Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East

"Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East" is intended as a comprehensive title to include a variety of joint programs combining the study of Biblical Hebrew and the other Northwest Semitic languages with other fields within NELC and with the Divinity School. Its purpose is to provide students with the options of attaining either (1) a high degree of competence in Biblical Hebrew informed by biblical criticism, in other Northwest Semitic languages, and in another of the major Near-Eastern languages or (2) a high degree of competence in Biblical Hebrew and other Northwest Semitic languages coupled with broad training in biblical criticism and exegesis. Ideally, the common denominator between these two types of programs will be training in biblical criticism: students of the first category will be expected to attain a basic grounding in the various approaches to the interpretation of the Hebrew Bible while students in the second will be expected to complete at least the two-year level in a non-Northwest Semitic language. A typical program will include extensive course-work in Northwest Semitic philology, with primary emphasis on Biblical Hebrew, complemented by extensive course-work in another field of NELC or in the Divinity School and by course-work in the history and archaeology of the ancient Near East in preparation for a comprehensive examination in these areas. In any such program, the student will have a principal advisor in NELC and a second advisor to oversee the program in the other principal concentration, either for the second field within NELC or for the work done in the Divinity School. The comprehensive examinations in biblical criticism and in the exegesis of the Hebrew Bible will be administered by specialists in these areas in the Divinity School.

Preparation for Comprehensive Examinations

  1. Preparation for comprehensive exams in programs joining Northwest Semitic philology and another field in NELC:
    1. A combination of 12-15 courses in Northwest Semitic philology and Hebrew Bible (must include HEBREW 20104-20106, at least three courses in Aramaic of which one must be ARAMAIC 10101 , and at least three other Northwest-Semitic language courses in NELC).
    2. 9-12 language courses in another field in NELC.
    3. A minimum of 6 courses in the history and archaeology of Syria-Palestine and of the ancient Near East.
    4. A minimum of six courses in the Divinity School dealing with the theory and practice of biblical criticism and with the exegesis of Biblical-Hebrew texts.
    5. Electives in associated areas: Post-Biblical Hebrew/Aramaic, Linguistics, Comparative Semitics, or the classical languages.
  2. Preparation for comprehensive exams in programs joining Northwest Semitic philology and Hebrew Bible studies in the Divinity School:
    1. A combination of 12-15 courses in Northwest Semitic philology (must include HEBREW 20104-20106 and at least three courses in Aramaic of which one must be ARAMAIC 10101 ).
    2. A combination of 9-12 courses in the Divinity School, including advanced courses dealing with Biblical Hebrew texts and with the theory and practice of biblical criticism.
    3. A minimum of 6 courses in another ancient Near Eastern language (must maintain B‑average).
    4. A minimum of 6 courses in the history and archaeology of Syria-Palestine and of the ancient Near East.
    5. Where possible, electives in associated areas: Post-Biblical Hebrew/Aramaic, Linguistics, Comparative Semitics, or the classical languages.

Comprehensive Examinations

  1. Programs joining Northwest Semitic philology and another field in NELC:
    1. Biblical Hebrew (NELC)
    2. Other Northwest-Semitic languages/inscriptions (NELC)
    3. Other ancient Near Eastern language (NELC)
    4. History and archaeology of Syria-Palestine and of the ancient Near East (NELC)
    5. Critical approaches to the interpretation of the Hebrew Bible (Divinity School)
  2. Programs joining Northwest Semitic philology and Hebrew Bible studies in the Divinity School:
    1. Biblical Hebrew (NELC)
    2. Other Northwest-Semitic languages/inscriptions (NELC)
    3. History and archaeology of Syria-Palestine and of the ancient Near East (NELC)
    4. Critical approaches to the interpretation of the Hebrew Bible (Divinity School)
    5. Exegesis of a text or texts from the Hebrew Bible (Divinity School)

As in all programs for which knowledge of Biblical Hebrew is the essential component, a basic reading knowledge of Greek and Latin is assumed and must be gained either previously to undertaking one of these programs or as part of the program.