Week 1: The Mystery of the Exodus: Tradition, Source Text Criticism and Archaeology
The Exodus story has had a profound impact on the formation and continuation of the Jewish people. Indeed, without the Exodus, there might not have been a Jewish people. We will examine what is to be made of the lack of archaeological evidence for these events and what the Exodus saga has in common with other ancient Near Eastern literary and theological paradigms.
Week 2: The Women of the Exodus Story
Shifrah, Puah, young Miriam, Moses’ mother and the Pharaoh’s daughter appear in the opening chapters of Exodus—their stories are relatively brief—yet they had a profound impact on the survival of the Hebrews in Egypt and on Moses’ emergence as the “deliverer” prophesied to Israel. We examine their stories and legacy.
Week 3: Moses the Child, Moses the Young Man and Reticent Prophet
We will examine rabbinic and biblical texts about Moses’ early years and look at the events that place him in the Pharaoh’s home as well as what first wrenches him away; his earliest encounters with God and how and why he is called to rescue Israel from Egypt.
Week 4: Clash of the Titans: The God of Israel versus the Pharaoh of Egypt
Debate about the scientific, historical or archaeological evidence for the Ten Plagues ignores the purpose of their role in the Exodus story. We will examine the purpose and significance of the Ten Plagues and how they are understood in the contemporary context.
Week 5: Escape from Egypt: the Song at the Sea and the Revelation at Sinai
How many left Egypt? Who wrote the Song at the Sea? What happened at Sinai? These questions have been and continue to be the subject of debate among scholars and laypeople alike. We will examine textual and current scholarship on these texts and their significance in the overall Exodus saga.
Week 6: Covenant, Redemption and Continuity
A covenantal relationship with God has been part of biblical tradition since its beginning. Redemption is also a recurring theme in Jewish tradition. We will explore how these concepts have evolved through the biblical narrative and discuss how they are understood and enacted today.