As the LDS Sunday school curriculum turns to focus on the Old Testament, supplement your learning with these Maxwell Institute Podcast episodes featuring Hebrew Bible specialists. Taken together, they’re like a mini crash course—Hebrew Bible 101!
In this pair of episodes, two scholars of the Hebrew Bible—one Jewish, the other Christian—tackle the question: Does academic study of the Bible undermine its value or diminish the religious messages it contains? What can biblical scholarship offer to those who revere the biblical text as scripture?
James L. Kugel is an orthodox Jew and one of the foremost scholars of the Hebrew Bible in the world. When he taught at Harvard, one of Kugel’s students said the professor began a course by offering a disclaimer to the class: “If you come from a religious tradition upholding the literal truth of the Bible, you could find this course disturbing.” Kugel tells the MIPodcast that isn’t exactly the case—there’s much more to the story.
It’s hard to overestimate Robert Alter’s influence on literary studies of the Bible—looking at plot, genre, character, and more. And now Alter recently finished his own translation of the Hebrew Bible—a mammoth task that took quarter of a century. Learn all about the intricacies of translating scripture in this episode.
Biblical scholars Candida Moss and Joel Baden talk about their book on depictions of infertility in the Bible. Not only do they clarify ancient perspectives on infertility, they also provide ways to create a more supportive religious environment for women and men experiencing infertility today.
Genesis is one of the most influential books ever written. Ronald Hendel, a highly-acclaimed professor of Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies at the University of California-Berkeley, talks about how people have interpreted Genesis in many different ways over the centuries. Part of Princeton University Press’s Lives of Great Religious Books series.
The book of Job is one of the most fascinating books in the Bible and in world literature more broadly. In this episode, Mark Larrimore discusses the surprising origins, reception, and interpretations of Job’s story to the present time. Part of Princeton University Press’s Lives of Great Religious Books series.
The Dead Sea Scrolls are one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the twentieth century. They include the oldest biblical manuscripts ever found. Most intriguingly, they date from the crucial transitional period when Christianity began to emerge from Judaism. They’ve been the focus of rigorous debate and research ever since they came back from the dead, as it were, in the 1940s.
The scriptures are filled with metaphors for God that we’ve forgotten about. You recall king, father, and shepherd. How about bread, mother, and laughter? Lauren Winner’s book Wearing God is all about how such overlooked metaphors offer new ways to think about God.