Understanding the Old Testament [TTC Video]

Understanding the Old Testament [TTC Video]
Understanding the Old Testament [TTC Video] by Robert D Miller II, PhD
Course No 6013 | MP4, AVC, 960x540 | AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30m | 7.06GB

The 39 books of the Old Testament constitute the Hebrew Bible, comprise nearly three quarters of the Christian Bible, and contain substantial material considered sacred within Islam. As such, the Old Testament is among the most influential and widely read texts in world history.

Even beyond its religious functions, the Old Testament has permeated Western culture since its creation, giving rise to innumerable references to the text and stories within Western literature, historical writing, philosophy, and art. For these reasons and more, the importance of the Old Testament in cultural, religious, and historical terms would be hard to overemphasize.

Now, in 24 dynamic lectures, Understanding the Old Testament takes a new look at this seminal text, filled with fresh perspectives, rich visual aids, and fascinating examination of the text, shedding light on the monumental impact of one of the world’s most beloved books.

Even beyond its religious functions, the Old Testament has permeated Western culture since its creation, giving rise to uncountable references to the text and stories within Western literature, historical writing, philosophy, and art. For these reasons and more, the importance of the Old Testament in cultural, religious, and historical terms would be hard to overemphasize. A grasp of the core writings of the Old Testament offers you valuable insight into subjects such as:

  • The conceptions of divinity and theology at the heart of Judaism and Christianity;
  • The epic story of the ancient Israelites on their journey across the Fertile Crescent;
  • The history of the cultures of the ancient Near East;
  • The richness and diversity of the literature, songs, poetry, and letters embodied within the text;
  • The ways in which the writings have shaped our intellectual and artistic heritage; and
  • The notions of ethics, moral philosophy, and social justice that have guided the unfolding of Western civilization.

A World-Shaping Literature

In 24 engrossing lectures, enriched with vivid color imagery and maps, Professor Miller guides you through many of the major books of the Old Testament, inviting you to probe their meaning and relevance in incisive and thought-provoking commentary. Among the books of the Old Testament that he highlights in detail, you’ll explore:

  • Genesis: Uncover revealing features of the opening text of the Old Testament, such as how the events of the first week of creation form an elaborate pattern, expressing the complex order of the universe; and how the text does not lay primary blame for “the fall” on the woman, Eve;
  • Deuteronomistic History: Across the books of Judges, Samuel, and Kings, study the dramatic history of the people of Israel in the Promised Land, bound to God by a covenant; follow the story of the Israelites’ disobedience to God, and its tragic consequences;
  • The Prophets: Through the dramatic narratives of Elijah, Amos, Jeremiah, and Isaiah, take account of the challenges faced by those who sought to actualize God’s plan for humanity;
  • The Books of Ruth and Esther: Among notable women in the Old Testament, explore two stories of women in the ancient Near East who are doubly at risk, and who prevail through loyalty, resourcefulness, and integrity;
  • Daniel and the Apocalyptic: In the Book of Daniel, encounter the genre of apocalyptic literature—revelation initiated by God—and contemplate the figure of “the Son of Man,” a promised redeemer.

Probe Deeply into the Inner Meanings of the Text

Throughout these extraordinary lectures, Professor Miller offers a wealth of intriguing perspectives on how to approach the text of the Old Testament. In numerous cases, you’ll assess the role of translation in the understanding of the texts, studying the meanings of key Hebrew words and words of ancient languages. You’ll also look in depth at the history, dating, and writing of the texts themselves. In addition, you’ll study the literary and linguistic features of many of the texts, noting how they achieve their impact on the reader.

In Understanding the Old Testament, you’ll take a revelatory look at this epically impactful document, learning to find its deeper historical and religious meanings, as well as to savor its sublime literary treasures.

Understanding the Old Testament [TTC Video]

Understanding the New Testament [TTC Video]

Understanding the New Testament [TTC Video]
Understanding the New Testament [TTC Video] by David Brakke, PhD, MDiv
Course No 6006 | MP4, AVC, 960x540 | AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30m | 7.7GB

The New Testament is a fascinating book—the canonical root of Christian history and theology. Yet the book is also a paradox, because this single “book” is comprised of 27 different books by more than a dozen authors, each of whom has a different perspective and is responding to a different set of historical circumstances. How do you reconcile this diversity of voices into a single, unified belief system? And should you even try?

For historians, the diversity of authors is not a challenge to be reckoned with, but rather an exciting opportunity. In the New Testament, we have 27 primary sources that offer a doorway to the captivating history of the early Christian communities. In these books, you can discover how:

  • Christian practices developed;
  • Conflicts of belief were debated and addressed;
  • The institution of the Church evolved; and
  • A man named Jesus of Nazareth was transformed into the Messiah.

Join Professor David Brakke, an award-winning Professor of History at The Ohio State University, for Understanding the New Testament. In these 24 eye-opening lectures, he takes you behind the scenes to study not only the text of the New Testament, but also the authors and the world in which it was created. You will explore Jewish lives under Roman occupation, reflect on the apocalyptic mood of the first and second centuries A.D., and witness the early Christians’ evangelism beyond the Jewish communities.

Moving through the New Testament chronologically, starting with Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, Professor Brakke identifies the evidence for when each book was written, along with context that helps explain why each was authored. He also points out discrepancies in the narrative and helps identify the “why” behind the differing accounts.

You might think that a rigorous historical analysis would take away the mystery and magic of the New Testament, but as Professor Brakke ably demonstrates, a deep investigation shows just how extraordinary the New Testament really is. You will gain insight into issues that remain vital for Christianity today, from the tension between faith and works for salvation, to Christian relations with the government, to the role of women in the congregation. In Understanding the New Testament, you will witness the birth of a faith that continues to shape our world.

The Epistles of Paul: All about Audience

Beyond Jesus himself, the most important figure in the New Testament is the apostle Paul, who evangelized in the middle of the first century A.D. More than a dozen letters in the New Testament are ascribed to him (though he likely didn’t write all of them himself), and these letters collectively present a survey of early Christian theology, including:

  • The primacy of faith over works for salvation;
  • The relationship between Christianity and governing laws;
  • The nature of imprisonment and slavery; and
  • What it means to be a pastor or teacher.

In addition to presenting the content of Paul’s letters, Professor Brakke gives you the historical context around why they were written, and who they were written for. For example, as an apostle, Paul roamed the region, setting up one congregation after another. His letter to the Galatians serves as a rebuke to one of his congregations after he left. He believed the Galatians had backslid when some new preachers came to town, and he wrote the Galatians to reinforce his key message of faith as the means for salvation.

Throughout your investigation, you’ll also consider questions of authorship. While 13 books in the New Testament are ascribed to Paul, most historians agree several letters—such as 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus—were not written by Paul himself. Why were some of these letters possibly forged? And what does that tell us about the development of Christianity? What does it mean for our understanding of the New Testament?

The Gospel according to Whom?

The gospels are, of course, the heart of the New Testament, telling the story of Jesus of Nazareth, his life, death, and resurrection. As theological documents, they are rich with moral instructions and inspirational stories. As historical documents, they offer a tantalizing window into one of the most exciting periods in human history, in which one poor prophet in a scruffy backwater created a revolution that completely up-ended the old religious order.

By analyzing the four gospels as historical documents, you will run into a number of challenging questions, including:

  • Who wrote the gospels anyway?
  • When and why were they written?
  • Are they accurate accounts of the historical Jesus?
  • How do they tell a similar or, more interestingly, different story?
  • What do historians make of the discrepancies?

To help answer these questions, Professor Brakke offers plentiful explications of the texts. For instance, you will reflect on the story of the feeding of 5,000 as presented in Mark versus Matthew—and the theological agenda motivating each writer. You’ll also survey the grand historical narrative told in Luke and the Book of Acts, and see how the author was consciously creating a story with a point of view on the history.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the “synoptic gospels” and are quite similar. The Gospel of John, however, is an anomaly worth taking a closer look at. As you delve into this spiritual gospel, with its poetry and philosophy, you also must take into account its troubling portrayal of the Jews—and what that might mean for Christian history.

Thorny Issues for a Fledgling Religion

One key message Professor Brakke returns to throughout this course is the New Testament’s diversity—of authorship, of theological intent, and of literary form. Whereas the gospels present an account of Jesus’s life and the epistles offer a theological message, the Book of Revelation offers a prophetic vision of the end of days.

To understand this book—and the entire era of early Christianity—Professor Brakke takes you back to the Old Testament and God’s covenants with Abraham, Moses, and David. According to the scripture, the descendants of Abraham should have inherited freedom in Israel, a condition that was not true at the turn of the common era. The Romans controlled Palestine and many Jews were living in diaspora as a result of the Babylonian Captivity.

Perhaps out of a sense that things were not as they should be, the era was fraught with a mood of “apocalyptic eschatology”—a feeling that the end of days were near and that God would be sending a messiah. Hence, preachers like John the Baptist were promoting salvation through baptism.

As you will see, this sense of imminent doom pervaded the time of the historical Jesus, a time arguably right for a figure like Jesus Christ. In A.D. 70, the Romans destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem, beginning a new religious era for Jews and Christians. This is the historical context during which the New Testament was written and codified, and through the gospels, letters, and revelations, you can see a fledgling church in formation—unified in spite of (or because of) the era’s diversity.

This tension between unity and diversity brings us back to the beginning. How do you build a unified church, with one path to salvation, in a world of different peoples, classes, and perspectives? This paradox continues to make the 27 books of the New Testament endlessly fascinating. Through Professor Brakke’s investigations, Understanding the New Testament will open your eyes to the many complexities of this book—and point the way toward a lifetime of further study.

Understanding the New Testament [TTC Video]