In the Fall I will be teaching at Sioux Falls Seminary in Sioux Falls, SD. I am beyond excited for this opportunity to do something I am passionate about: communicate the beauty, complexity, and importance of the Old Testament for the life of faith. This is doubly important to me because my task will be equipping current/future pastors with this knowledge, in the hope that they too will communicate it to their communities of faith. So much of what I strive to do centers on this point: that the Old Testament matters.
I will be teaching three master’s level courses. There is a (perhaps not so) odd fascination I have with what books folk use for their classes, and so I’ve listed the books below that I plan to use for the respective classes. Still working through course requirements, paper and sermon specs, and whether I’ll even do tests or not. Really trying to think of creative activities to bring the materials from the respective courses into the church or the various students’ ministries, while still being something I can evaluate. Feel free to drop suggestions in the comments if you have them.
INTRO TO THE OLD TESTAMENT
*Birch, et. al., A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament
*Sharp, Wrestling the Word: The Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Believer
*Seibert, Disturbing Divine Behavior: Troubling Old Testament Images of God
TIOT will be the main text; I’m planning to have the students read Sharp in its entirety for the first week of class to set the tone and provide some fodder for discussion. And with Seibert, having them read, slowly, over the course of the entire semester, culminating with a critical book review of the book.
BIBLICAL HEBREW EXEGESIS
*Scott, A Simplified Guide to BHS
*Wegner, Using Old Testament Hebrew in Preaching
*Brotzman, Old Testament Textual Criticism: A Practical Introduction
I have yet to select the texts we will be doing, but my goal is that each week we will address and read in the Hebrew a different literary genre: law, narrative, poetry, psalms, wisdom, oracle, etc. to get a sense of the language of each and the how of reading each. Students will (most likely) be asked to write a paper/sermon that uses Hebrew in a worthwhile and critical way, emphasizing something that the Hebrew has helped them see that they wouldn’t/didn’t realize previously.
The Brueggemann book is phenomenal at getting at the theological issues while still pressing readers to think in very different and unconventional ways about very familiar texts. The MacDonald book is hot off the presses at Eerdmans, and so I am delighted to be using it, especially given its focus on the intersection of Genesis and Theology. It isn’t ideal, ultimately, because far too many of the essays focus on creation or some variation thereof, but I think each week we’ll take an essay or two and spend some time on it. I’m also planning to assign brief targeted articles each week (i.e., Fretheim on creation, Trible on Hagar, etc.). If you have suggestions, drop them in the comments.
I’m also planning with the Genesis class to a) have students consult outside of class at least two additional critical commentaries and bring those insights to the larger weekly discussions, and b) choose a single book from a list I provide of more focused studies on Genesis, and then writing a brief critical review of the book and leading the class through that brief time, as a means of broadening our horizons in Genesis. If you have a particular suggestion for a book to go on that list, drop it in the comments; I already have a list of about 10 compiled off the top of my head.
And so that’s what I’ll be doing. Extremely excited, grateful, hopeful, and prayerful!