Detail from James Tissot, "The Flight of the Prisoners" (1896-1902). The Jewish Museum, New York.

Johnson University

BIBL 1201

Orientation to the Old Testament 2


course description

Orientation to the Old Testament 2 introduces learners to a portion of the biblical canon remembered as “the Histories” (Joshua-Esther). Focus is given to literary strategies, historical contexts, and theological messages. A Christian reading is demonstrated. Prerequisite: BIBL 1101 Orientation to the Old Testament 1.


key documents

Syllabus for Spring 2019

Schedule for Spring 2019 (posted 3/26/19)

Kings of the Divided Monarchy

Select Bibliography

Outline of Sessions

The following outline presents the general shape of the semester's study. Consult the schedule above (under "Key Documents") to align this shape with your classroom experience. While the outline below is fixed, the schedule may be adjusted as the semester unrolls. 

Two links appear under each session. The first ("Preview") offers thumbnail sketches, goals, assignments and resources that correspond with classroom presentations. The second ("Worksheet") represents a page to be printed, completed, and brought to the classroom on the day it is due. Again, consult the schedule for due dates. 


A. Introductory Matters

1. Course, Challenges, Strategy

Preview to Session 1

Worksheet for Session 1

2. Texts, Trajectories, Theme

Preview to Session 2

Worksheet for Session 2

B. The PROPHETIC trajectory

3. Surprise! Joshua Leads the Prophetic Parade

Preview to Session 3

Worksheet for Session 3

4. An Odd Conquest

Preview to Session 4

Worksheet for Session 4

Study guide for exam 1

5. How to be Israel

Preview to Session 5

Tribal allotments map

Memory work: Joshua 1:7-9

Worksheet for Session 5

6. Why Judges is so Somber

Preview to Session 6

Worksheet for Session 6

7. A First Stab at Kingship

Preview to Session 7

Worksheet for Session 7

8. Samson and the Miserable End

Preview to Session 8

Worksheet for Session 8

9. Excursus: Ruth as a Curious Apology

Preview to Session 9

Memory work: Ruth 1:16-17

Worksheet for Session 9

10. Samuel: King-Maker and King-Breaker

Preview to Session 10

Worksheet for Session 10

study guide for EXam 2

11. The Rise and Fall of Saul

Preview to Session 11

Worksheet for Session 11

12. The Celebration of David

Preview to Session 12

Worksheet for Session 12

13. David's Tragedies

Preview to Session 13

Worksheet for Session 13

Memory work: Psalm 51:1-4, 10-12

14. Solomon's Fame, Reign and Pain

Preview to Session 14

Worksheet for Session 14

15. A Kingdom Divided

Preview to Session 15

Worksheet for Session 15

16. A Kingdom Confronted

Preview to Session 16

Worksheet for Session 16

Memory work: Lamentations 3:19-33

17. A Kingdom Adrift

Preview to Session 17

Worksheet for Session 17

18. A Kingdom in Crisis

Preview to Session 18

Worksheet for Session 18

19. A Kingdom Destroyed

Preview to Session 19

Worksheet for Session 19

study guide for exam 3

C. The Chronistic interpretation

20. The Chronistic Family

Preview to Session 20

Worksheet for Session 20

21. The Difficult Days of Ezra and Nehemiah

Preview to Session 21

Worksheet for Session 21

22. The Chronicles of Israel and Judah

Preview to Session 22

Worksheet for Session 22

23. Excursus: Judaism in Far-Away Places

Preview to Session 23

Worksheet for Session 23

Memory work: Esther 4:14

D. Conclusion

24. A Story in Need of an Ending 

Preview to Session 24

Study guide for exam 4