Aspen Jewish Congregation
Lifelong Learning Course
Out of Context:
Misunderstanding the Bible
with Rabbi David Segal
The Bible is the number one book that Americans like to pretend to have read. Pollsters George Gallup and Jim Castelli recently concluded, “Americans revere the Bible — but, by and large, they don’t read it. And because they don’t read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates.”
In this course, we'll make a dent in that illiteracy by tackling some common misconceptions about the Bible. Since the Bible is foundational to our culture, it's important to know what it actually says. We'll focus on translation errors and also wrestle with some thorny interpretive problems. Our primary texts will be excerpts from the Hebrew Bible, and our textbook will be Joel Hoffman's book (see Readings, below) and selections from other secondary texts.
Seven Tuesdays, 12:00-1:45 pm
Feb 9, 16, 23; March 1, 8, 15, 22
(Across from Aspen Airport)
$118 includes materials except Hoffman's book
(please acquire that on your own; see Readings, below)
- Overview of translation issues
- Hebrew Bible vs. Christian Old Testament: What & Why?
- READ: Hoffman, Ch. 1-3; Brettler, Ch. 2-3.
- One Love, Part 1
- The V'ahavta and the Greatest Commandment: Love God with...what?
- From Oneness to Love: Rethinking the Shema
- READ: Hoffman, Ch. 4; Brettler, Ch. 10; Wyschogrod, handout.
- One Love, Part 2: Song of Songs
- Sister, Bride? Good Book, Bad Translations
- READ: Hoffman, Ch. 6; Brettler, Ch. 25.
- Shepherds and Kings
- What Kind of Leader is God?
- READ: Hoffman, Ch. 5; Brettler, Ch. 12-13.
- The Ten Commandments Explained
- Feelings or Actions Matter?
- READ: Hoffman, Ch. 7; Brettler, Ch. 8.
- Rereading Isaiah, Part 1: The Suffering Servant
- Deutero-Isaiah's prophetic agenda
- READ: Brettler, Ch. 20.
- Rereading Isaiah, Part 2: A Child Born to a Virgin
- Isaiah's prophecy of the ordinary
- READ: Hoffman, Ch. 8; Brettler, Ch. 15, 17.
- (Please purchase or borrow) Main Text: Hoffman, Joel. And God Said: How Translations Conceal the Bible's Original Meaning.
- Optional: Brettler, Marc Zvi. How to Read the Bible.
- Optional: Hazony, David. The Ten Commandments: How Our Most Ancient Moral Text Can Renew Modern Life.
- Optional: Wyschogrod, Michael. _______