May 202013

Yale University offers some amazing free courses online, not the least of which is this one on the Old Testament. I’m adding this to the NC Necessary Books page (which, megalomaniac that I am, I am considering turning into a treasure trove of literary and cultural history). In any case, this lecture series is a brilliant introduction to the Old Testament. Christine Hayes, the lecturer, is the kind of person you could listen to all day and long into the night, sharp, amiable, clear and engaging. What she teaches is just surprise after surprise.

If you want to, you can also go to the Open Yale site and download audio files of all the lectures.


1 The Parts of the Whole

2 The Hebrew Bible in Its Ancient Near Eastern Setting: Biblical Religion in Context

3 The Hebrew Bible in Its Ancient Near Eastern Setting: Genesis 1-4 in Context

4 Doublets and Contradictions, Seams and Sources: Genesis 5-11 and the Historical-Critical Method

5 Critical Approaches to the Bible: Introduction to Genesis 12-50

6 Biblical Narrative: The Stories of the Patriarchs (Genesis 12-36)

7 Israel in Egypt: Moses and the Beginning of Yahwism (Genesis 37- Exodus 4)

8 Exodus: From Egypt to Sinai (Exodus 5-24, 32; Numbers)

9 The Priestly Legacy: Cult and Sacrifice, Purity and Holiness in Leviticus and Numbers

10 Biblical Law: The Three Legal Corpora of JE (Exodus), P (Leviticus and Numbers) and D (Deuteronomy)

11 On the Steps of Moab: Deuteronomy

12 The Deuteronomistic History: Life in the Land (Joshua and Judges)

13 The Deuteronomistic History: Prophets and Kings (1 and 2 Samuel)

14 The Deuteronomistic History: Response to Catastrophe (1 and 2 Kings)

15 Hebrew Prophecy: The Non-Literary Prophets

16 Literary Prophecy: Amos

17 Literary Prophecy: Hosea and Isaiah

18 Literary Prophecy: Micah, Zephaniah, Nahum and Habbakuk

19 Literary Prophecy: Perspectives on the Exile (Jeremiah, Ezekiel and 2nd Isaiah)

20 Responses to Suffering and Evil: Lamentations and Wisdom Literature

21 Biblical Poetry: Psalms and Song of Songs

22 The Restoration: 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah

23 Visions of the End: Daniel and Apocalyptic Literature

24 Alternative Visions: Esther, Ruth, and Jonah

  4 Responses to “Introduction to the Old Testament in 24 Lectures from Yale University”

  1. Doug, you are just plain dangerous to anyone who wants to get WORK accomplished. Numero Cinq is killing me. STOP. No, don’t stop.

    • “Numero Cinq is killing me.” Julie, you just retired from VCFA. You have NOTHING to do. I am just trying to fill up your twilight years. Face it, without me, you’d be playing bridge every night of the week. 🙂 Truly, it’s always lovely when you pop up here. And it ALWAYS reminds me that I want to run another Julie Larios essay. And I DO hope you are getting lots of work done, despite my best efforts.

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Doug. My husband finished lecture one, and almost through with number two. We were up late last night talking about it, debating about whether God is really all good or not, etc. Can’t wait to hear the rest. See you this summer at the residency.

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