website. Seminars will be recorded every week and made available via iLearn for external students. Every student, whether internal or external, will need internet access that allows the downloading of unit content and additional resources in order to pass this unit.

Required Textbooks:

1. Walton, John H. Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible (2nd Edition). Baker Academic: Grand Rapids. 2018. (ISBN: 9781540960214)

     *Please make sure you get the 2nd edition. The Co-op was unable to purchase this book so you will need to purchase it elsewhere. I have checked and Koorong has plenty of copies, or you can purchase a copy via an online distributor.

2. The Bible. Preferably the NRSV or ESV translation.

     *If you do not own a Bible there are a number of online versions. Biblegateway.com provides a large selection of English translations.

Recommended Books:

Marc Van De Mieroop, A History of the Ancient Near East: 3000–323 BC (3rd Ed.; Wiley 2016). ISBN: 978-1-118-71816-2 (there is also an ebook version)

Kenton L. Sparks, Ancient Texts for the Study of the Hebrew Bible: A Guide to the Background Literature (Baker 2005). ISBN: 9780801047732

      *You may use either the 1st or 2nd edition of Sparks' book as they are essentially the same. 

Unit Schedule

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

The unit schedule/topics and any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19. Please consult iLearn for latest details, and check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status

1. Introduction and Issues in Interpreting the Bible

2. Comparative Studies: Ancient Near Eastern Literature and the Biblical Text

3. Sources for the Study of the Bible and the Ancient Near East

4. Literary Types in the Bible and the ANE

5. The Epic of Gilgamesh

6. Israelite Religion Amongst ANE Religions

7. The Cosmos and the Temple

8. Ancient Cosmogonies

9. Case Studies in Interpretation: Nehemiah 2:13 and Genesis 6-9

10. Historiography and History for Power

11. David and the United Monarchy

12. Wisdom, the Meaning of Life, and the Afterlife

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Students seeking more policy resources can visit the Student Policy Gateway (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/student-policy-gateway). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

If you would like to see all the policies relevant to Learning and Teaching visit Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central).

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Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/study/getting-started/student-conduct​


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