Creation to New Creation: The Historical Books (Joshua through Maccabees)
At the heart of our course offerings is a book-by-book journey through the entire Bible, from Creation to New Creation—Genesis to Revelation. We break it up into manageable, ten-week sections and spread it out over three years. (Students are naturally not required to commit to an entire three-year program; they may take as many or as few of the ten-week sections as fit their schedules.)
This signature stream of courses is designed to familiarize the student with the overarching structure and message of the whole Bible, which is unique among the holy books of the various religions because it comprises two testaments, and thus speaks to us in two different “registers” rather than one. So this stream of courses focuses specifically on two questions:
- How does each book contribute to and interact with its own Testament? (For example, how does the book of Isaiah affect the overall message of the Old Testament, which begins with Genesis and ends with Malachi?)
- How does each book and its role in its Testament contribute to the overall message of the whole Bible? (For example, how does the message of Genesis in the Old Testament affect the meaning of the Gospel of Matthew or Luke in the New Testament?)
We continue the journey we began last Fall with the next sixteen books: Joshua—2 Maccabees. Because they recount much of the history of God’s people—from Israel’s conquest and settlement of Canaan, to their expulsion and exile from the Promised Land, to their return and resettlement in the land, to the events leading up to the birth of Christ—the books of Joshua through Maccabees are appropriately labeled the “Historical Books” of the Old Testament.
But this is no ordinary history, and it certainly is not dry, dusty, or boring. This is history of a special kind; it is God’s version (his story) of the unfolding drama centered in Christ, including key persons, important places, and events which are themselves shaped by the figure standing behind all of them. This is Jesus’ story, who fulfills its vision of prophet, priest, king, deliverer, revelatory word, and tabernacling presence of God. As he invites us to receive him, we are given occasion to conceive our own story in this world as a participation in this grander story, in which we discover what it means to be shaped increasingly by its great lessons on faith and faithfulness; surrender and obedience; exile and mission; hope, worship, and prayer; and the centrality of God’s Holy Word.
Since “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16-17), students can expect this course not only to inform their understanding of biblical history, but also to form and to transform their lives as women and men of God.
- Sacred Scripture, the Bible (preferably ESVCE [English Standard Version, Catholic Edition] or RSVCE 2nd edition [Revised Standard Version; Catholic Edition])
- Instructor’s notes (provided and included in the registration cost)
- Bergsma, John and Brant Pitre. A Catholic Introduction to the Bible. Vol 1: The Old Testament. San Francisco: Ignatius, 2018.
- Hahn, Scott and Curtis Mitch. The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: Joshua, Judges and Ruth, First and Second Samuel, First and Second Kings, Tobit, Judith, and Esther. San Francisco: Ignatius.
- Satterthwaite, Philip and Gordon McConville. Exploring the Old Testament: A Guide to the Historical Books. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2007.
- Collett, Don. Figural Reading and the Old Testament: Theology and Practice. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2020.
This course is now available online to take at your own pace.
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