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Dr J's Audio-Visual Resources for Classics

Courses Taught

INTELLECTUAL HERITAGE (at Temple University)

Course Info:
Sample Syllabus


Course Themes

Delphi- A Focal Point for IH 51 Texts

Writing Guides:
Writing Guidelines

style guide

Writing Analogies

Subject Study Aids:
Aeschylus' Agamemnon Study Guide

Aeschylus' Libation Bearers Study Guide

Aeschylus' Eumenides Passages

Sophocles' Oedipus and the Sphinx Lecture

Dr. J's Illustrated Pericles' Funeral Oration

Dr. J's Illustrated Pericles and America

Dr. J's Illustrated Pericles and Philadelphia

Dr. J's Illustrated Aeschylus' Oresteia

Dr. J's Curse of the House of Atreus Outline

Dr. J's Background Lecture on Greek Philosophy

Dr. J's Apology Study Questions

Dr. J's Illustrated Plato's Apology

Socrates and the Apology Lecture

Dr. J's Plutarch's Pericles

Judaism Study Guide

Sundiata Study Guide

Epic Qualities of the Sundiata Lecture

Othello Study Guide

Machiavelli Study Guide

Galileo and Humanism Lecture



Courses Proposed
(needs some pruning):

Topics in Classical Culture:
The Legend of the House of Atreus: Greek Tragedy in Greece

Religious Foundations of Greek Culture

The Intersection of Myth and History

The Ancient Greek Cultural Nexus- Art, Archaeology, Literature and Topography

From 1996-2001 I taught in the Intellectual Heritage Program at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This page is part of my teaching materials for Intellectual Heritage 51, a course covering literature and ideas from Sappho through Shakespeare...

TO Dr. Siegel's IH STUDENTS: Here are some notes you may find helpful, especially when it comes to the definition of certain terms. These notes are wholly my summaries of  The Concise Guide to Judaism: History, Practice, Faith, by Rabbi Roy A. Rosenberg. I recommend this text to anyone interested in getting a basic background, but I urge you to consider other texts as well in your quest to learn about Judaism and its sacred history and texts. There is much more to this book, too - so go out and get a copy!

in times before monotheism – each nation had its own god who they believed would lead them into battle, toward success, and bestow with fertility. The Hebrew god revealed himself to them in Egypt and saved them from slavery – put them on the right track toward becoming a great nation.


Hebrew means "migrant" – it appears in Egyptian and Akkadian texts as habiru or apiru
Israel means "he who strives with God" first used to name Jacob.

Moses reveals the true name of God to Israel (all of the following names apply):
Yaweh, "the one who is" or "the sustainer"
Yaweh of hosts (sebaot) or "the sustainer of armies"
Adonai – sacred form of God’s name (I use it here only in the interest of education), "the Lord" composed of the consonants YHWH and the vowels from Adonai – together pronounced "Adonai"
haShem, "the name" is used in informal reference and in place of real name of God
Jehovah – early Christian mistranslation of YHWH, pronounced by Jews as "Adonai"
***note: Our own Rabbi Libowitz notes that this becomes accepted practice only much later - by German scholars in the 19th century!

Details of the Covenant:
the people of Israel will serve only The Lord.
The Lord would lead the people into to resettle land of Canaan, home of their ancestors.
Moses: Israel’s liberator, prophet who introduced them to God, judge and ruler until death at 120.
All people are equal under the Lord – MONARCHY develops only after resettlement of Canaan.
Idea that upon entry into Canaan, The Lord, God of Israel, had come to be identified with El, god of Canaanite religions (Phoenician (Canaanite) myths speak of cult of El).   The Canaanite religion God says must be wiped out refers to worship of Baal, deity that deposed his father El…Argument that circumcision is really a Canaanite ritual that all underwent before they entered Canaan, the Promised Land. Bible tells it differently

Judges: early years in Canaan (not judges, but charismatic leaders) v the Philistines (sea people)

King Saul:
King David: beat the Philistines and conquered Jerusalem
King Solomon: builds Temple in Jerusalem – Levites ("escorts") in charge elsewhere
Solomon’s son – would not retract tax – people revolted: 10 tribes secede
Kingdom of Israel: the other ten tribes
Kingdom of Judah: Judah and Benjamin (including Jerusalem)

721 BC: end of Kingdom of Israel (Assyrian conquest) – become the ten lost tribes of Israel – Judah OK

621 BC: major religious reform in Kingdom of Judah, King Josiah finds sacred text (probably what we call Deuteronomy): new rules: sacrifice only in Temple in Jerusalem. New priestly class called kohen, all previous priests brought to Jerusalem to be in subordinate role (called levi). Even today, a Jew is either a kohen, a levi, or a regular Jew, yisrael ("Israelite").
         Josiah – serious about getting back to basics – The Lord is all!

586 BC: Babylon destroys Jerusalem, Temple, upper class exiled; end to the rule of the Dynasty of David


538 BC: King Cyrus of Persia overthrows Babylonian Empire and allows Jews to return to Jerusalem.

Prophets: allowed Judaism to survive the exile – without these prophetic teachings (from the era of Kings), the Jews would have adopted the religion of the Babylonians and Judaism would have been lost.

Amos – first prophet whose words are preserved in a Biblical Book - in 750 BC he said that Assyria would devastate the land (it did in 721 BC)
Isaiah – also time of kingdom of Judah under Assyrian threat (6e BC)

Jeremiah – time of Babylonian threat - many prophets made a career of telling the king what he wanted to hear (Babylon was a threat – fight or die!) – Jeremiah went against prophets such as these and paid dearly for it – but he was right! He said that Babylon was strong because of God and that Judah should submit – Babylon was a punishment from which the Jews could only get stronger eventually. Jeremiah correctly prophesied the duration of the exile (70 years): "The Lord is alive and well and has not been defeated! He is now more widespread, that’s all."

Ezekiel: during time of Exile: individuals will be judged from now on, not peoples – lays groundwork for later rules concerning people getting what they deserve after death

Second Isaiah: an uncompromising monotheist: Israel is the servant of The Lord, The Lord is the only true God and Israel is witness to his glory and power. Other nations are mistaken. Probably influenced by Zoroastrian religion of the Persians (good and evil, life after death…)

450 BC: first significant group of Jews to resettle Jerusalem – led by Ezra – forbid intermarriage
Ezra: credited with re-establishing the Jews of Jerusalem on a firm foundation as a community and laying the basis for Judaism as a religious faith that has persisted to the present day. He promulgated the Law of Moses (Torah means "teaching"). The Jews become a "people of the Book". The promulgation of the Torah brought with it an end to prophecy, or at least legit ones, because God spoke now through the book, not individuals. In place of prophets popped up interpreters of the Book, scholars and rabbis.


Hebrew Scriptures: three parts
Tanach: all three together (an acronym):


TORAH: "teaching" or "law" or "Five Books of Moses" or "Pentateuch"
canonization of Torah dated to Ezra (450 BC), but traditional Judaism claims it is the revelation of God to Moses, who then brought it to all of Israel. All Israel heard the Ten Commandments from God himself – God dictated the rest to Moses.

Genesis: creation, genealogies of patriarchs before and after Flood, the Flood, journey to Egypt
Exodus: Israel’s enslavement in Egypt, God’s call to Moses, Exodus, 10 Commandments and other civil and criminal laws, apostasy of     Israel with Golden Calf, building of portable sanctuary
Leviticus: laws about sacrifices, diet, purification, sexual contact, atonement, festivals…..
Numbers: tribulations of journey across desert
Deuteronomy: Moses’ review of the law, his farewell and his death

Orthodox Jews: Torah was divinely revealed just as it is
Non-orthodox: documentary hypothesis – The Torah is an amalgamation of four texts:

1. J – from Judah, time of Solomon, God is "The Lord"
2. E – from Kingdom of Israel, God is "Elohim"
3. D – Deuteronomy and other portions of other books
4. P – priestly class, time of Babylonian exile, the biggest piece – others are plugged in
The edited copy is what Ezra provided the people in 450 BC.

PROPHETS: canonized shortly after 450 BC – all texts are deemed to have been written by people endowed with the "spirit of prophecy."

Joshua: conquest of Canaan under leadership of Joshua, successor to Moses
concerning the charismatic warrior figures who led the tribes against their enemies
I and II Samuel:
leadership in face of Philistine threat…Saul as first king, then David’s succession
I and II Kings:
Solomon’s reign, division of kingdom, end of these two kingdoms, kings judged successful if they eliminated worship          to all gods other than the Lord. (popular history)
from 8e BC and Second Isaiah, toward end of Babylonian Exile
in time of destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon
during the time of the Babylonian Exile
The Twelve:
collected works of smaller prophets; the last lived during the resettling of Jerusalem.

WRITINGS: spread out over a long period of time, collected as late as 1e AD. All the Writings are traditionally said to have been written by people endowed with the spirit of prophecy (hence very old), but these works are less sacred than the books included in the Prophets. Prophets wrote under direct inspiration of God (dreams, trance), the books in the Writings are supposed to be the work of prophets writing in a more normal manner:
        Psalms: associated with David; personal prayers and meditations, others from worship at Temple
        Proverbs: ascribed to Solomon – book of aphorisms about every day life and its challenges
        Job: a drama about divine justice
        Song of Songs: erotic poetry (sacred because seen as an allegory of God’s love for Israel)
        Ruth: Moabite woman who embraces God of Israel and becomes an ancestor of David   
        Lamentations: elegies over destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon
        Ecclesiastes: futility of life
        Esther: deliverance of the Jews form Persia
        Daniel: time of persecutions leading up to Maccabean revolt in 168 BC; vision of end of days
        Ezra and Nehemiah: return to from Babylon and reconstruction of Jerusalem 
          I and II Chronicles: genealogies and accounts from Adam end of Exile (priesthood as author) Chronicles are official court records, Kings is popular history.

APOCRYPHA ("hidden away in Greek): books not included in canonization of Torah

Septuagint: first translation of Hebrew Bible, into Greek ("seventy" because it was work of 70 scholars) for the benefit of large Jewish population of Alexandria, who spoke Greek

Septuagint dates before 250 BC…no ANCIENT Jewish manuscripts of it exist – only Christian copies. The Greek version utilized by the Christian Church mixes the books that constitute the Writings in the Hebrew Scriptures with the Apocrypha – books that do not even exist in the Hebrew canon – and inserts them into the books that in the Hebrew version constitute the Prophets. Thus, in the Greek version, some of the prophetic books close the Old Testament, leading the reader into the specifically Christian Scriptures (NT), which in Christian doctrine fulfills the prophecies contained in the OT. Order is thus important.

Translation history: ancient Jewish translations of the Hebrew Scriptures were done in Aramaic, the ordinary language of discourse (a Semitic language akin to Hebrew) in Palestine from 1e BC and in Babylonia for centuries before that. Many are not translations, but paraphrases. Targum: Aramiac version of the Hebrew Bible

THE JEWISH SECTS:much information from the historian Josephus

Saducees: named after Saduk, Solomon’s high priest.
Guardians of that "old-time religion": only the written law of the Torah constituted the revelation of God.
Law to be interpreted literally for the most part
Did NOT believe in resurrection of the dead or survival of the soul.
God doles out rewards and punishments during life and is just.
People make their choices according to their own free will.
Saducees ceased to exist as a sect with the destruction of the Temple (70 AD).
Temple priests and wealthy aristocrats – little influence over general population.

Essenes: also believed in primacy of descendants of Sadok, but rejected the priests themselves as impure. about 4000 Essenes in communities celibate and monastic in organization. adopted the children of others and raised them according to their beliefs. joiners renounced property and chose ascetic lifestyle, farmed and dressed in white Dead Sea Scrolls from Essene community in Qumran Belief that whatever men choose to do, it is the will of God that they do it. immortality of souls (souls in life dragged down by the bonds of flesh – liberated in death) reputation as accurate foretellers of future and masters of the art of healing refused to take oaths – were renowned for their honesty water as means of purification (baptism) they anticipated a great war between "sons of light" and "sons of darkness", followed by a new Temple End of Days would bring The Messiah of Israel from the line of David and the Messiah of Aaron as a priestly ruler.

Christians: followers of Jesus of Nazareth (called Nazarens in Jewish texts) Jesus preached the imminent coming of the Kingdom of God, when the present order of existence would end and a new heaven and a new earth would appear. All wickedness would be destroyed, the dead resurrected for judgement, the righteous living forever in God’s kingdom.Audience: primarily the poor, the disenfranchised – the wealthy would have to give all to the poor to gain entry to the Kingdom of Heaven. Shared much with Essenes: disdain for wealth, prohibition of divorce, prohibition of oaths, disdain for petitional prayer (God doesn’t need to be reminded of details - he wants prayers of general thanksgiving…). Jesus probably regarded himself as – and was looked upon by his followers during his lifetime – as the Prophet of the Kingdom. At his death his followers came to believe that he had fulfilled the destiny of the Messiah of the line of David and styled in "the Christ", the "anointed One" (Greek equivalent of Messiah). Those who believed that he had risen from the dead also expected his return from heaven as the ruler of the new age, the Priestly Messiah of the Essenes. Christianity ceased to be a Jewish sect when the early Church, at the urging of Paul, opened its ranks to non-Jews without requiring them to accept the ritual prescriptions of the Torah (primarily circumcision, observance of the Sabbath, dietary restrictions). The church was then no longer governed by Jewish law, nor did it have a primarily Jewish constituency.

Why Didn’t the Jewish People See Jesus as the Messiah?

Jesus didn’t proclaim himself to be the Messiah. Only after his death (Corinthians 15:3) was he proclaimed to be such, and that he had died in fulfillment of Scripture. Jews of Jesus’ time – for the most part - expected a messianic king who would initiate a mighty Kingdom of Israel to whom Rome and Persia and the other principalities of the day would pay tribute to. They did not expect the coming of a king who would never reign, who would instead be put to death.

Pharisees (possibly "separatists"):
the sect from which all later forms of Judaism developed belief in written Torah as revealed to Moses by God and in oral Torah (interpretations) mostly middle class – value in learning and debating the fine points of law belief that while God controls all things, free will is still granted to humanity resurrection of the dead, reward of everlasting life for the righteous some believed in Messiah – a mighty warrior and a compassionate sage belief that interpretative skills would allow Torah to adopt to new social challenges as they arose (Saducees did not believe in a changing concept of law) so many interpretations – the Oral Torah – proliferated that in 220 AD Rabbi Judah the Nasi ("prince" or "patriarch") introduced the first authoritative summary – the Mishna ("repetition"). Mishna is the source of all subsequent Jewish law to the present day and is the object of study in the academies of all forms of Judaism.

Talmud: The Palestinian or Jerusalem Talmud ("learning") is the further discussions (post 220 AD) on the laws of the Mishna, complete with the Mishna itself.


copyright 2001 Janice Siegel, All Rights Reserved
send comments to: Janice Siegel (jfsiege@ilstu.edu)

date this page was edited last: 10/25/2005
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