Video Lecture Courses

Are you stuck at home with nothing to do but watch the news?

Here’s a free lecture to cheer you upI made this lecture during lockdown in my capacity as scholar-in-residence for Adath Shalom Congregation, in Ottawa, Canada.  It’s a short one about magic in ancient Israel. I’m offering it here for a limited time, free, for anyone interested – enjoy!

You can also check out the longer lecture I did for the Soloway JCC in Ottawa: “Identity Politics in Ancient Israel” – also free, and available only until April 21st.

AND: I’ve lowered prices on the various series below and added a couple of more series for you to enjoy! I’ve also changed the format for purchasing.  Please contact me if you’d like to make a purchase and I’ll email you instructions.

VIDEOS NOW AVAILABLE FOR STREAMING:

 The Exodus in Biblical Scholarship

(6 lectures, 9 hours of video) $20 CAD Click here for course outline

Two of the most significant events in Jewish history are narrated in the Book of Exodus: the nation is born of slaves delivered from bondage, and a covenant is formed between this new nation and its God.  The story starts with the people enslaved and ends with the establishment of a new nation with its own leaders and symbols of freedom.  Along the way, key components of the rest of Israel’s history are introduced: law, prophecy, and the theme of the God of Israel becoming known to the rest of the world.

Increasingly, critical scholarship has been used for the purpose of casting doubt on the historicity of the central Exodus events.  However, scholarship is a double-edged sword, and used honestly can go a long way to illuminate the text, providing historical, theological, and literary insights. This mini-course examines some of the central ideas of the narrative using the tools of modern scholarship for a deeper appreciation of the literature and to try to reconstruct the history and understand the theology behind the story. 

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Biblical Prophets (5-lecture series, 7.5 hours of video): $20 CAD

Click here for course outline

The writing prophets of the Hebrew Bible are best known for their profound poetic pronouncements of moral teachings and social critiques. In this course, we journey through the prophetic texts, weaving literary appreciation and ethical insights into a historian’s appraisal of the ways in which the prophets witness, shape, and interpret the history of Israel; and in doing so, forge a theological perspective that will underlie the three monotheistic traditions the prophets inspire.

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The Hebrew Bible in its Ancient Setting (8-lecture series, 14 hours of video): $30 CAD
Click here for course outline

 The Bible against the backdrop of its ancient Near Eastern birthplace.  Selections from the Tanakh are discussed with the goal of understanding what they can tell us about the values and ideals of the people who produced the text.

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Adam & Eve, and their Interpreters (14 hours, 9 lectures) $30 CAD

Click here for outline

The story of the first humans has figured more prominently in the history of Western culture than any other biblical narrative.  From peoples of the book to modern advertising and sitcoms, Adam and Eve have served as prototypes, archetypes, and stereotypes determining – and being determined by – prevailing ideas about the roles and status of men and women throughout history. Find out just when, and how: Satan entered the Garden, Lilith joined in, the forbidden fruit became an apple, Adam and Eve “fell”, Original Sin happened, and Eve became the Devil’s handmaid. Join us for this grand tour of the history of interpretation in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and beyond – from Ben Sira to Judith Plaskow, St. Augustine to the Aryan Nations – and discover how this biblical text has served as a social and cultural mirror for 2500 years and counting.

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The New Testament – What is it, and Where Did It Come From? (8 lectures, 12 hours) $25 CAD

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Christianity began as a sect within Judaism, out of the same social and religious upheaval from which Rabbinic Judaism emerged.  But it went in a very different direction.  This class explores the origins of Christianity within and against its Jewish environment, and examine how it grew and moved outside of Judaism to become the dominant religion of the Roman Empire.  Through an examination of the writings in the New Testament – and a few writings that didn’t make it into the New Testament – we examine the ways in which early Christians drew on various Jewish concepts and symbols to craft a variety of Christianities that flourished in the first few centuries CE.

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Life in Ancient Israel (5 lectures, 7.5 hours) $20 CAD

Click here for course outline

What was life like for the people who wrote the Bible?  How did they think about time, social structure, life, death?  How did they spend their days?  What did they eat?  By combining information from their writings and from the material culture they left behind, we learn about the vast differences between us and them in technology, culture, and worldview. But these were also people who worked, ate, loved, thought, and lived – in many ways, just like us.  Understanding their experiences from an inside perspective sheds light on both similarities and differences, and above all, on the universals that make us human, transcending space, time, culture, and language.

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Biblical Wisdom (4 lectures, 6 hours) $17 CAD

Click here for course outline

The Hebrew Bible’s “Wisdom Literature” – the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job – contain profound ruminations on the meaning of life and the nature of divine justice. These three very different books represent ancient Israelite efforts toward forging an ethical monotheism in the absence of conceptions of reward and punishment after death. Join Professor Dolansky in an exploration of biblical wisdom literature against the background of other biblical and ancient Near Eastern conceptions of wisdom, theodicy, and the suffering of innocents.

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View a Sample Clip From The Hebrew Bible In Its Ancient Setting: