Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Jonathan Kaplan (on leave Spring 2020)


Associate ProfessorPh.D. 2010, Harvard University

Jonathan Kaplan (on leave Spring 2020)

Contact

  • Phone: 512-471-9453
  • Office: Calhoun (CAL) 413
  • Office Hours: Fall 2019: Tuesdays 1:00pm-2:00pm; Thursdays 12:00pm-1:00pm; and other times by appointment
  • Campus Mail Code: F9400

Interests


Hebrew Bible (with specific interest in Song of Songs, Daniel, and Jonah), Second Temple Judaism, Dead Sea Scrolls, Rabbinic Judaism, Midrash, Literary Theory, History of Biblical Interpretation, Utopian Studies

Biography


Jonathan Kaplan is a scholar of Ancient Judaism whose research and teaching focus on the study of the Hebrew Bible and the history of its interpretation in the Second Temple and early Rabbinic periods. His first book, My Perfect One: Typology and Early Rabbinic Interpretation of Song of Songs (Oxford University Press, 2015), is a study of the interpretations of the Song of Songs contained in the earliest compilations of rabbinic interpretation of the Bible, which are known as the tannaitic midrashim. Prior to joining the faculty of the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, he served for two years as a Jacob & Hilda Blaustein Postdoctoral Associate in the Judaic Studies Program and as a Lecturer on Judaic Studies, Religious Studies, and Humanities at Yale University.

Courses


CTI 304 • The Bible & Its Interpreters

28900 • Fall 2019
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM PAR 103
GCWr (also listed as R S 315)

The figure of Moses looms large in biblical tradition, in the religions that revere him (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), and in Western thought. In this section of the Bible and its Interpreters, we will examine the figure of Moses in the Bible (with a focus on Exodus and Deuteronomy), the various roles he plays in the biblical tradition including prophet, priest, king, and legislator, and the reception of Moses in Second Temple Judaism (Philo, Dead Sea Scrolls), Christianity, Rabbinic Judaism, and Islam. The later part of the course will explore the way this variegated tradition has been used to inform Western thought through reading selections from representative works such as Machiavelli’s The Prince, Baruch Spinoza’s Theological-Political Treatise, and Sigmund Freud’s Moses and Monotheism. We will conclude our study of Moses by examining how Moses has been portrayed in American history.

UGS 303 • Jerusalem

61190-61215 • Fall 2019
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM CAL 100
GC ID

Jerusalem has been described famously as a golden bowl full of scorpions. As this proverb suggests, Jerusalem has not only been regarded as a treasure but also as something that is difficult to possess. This course surveys the often-tumultuous religious, political, and cultural history of Jerusalem over three millennia and examines its role as a symbolic focus for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The course examines literary evidence, artifacts, architecture, geography, and iconography in order to explore the development of the city and how its sacred space and symbolic significance have been shaped by history.

MEL F321 • The Dead Sea Scrolls

82860 • Summer 2019
Meets MTWTHF 11:30AM-1:00PM MEZ 2.102
GC (also listed as AHC F330)

Please check back for updates.

MEL 321 • The Dead Sea Scrolls

41165 • Spring 2019
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM RLP 1.106
GC (also listed as AHC 330, CTI 375, HIS 364G, J S 364, MES 342, R S 353D)

For almost seventy years, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has influenced significantly our understanding of Second Temple Judaism, the formation of the Bible, and the origins of the religious movements of Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. This course presents an in-depth study of the Dead Sea Scrolls in order to understand better the development of law, interpretation, ritual, messianism, apocalypticism, and prayer in the late Second Temple period. This course will include discussion of the archaeology of the Qumran community, textual production and transmission in antiquity, scribal practices in antiquity, and pseudonymous authorship.

 

 

CTI 304 • The Bible & Its Interpreters

29450 • Fall 2018
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GDC 2.410
GCWr (also listed as R S 315)

Description

The figure of Moses looms large in biblical tradition, in the religions that revere him (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), and in Western thought. In this course, we will begin by examining the figure of Moses in the Bible (with a focus on Exodus and Deuteronomy) and the various roles he plays in the biblical tradition including prophet, priest, king, and legislator. We will then turn to examine the reception of Moses in Second Temple Judaism (Philo, Dead Sea Scrolls), Christianity, Rabbinic Judaism, and Islam. The later part of the course will explore the way this variegated tradition has been used to inform Western thought through reading selections from representative works such as Baruch Spinoza’s Theological-Political Treatise and Sigmund Freud’s Moses and Monotheism. We will conclude our study of Moses by examining how Moses has been portrayed in American history and by evaluating the descriptions of Moses in High School Social Studies textbooks.

Texts

  • The New Oxford Annotated Bible: New Revised Standard Version with the Apocrypha (Augmented Fourth Edition, 2010).
  • Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, “They Say / I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing.
  • Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.
  • Roy Peter Clarke, Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer.
  • Readings from Philo, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Rabbinic Literature, Qur’anic Literature, Baruch Spinoza, and others will be posted on Canvas.

Grading

  • Attendance (10%)
  • Participation (20%)
  • Five Reading Response Papers (15%)
  • Class Presentation (15%)
  • Rough Draft of Final Term Paper (20%)
  • Revised Final Draft of Final Term Paper (20%)

UGS 303 • Jerusalem

62910-62935 • Fall 2018
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM RLP 0.112
GC ID

The Signature Course (UGS 302 and 303) introduces first-year students to the university’s academic community through the exploration of new interests. The Signature Course is your opportunity to engage in college-level thinking and learning.

MEL 321 • Abraham & Abrahamic Religion

41200 • Spring 2018
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM WAG 208
EGCWr (also listed as J S 363, MES 342, R S 353)

Abraham and Abrahamic Religions

 The biblical character Abraham is considered to be the father of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam by each religion’s adherents. How did Abraham become “Father Abraham?” Why does each of these three communities claim to be the people of Abraham exclusively? The primary aims of this course are to explore how Abraham is presented in the book of Genesis and how each of these religions transforms Abraham into a key figure of their tradition. After examining the figures of Abraham, his wife Sarah, and his sons Ishmael and Isaac in Genesis 12–25, the remainder of the course will consist of exploring how Judaism, Christianity, and Islam each retell the story of Abraham and his family. We will take note of the interpretive strategies employed by each tradition as it utilizes the story of Abraham in constructing a communal narrative of chosenness. Some attention will be paid to how participants in contemporary inter-religious dialogue approach the figure of Abraham. This course requires no prior exposure to biblical literature or Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

 

MEL 321 • The Dead Sea Scrolls

41220 • Spring 2018
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM PAR 201
GC (also listed as AHC 330, CTI 375, HIS 364G, J S 364, MES 342, R S 353D)

Dead Sea Scrolls

For almost seventy years, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has influenced significantly our understanding of Second Temple Judaism, the formation of the Bible, and the origins of the religious movements of Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. This course presents an in-depth study of the Dead Sea Scrolls in order to understand better the development of law, interpretation, ritual, messianism, apocalypticism, and prayer in the late Second Temple period. This course will include discussion of the archaeology of the Qumran community, textual production and transmission in antiquity, scribal practices in antiquity, and pseudonymous authorship.

CTI 304 • The Bible & Its Interpreters

33945 • Fall 2017
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM CLA 0.106
GCWr (also listed as R S 315)

Description

The figure of Moses looms large in biblical tradition, in the religions that revere him (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), and in Western thought. In this course, we will begin by examining the figure of Moses in the Bible (with a focus on Exodus and Deuteronomy) and the various roles he plays in the biblical tradition including prophet, priest, king, and legislator. We will then turn to examine the reception of Moses in Second Temple Judaism (Philo, Dead Sea Scrolls), Christianity, Rabbinic Judaism, and Islam. The later part of the course will explore the way this variegated tradition has been used to inform Western thought through reading selections from representative works such as Baruch Spinoza’s Theological-Political Treatise and Sigmund Freud’s Moses and Monotheism. We will conclude our study of Moses by examining how Moses has been portrayed in American history and by evaluating the descriptions of Moses in High School Social Studies textbooks.

Texts

  • The New Oxford Annotated Bible: New Revised Standard Version with the Apocrypha (Augmented Fourth Edition, 2010).
  • Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, “They Say / I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing.
  • Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.
  • Roy Peter Clarke, Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer.
  • Readings from Philo, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Rabbinic Literature, Qur’anic Literature, Baruch Spinoza, and others will be posted on Canvas.

Grading

  • Attendance (10%)
  • Participation (20%)
  • Five Reading Response Papers (15%)
  • Class Presentation (15%)
  • Rough Draft of Final Term Paper (20%)
  • Revised Final Draft of Final Term Paper (20%)

UGS 303 • Jerusalem

62870-62880 • Fall 2017
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:00PM CLA 1.106
GC ID

The Signature Course (UGS 302 and 303) introduces first-year students to the university’s academic community through the exploration of new interests. The Signature Course is your opportunity to engage in college-level thinking and learning.

MEL 321 • The Dead Sea Scrolls

41690 • Spring 2017
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM PAR 201
GC (also listed as AHC 330, CTI 375, HIS 364G, J S 364, MES 342, R S 353D)

Course Description

For almost seventy years, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has influenced significantly our understanding of Second Temple Judaism, the formation of the Bible, and the origins of the religious movements of Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. This course presents an in-depth study of the Dead Sea Scrolls in order to understand better the development of law, interpretation, ritual, messianism, apocalypticism, and prayer in the late Second Temple period. This course will include discussion of the archaeology of the Qumran community, textual production and transmission in antiquity, scribal practices in antiquity, and pseudonymous authorship.

Texts

• Davies, Philip R., George J. Brooke, and Phillip R. Callaway. The Complete World of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Revised Edition. New York: Thames and Hudson, 2002. ABBREVIATED AS DBC IN COURSE SCHEDULE

• Vermes, Geza, trans.. The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English, Revised Edition. London: Penguin, 2011. ABBREVIATED AS VERMES IN COURSE SCHEDULE

• Bible (any modern – not King James – translation is ok). Students are welcome to purchase Coogan, Michael D. et al., eds. The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha, Augmented Fourth Edition, New Revised Standard Version, College Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. This edition is available for purchase at the Co-°©‐Op.

• Selected readings available through Blackboard. Students are required to bring a print copy of Vermes and/or the Bible to class on days on which we will be discussing selections from these works. Reading texts on a smartphone or other such small-°©‐screen device is not an acceptable way to engage ancient texts for the purposes of this class. DBC and Vermes are on reserve at the Perry-°©‐Castañeda Library.

Grading

Class attendance and participation 10%

Quality of mid‐term test 20%

Quality of two 3–4 page papers 40%

Quality of final examination 30%

 

 

R S 386H • Current Issues In Hebrew Bible

43802 • Spring 2017
Meets M 3:00PM-6:00PM CAL 422

Please see the graduate coordinator for more information.

MES 310 • The Bible & Its Interpreters

41735 • Fall 2016
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM GAR 0.128
GCWr (also listed as CTI 304, R S 315)

Description

The figure of Moses looms large in biblical tradition, in the religions that revere him (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), and in Western thought. In this course, we will begin by examining the figure of Moses in the Bible (with a focus on Exodus and Deuteronomy) and the various roles he plays in the biblical tradition including prophet, priest, king, and legislator. We will then turn to examine the reception of Moses in Second Temple Judaism (Philo, Dead Sea Scrolls), Christianity, Rabbinic Judaism, and Islam. The later part of the course will explore the way this variegated tradition has been used to inform Western thought through reading selections from representative works such as Baruch Spinoza’s Theological-Political Treatise and Sigmund Freud’s Moses and Monotheism. We will conclude our study of Moses by examining how Moses has been portrayed in American history and by evaluating the descriptions of Moses in High School Social Studies textbooks.

Texts

  • The New Oxford Annotated Bible: New Revised Standard Version with the Apocrypha (Augmented Fourth Edition, 2010).
  • Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, “They Say / I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing.
  • Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.
  • Roy Peter Clarke, Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer.
  • Readings from Philo, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Rabbinic Literature, Qur’anic Literature, Baruch Spinoza, and others will be posted on Canvas.

Grading

  • Attendance (10%)
  • Participation (20%)
  • Five Reading Response Papers (15%)
  • Class Presentation (15%)
  • Rough Draft of Final Term Paper (20%)
  • Revised Final Draft of Final Term Paper (20%)

 

UGS 303 • Jerusalem

62875-62885 • Fall 2016
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:00PM CLA 1.106
GC ID

The Signature Course (UGS 302 and 303) introduces first-year students to the university’s academic community through the exploration of new interests. The Signature Course is your opportunity to engage in college-level thinking and learning.

MEL F321 • The Dead Sea Scrolls

84585 • Summer 2016
Meets MTWTHF 1:00PM-2:30PM GAR 1.126
GC (also listed as AHC F330, HIS F364G, R S F353D)

For almost seventy years, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has influenced significantly our understanding of Second Temple Judaism, the formation of the Bible, and the origins of the religious movements of Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. This course presents an in-depth study of the Dead Sea Scrolls in order to understand better the development of law, interpretation, ritual, messianism, apocalypticism, and prayer in the late Second Temple period. This course will include discussion of the archaeology of the Qumran community, textual production and transmission in antiquity, scribal practices in antiquity, and pseudonymous authorship.

MEL 383 • Hbrw Bible Doctoral Smnr III

40764 • Fall 2015
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM CAL 422
This seminar involves a close examination of the biblical idea of Jubilee as expressed in Leviticus and other biblical texts. Students will employ a wide range of methods in our study of this concept including, but not limited to, history, philology, literary theory, poetics, history of interpretation, and linguistics. Textbooks • Biblia Hebraica Stutgartensia or Quinta • Jacob Milgrom, Leviticus 23–27 (AB 3b; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001)

UGS 303 • Jerusalem

62230-62240 • Fall 2015
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:00PM CLA 1.104
GC ID

The Signature Course (UGS 302 and 303) introduces first-year students to the university’s academic community through the exploration of new interests. The Signature Course is your opportunity to engage in college-level thinking and learning.

MES F342 • Abraham & Abrahamic Religions

85489 • Summer 2015
Meets MTWTHF 1:00PM-2:30PM MEZ 2.118
EGC (also listed as R S F353)

Course Description

The biblical character Abraham is considered to be the father of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam by each religion's adherents. How did Abraham become Father Abraham?  Why does each of these three communities claim to be the people of Abraham exclusively? The primary aims of this course are to explore how Abraham is presented in the book of Genesis and how each of these religions transforms Abraham into a key figure of their tradition. After examining the figures of Abraham, his wife Sarah, and his sons Ishmael and Isaac in Genesis 12-25, the remainder of the course will consist of exploring how Judaism, Christianity, and Islam each retell the story of Abraham and his family. We will take note of the interpretive strategies employed by each tradition as it utilizes the story of Abraham in constructing a communal narrative of chosenness. Some attention will be paid to how participants in contemporary inter-religious dialogue approach the figure of Abraham. This course requires no prior exposure to biblical literature or Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

 Texts and Readings

-Coogan, Michael D. et al., eds. The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha, Augmented Fourth Edition, New Revised Standard Version, College Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

-Levenson, Jon D. Inheriting Abraham: The Legacy of the Patriarch in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2012.

 Grading Policy

Class attendance and participation - 15%

One-page class responses - 15%

Two, Four-to-five-page ethical analysis essays - 20% each

final comparative paper - 30%.

MEL 383 • Hebrew Bible Doct Smnr II

40860 • Spring 2015
Meets M 3:00PM-6:00PM CAL 422

In this seminar, doctoral students will write substantial papers on a topic related to Achaemenid Period Yehud to be distributed to all the students and faculty. One student and one faculty member will respond formally to each paper during a class session devoted to the paper.

Requirements: One 20-30 page research paper. One written response delivered orally in class.

Grading

To be determined.

MES 342 • The Dead Sea Scrolls

41065 • Spring 2015
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM PAR 301
GC (also listed as AHC 330, HIS 364G, J S 364, R S 353D)

For almost seventy years, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has influenced significantly our understanding of Second Temple Judaism, the formation of the Bible, and the origins of the religious movements of Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. This course presents an in-depth study of the Dead Sea Scrolls in order to understand better the development of law, interpretation, ritual, messianism, apocalypticism, and prayer in the late Second Temple period. This course will include discussion of the archaeology of the Qumran community, textual production and transmission in antiquity, scribal practices in antiquity, and pseudonymous authorship.

Texts

VanderKam, James C. The Dead Sea Scrolls Today. Revised Edition. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010. Vermes, Geza. The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English. London: Penguin, 1998.

Grading

Class attendance and participation 10%; Quality of midterm examination 20%; Quality of final examination 30%; Quality of two “5 page papers“ 40%.

MEL 383 • Hebrew Bible Doctoral Smnr I

41957 • Fall 2014
Meets M 3:00PM-6:00PM CAL 422
(also listed as R S 386H)

This course will examine the issues that are current in scholarship about Achaemenid Period Yehud (Judah).Requirements:Attendance and Active ParticipationAnnotated bibiliography on a topic related to Achaemenid Period Yehud.Leadership of one session of class.Prerequisites:Two semesters of The Bible in Hebrew.

UGS 303 • Jerusalem

64690-64700 • Fall 2014
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:00PM CLA 1.104
GC

The Signature Course (UGS 302 and 303) introduces first-year students to the university’s academic community through the exploration of new interests. The Signature Course is your opportunity to engage in college-level thinking and learning.

MES F342 • Abraham & Abrahamic Religions

86350 • Summer 2014
Meets MTWTHF 1:00PM-2:30PM PAR 204
EGC (also listed as R S F353)

Course Description

The biblical character Abraham is considered to be the father of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam by each religion's adherents. How did Abraham become Father Abraham?  Why does each of these three communities claim to be the people of Abraham exclusively? The primary aims of this course are to explore how Abraham is presented in the book of Genesis and how each of these religions transforms Abraham into a key figure of their tradition. After examining the figures of Abraham, his wife Sarah, and his sons Ishmael and Isaac in Genesis 12-25, the remainder of the course will consist of exploring how Judaism, Christianity, and Islam each retell the story of Abraham and his family. We will take note of the interpretive strategies employed by each tradition as it utilizes the story of Abraham in constructing a communal narrative of chosenness. Some attention will be paid to how participants in contemporary inter-religious dialogue approach the figure of Abraham. This course requires no prior exposure to biblical literature or Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

 Texts and Readings

-Coogan, Michael D. et al., eds. The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha, Augmented Fourth Edition, New Revised Standard Version, College Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

-Levenson, Jon D. Inheriting Abraham: The Legacy of the Patriarch in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2012.

 Grading Policy

Class attendance and participation - 15%

One-page class responses - 15%

Two, Four-to-five-page ethical analysis essays - 20% each

final comparative paper - 30%.

MEL 321 • The Dead Sea Scrolls

42271 • Spring 2014
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM GAR 2.128
GC (also listed as AHC 330, HIS 364G, J S 364, MES 342, R S 353D)

For almost seventy years, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has influenced significantly our understanding of Second Temple Judaism, the formation of the Bible, and the origins of the religious movements of Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. This course presents an in-depth study of the Dead Sea Scrolls in order to understand better the development of law, interpretation, ritual, messianism, apocalypticism, and prayer in the late Second Temple period. This course will include discussion of the archaeology of the Qumran community, textual production and transmission in antiquity, scribal practices in antiquity, and pseudonymous authorship.

Texts

VanderKam, James C. The Dead Sea Scrolls Today. Revised Edition. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010. Vermes, Geza. The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English. London: Penguin, 1998.

Grading: 

Class attendance and participation 10%; Quality of midterm examination 20%; Quality of final examination 30%; Quality of two “5 page papers“ 40%.

MEL 383 • Aramaic Biblical Interpret

42335 • Spring 2014
Meets F 2:00PM-5:00PM CAL 422
(also listed as R S 387M)

The corpus of Aramaic texts among the Dead Sea Scrolls comprises a broad cross section of Second Temple Jewish literary production including the Genesis Apocryphon, a Targum to Job, 1 Enoch, Tobit, Daniel, and the Aramaic Levi Document. In this course, we will explore this textual cluster (approximately 130–150 manuscripts) through close examination of the varieties of textual production and interpretation in Second Temple Judaism such as “Rewritten Bible,” translation, intertextuality, allusion, and pseudepigraphy.Prerequisite: Two years of Classical or three years of Modern Hebrew as well as one semester of any dialect of Aramaic (or permission of instructor).

Texts

Muraoka, T. A Grammar of Qumran Aramaic. ANE Studies Supplement Series 38. Louvan: Peeters, 2011.

Grading

Class Participation 40%Language Examination 20%Final 20 page paper 40%

MEL 383 • Hebrew Bible Doctoral Smnr III

42220 • Fall 2013
Meets M 3:00PM-6:00PM GAR 1.134
(also listed as R S 386H)

This seminar involves a close examination of the biblical book Song of Songs. Students will employ a wide range of methods in our study of these works including, but not limited to, history, philology, literary theory, poetics, history of interpretation, linguistics, and art history.

Textbooks 

Exum, J. Cheryl. Song of Songs. OTL. Louisville, Ky.: WJKP.Murphy, Roland.

The Song of Songs. Hermeneia. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.Pope, Marvin H.

Song of Songs. Anchor Bible 7C. New Haven: Yale University Press.

 

UGS 303 • Jerusalem

65745-65755 • Fall 2013
Meets MW 12:00PM-1:00PM CLA 1.106
GC

The Signature Course (UGS 302 and 303) introduces first-year students to the university’s academic community through the exploration of new interests. The Signature Course is your opportunity to engage in college-level thinking and learning.

MES S342 • Abraham & Abrahamic Religions

86725 • Summer 2013
Meets MTWTHF 1:00PM-2:30PM CLA 0.106
EGC (also listed as R S S353)

The biblical character Abraham is considered to be the father of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam by each religion's adherents. How did Abraham become  Father Abraham?  Why does each of these three communities claim to be the people of Abraham exclusively? The primary aims of this course are to explore how Abraham is presented in the book of Genesis and how each of these religions transforms Abraham into a key figure of their tradition. After examining the figures of Abraham, his wife Sarah, and his sons Ishmael and Isaac in Genesis 12–25, the remainder of the course will consist of exploring how Judaism, Christianity, and Islam each retell the story of Abraham and his family. We will take note of the interpretive strategies employed by each tradition as it utilizes the story of Abraham in constructing a communal narrative of chosenness. Some attention will be paid to how participants in contemporary inter-religious dialogue approach the figure of Abraham. This course requires no prior exposure to biblical literature or Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Texts

Coogan, Michael D. et al., eds. The New Oxford Annotated Bible with theApocrypha, Augmented Fourth Edition, New Revised Standard Version, College Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Levenson, Jon D. Inheriting Abraham: The Legacy of the Patriarch in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2012.

Grading

Class attendance and participation - 15%,One-page class responses - 15%, Four-to-five-page textual analysis - 20%, Midterm Exam - 20%, Final Exam - 30%

HEB 380C • The Bible In Hebrew IV

41555 • Spring 2013
Meets TH 3:30PM-6:30PM BEN 1.118

In a series of four courses, all Hebrew Bible/Ancient Near East graduate students will read the Hebrew Bible in its entirety, in Hebrew (and the small amount of Aramaic that also appears).  This schedule amounts to approximately 30 pages of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia each week.  In addition, each professor will stress some element of Biblical Hebrew or the Hebrew Bible, e.g., historical grammar or syntax. Conducted in English. 

Texts

To be determined.

Grading & Requirements

Class participation: 50%

Research paper: 50%

MEL 321 • The Dead Sea Scrolls

41790 • Spring 2013
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM BUR 224
GC (also listed as HIS 364G, J S 364, MES 342, R S 353D)

For almost seventy years, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has influenced significantly our understanding of Second Temple Judaism, the formation of the Bible, and the origins of the religious movements of Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. This course presents an in-depth study of the Dead Sea Scrolls in order to understand better the development of law, interpretation, ritual, messianism, apocalypticism, and prayer in the late Second Temple period. This course will include discussion of the archaeology of the Qumran community, textual production and transmission in antiquity, scribal practices in antiquity, and pseudonymous authorship.

Texts

VanderKam, James C. The Dead Sea Scrolls Today. Revised Edition. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010. Vermes, Geza. The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English. London: Penguin, 1998.

Grading: 

Class attendance and participation 10%; Quality of midterm examination 20%; Quality of final examination 30%; Quality of two “5 page papers“ 40%.

MEL 321 • Jerusalem

41583 • Fall 2012
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM PAR 101
(also listed as J S 363, MES 342, R S 358)

Jerusalem has been described famously as a golden bowl full of scorpions. As this proverb suggests, Jerusalem not only has been regarded as a treasure but also as something that is difficult to possess. This course surveys the often-tumultuous religious, political, and cultural history of Jerusalem over three millennia and examines the city's role as a symbolic focus for Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The course examines literary evidence, artifacts, architecture, geography, and iconography to explore the development of the city and how its sacred space and symbolic significance has been shaped by history.

Texts/Readings

Coogan, Michael D. et al., eds. The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha, Augmented Fourth Edition, New Revised Standard Version, College Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

The Qur'an. Any modern edition with English translation.

Bahat, Dan & Chaim T. Rubenstein. The Carta Jerusalme Atlas. Third Edition. Carta, 2011.

Cline, Eric H. Jerusalem Besieged: From Ancient Canaan to Modern Israel. Ann Arbor, Mich., 2005.

Montefiore, Simon Sebag. Jerusalem: The Biography. New York: Knopf, 2011.

Grading Policy

Three in-class, one-hour examinationas (60%)

One Cumulative, final examination (30%)

Class attendance (10%)

Publications


Monographs

My Perfect One: Typology and Early Rabbinic Interpretation of Song of Songs. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

“The Chronography of Daniel 9 and Jubilees in the Shadow of the Seleucid Era.” Journal of Ancient Judaism. In Press.

“The Credibility of Liberty: The Plausibility of the Jubilee Legislation of Leviticus 25 in Ancient Israel and Judah.” Catholic Biblical Quarterly. In Press. 

“Jonah and Moral Agency.” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament. In Press. 

“How Song of Songs Became a Divine Love Song.” Co-Authored with Aren M. Wilson-Wright. Biblical Interpretation: A Journal of Contemporary Approaches. In Press.

Yôbel, A New Proposal.” Biblica 99.1 (2018): 109–16.

“The Song of Songs from the Bible to the Mishnah.” Hebrew Union College Annual 81 (2010/2013): 43–66. 

“1 Samuel 8:11–18 as ‘A Mirror for Princes’.” Journal of Biblical Literature 131 (2012): 625–42. 

“Comfort, O Comfort, Corinth: Grief and Comfort in 2 Corinthians 7:5–13a.” Harvard Theological Review 104 (2011): 433–45.

“The Mesha Inscription and Iron Age II Water Systems.” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 69 (2010): 23–29.

Edited Volumes

Imagination, Ideology, and Inspiration: Echoes of Brueggemann in a New Generation. Edited with Robert Williamson, Jr. Hebrew Bible Monographs 72. Sheffield: Sheffield-Phoenix Press, 2015.

Essays in Edited Volumes

“The Holy of Holies or the Holiest? Rabbi Akiva’s Characterization of Song of Songsin Mishnah Yadayim3:5.” Pages 63–81 in “It’s better to hear the rebuke of the wise than the song of fools” (Qoh 7:5): Proceedings of Midrash Section, Society of Biblical Literature, Volume 6. Edited by W. David Nelson and Rivka Ulmer. Judaism in Context 18. Piscataway, N.J.: Gorgias Press, 2015.

 “Imperial Dominion and Israel’s Renown: ‘The Four Empires’ in Mekilta deRabbi Ishmael.” Pages 189–202 in Imagination, Ideology, and Inspiration: Echoes of Brueggemann in a New Generation. Edited by Jonathan Kaplan and Robert Williamson, Jr. Sheffield: Sheffield-Phoenix Press, 2015.

“Introduction.” With Robert Williamson, Jr. Pages 1–8 in Imagination, Ideology, and Inspiration: Echoes of Brueggemann in a New Generation. Edited by Jonathan Kaplan and Robert Williamson, Jr. Sheffield: Sheffield-Phoenix Press, 2015.

Graduate Students


Current Students

 


Former Students

Joshua Sears (Ph.D. 2018) is currently an assistant professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University. His research interests include Hebrew Bible, Israelite prophecy, and Second Temple biblical interpretation. His dissertation, 'An Ancestral Custom of Ours': Second Temple Interpretations of Polygyny in Biblical Narrative, was supervised by Jonathan Kaplan. Dr. Sears's Academia.edu profile may be accessed here

Daniel Wang (Ph.D. 2018) previously studied at Rice University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His interests include Hebrew Bible, Ritual Studies, and Early Jewish Interpretation. His dissertation, Circumcision as a Kinship Ritual in Ancient Israel, explores the social function of circumcision in the non-Priestly texts of the Hebrew Bible, particularly as it relates to kinship construction.

“I would not have been able to complete my dissertation without Dr. Kaplan’s guidance and assistance. His encouragement as well as his insistence for clear argumentation were vital from the beginning of the my research project until the end. I could not have hoped for a better doctoral advisor.”

Dr. Wang's Academia.edu profile may be accessed here

Jack Weinbender (Ph.D. 2019) previously studied at Emmanuel Christian Seminary and Johnson University. His areas of focus are Hebrew Bible, Second Temple Judaism, Social and Cultural Memory theory and Digital Scholarship. His dissertation is entitled Remembering and Rewriting: Reframing Rewritten Bible through Memory Studies. His Humanities Commons page may be accessed here.


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