Hebrew Bible and Its Interpretation: Bible

Professors

Alan M. Cooper (on sabbatical spring 2015)
Stephen A. Geller
David Marcus
Benjamin D. Sommer 

Associate Professor

Robert A. Harris, Area Coordinator
Amy Kalmanofsky

Assistant Professors

Stephen P. Garfinkel
Walter Herzberg

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Alison Joseph

 

Degrees

Bachelor of Arts
Master of Arts
Doctor of Hebrew Literature
Doctor of Philosophy

  

Bachelor of Arts 

Admission Requirements

See List College Admissions requirements.

Degree Requirements

For Bible Majors

30 credits (generally 10 courses), beyond the core-curriculum requirements, chosen in consultation with the major advisor, distributed as follows:

Bible

  • 3 credits covering all or part of the Torah and appropriate secondary literature
  • 3 credits covering all or part of the Nevi'im and appropriate secondary literature
  • 3 credits covering all or part of the Ketuvim and appropriate secondary literature
  • 3 credits BIB 3009, covering critical methodologies on an advanced level
  • 3 credits BIB 5560: Biblical Grammar
  • 3 credits on Rabbinic Exegesis / Parshanut (e.g., Miqra'ot Gedolot, Pentateuch with Rashi, etc.)
  • 9 credits of Bible electives chosen in consultation with the major advisor
  • 3 credits senior capstone seminar

 

Master of Arts 

Admission Requirements

View The Graduate School Admissions page.

Degree Requirements

Hebrew Bible and Its Interpretation requirements are determined on the basis of an evaluation of the undergraduate transcript. Students entering the program may be required to take certain prerequisite courses during the first year of graduate study if they have not had the equivalent previously, as described below. 

Bible

Courses

Students entering the program will be required to take the following courses during the first year of graduate study if they have not had the equivalent previously:

  • One semester of biblical Hebrew grammar
  • Two semesters of Hebrew Bible texts

Students are permitted to register for courses counting toward the degree while fulfilling these prerequisites.

In addition to courses required of all students in The Graduate School, 30 graduate credits are required as follows:

  • First Year Seminar
  • 21 credits in Bible, including one seminar
  • 6 credits of electives (students who intend to pursue a doctorate in Bible should take most of the electives in Bible or related courses)

Comprehensive Examination

Students must satisfactorily complete a comprehensive examination. For the reading list and text requirements, contact The Graduate School Office.

 

Doctor of Hebrew Literature

Admission Requirements

View The Graduate School Admissions page. Additionally, students must have a master's degree in Bible or Judaica. Further course work may be required in the case of students who have an MA in Judaica. Students must pass an examination in biblical Hebrew grammar.

Bible

Degree Requirements

Courses

In addition to courses required of all students in The Graduate School, 30 graduate credits beyond the MA are required, to be selected from the following list:

  • Two advanced text courses (6 credits)
  • Two courses in biblical law, religion, and history (6 credits)
  • One course in medieval exegesis (3 credits)
  • One course in a Semitic language other than Hebrew (3 credits)
  • Two courses in electives in the area of specialization (6 credits)
  • Two additional courses, to be selected in consultation with the advisor (6 credits)

Note: Two of the above courses must be research seminars with major papers.

Students may be asked to audit courses and must display a basic familiarity with the particulars of biblical literature of the type implied by the traditional term beqi'ut (expertise), to be established by examination.

Paper

Shortly before the oral comprehensive examination, each candidate is required to write one 10-page paper in history, religion, canon, or text criticism. The candidate is asked to identify a major problem in one of these areas and discuss it, paying special attention to the history of the problem and how critical scholars today might approach a solution.

Comprehensive Examinations

The examinations proceed in two stages. First, a set of four orals on Bible text, language, and content (beqi'ut): Torah, Former Prophets, Latter Prophets, Writings. Each one is administered by a single faculty member.

For the remainder of the examinations, students must compose three essays on topics of their choosing, normally in the areas of biblical text criticism, history of Israel, and religion of Israel, respectively (the three areas are negotiable depending on the student's specific interests). Following submission of these essays and assuming that they are deemed acceptable, there is a follow-up oral examination in which all faculty may participate. The oral can include discussion/critique of the essays or range into other topics of the examiners' choosing to test for general knowledge, probe potential areas of specialization, etc.

Dissertation

A competent piece of research that constitutes a contribution to the field. The topic will be selected in consultation with the faculty advisory committee.

 

Doctor of Philosophy 

Admission Requirements

View The Graduate School Admissions page. Additionally, students must have a master's degree in Bible or Judaica. Further course work may be required in the case of students with an MA in Judaica. All students must pass Reading Proficiency Exams in German; Modern Hebrew; and one other modern research language.

The area of Hebrew Bible and Its Interpretation can fashion a PhD program that matches the strengths of its faculty and the interests of the prospective students. The following reflects past programs, and should not be seen as a definitive outline or limitation of additional courses of study.

Bible 

Degree Requirements

The course of study is organized around two methodological approaches: Hebrew philology and another approach chosen by the student. As early as possible, a specialization will be selected from the following (with the guidance of a departmental advisor): anthropology, comparative law, comparative literature, hermeneutics (including traditional Jewish exegesis), historiography, linguistics (Hebrew/Semitic), literary criticism, religion/theology, Semitic philology, sociology, and textual criticism.

Courses

In addition to courses required of all students in The Graduate School, two semesters of Greek or Latin (with the advisor's permission); and a minimum of 42 credits beyond the MA (see above); the precise number of courses will be assessed upon admission. Up to 9 credits (three courses) taken on the graduate level at another university may be counted toward this total. Required courses include:

  • Five courses in biblical texts (15 credits)
  • Two courses in biblical history, religion, or law (6 credits)
  • Two courses in biblical Hebrew or comparative Semitics (6 credits)
  • Two courses in Akkadian (6 credits)
  • One course in Aramaic (3 credits)
  • One course in Ugaritic (3 credits)
  • One course in inscriptions (3 credits)

 Note: Two of the above courses must be research seminars with major papers.

Comprehensive Examinations

The examinations proceed in two stages. First, a set of four oral examinations on Bible text, language, and content (beqi'ut): Torah, Former Prophets, Latter Prophets, Writings. Each one is administered by a single faculty member.

For the remainder of the examinations, students must compose three essays on topics of their choosing, normally in the areas of biblical text criticism, history of Israel, and religion of Israel, respectively (the three areas are negotiable depending on the student's specific interests). Following submission of these essays and assuming that they are deemed acceptable, there is a follow-up oral examination in which all faculty may participate. The oral can include discussion/critique of the essays or range into other topics of the examiners' choosing to test for general knowledge, probe potential areas of specialization, etc.

Dissertation

An original contribution to the study of Bible that applies the student's selected discipline and any pertinent methodologies.

The Davidson School MA in Jewish Education: Core Courses in Hebrew Bible and Its Interpretation

All students in The Davidson School are required to take the following three courses or their equivalent, in consultation with the dean:

  • BIB 5011: Introduction to Hebrew Bible
  • BIB 5012: Survey of the Pentateuch
  • BIB 5013: Parshanut: Pentateuch with Rashi; or BIB 5826: Classical Medieval Commentaries; or MID 5022: Introduction to Rabbinic Narrative (Aggadah)

The Rabbinical School: Core Courses in Hebrew Bible and Its Interpretation 

The following courses are required of all rabbinical students; substitutions may be made in consultation with the dean and the area coordinator for Hebrew Bible and Its Interpretation:

Note: HEB 2201: Intermediate Hebrew I; HEB 5203: Intermediate Hebrew II; and HEB 5009: Hebrew Grammar must be taken prior to or in conjunction with these courses, in consultation with the dean and the area coordinator for Hebrew Bible and Its Interpretation.

  • Skill Level 1-BIB 6060:Introduction to Biblical Hebrew and BIB 6070: Introduction to Miqra'ot Gedolot
  • Skill Level 2-BIB 6106: Hebrew Bible: Torah Text, Context, and Meaning and BIB 6107: Hebrew Bible: Prophets and Writings

After concluding the beit midrash course of studies in New York City, rabbinical students continue to Israel, where they take required and elective courses in Bible and Midrash. Returning to the Iyun stage in New York, they take BIB 6307: Medieval Biblical Exegesis; and MID 5022: Introduction to Rabbinic Narrative (Aggadah) and at least two Bible electives. Iyun students pursuing an MA degree in Biblical Interpretation complete the additional requirements in that field.

Search the Course Catalog for BIB courses.