Philosophy of the Bible Series

This course provides a historical/conceptual overview of the Bible, explaining its Ancient Near Eastern context and the philosophical and religious ideas that emerged from that context. Each book of the Bible will be discussed briefly to note its authorship, setting, genre, and important themes. We study certain selected passages from each book that provide philosophical, theological, and ethical insights that inform the Jewish outlook. The course emphasizes those Biblical ideas that have impacted the Ancient Near East and which still influence modern society such as the concepts of monotheism, Selem Elokim, progress, the welfare state, and Berit.


Excerpt from Series:

“The most famous of the biblical books is Tehilim. The teachings are well known through the world.

What is Tehilim really all about? 

“The book is authored, most of it, by King David who ruled from the year 1000 BC to 960 BC; seven years in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem. He is the principle author. King David was a poetically sensitive soul, who recorded in poetic terms the events of life that impacted deeply upon his own soul. 

[Question posed]   What are the events of life that one would want to record for eternity?

    • Birth of a child
    • Death of a child
    • Rebellion against your throne
    • The grandeur of God’s world
    • Illness
    • Happiness
    • Joy
    • Experiencing the greatness of nature
    • Transgression, sin, & guilt
    • Thankfulness

“All of those life experiences are recorded in the Book of Tehilim. And it’s so reflective of what we’re all about, that in fact we can read this book and find comfort, solace, some kind of spiritual satisfaction, by experiencing life’s greatness or life’s most difficult moments. You read Tehillim and it reflects your feelings, and because it reflects your feelings you’re able to handle that crisis. Tehillim is extraordinarily expressive of what the human being is really all about, or should be all about.”

-Rabbi Dr. Ezra Labaton A”H


Class Link iTunes Link Date Comments
Class 1 of 11 GreedforilmPodcastiTunesButton 2/17/03 Introduction: Why Study Tanach?
Class 2 of 11 GreedforilmPodcastiTunesButton 2/24/03 Model of Impacting the World
Class 3 of 11 GreedforilmPodcastiTunesButton 3/3/03 The Spoken Word
Class 4 of 11 GreedforilmPodcastiTunesButton 3/10/03 Selective Process in Jewish History
Class 5 of 11 GreedforilmPodcastiTunesButton 3/24/03 Introduction to Prophets
Class 6 of 11 GreedforilmPodcastiTunesButton 3/31/03 Prophets
Class 7 of 11 GreedforilmPodcastiTunesButton 5/5/03 Literary Prophets
Class 8 of 11 GreedforilmPodcastiTunesButton 5/12/03 Psalms
Class 9 of 11 GreedforilmPodcastiTunesButton 6/2/03 Psalms
Class 10 of 11 GreedforilmPodcastiTunesButton 6/9/03 Psalms/Proverbs
Class 11 of 11 GreedforilmPodcastiTunesButton 6/16/03 Job