BIBLE HISTORY DAILY

Free Hebrew Bible Course with Shaye Cohen

Learn about the Hebrew Bible in a free course of 25 video lectures by Shaye Cohen, Littauer Professor of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy at Harvard University. This course, which you can start and stop any time, surveys the major books and ideas of the Hebrew Bible (also called the Old Testament), examining the historical context in which the texts emerged and were redacted.

A major subtext of this free Hebrew Bible course is the distinction between how the Bible was read by ancient interpreters (whose interpretations became the basis for many iconic literary and artistic works of Western Civilization) and how it is approached by modern Bible scholarship. James Kugel, former Harvard professor and author of the course’s textbook, contends that these ways of reading the Bible are mutually exclusive. Professor Shaye Cohen respectfully disagrees.

The course syllabus is your primary road map; it contains general information about the course and lists the topics covered and assigned readings for each of the 25 lectures. Video recordings of each lecture can be viewed alongside Professor Cohen’s lecture notes. A series of timelines is available to illustrate aspects of the course which unfold over time.

Click here to start the free Hebrew Bible course!

Sample the course by watching Professor Shaye Cohen’s first lecture:

 
 

Click here to check out Professor Shaye Cohen’s free Hebrew Bible course!


The religion section of most bookstores includes an amazing array of Bibles. In our free eBook The Holy Bible: A Buyer’s Guide, prominent Biblical scholars Leonard Greenspoon and Harvey Minkoff expertly guide you through 21 different Bible translations (or versions) and address their content, text, style and religious orientation.

Related reading in Bible History Daily:

Defining Biblical Hermeneutics

Who Are the Nephilim?

The Man Moses by Peter Machinist

Searching for Biblical Mt. Sinai

Did I Find King David’s Palace? by Eilat Mazar
 


 
This Bible History Daily feature was originally published on February 25, 2015.

Related Posts

Nov 4
New Old Torah Scroll

By: Marek Dospěl

the-aleppo-codex-online
Nov 2
The Aleppo Codex Online

By: Biblical Archaeology Society Staff

noah-rock-giants
Oct 1
Rock Giants in Noah

By: Megan Sauter

david-and-goliath-johnson
Sep 30
Who Are the Nephilim?

By: Ellen White


34 Responses

  1. Edward levin says:

    Is there a lecture on book of ester/?

  2. Harold says:

    A purely academic question: when people like Simcha Jacobovici (Debunking “Exodus Decoded”) or Timothy Mahoney (Patterns of Evidence – The Exodus) publish their findings with “new evidence” of the biblical account, how are these factored in? These are very convincing publications that need to be professionally addressed to validate or reject their veracity. Otherwise scholars and academics will never gain full recognition or credibility of their work.

  3. David Kinnon says:

    Seems that Dr Cohen is intent on destroying the authority of Scripture here. I am not in any sense an Hebrew scholar and am not of the academic eminence of either Dr Cohen or the author to whom he refers throughout these notes, named Krugel. I suspect that both Cohen and Krugel come to this task lacking the faith without which it is impossible to please God; deliberately misrepresenting certain issues within Scripture from an unduly sceptical standpoint, ignoring other scholarship; and overall giving me the impression that “MBS” defined as Modern Biblical Scholarship is in itself a cynical in-joke.

  4. Richard Muniz says:

    Please enroll me in your free Hebrew Bible course.

  5. MALINDA A JUSTUS says:

    Thanks

  6. Margaret Morse says:

    Thank you so very much for posting Dr. Cohen’s series of lectures. I have listened carefully to each one and am studying the lecture notes. Dr. Cohen does an excellent job of examining the varying viewpoints of traditionalists and modern biblical scholars. I am writing a book of historical fiction about various women in the Hebrew and Christian bibles and I now have a much deeper understanding of biblical history and context. Thank you for offering intelligent and provocative insights that are understandable to those of us who are trained in fields other than biblical history and archaeology.

  7. young kyu kim says:

    thank you

  8. ndu ifeanyi nwokeocha says:

    Sir,
    I just got to now of the free Bible Course. As one engaged in ministry work, I am interested in it. It is my hope that i will be better informed at the end of the course. At the end of the course will there be a certificate issued? Thank you.

  9. Carol Taylor says:

    Why does he say that the protestant bible has apocryphal books?I thought only catholic bibles have the apocrypha.

  10. Len says:

    Excellent introduction to what is a very complex subject. Prof. Cohen’s presentation is entertaining with wit and some dry humour. As a Theology PhD (from the UK) I find these lectures are filling some gaps in my knowledge of Jewish history and belief which will be useful for my studies in the Jewish origins of the New testament.

  11. Olga says:

    thank you for this opportunity to learn more about the Hebrews stories.

  12. Israel Brand says:

    Shaye Cohen lectures with an underlying sense of humor that some people don’t really pick up. He is very fair-minded to traditional and modern viewpoints.

    If you go into this series with a stubborn conviction that you’ve got everything figured out, you will miss out on many intriguing observations. Even so, if you believe in the transcendence of G-d’s Word, there’s nothing to fear from exploring the motivations of those who authored, edited, and collected the anthology of material that we now call ‘The Bible’.

  13. Paul B says:

    Very engaging lecturer presenting the stories and traditional and modern interpretations

  14. Carmen Galindo says:

    When i get my new computer I will take this course. Please add me to your mailing list.

  15. Vicki says:

    I really enjoyed this first lecture!

  16. carolyn says:

    I am on lesson 18, and the one thing that makes me sad, is that “Bible Scholars” have missed the message of the Bible.

  17. Darlene Backhaus says:

    Thanks for the help. This is a marvelous course and I am going through it at least twice
    and give it more attention.

  18. Beardsley Ruml says:

    Darlene: That was a bug (our fault, not yours) and the fix will be made in the next day or two. You can then see the missing notes!

  19. Beardsley Ruml says:

    You may listen to all the lectures at your own pace from the course website at: http://courses.biblicalarchaeology.org/hebrewbible/ Go to it!

  20. cliffordl7 says:

    I enjoy lesson one when is lesson two

  21. Barbara says:

    One’s first lecture in a series would necessarily be establishing elementary foundations.Makes sense to me.

  22. Darlene Backhaus says:

    I reallly like this course. After Lesson 17 I couldn’t get the notes to pull up on my screen

  23. Eliezer says:

    Yo, Molly. Why not just watch them online when it is convenient for you to do so?

  24. Molly Catron says:

    I’d love to take the course but have internet via a satellite. Slow download and not enough bandwidth to download so many. Can I possibility get them on DVDs?

  25. Josh says:

    As the article states, the course syllabus is the roadmap for this course. I have always found that you can identify the biases of many professors of religion/philosophy/history by study of the syllabus and course notes. I have to say that this professor seems to approach the course with an unapologetic humanist approach. The title of the course, “The Hebrew Bible,” seems a bit misleading, as if your going to study the Hebrew Bible within its own context, rather than try and pick it apart by forcing it into the context of the rest of the world at that time. The point of the Hebrew Bible was, in fact, to make a separation between a group of people from the rest of the world. Approaching the Hebrew Bible from a humanist stance will obviously not enlighten the reader to the merits of the text, but rather only give value to those who choose to criticize it. A better name for this course would seem to be, “Critiquing the Hebrew Bible against the ANE.”

  26. Eliezer says:

    As Prof Cohen emphasizes in the syllabus, the biblical texts must be read s-l-o-w-l-y and in conjunction with their annotations. You will miss more than half of the value of the course if you fail to do the reading before viewing a lecture.

  27. Max Hunter says:

    Dear Naysayers;

    I’m going to assume you did not click on the links to the actual course, rather you clicked the video watched five minutes and made a comment.

    If you had actually did more than watch five minutes you would have noted this is a course offered at Harvard College (I believe recorded in 2013) complete with 78 pages of notes, 24 other lectures, 2 papers, a mid-term and final exam. Perhaps the word “elementary” is a bit harsh considering this is a brief introduction to his course.

    I’m just sayin’…

  28. Gene Trainin says:

    yes it was elementary to knowledgeable people but it did present clearly the contrast between traditionalists and their opponents. I look forward to see how exactly Prof. Cohen resolves these contradictions.

  29. Kathleen says:

    Thank you. I look forward to listening to more this year for personal study and clarification of things I have wondered about.

  30. CB Ross says:

    Only 16 mins in – and already somewhat bored! It might have helped if I had been shown the screen behind Prof Cohen rather than just the learned gentleman himself! Switched off! I also tend to agree with Harold D.

  31. Nancy Turley says:

    Looking forward to our next class!

  32. Ann Dershowitz says:

    The first class was painfully elementary.

  33. Carole says:

    I am going to greatly enjoy the free Hebrew Bible course by Proffesor Shaye Cohen. Have always had a deep love for the Jews. Thank you for this wonderful offer. Shalom.

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


34 Responses

  1. Edward levin says:

    Is there a lecture on book of ester/?

  2. Harold says:

    A purely academic question: when people like Simcha Jacobovici (Debunking “Exodus Decoded”) or Timothy Mahoney (Patterns of Evidence – The Exodus) publish their findings with “new evidence” of the biblical account, how are these factored in? These are very convincing publications that need to be professionally addressed to validate or reject their veracity. Otherwise scholars and academics will never gain full recognition or credibility of their work.

  3. David Kinnon says:

    Seems that Dr Cohen is intent on destroying the authority of Scripture here. I am not in any sense an Hebrew scholar and am not of the academic eminence of either Dr Cohen or the author to whom he refers throughout these notes, named Krugel. I suspect that both Cohen and Krugel come to this task lacking the faith without which it is impossible to please God; deliberately misrepresenting certain issues within Scripture from an unduly sceptical standpoint, ignoring other scholarship; and overall giving me the impression that “MBS” defined as Modern Biblical Scholarship is in itself a cynical in-joke.

  4. Richard Muniz says:

    Please enroll me in your free Hebrew Bible course.

  5. MALINDA A JUSTUS says:

    Thanks

  6. Margaret Morse says:

    Thank you so very much for posting Dr. Cohen’s series of lectures. I have listened carefully to each one and am studying the lecture notes. Dr. Cohen does an excellent job of examining the varying viewpoints of traditionalists and modern biblical scholars. I am writing a book of historical fiction about various women in the Hebrew and Christian bibles and I now have a much deeper understanding of biblical history and context. Thank you for offering intelligent and provocative insights that are understandable to those of us who are trained in fields other than biblical history and archaeology.

  7. young kyu kim says:

    thank you

  8. ndu ifeanyi nwokeocha says:

    Sir,
    I just got to now of the free Bible Course. As one engaged in ministry work, I am interested in it. It is my hope that i will be better informed at the end of the course. At the end of the course will there be a certificate issued? Thank you.

  9. Carol Taylor says:

    Why does he say that the protestant bible has apocryphal books?I thought only catholic bibles have the apocrypha.

  10. Len says:

    Excellent introduction to what is a very complex subject. Prof. Cohen’s presentation is entertaining with wit and some dry humour. As a Theology PhD (from the UK) I find these lectures are filling some gaps in my knowledge of Jewish history and belief which will be useful for my studies in the Jewish origins of the New testament.

  11. Olga says:

    thank you for this opportunity to learn more about the Hebrews stories.

  12. Israel Brand says:

    Shaye Cohen lectures with an underlying sense of humor that some people don’t really pick up. He is very fair-minded to traditional and modern viewpoints.

    If you go into this series with a stubborn conviction that you’ve got everything figured out, you will miss out on many intriguing observations. Even so, if you believe in the transcendence of G-d’s Word, there’s nothing to fear from exploring the motivations of those who authored, edited, and collected the anthology of material that we now call ‘The Bible’.

  13. Paul B says:

    Very engaging lecturer presenting the stories and traditional and modern interpretations

  14. Carmen Galindo says:

    When i get my new computer I will take this course. Please add me to your mailing list.

  15. Vicki says:

    I really enjoyed this first lecture!

  16. carolyn says:

    I am on lesson 18, and the one thing that makes me sad, is that “Bible Scholars” have missed the message of the Bible.

  17. Darlene Backhaus says:

    Thanks for the help. This is a marvelous course and I am going through it at least twice
    and give it more attention.

  18. Beardsley Ruml says:

    Darlene: That was a bug (our fault, not yours) and the fix will be made in the next day or two. You can then see the missing notes!

  19. Beardsley Ruml says:

    You may listen to all the lectures at your own pace from the course website at: http://courses.biblicalarchaeology.org/hebrewbible/ Go to it!

  20. cliffordl7 says:

    I enjoy lesson one when is lesson two

  21. Barbara says:

    One’s first lecture in a series would necessarily be establishing elementary foundations.Makes sense to me.

  22. Darlene Backhaus says:

    I reallly like this course. After Lesson 17 I couldn’t get the notes to pull up on my screen

  23. Eliezer says:

    Yo, Molly. Why not just watch them online when it is convenient for you to do so?

  24. Molly Catron says:

    I’d love to take the course but have internet via a satellite. Slow download and not enough bandwidth to download so many. Can I possibility get them on DVDs?

  25. Josh says:

    As the article states, the course syllabus is the roadmap for this course. I have always found that you can identify the biases of many professors of religion/philosophy/history by study of the syllabus and course notes. I have to say that this professor seems to approach the course with an unapologetic humanist approach. The title of the course, “The Hebrew Bible,” seems a bit misleading, as if your going to study the Hebrew Bible within its own context, rather than try and pick it apart by forcing it into the context of the rest of the world at that time. The point of the Hebrew Bible was, in fact, to make a separation between a group of people from the rest of the world. Approaching the Hebrew Bible from a humanist stance will obviously not enlighten the reader to the merits of the text, but rather only give value to those who choose to criticize it. A better name for this course would seem to be, “Critiquing the Hebrew Bible against the ANE.”

  26. Eliezer says:

    As Prof Cohen emphasizes in the syllabus, the biblical texts must be read s-l-o-w-l-y and in conjunction with their annotations. You will miss more than half of the value of the course if you fail to do the reading before viewing a lecture.

  27. Max Hunter says:

    Dear Naysayers;

    I’m going to assume you did not click on the links to the actual course, rather you clicked the video watched five minutes and made a comment.

    If you had actually did more than watch five minutes you would have noted this is a course offered at Harvard College (I believe recorded in 2013) complete with 78 pages of notes, 24 other lectures, 2 papers, a mid-term and final exam. Perhaps the word “elementary” is a bit harsh considering this is a brief introduction to his course.

    I’m just sayin’…

  28. Gene Trainin says:

    yes it was elementary to knowledgeable people but it did present clearly the contrast between traditionalists and their opponents. I look forward to see how exactly Prof. Cohen resolves these contradictions.

  29. Kathleen says:

    Thank you. I look forward to listening to more this year for personal study and clarification of things I have wondered about.

  30. CB Ross says:

    Only 16 mins in – and already somewhat bored! It might have helped if I had been shown the screen behind Prof Cohen rather than just the learned gentleman himself! Switched off! I also tend to agree with Harold D.

  31. Nancy Turley says:

    Looking forward to our next class!

  32. Ann Dershowitz says:

    The first class was painfully elementary.

  33. Carole says:

    I am going to greatly enjoy the free Hebrew Bible course by Proffesor Shaye Cohen. Have always had a deep love for the Jews. Thank you for this wonderful offer. Shalom.

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Send this to a friend