The Book of Judges

Feb 21, 2017
Gavin House
1220 E 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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6:00 Dinner | 6:30 Lecture

Open to current students and faculty. Others interested in attending please contact Registrants are free to attend as many sessions as they choose.

The Book of Judges is a collection of loosely connected accounts of the loosely connected Israelite tribes in the period between the death of the general Joshua and the establishment of the first kingdom.   This time of religious and military crisis brought to the fore a series of heroes called šōṕēṭîm (judges) who, as emergency agents of God's deliverance and chastisement, reconnected the Israelites to the promises made in the covenants. 

In times when Bible-reading was common, the vividness, economy, and narrative force of the episodes in Judges made the book a favorite (among the works of G.F. Händel, for example, are oratorios titled Deborah, Gideon, and Jephthah, in addition to the better-known Samson).  Today appreciation for the book has declined, as it serves comfortably neither the purposes of liturgy nor of polite politics.

This course will examine the principal episodes of Judges, trying to develop some awareness and admiration of their distinctly Bronze Age flavor, and connecting them theologically to the operation of the covenant in the Old Testament.  No prior familiarity with the book is presumed.

Jan 10   The First Judges -- Chapters 1-3.

Jan 17   Deborah -- Chapters 4-5.

Jan 24   Gideon -- Chapters 6-8

Jan 31   Jephthah -- Chapters 10-12

Feb 7      Samson 1 -- Chapters 13-14

Feb 14   Samson 2 -- Chapters 15-16

Feb 21   Epilogues -- Chapter 17