Next week: Genesis

The very lovely people from the BU Core Curriculum kindly invited me back to give an introduction to the Hebrew Bible. Whether it’s age or the fact that I’ve been doing this kind of thing (i.e., teaching “Bible”) for such a long time, it strikes me as an extremely humbling and puzzling charge. After all, many of my colleagues might raise their eyebrows that the Core should invite someone who isn’t really a “Bible scholar.” I am really not; at least not in the sense that reading and producing scholarship on the Bible is central to what I do. So what gives me the right to introduce a few hundred freshman to the Hebrew Bible? Perhaps it is the very fact that I am not a “Bible scholar” that particularly qualifies me; after all, in their first collegiate encounter with the Bible as a cultural artifact, students are less in need of exposure to Bible scholarship than to an answer of why, in this day and age, it is still worthwhile to crack the spine of this ancient book. I am sure a genuine Bible scholar might be able to do this as well and better. But a “religion” scholar and student of philosophy like myself who has been continuously preoccupied with this question for over thirty years should indeed be asked that question. That there are people curious to hear my answer is a blessing, mostly for myself.

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