This course is an introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures following the order set out in the Tanakh. The course focuses upon the Torah, the Former Prophets (historical books) and the Major Prophets (Isaiah–Ezekiel). Emphasis is upon the background, content, structure, geography, teachings, and basic meaning of each book as well as outstanding people and events. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate knowledge of the author, background, theme, and content of each book.
We are witnessing a resurgent interest in religion and prophecies about the future. Various reports from science and archeology claim to support or contradict the Bible. This course will give you an overview of the Old Testament that will cover important issues relating the Bible to history and showing the relationship of ancient Bible prophecies to world events making news today. The order of the books covered in this class will be that of the Hebrew Bible rather than the English ordering.
Peter Nathan served as a faculty member in Theology for seven years at Ambassador College/University. As a faculty member in 1990. he led a group of students to participate in the Tel Mozan Expedition, Syria, which was directed by Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati. His studies at Southern Methodist University focused largely on Hebrew and Old Testament Exegesis. Most recently he has completed a Master’s program at University of Cambridge focusing on Jewish Christian relations, with an emphasis on early Church history and the “Parting of the Ways.” Subsequent to the time at Ambassador University, he focused on education of young adults within church communities, providing seminars in Biblical Studies to help lay a foundation for future roles in the ministry. In addition he has written and published numerous articles on the identity of the early church, which carefully examined and challenged many of the commonly held assumptions relating to that era of time. The place and use of the Dead Sea Scrolls in understanding the early church environment has been a special interest. Ordained to the ministry of the Church of God in 1973, he has pastored churches in diverse parts of the world and has been deeply involved in ministry to the developing world. He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the American Schools of Oriental Research and the International Patristics Society. As well as serving on the Living University Administrative Council, Mr. Nathan serves as the University's Chair of the Theology Department, and Vice Chair of the Learning Resources Committee.
On successful completion of this course, a student should be able to:
1. Demonstrate knowledge of the author, background, theme and content of each book.
2. Discuss important concepts contained in each book that relate to understanding history and the development of human knowledge.
3. Identify and discuss key points of books that are subject criticism.
Textbooks for this course are:
Arnold, Bill T., and Bryan E. Beyer. Encountering the Old Testament: A Christian Survey. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2008. ISBN 978-0801031700.
The Bible – preferably the New King James version (also consult other translations)
Download from the Information Page for this class a PDF of the JPS 1917 English Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. The order of the books in this translation is the order that will be followed in this class.
NOTE: The textbooks used in this course are commercial publications. They represent the views and ideas of their authors, editors, and publishers. Living University does not endorse these texts nor vouch for their accuracy; we simply employ them in helping you master the content of the course.
Recommended Reference Books
The following additional reference books may be helpful for this course:
Chronological and Background Charts of the Old Testament, John H. Walton
Holman Bible Handbook, David s. Dockery (general editor)
The New Unger’s Bible Handbook
Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary
All the Men of the Bible, Herbert Lockyer
All the Women of the Bible, Herbert Lockyer
The Carta Bible Atlas, Fifth Edition Revised and Expanded, Yohanan Aharoni, Michael Avi-Yonah, et. al.
These may be ordered through the University Bookstore. Living University is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
Overview of Lessons
|Lesson 1||Genesis 1-11|
|Lesson 2||Genesis 12-50|
|Lesson 9||I & II Samuel|
|Lesson 10||I & II Kings|
|Lesson 11||Isaiah 1-39|
|Lesson 12||Isaiah 40-66|
|Lesson 13||Jeremiah 1-20|
|Lesson 14||Jeremiah 21-52|
|Lesson 15||Ezekiel 1-24|
|Lesson 16||Ezekiel 25-48|
|Exam 3 [Proctored]|
To begin this course, students must complete an icebreaker assignment to introduce themselves to their classmates through the posting of a short autobiography on the course Forum. The icebreaker assignment is due by the eighth day of the semester. Students post their biographies as a reply to the Icebreaker topic on the course forum. A student can earn 25 bonus points in this course by doing so “on time.” As there are people from all over the world enrolled in this course, each autobiography will help all know, understand and appreciate each other. Students are to read and comment on each other's bios throughout the first week of class.
Due dates and extensions
Submit assignments on or before the due date. Students must complete the course by the last official day of instruction as set forth in the academic calendar.
Reading assignments are integrated into the lesson pages at the course website and notes below under the Course details section of this document.
Each lesson will have an associated discussion question posed by the instructor. Students will be required to post on-line comments to the discussion thread and interact with fellow classmates.
All writing assignments in this course should follow the MLA style as set forth in Writing Research Papers: A Complete Guide by Lester & Lester. Assignments include outlining each book of the Bible covered in this course, and typing out selected assigned scriptures. The Files feature on the Assignment Submission page lets you submit your work so your instructor can have it handy for download, review and grading.
Quizzes and examinations
Each lesson has an associated online Quiz. These range from 10-20 questions. They are open book quizzes and there is a one hour time limit. A quiz should help you master the material in the lesson. It also provides you with practice in test taking. The three exams will draw multiple questions from quizzes; therefore, it is important for you to understand and commit the quiz material to memory.
On the other hand, examinations are timed, closed book tests. Only Exam 3 is proctored.
Students will write a 3-5 page research paper on a subject of your choice in the Old Testament, citing at least six references from various sources. It should be in the MLA style and your sources should be properly credited, both within the paper and in your bibliography. This paper is due at the end of the semester and is worth 90 points.
Please take the time to complete the Course Evaluation. We appreciate your feedback.
Your course grade will be determined based on the number of points you have earned over the semester as follows:
- Lesson Quizzes (15, each worth 20 points, total of 300 points)
- Writing Assignments (15 two part assignments at 10 pts for each part, 20 pts per lesson, totaling 300 points)
- Forums (15, each worth 4 pts, total of 60 points)
- Research Paper (90 points)
- Exam 1 (75 points) [online, closed book]
- Exam 2 (75 points) [online, closed book]
- Exam 3 (100 points) [online, closed book, proctored]
- Total 1,000 points
By getting your autobiography posted on time you can earn 25 bonus points, and by completing the course evaluation, you can earn 10 bonus points. These points could make the difference between an A or a B, or passing or not passing. Grades are assigned in the traditional American style of A, B, C, D, or F. In distance learning we believe that mastery of the subject is achieved when a student can demonstrate that they have achieved 80% of the objectives for a course. That means that we want you to earn at least 800 points in this course. If you do not do so then you have not developed the mastery we would like you to have. We want this course to be competency-based and so it is possible for the entire class to receive an A or B. There is no artificial curving of scores in the assignment of grades. If you receive a D or below, you might want to take the course again. Mastery of the material is what your goal should be.
Grades are assigned as follows:
A = 900 – 1000 points
B = 800 – 900 points
C = 700 – 800 points
D = 600 – 700 points
F = below 600 points
Three online exams (Exam 3 is proctored) are required in this course. A proctored exam is one that is overseen by an impartial individual (called a proctor) who monitors or supervises a student while he or she is taking an exam. The proctor ensures the security and integrity of the exam process. The proctoring process helps assure that the student who takes a proctored examination in a course is the same person who enrolled in the course and that examination results reflect the student’s own knowledge and competency.
Students should present valid government-issued photo identification to their proctor before taking an exam to confirm their identity unless the proctor presonally knows the student being tested. In order for a proctored exam grade to be recorded, a signed Proctor's Signature Form (PSF) must be sent to LU. The form is unnecessary in the case of ProctorU.
At LU students have several choices for completing proctored exams:
- A student can come to campus for an exam. The instructor will establish a specific campus classroom, date and time for the student to come to LU and complete the exam with the instructor or his or her representative.
- A student can utilize a Living Church of God church officer (i.e. elder, deacon or deaconess), or an appointed, minister-approved church leader. In the case of the latter, the minister should provide an email endorsing the appointed proctor.
- A student can use ProctorU online. ProctorU is a service that LU faculty may utilize for proctoring online exams. ProctorU allows students to conveniently and securely complete assigned exams using almost any webcam. With a computer and approved webcam, a student can take online exams at home, at work, or almost anywhere they have Internet access. ProctorU connects students directly to their proctor via webcam so they both see and talk to one another. ProctorU can also monitor a student's computer while the student completes the exam. Students pay ProctorU directly for this service. LU does not reimburse students for proctoring fees incurred. To view a demo video on how this service works, or to sign up and schedule testing appointments, the Living University portal is located at www.proctoru.com/portal/livinguniv. For ProctorU no Proctor's Signature Form (PSF) is needed.
- A student can use a college or university testing center. There is usually a fee for this service. LU does not reimburse students for proctoring fees incurred.
- A student can have an approved proctor. This may be a school offical, such as a teacher or registrar, or a librarian who is not related to the student.
- In a case of unusual hardship a student may request an alternate arrangement. To do so please contact Mrs. Michelle Broussard at 704-708-2294.
Students have the responsibility for conducting themselves in such a manner as to avoid any suspicion that they are improperly giving or receiving aid on any assignment or examination. An academic irregularity not only includes cheating but also includes plagiarism (taking another's ideas and/or words and presenting them as if they were the writer's own) and the submitting of the same paper in separate courses without prior consent from the faculty members concerned. In cases of suspected academic irregularity, faculty members may refuse to grade such papers or examinations, completely or in part, and to record each of them as a failure. If an academic irregularity is sufficiently serious, the University may take one or more of, but not limited to, the following actions:
- Drop the student from the course with a grade of F
- Place the student on academic probation
- Dismiss the student from the University
At a minimum you need a Bible that you can read and mark. Also, make sure you are familiar with navigating through the online Learning Management System (Populi).
Your very first assignment is the Icebreaker bonus assignment (an autobiography) by which you can introduce yourself to your professor and classmates using the course forum. By doing so “on time” you can earn 25 points in this course. Simply tell the class about yourself and your goals (in about 1 page). This is not a place for a profession of faith, or the details of your conversion experience of problems you have had in various churches or stages of life, as that information is more of a private nature. Here you inform your classmates what you would like them to know about you. As we have people from all over the world enrolled in this course each autobiography will help us know and appreciate each other.