Welcome to MJR's Tanakh Survey Course! I have taught similar courses to this one at Cornerstone University and Take Hold Ministry School and am now bringing what I learned from those teaching experiences to Messianic Jewish Rabbinate. I am still on the same path you are on - learning and growing. As the course progresses, we will each learn from one another.
Textbooks: The textbooks I have selected for this course include two I have used in the past and one new one. I welcome any feedback you have for me on the books, especially the Sweeney text. They can be obtained from Amazon through the links below.
Discussion Boards: The format of the Discussion Boards will be twofold: (1) posting by the end of each module the "roses" and "thorns" of your readings and (2) sharing your service reports. On the roses and thorns, what I mean is that I want you to identify points in the readings that were positives for you (you agreed with the points or they taught you something new), those being the roses, and the thorns would be things in the readings with which you disagree (it's fine to disagree; I don't agree with all of it either).
To get used to the comment process, please introduce yourself in the comment section below. Tell us your name, where you are from, and what you hope to gain from this course. Thank you!
Service Learning: This is designed as a Service Learning course, meaning that we want you to find ways to make practical application of what you are learning by volunteering or working in a ministry context during the course of the course. A form to guide you through these reports can be found in the back of the syllabus (linked below).
I look forward to journeying along the Tanakh Trail with you!
The tools used in MJR's courses were selected because they hold particular value in communicating the concepts being studied in a given course. Some may not be specifically targeted to a Messianic audience, but may still contain information that would be advantageous to the Messianic talmid/ah. Others may reflect in places terminology that has fallen into disuse, but does not diminish the value of the information conveyed. As with everything that is not the Bible itself, read them with discernment.
We do not expect students to agree with everything presented in any course, whether via lecture, assigned reading, or video presentation. As participants in higher education, students enrolled in MJR's courses and/or programs should be practicing critical thinking and discernment every step of the journey. To that end, your faculty recites this blessing along with each of you:
.בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יהוה אֱלהֵינוּ מֶלֶך–הָעולָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָנוּ בְּמִצְותָיווְצִוָּנוּ לַעֲסק בְּדִבְרֵי-תורָה
Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu la’asok b’divrei Torah.
Blessed are You, O L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to study the words of Torah.
NOTA BENE: While it is the general practice and preference of MJR to use circumlocutions in place of the Covenant Name of our G-d (Hashem, Adonai, Elohim, Elokim, Adoshem, etc.), some course materials (e.g. textbooks, linked websites, journal articles, etc.) may not always do this.
Glossary of Specialized and Hebrew Terms in the Readings
diachronic analysis: following a theme or strand of narrative through time as opposed to synchronic analysis (looking at a text as a snapshot in time and comparing it only with texts and events contemporary with it).
Die Composition des Hexateuchs (page 51 of Sweeney): A German book; the title translates "The Composition of the Hexateuch (first 6 books of the Bible)"
hāʾādām: the man (later to be called Adam)
hiphil: a Hebrew verb form which conveys an intensified meaning of the root verb
Qumran: the village in Israel where the Dead Sea Scrolls were kept/found
Talmud: literally, "Learnings," this refers to the body of rabbinical literature which contains early Jewish commentaries on the Torah and records of the rabbinical conversations about Torah and its teachings regarding the Bible-believing lifestyle and walk of faith.
toledoth (tôlĕdōt): generations
tôrâ: scholarly spelling of Torah (first 5 books of the Bible)