Chevron Left
Back to The Bible's Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future

Learner Reviews & Feedback for The Bible's Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future by Emory University

267 ratings

About the Course

With its walls razed to ground by Babylon’s armies, Jerusalem joined a long line of ancient vanquished cities—from Ur and Nineveh and Persepolis to Babylon itself. While some recovered from the destruction, others did not. But none responded to political catastrophe by fashioning the kind of elaborate and enduring monument to their own downfall that we find in the Bible. Most conquered populations viewed their subjugation as a source of shame. They consigned it to oblivion, opting instead to extol the golden ages of the past. The biblical authors in contrast reacted to loss by composing extensive writings that acknowledge collective failure, reflect deeply upon its causes, and discover thereby a ground for collective hope. Working through colorful biblical and ancient Near Eastern texts, and drawing on an array of comparative examples, the course illustrates the thoroughgoing manner with which biblical authors responded to defeat by advancing a demotic agenda that places the community at the center. The aim of the biblical authors was to create a nation, and they sought to realize this goal via a shared text, which includes stories and songs, wisdom and laws. This corpus of writings belongs, without a doubt, to humanity’s greatest achievements. Whereas the great civilizations of the Near East invested their energies and resources into monuments of stone that could be destroyed by invading armies, the biblical authors left a literary legacy that has been intensively studied until the present day. More important, these authors’ visionary response to defeat brought to light a radical new wisdom: the notion that a people is greater than the state which governs it, and that a community can survive collapse when all of its members can claim a piece of the pie and therefore have a reason to take an active part in its collective life....

Top reviews


Aug 19, 2020

The course develops ways of considering the Hebrew Bible that empowers a believer in another faith tradition with a greater scope to look beyond assumptions about literal truths and polemic tropes.


Oct 11, 2016

It's a very good course if you want to know how the bible came into being, events that happened from the very beginning and how the bible continues to remain and be read even today. Wonderful!

Filter by:

1 - 25 of 91 Reviews for The Bible's Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future

By Rabbi M F

May 17, 2019

By robert

Feb 3, 2019

By juliana l

May 6, 2017

By Darcy M

Oct 25, 2020

By Fiona M M

Apr 2, 2017

By Senup S

Apr 23, 2021

By Luiz C M d R

Feb 16, 2020

By Dubravka J

Jan 13, 2021

By Jessica B

Jul 14, 2020


Jun 28, 2020

By Muhammad A

Aug 20, 2020

By Cecilia S

Oct 12, 2016

By Daniel V S J

Nov 16, 2019

By Qin L

Sep 20, 2016

By Qintra A

Sep 13, 2020

By Andrea P

Apr 27, 2016

By Jacqueline W

Jan 1, 2017

By Jesús A G

Aug 22, 2017

By Julie K

Mar 5, 2021

By Hugo O C R

May 28, 2016

By George C

Mar 20, 2020

By mary h

Aug 21, 2018


May 26, 2020

By A.J. T

Feb 1, 2019

By Jose A

Mar 31, 2020