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My Notes on Massive Open Online Course:
The Bible's Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future
How and why was the Bible written? Drawing on the latest archeological research and a wide range of comparative texts, this course synthesizes fascinating recent research in biblical studies and presents a powerful new thesis: Facing catastrophic defeat, the biblical authors created a new form of community—what today we would call "peoplehood." Their achievements bear directly on modern questions of politics, economics, and theology.
Notes on 28 Lectures I Watched in This Course:
The Merneptah Stele: The Oldest Reference to Israel
Canaan as Outback between Mesopotamia and Egypt Civilization Centers
The Three Centers of Early Jewish History
The Amarna Letters and Egypt's Presence in Canaan During the New Kingdom
The End of Egyptian Imperial Control
Maps of Historical Biblical Regions
Interview with Bill Deaver
Israel, Judah, and the Campaign of Shishak
The Omride Dynasty
725 BC: The Fall of Israel to Assyria
The Kingdom of Judah and Sennacherib
The Fall of Judah
The History of Israel According to Genesis and Exodus
Archaeological Theories on the History of Israel
The Rise of the Iron Age Kingdoms
Bronze Age vs. Iron Age Material Culture
History of the Central Highland States
Judah After the Babylonian Conquest
Factors Leading to the Depopulation Of Israel
The Elephantine Papyri
Judahite Communities in Babylon
Ezra-Nehemiah and Haggai on Temple Rebuilding
The Biblical Project
From the Bible to the Sumerian King List
Genesis Chapter 26: Isaac, Abimelek and Rebekah
The Biblical Authors' Portrayal of Women and Heroism
The Bible's Treatment of Heroic Death
Portrayal of Death in the Bible
22 People I Have Learned About in this Course:
Sir Flinders Petrie (1853-1942)
English Egyptologist who discovered the Merneptah Stele (earliest text about Canaan), an inscription by the Egyptian king Merneptah from 1213 BC at Thebes
  • pioneer of systematic methodology in archaeology and preservation of artifacts
  • developed the system of dating layers based on pottery and ceramic findings
Akhenaten (1380-1334 BC)
Tenth pharaoh of the 18th dynasty who abandoned polytheism and introduced monotheistic worship centered on the Aten
  • his queen was Nefertiti
  • father of Tutankhamun (King Tut)
Amenhotep III (1400-1351 BC)
Ninth pharaoh in 18th century dynasty, reign was a period of unprecedented prosperity and artistic splendor
  • Egypt reached the peak of its artistic and international power
  • his son was Akhenaten
Nefertiti (1370-1330 BC)
the Great Royal Wife (chief consort) of Akhenaten, the pair known for introducing monotheism to Egypt
  • bust is in the Egyptian museum in Berlin
Thutmose III (1479-1425 BC)
Greatest military leader in Egyptian history
  • no record of him ever losing a battle
  • has been called the Napoleon of ancient Egypt
  • made Canaan into one of his imperial possessions, a province in his vast empire
  • extended kingdom into modern Turkey, into the Hittites
  • initiated the Pax Aegyptica
Ramesses II (1303-1213 BC)
The "Great Ancestor" pharaoh who reasserted Egyptian control in the north over Canaan and in the south into Nubia
  • often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire
  • third pharaoh of the 19th dynasty
Ramesses III (1217-1155 BC)
The last great New Kingdom king to wield any substantial authority over Egypt
  • 2nd Pharaoh of the 20th Dynasty
David (1040-970 BC)
Second king of the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah
  • 1010–1002BC: ruled over Judah
  • 1002–970BC: ruled over United Kingdom
  • a righteous king, not without faults
  • acclaimed warrior, musician, and poet, traditionally credited for composing many of the psalms
Omri (970-873 BC)
The sixth king of Israel after Jeroboam, credited with the construction of Samaria and establishing it as his capital
  • successful military campaigner
  • founder of the House of Omri which which included other monarchs such as Ahab, Ahaziah, Joram, and Athaliah
King David (1040-970 BC)
Second king of the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah
  • 1010–1002 BC reigned over Judah
  • 1002–970 BC reigned over United Kingdom
  • the only sources of David are the Books of Samuel, 1 Kings, and 1 Chronicles
King Saul (1082-1010 BC)
First king of a united Kingdom of Israel and Judah
  • he fell on his sword to avoid capture in the battle against the Philistines at Mount Gilboa
  • succession to his throne was contested by Ish-bosheth, his only surviving son, and his son-in-law David, who eventually prevailed
King Solomon (1011-931 BC)
King of Israel and the son of David
  • the third king of the United Monarchy
  • final king before the rupture into the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah
  • the builder of the First Temple in Jerusalem
Ahab (930-874 BC)
The seventh king of Israel, the son of Omri according to the Hebrew Bible
  • reigned for 22 years
  • most probably fought in the Battle of Qarqar is mentioned in extra-biblical records
  • in the Biblical text, Ahab has five important encounters with prophets
Athaliah (900-836 BC)
Daughter of Omride King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, became queen consort of Judah as the wife of King Jehoram, a descendant of King David, and later queen regnant for six years.
  • worshiped Baal, tolerated by Jehoram who worshipped YHWH
  • after Jehoram's death, Ahaziah became king of Judah, and Athaliah was queen mother
  • she and her family were exterminated by Jehu which ended Omride rule
Jehoram (920-842 BC)
King of the northern Kingdom of Israel, son of Ahab and Jezebel, and brother to King Ahaziah, and grandson of Omri
  • Jehoram worshiped Baal
  • author of Kings speaks of both Jehoram of Israel and Jehoram of Judah in the same passage, which can be confusing
Jehu (875-815 BC)
Tenth king of Israel, noted for exterminating the house of Ahab at the instruction of Yahweh
  • ruled from 842–815 BC
  • principal source for the events of his reign comes from 2 Kings 9-10
Jehoash of Israel (840-782 BC)
King of the ancient Kingdom of Israel
  • according to the second book of Kings, Jehoash was sinful and did evil in the eyes of Yahweh for tolerating the worship of the golden calves
Jehoash of Judah (860-800 BC)
King of Judah, first Judahite king to be descended from both the House of David and the House of Omri
  • the sole surviving son of Ahaziah after the massacre of the royal family ordered by his grandmother, Athaliah
Jeroboam II (786-746 BC)
Son and successor of Jehoash of Israel, 14th King of Israel
  • his reign was contemporary with Amaziah and Uzziah, kings of Judah.
Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727 BC)
King of Assyria who introduced advanced civil, military, and political systems into the Neo-Assyrian Empire
  • seized the Assyrian throne during a civil war and killed the royal family
  • made sweeping changes to the Assyrian government, considerably improving its efficiency and security
  • subjugated much of the known world at the time
  • discouraged revolts against Assyrian rule with the use of forced deportations of thousands of people all over the empire
Hezekiah (740-687 BC)
13th king of Judah who witnessed the destruction of the northern Kingdom of Israel by Sargon's Assyrians in c. 720 BC and was king of Judah during the invasion and siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib in 701 BC
  • son of Ahaz and one of the most prominent kings of Judah mentioned in the Hebrew Bible
  • enacted sweeping religious reforms, including a strict mandate for the sole worship of Yahweh and a prohibition on venerating other deities within the Temple in Jerusalem
  • Isaiah and Micah prophesied during his reign
King Jeconiah (660-580 BC)
The king of Judah who was dethroned by the King of Babylon and taken into captivity
  • was the son and successor of King Jehoiakim
  • most of what is known about Jeconiah is found in the Hebrew Bible
  • tablets found in Iraq were excavated his Jeconiah's food ration tablets
  • raiders killed his king father, and he reigned for three months
  • seized by Nebuchadnezzar II's armies
  • Nebuchadnezzar's intent was to take high class Judahite captives and assimilate them into Babylonian society
  • while in captivity, the deported Jews still regarded Jeconiah as their legitimate king
7 Vocabulary Words I Learned in this Course:
autochthonous, n. indigenous rather than descended from migrants or colonists  "In contrast to the book of Exodus, the Book of Genesis tells a history of Israel that is autochthonous."
execration text, n. ancient Egyptian hieratic texts, listing enemies of the Pharaoh, most often enemies of the Egyptian state or troublesome foreign neighbors  "Egyptian execration texts call for the destruction of various places putting curses on these places, and the Merneptah Stele announces the demise of Israel at the hand of an Egyptian ruler, Merneptah."
factor, n. a person who does things for another person or organization  "Better to live a well-fed factor in Egypt than die a starving free man on the steppes of Asia."
hypostasize, v. to treat or represent something abstract as a concrete reality  "Anat-Yahu was represented as either the wife or sacred consort of Yahweh, or as a hypostatized aspect of Yahweh."
precipitously, adv. abruptly, with sudden descent and to a great degree  "It seems safe to say that the level of prosperity that Judah achieved in the 7th century sank precipitously with the end of the Iron Age and the Babylonian destruction."
synchretism, n. the combining of different, often contradictory beliefs, while blending practices of various schools of thought, the merger and analogizing of several originally discrete traditions, especially in the theology and mythology of religion, thus asserting an underlying unity and allowing for an inclusive approach to other faiths  "The Nabonidus Cylinder of Sippar is a long text in which Nabonidus describes how Nabonidus repaired three temples: the sanctuary of the moon god Sin, the sanctuary of the warrior goddess Anunitu in Sippar, and the temple of Šamaš in Sippar, a significant text in that it offers a full syncretism of Sin (moon god), Marduk (patron deity of Babylon), and Nabu (god of wisdom and writing)."
ziggurat, n. a massive structure built in the ancient Mesopotamian valley and western Iranian plateau, having the form of a terraced step pyramid of successively receding stories or levels  "Canaan is not where we witness major technological advancements or the erection of pyramids and ziggurats."