3 credit course
Old course number 206-0430
This course provides an introduction to the Old Testament prophets with a special focus on the prophecy of Isaiah. It will begin with a brief study of Church teachings about reading the Bible generally, the Old Testament specifically, and the necessary beginning of all Catholic Biblical interpretation with the historical dimension of the inspired text. Thus, students will become thoroughly grounded in the rise, division, decline, narrow survival, eventual destruction, and God’s promised restoration of the Davidic monarchy as well as the inextricable relationship between history and Biblical prophecy.
The beginning period of the course will also include an introduction to reading Hebrew poetry in translation and the importance of literary genre in Biblical interpretation. In the second part of the course, the actual text of Isaiah will be studied. Since the book of Isaiah’s historical span is awesome and its text has profound relationships to other Biblical prophets, students will work through the entire book while noting parallel ideas in other prophets as well. Furthermore, because Isaiah’s prophetic words are rightly famous, students will also study the ways in which the book of Isaiah has profoundly influenced the New Testament as well as the later Church.
Students who complete this course should be able to:
identify the salient points of the history of the Davidic monarchy from the time of David to the Babylonian exile and the relevance of history for understanding and interpreting the prophets;
explain the phenomenon of prophecy in Israel and what made this phenomenon unique in the ancient world;
understand the great challenges and great benefits that go with reading Israel’s prophets as Christian scripture;
identify the main characteristics of Hebrew poetry, its difference from prose and the importance of literary genre in Biblical interpretation;
give an overview of the careers of Israel’s major prophets as well as selected members of the so-called minor prophets;
grasp the details of the life and times of Isaiah the prophet and their relationship to the book of Isaiah;
gain an appreciation of theological themes in the book of Isaiah and the influence of these themes on the expectations of the New Testament authors; and gain an appreciation of how the book of Isaiah has influenced the Church down through the centuries.
This course includes written lectures, audio and video supplements, and online discussion.
Please note: To play the video files all students must have media player software such as QuickTime Player, or else have an MP4 player such as an iPod.
It is highly recommended that students have a high-speed Internet connection to allow for downloading the large video files used in this course.