Reading Biblical Literature: Genesis to Revelation

Course No. 6650
Professor Craig R. Koester, Ph.D.
Luther Seminary
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Course No. 6650
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What Will You Learn?

  • numbers Gain a fresh perspective on how God creates, destroys, confuses, and renews.
  • numbers See how the events in Exodus have resonated throughout subsequent history.
  • numbers Read between the lines of David's early triumphs, his relationship with God, his infidelity and brutality, and the tragic shattering of relationships within his own family.
  • numbers Learn how these two important biblical heroes respectively illustrate the value of human initiative and the call for resistance against injustice and oppression.
  • numbers Consider some narrative and spiritual challenges faced by the writer of The Acts of the Apostles.

Course Overview

Rightly recognized as one of the world’s most important spiritual texts, the Bible has shaped thousands of years of faith, art, and human history. Yet for all of its importance to believers and non-believers alike, we rarely engage with the Bible as a collection of unique narratives that were only later united into what we now know as the Old and New Testaments. And these different texts—historical narratives, dramatic visions, poems, songs, letters—speak to a broad range of experience, from joy and wonder to tragedy and mystery.

The diversity of material in biblical books like Exodus, Isaiah, Psalms, Mark, and Revelation that has prompted people throughout history (from religious scholars to celebrated artists to everyday worshippers) to ponder and debate the meaning of these classic texts. To truly understand and appreciate the Bible’s many perspectives on faith, war, suffering, love, memory, community, and other enduring themes, it is enlightening to use a literary approach to reading and thinking about these separate books.

  • What do you learn when you consider biblical books with a focus on their settings, narrative structures, characterizations, images, and themes?
  • How do various biblical books offer quite different responses to events and issues, challenging readers to think of them in bold new ways?
  • How does this respectful perspective help us better understand the early history of Judaism and Christianity, as well as the roots of religious belief?

Enjoy an intellectual adventure like no other in Reading Biblical Literature, which offers a comprehensive, book-by-book analysis of the Bible from the fascinating perspective of literature and narrative. Delivered by religion scholar and acclaimed professor, Dr. Craig R. Koester of Luther Seminary, these 36 lectures guide you through ancient stories, empowering you to engage with the books of the Bible as richly meaningful texts. From the stories of figures like Moses and King David to the gospel accounts of Jesus and the formation of the earliest Christian communities, this course offers an unforgettably vivid sense of the Bible as a tale filled with complex characters, dramatic conflicts, universal themes, inspirational wisdom, hidden meanings, revolutionary crises, and powerful life lessons. No wonder it’s considered the greatest story ever told.

Begin “In the Beginning…”

Composed over the span of 10 centuries, the books of the Bible are today divided into those of the Old Testament (known to some as the Jewish Bible) and the New Testament (the cornerstone of the Christian faith). But there’s no need to be overwhelmed by the sheer size of the Bible. Reading Biblical Literature lets you encounter these books in a manner that’s accessible and engaging.

Professor Koester begins these lectures at the only appropriate place: with the creation of the universe as recounted in the book of Genesis. From there, you’ll plunge into Old Testament plotlines dealing with migration and exile, slavery and deliverance, anticipation and disappointment, conflict and reconciliation. It’s the story of the formation of the people of Israel, and along the way you’ll reconsider your ideas about a variety of biblical figures, moments, and ideas ranging from the familiar to the often overlooked.

  • One tower, many stories: At surprising moments in Genesis, God comes to regret ever creating humankind. One instance of this is the famous story of the construction of the tower of Babel. As you’ll investigate, it can be read in different ways: as a sort of folk tale, a critique of ancient society, and a commentary on humanity’s refusal to live within limits. The multiple levels of possible meaning create a more deeply significant story.
  • Abraham’s funny fallibility: One aspect that is often overlooked in reading Abraham’s life story is the inherent humor in it. There are certainly points where Abraham is portrayed as faithful and courageous, but he also appears as someone who can be woefully short-sighted, whose actions create as many problems as they solve. And yet this familiar trait makes the biblical patriarch all the more engaging, and all the more human.
  • King Saul vs. King Macbeth: The rise and fall of Israel’s first king, Saul, is a tale of ambition and arrogance similar to that of the medieval king Macbeth in Shakespeare’s eponymous play. There are machinations and prophecies of doom, political paranoia and the drive for power, and even a witch. Ultimately, in both worlds, people must deal with the consequences of their actions—and the will of God.
  • Words of wisdom: The Old Testament is packed with writings that form the core of the Bible’s wisdom literature, collected in Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job. The first book offers advice on how to lead a prosperous and meaningful life, the second is an unsettling and thought-provoking reflection on the emptiness of success, and the third challenges the idea that life is fair and suffering is meted out by God in proportion to wrongdoing. Each of these books, you’ll learn, is in conversation with one another on many levels.

Explore the “New” World of the New Testament

Whereas the Old Testament focused on Israel’s ancestors, kings, and prophets from the second and first millennia BC, the New Testament takes as its predominant focus the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth—as well as his followers and the dawn of the earliest Christian communities in the first centuries AD.

Reading Biblical Literature takes you deep inside this revolutionary moment in human history as it is recounted in the Bible’s pages. Throughout, Professor Koester focuses on enduring themes of suffering, service, death, hope, and rebirth. How does the narrative of Jesus and his follows expand upon, or respond to, similar themes established in the Old Testament? This key question leads you to revisit (or visit for the first time) iconic moments in the Bible in the company of a master scholar.

  • One life, four gospels: The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are each devoted to recounting the story of Jesus and his relationship to the God of Israel. Yet each book tells the story in a unique way, and the differences offer an intriguing range of perspectives on who Jesus was. From their accounts of Jesus’s teachings to the drama of his crucifixion and resurrection, each gospel follows a distinctive plotline. Through scenes of conflict and redemption, readers are taken more deeply into the question of Jesus’s identity and impact on those who followed him.
  • Apostolic Acts: One book you spend time with in this course is the Acts of the Apostles, which tells the story of the first followers of Jesus and the establishment of the early church. Written by the same person who wrote the gospel of Luke, this book narrates the struggle that early Christians faced as they tried to come to grips with their role in larger Jewish, Greek, and Roman society.
  • Pauline correspondence: Paul is considered to be one of the most controversial figures in the New Testament, if not the entire Bible. Professor Koester devotes several lectures to unpacking his letters to Christians in the ancient world, including 1 and 2 Corinthians. One theme in these letters is that of divine love. If love is shown by giving, writes Paul, then Jesus’s crucifixion shows God performing the utmost act of self-giving.
  • The end of days: Revelation, the last book of the Bible, uses the stirring visions of conflict and hope as a commentary on the nature of good and evil. Here, God is portrayed as a creator and Satan as a destroyer, a contrast that is essential for the writer’s understanding of evil. The writer of Revelation assumes that God created the world to be good. Therefore, evil is an invading cancer that must be defeated in order to bring new life to the world.

Join an Ongoing Spiritual and Literary Conversation

Adept at explaining each book’s meaning and highlighting its literary beauty, Professor Koester transforms the encounter with these ancient texts into a grand learning experience that’s equal parts educational and entertaining. A biblical scholar and noted author, he brings to Reading Biblical Literature the same incisive insights he’s brought to his academic work, including commentaries on the books of Hebrews and Revelation, as well as major studies of John’s gospel.

While his goal is to uncover and examine the Bible’s multiple perspectives, and to present the books of the Old and New Testament as narratives that can be studied the same way one would study any great work of literature, Professor Koester always highlights the spiritual importance these stories have had for people and communities throughout the world. Engaging in a dialogue with these multiple readings and voices brings a greater appreciation of just how intricate, vibrant, and abidingly meaningful the Bible is.

“My hope with this course is that, by tending to the different viewpoints within the Bible, readers of all sorts might find promising avenues to explore,” he says. “As we share our perspectives with those of others, we join a conversation that’s ongoing. It’s one that I find both challenging and enlivening. May that be true for you as well.”

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36 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    The Bible as Dialogue
    Start your immersive journey into the books of the Old and New Testaments with this illuminating introductory lecture. By breaking down the Bible into its different books and narrative styles, you'll start to think of it not as a single book-but rather as a fascinating dialogue spanning centuries. x
  • 2
    Creation and Chaos in Genesis
    [Genesis 1-11] Travel back to biblical accounts of the dawn of time in Genesis and start to think critically about how its stories work as a narrative. By unpacking familiar tales from the book's first 11 chapters, you'll gain a fresh perspective on how God creates, destroys, confuses, and renews. x
  • 3
    Abraham, Sarah, and the Promise
    [Genesis 12-25] Abraham's spiritual legacy is nothing short of profound-yet his story also includes some little-appreciated humor. Delve into the biblical text and consider how Israel's patriarch is portrayed in Genesis 12-25. How is the overarching theme of promises reflected in his relationships with Sarah, Isaac, and God? Get to know Abraham as both exemplary and short-sighted-a much more relatable and well-rounded figure. x
  • 4
    Jacob, Joseph, and Reconciliation
    [Genesis 25-50] According to Professor Koester, the biblical stories of Jacob and Joseph are rooted in perennial themes of familial conflict and reconciliation. In this lecture, ponder the significance of disguises and dreams: how they propel the narrative forward and how they reflect the underlying mystery of God's will. x
  • 5
    Moses and the Drama of the Exodus
    [Exodus 1-15] Both encouraging and threatening, Exodus 1 15 is one of the Bible's most thrilling stories. First, consider the story's literary setting (and its surprising humor). Then, discover its focus on two different forms of power: God's and pharaoh's. Finally, see how the events in Exodus have resonated throughout subsequent history. x
  • 6
    Freedom and Law at Mount Sinai
    [Exodus 16-40] What happens after an enslaved people are set free? How is freedom lived out? Continue exploring Exodus with chapters 16 40, in which ancient laws and ideas of freedom begin to take root. Along the way, you'll study different interpretations of manna" and break down the different groupings of the Ten Commandments." x
  • 7
    Israel's Wandering in the Wilderness
    [Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy] Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy-three biblical books everyday readers find challenging to read and relate to their own lives. But with Professor Koester's insights, you'll come to see these books (with all their strange ancient rituals) as vital to a complete understanding of the Bible's narrative movement from Mount Sinai to the edge of the Promised Land. x
  • 8
    Violence and Kindness in the Promised Land
    [Joshua, Judges, Ruth] Turn now to Joshua, Judges, and Ruth, which challenge the idea of the Promised Land as a place of simple peace and prosperity. In comparing these three books, you'll witness disturbing accounts of violent conquest and explore the tragic consequences of that violence, and yet you'll also encounter remarkable instances of acceptance and welcome of foreigners. x
  • 9
    Saul, the Tragic King
    [1 Samuel] Why is the story of King Saul, who united Israel's twelve tribes, one of the world's great tragedies? Find out in this lecture, which approaches 1 Samuel as a three-act drama recounting Saul's rise to power as Israel's first king-and the path of his tragic, Shakespearean downfall. x
  • 10
    David and Nation Building
    [2 Samuel] Go beyond the heroic portrayals of David in Western art to reveal the vibrant heart of the fascinating figure described in 2 Samuel. You'll read between the lines of David's early triumphs, his relationship with God, his infidelity and brutality, and the tragic shattering of relationships within his own family. x
  • 11
    Solomon, a Study in Contradictions
    [1 Kings 1-11] Throughout the story of Solomon in 1 Kings, splendor and oppression go hand in hand. Were all the impressive results of Solomon's monarchy (including his iconic temple) worth the human suffering? Consider this perplexing question as you encounter a king who was both ruthless and wise. x
  • 12
    Psalms: The Bible's Songbook
    [Psalms] Packed with poems, prayers, and song lyrics, the Bible's 150 psalms are an evocative blend of hope, despair, anger, and contemplation. Here, consider the four different types found in the book of Psalms: songs of praise, prayers for help, psalms of gratitude, and psalms expressing trust. x
  • 13
    Biblical Wisdom Literature
    [Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Job] Questions about the meaning of life abound in the Bible's books of wisdom literature: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job. Join Professor Koester as he unpacks each book's distinctive character and outlook, the answers it offers to life's questions (sometimes straightforward, sometimes nebulous), and its contribution to a fascinating dialogue on how to live. x
  • 14
    Elijah, the Troubler of Israel
    [1 and 2 Kings] Continue on to 1 and 2 Kings and follow the story of the prophet Elijah. You'll examine his challenges to the god Baal, his flair for street theater, his tendency toward self-absorption, his earthly departure in a whirlwind, and, most important, his story's promise of a new beginning. x
  • 15
    Justice and Love in Amos and Hosea
    [Amos, Hosea] Discover how the prophets Amos and Hosea shattered the idea of spiritual indifference. First, learn how Amos portrayed a God committed to social justice and a society where people were treated decently. Then, learn Hosea's views on a rejected, angry God who wants to be reconciled with the people he loves. x
  • 16
    Isaiah on Defiant Hope
    [Isaiah] Go beyond the book of Isaiah's prophetic imagery to focus on the narrative's powerful, lasting visions of hope-and some of its disturbing passages on warfare and injustice. As you'll discover, these contradictions offer numerous challenges and rewards for the attentive reader who refuses to give in to despair. x
  • 17
    Jeremiah on Anguish and Compassion
    [Jeremiah] The book of Jeremiah takes as its goal the reconciliation between God and Israel. How does the prophet hope to achieve this? Find out by studying Jeremiah's vision of national transformation in the context of the larger geopolitics of ancient Israel-and the collision point of love, anger, grief, and longing. x
  • 18
    Babylonian Conquest and Exile
    [2 Kings, Lamentations, Habakkuk] In 587 BC, the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem. Explore the trauma of this cataclysmic moment through three biblical books: 2 Kings, which tries to explain the events of the loss of Jerusalem; Lamentations, which gives voice to the anger and grief of exile; and Habakkuk, which helps us come to terms with life's unanswered questions. x
  • 19
    Ezekiel on Abandonment and Homecoming
    [Ezekiel] Experience the dislocation of the Babylonian Exile with a close reading of the book of Ezekiel's perspectives on abandonment and homecoming. You'll trace this movement from Chapters 1-32 (which castigate the people for abandoning God to idolatry) to Chapters 33-48 (which include stirring visions of renewal). x
  • 20
    Jewish Identity and Rebuilding after Exile
    [Ezra, Nehemiah, Jonah] What did it mean to be Jewish after the Babylonian Exile? Professor Koester examines biblical books that offer differing perspectives. On one end: Ezra and Nehemiah, which define Israel by the temple, Jewish law, and Jerusalem. On the other: Jonah, where Israel's identity is defined by the way it relates to the other peoples around it. x
  • 21
    Esther, Daniel, and Life under Empire
    [Esther, Daniel] Delightful and playful, the books of Esther and Daniel tell stories of life under the Babylonian, Median, Persian, and Greek empires. Here, you'll learn how these two important biblical heroes respectively illustrate the value of human initiative and the call for resistance against injustice and oppression. x
  • 22
    Resistance, Adaptation, and the Maccabees
    [1 Maccabees] Dive into Jewish life under Greek rule in the 2nd century BC in 1 Maccabees. View the struggle for Jewish independence as a dramatic story marked by the tension between resistance and adaptation. Also, consider the debate over whether or not this book truly belongs in the Bible. x
  • 23
    Jesus as Messiah in Mark
    [Mark 1-10] Begin your look the New Testament with the first of several lectures on the four gospels-the narratives of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. In Mark (which was likely the first to be written), you'll be reintroduced to the powerful story that continues to captivate people around the world. x
  • 24
    Mark on the Crucifixion and Resurrection
    [Mark 11-16] Continue examining the gospel of Mark, this time focusing on the infamous trial and crucifixion of the Son of God. Also, consider why this gospel ends so abruptly and how it suggests to readers the mystery of God's kingdom-and the role of suffering and sacrifice within it. x
  • 25
    The Dynamics of Forgiveness in Matthew
    [Matthew] Learn how Matthew reshaped the story of Jesus in startling new ways, specifically with its ideas on forgiveness. Start by confronting Jesus's relationship to Israel's heritage. Then, read between the lines of the iconic Sermon on the Mount. Finally, examine the coexistence of faith and doubt during Jesus's resurrection. x
  • 26
    Luke on a World Upside Down
    [Luke] The gospel of Luke is home to some of the New Testament's best-loved passages. Here, Professor Koester asks you to consider the more subversive dimensions of Luke's narrative. How do the inaugural sermon at Nazareth and the parables of the good Samaritan and the prodigal son challenge established patterns? How do they demonstrate the values espoused by Jesus? x
  • 27
    John on the Word Made Flesh
    [John 1-12] In the first of two lectures on the gospel of John, probe the first 12 chapters of this book's poetic prose, which takes readers back to the dawn of time. What does it mean for Jesus to embody the word of God in the flesh? Consider possible answers in this most distinctive account of Jesus's life. x
  • 28
    Self-Giving Love According to John
    [John 13-21] If Jesus is the giver of life, how does his crucifixion fit into the New Testament's larger spiritual narrative? To consider this question, you'll have to find new ways to think about events like the Last Supper, the Farewell Discourses, the crucifixion itself, and the story of doubting Thomas. x
  • 29
    The Early Church in Acts
    [Acts 1-10] Turn to subsequent texts of the New Testament, which take up the struggle to understand Jesus and what it means to live by his message. The Acts of the Apostles, you'll find, is a fascinating narrative that shows the Christian community being transformed as it welcomed Jews, Greeks, and Romans. x
  • 30
    Paul's Calling
    [Acts 9-17] One of early Christianity's most controversial figures is Paul. In this look at the apostle's life and mission, you'll learn how to see his preaching as an extension of older biblical texts and an attempt to connect the new Christian faith to other belief systems and patterns of life. x
  • 31
    Paul and the Roman Empire
    [Acts 17-28, 1 Thessalonians] Paul's travels to cities like Corinth and Philippi, and his letters to the Christian communities there, offer a lens into the relationship between early Christianity and the Roman Empire. From conflicts between Jesus's kingship and Roman imperial rule to the events of Paul's imprisonment, consider some narrative and spiritual challenges faced by the writer of Acts. x
  • 32
    Paul's Letters to a Community in Conflict
    [1 and 2 Corinthians] While in Ephesus, Paul wrote letters now known as 1 and 2 Corinthians to the Christian community of Corinth. Here, unpack the four major sections of these two iconic letters to a conflicted community, which offer insights into Paul's views on the cross, the Holy Spirit, the resurrection, and reconciliation. x
  • 33
    Freedom and the Law in Paul's Letters
    [Galatians, Romans] Continue your exploration of Paul's letters, this time by studying the correspondence he wrote to the Galatians and the Romans. In these letters, you'll find some of Paul's most provocative ideas about freedom and law-ideas that would play a profound role in shaping subsequent Christian communities. x
  • 34
    Paul on Gender Roles and Slavery
    [Philippians, Philemon, Ephesians, 1 Timothy] What did Paul have to say about women and about slaves? We find different viewpoints in the letters known as Philippians, Philemon, Ephesians, and 1 Timothy. How do these texts relate social roles to Christian love? How might they reflect patterns of community life that were changing over time? x
  • 35
    Letters for Sojourners
    [Hebrews, James, 1 Peter] Paul wasn't the only letter writer in the New Testament. Join Professor Koester for a discussion of the books of Hebrews, James, and 1 Peter, which sought to comfort and inspire early Christian outsiders through keeping the faith, focusing on integrity, and questioning what it means to belong."" x
  • 36
    Revelation's Vision of New Creation
    [Revelation] Conclude the course with a lecture on perhaps the most evocative, unsettling, and yet hopeful book in the Bible: Revelation. After considering the narrative's vivid word pictures, dramatic plot, and unforgettable characters, you'll see how Revelation fits into a comprehensive, informed reading of the entire Bible. x

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Your professor

Craig R. Koester

About Your Professor

Craig R. Koester, Ph.D.
Luther Seminary
Dr. Craig R. Koester is the Asher O. and Carrie Nasby Professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary. He attended St. Olaf College and Luther Seminary, then earned his Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary in New York before returning to Luther Seminary to teach. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, a scholar-in-residence at the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, New Jersey,...
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Reading Biblical Literature: Genesis to Revelation is rated 4.3 out of 5 by 76.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Reading Biblical Literature I bought this for my husband who did not grow up with a Christian background and struggles with understanding the Bible when he attends a Christian church with me. He appreciates the simplicity without it sounding as if it was a story written for a child. Thank you for introducing my husband to the Bible in a way that is encouraging.
Date published: 2020-04-22
Rated 1 out of 5 by from For novices... This course offers little more than precis of the books of the bible. There is almost no exegesis and at times the pedestrian manner of Professor Koester, labouring the simplest of points, became intolerable. Considering these courses are pitched as being 'university level' I was disappointed. That said, the course may be of value for those who have no or only small knowledge of the bible and don't want to engage with the text itself. I have Koester's course on Revelation and found it a much more stimulating experience. I managed to return the audiobook and had a refund.
Date published: 2020-04-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good summary of the books of the bible Overall excellent. One deficiency that I have observed. Bible books 3-5 contain many Jewish social “laws”, such as dietary restrictions. The presenter does not discuss these items.
Date published: 2020-03-18
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Simple discussion If you were never exposed to the bible this might be a helpful course otherwise it is a basic elementary Sunday School class. This is the only course I've purchased that I found below expectations. The description implies something more in depth.
Date published: 2020-03-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Comprehensive title This is the best "bible study" I have ever participated in. The lecturer is amazingly knowledgeable, gifted speaker, able to teach complex concepts simply and always interesting. Never dull!
Date published: 2020-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from New perspectives My father always says that a good education teaches various ways of thinking. Obviously, when covering the entire Bible in only a few short hours, you are not going to be able to go really in-depth or spend a lot of time in any one area. This course is an overview. I am very familiar with the contents of the Bible and have done some very in-depth studies - I'm currently delving very deep into the book of Micah. I honestly want sure what to expect with this course. I enjoyed the course overall but greatly appreciated all of the new perspectives I gained from it. I often found myself thinking, "I never thought of it that way before." This new perspective acted as a springboard into my own personal in-depth studies. So, according to my father's standard, this Great Course is a great course.
Date published: 2019-11-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from meh! simple narrative retelling of Bible stories This course covered the entire Christian Bible - Old and New testaments. The Old testament stories are simply told - similar to what a parent would tell their children. That's it. It gets a little better with the New Testament. Here, the speaker gives a LITTLE (and just a little) additional background on the material. I was expecting a more academic approach. Overall, it is a good summary of the Bible and if that is all you are looking for, then this will suit you fine. If you are looking for something more, then I would suggest looking elsewhere.
Date published: 2019-08-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very interesting course. I bought this course because I had previously been impressed with Dr, Koester's course on Apocalypse. Although I haven't finished this one, I do appreciate its value. A person familliar with Bible literature may suspect that he or she might find it trivial. However I have found Dr Koester to offer a lot of new interesting insite, epressing various views without arguing the supperioity of any. I brlieve anyone would find this course interesting and informative.
Date published: 2019-07-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent overview I just received this DVD. I've watched the first 6 presentations and am very impressed with the presenter's information and style. It's enjoyable and presents interesting perspectives.
Date published: 2019-07-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from But is it Literature? Can theological treatises be thought of and read as literature?Yes, it can, and moreover, it can be read and understood without making any judgements about the validity of the theology. This course provided me with an introduction to New Testament books about which I knew very little and gave me a new and different perspective on volumes of the Hebrew bible that I had not read in years.
Date published: 2019-06-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Reading Biblical Literature This is a great product. The professor speaks well and clearly. He makes his points easy to understand while dealing with some difficult issues. He keeps the listener involved with his observations and questions. It's a pleasure to listen to his lectures. They are not boring. They encourage the student to pursue question of his/her own. It is well worth the price.
Date published: 2019-06-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from human values 4000 years ago are the same as now Compares plot, characters, life lessons, themes, and the history in which it occurred to modern literature. We find that we can relate to the people of 4000 years ago. The human spirit that is within us is unchanged.
Date published: 2019-01-25
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Too Narrative I enjoy analysis more than narration. These stories feel more like a retelling than an analysis: looking into a text, parsing out words and phrases, and being brought to insights I might not have found on my own. I'm early into the series, but there is not much to keep me going at this point.
Date published: 2018-12-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thought Provoking ! Great Course, the thorough instructor was great!!
Date published: 2018-12-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course! Comprehensive and well-presented by the lecturer. Great re-introduction to the Bible that focuses on the narrative qualities of biblical stories.
Date published: 2018-12-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Coverage of the Bible. I learned a lot, and am discovering why people disagree about what the Bible says.
Date published: 2018-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent! I have heard Bible stories all my life, but never in the depth presented here. The lectures challenged me. I feel like I have a more "adult" appreciation of the familiar childhood stories. Excellent job by the professor.
Date published: 2018-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very informative...... I bought this to get a better understand of the Bible. The instructor is well versed, making it much easier to understand and relate. I would highly recommend this.
Date published: 2018-10-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoying the commentary. This is a good balanced review of the high points of the Old Testament. (haven't gotten to the New, yet).
Date published: 2018-10-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Suitable for Sunday School The title "Reading Biblical Literature" is a little misleading. A better title might be "Themes in the Bible: An Introduction to the Bible Genesis to Revelation". I am viewing Professor Koester's lectures starting with the New Testament immediately after viewing Professor Bart Ehrman's lecture series on the same subject. Professor Koester's material seems to be pitched at an introductory college (or high school) level, Professor Ehrman's at an intermediate college level. I keep getting the feeling Koester is delivering his lectures from the pulpit on Sunday morning (after the Protestant tradition), while Ehrman is firmly in the classroom in a university setting. I find both professor's presentation style (voice, mannerisms, organization, pace) engaging, but maybe Koester is a bit too polished. I would recommend Koester's lectures for viewing in a church setting for adults; the lectures are easily view-able in isolation and Koester's approach seems conducive to faith formation. Most of Ehrman's lectures need to be viewed in sequence as he carefully builds a foundation and framework for his main points later on. Ehrman raises issues that I've never heard in church before.
Date published: 2018-03-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Expected More Insight Professor Koester was an excellent speaker who obviously knows his stuff. However, as a professor at a Lutheran seminary, I expected a bit more insight into the books of the Bible he critiqued. Perhaps this an unfair comment inasmuch as the course did focus on the literature aspect. However, having said that, there appeared to be little insight into what types of classical literature were exhibited or how they compared or contrasted with other forms of contemporary literature existing at the time. The professor did an excellent job summarizing the books he discussed although he seemed to close on most Old testament books with, "and that was the tension/question we are left to think about". It would have been interesting to put a bit more stress on our Jewish brothers' and sisters' view of those same books.
Date published: 2018-02-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Is the Bible Literal? Yes, I do read the Bible literally. That means I read it as a work of literature. This course does a thorough job of explaining the different literary genes in the Bible.
Date published: 2018-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Site My husband LOVES getting these CD’s for his commute. The company has been very dependable and I haven’t had any problems until recently. They sent a CD I didn’t order and missed one I did order. When I called about this they were very apologetic and sent me the right CD and said to keep the other one rather than me having to go through the trouble of mailing it back. That’s GOOD customer service! I will definitely order from them again.
Date published: 2017-12-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from any course on painting and art my dvds were lost in our flood of August 14, 2016. Most importantly, I found watching an instructor talk is not rewarding in an art video. Most art should have been displayed, longer viewing times.
Date published: 2017-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting survey! Both my husband and I are enjoying this course. Dr. Koester has a refreshing and interesting approach to reading the Bible from a literary aspect. Most of my life has been spent studying it from the religious aspect, which is fascinating enough on its own, but this course presents a wider view. His presentation is enjoyable as well as informative and entertaining.
Date published: 2017-10-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course! I thoroughly enjoyed this course. Well done, Professor, Koester!
Date published: 2017-09-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from In-depth and comprehensive This review has given me a framework on how to read the bible with a deeper understanding of the context and purpose behind these stories,
Date published: 2017-07-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just starting to watch I have just watched the first lecture which is very promising and easy to follow. I ordered an historical atlas so I could follow the geography of the ancient world. This will be a good venue for me and I prefer DVDs to CDs because it helps me focus. I look forward to getting the overview of the Bible before I start more in depth study.
Date published: 2017-07-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Key word here: literature. Professor Koester is a recognized scholar of the Biblical anthology, but his consistent perspective is that of the reader of literature: enticing to believer and to skeptic.
Date published: 2017-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great series This is a really fine course. The professor is excellent. The material is appropriate. The visuals are terrific. I do like ... in fact I love ... having the sub titles for the lectures, but these need some editing.
Date published: 2017-06-06
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