The Bible is a universal text with timeless lessons, but it is also full of specific stories that took place in specific times in specific places. Unfortunately, most readers of the Bible gloss over these seemingly tedious geographical details, presuming that they are unimportant. The central assumption of this course is that geography does matter. The spiritual meaning of the Bible can only emerge once you have thoroughly mastered the literal sense. Understanding the impact that location has on the narrative is a major piece of this puzzle. This course is designed to provide you with a comprehensive overview of the physical context of the Hebrew Bible. We will read ten well-known stories found in the Hebrew Bible, focusing on the crucial role that geography (geology, boundaries, climate, flora, roads, etc.) plays in each narrative.
Lecture 1: Abram the Nomadic Patriarch (Gen 12-13), Introduction to the Geography of the Holy Land + Fertile Crescent
Lecture 2: Jonah in the Belly of the Fish (Jon 1-4), Up and Down the Coastal Plain
Lecture 3: David and Goliath (1 Sam 17), Shephelah: The Foothills
Lecture 4: Joseph and his Brothers (Gen 37), The Hill Country of Samaria
Lecture 5: Ruth and Boaz (Ruth 1-4), The Hill Country of Judah
Lecture 6: Solomon builds the Temple (1 Kings 6), Jerusalem: Imperial Capital
Lecture 7: The Battle of Jericho (Josh 6), The Jordan River / Valley
Lecture 8: Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 18-19), The Dead Sea
Lecture 9: Deborah and Sisera (Jud 4-5), The Fertile & War-torn Jezreel Valley
Lecture 10: The Exodus from Egypt (Ex 15-20), The Solitary Southern Deserts: Negev, Arava, Sinai.