REL 208
Genesis: The Family Saga Spring 2020
Division II
Cross-listed REL 208 / COMP 207 / JWST 208

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The Book of Genesis has rightly been described as the masterpiece of Hebrew biblical narrative. In particular, the continuous tale that begins with Abraham and Sarah and extends four generations to the children of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel is one of the most extraordinary examples of literary artistry in any time or tradition. As one family wrestles with the promise of becoming a chosen people, the narrative explores themes of marriage, parenthood, sibling rivalry, land, violence, wandering, and, above all, the complex relationship between humanity and God. This course will examine those themes through a close reading of Genesis in translation, from Abraham and Sarah’s first appearance on the scene to the death of Jacob. We will consider the text from multiple perspectives with an eye toward understanding the literary, philosophical, and psychological dimensions that continue to amaze and perplex readers to this day.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 3657
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, a series of short writing assignments, and two longer papers
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: students who have already taken a course in Biblical literature
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
REL 208 Division II COMP 207 Division I JWST 208 Division II
Attributes: JWST Core Electives

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