HEB 246: Hebrew Bible Exegesis: The Book of Leviticus




This seminar explores how we read biblical texts and interpret their meaning, with a particular focus on the book of Leviticus. How does our reading of this sometimes-derided biblical book change with different methodological assumptions, or in different cultural and religious contexts? Students will be equipped to understand and combine diverse exegetical frameworks when analyzing textual examples in Hebrew, including philological, historical-critical, comparative, literary, and social-scientific approaches (e.g., ritual theory, queer and feminist readings, postcolonial criticism, etc.). Taking this course will thus enable students to critically discuss the book of Leviticus in ways that are philologically sound and historically grounded, but also conceptually innovative and creative. Students will hone their core research skills by undertaking a semester-long "commentary" assignment, in which we will together create a critical commentary on key portions of the book of Leviticus. To create our commentary, the class will be structured in two parts: a 2-hour seminar (on Monday afternoons) in which we will each present our work on portions of the text, and then a 1-hour "text lab" (on Wednesday morning) in which we will each revise our analysis in light of peer and instructor feedback and compile our individual materials to form a collective commentary. Basic proficiency in Hebrew required.