Assignment 1
Based on Susan Niditch: Ancient Israelite Religion

Submit a 3-4 page analysis of an issue in biblical religion based on Susan Niditch, Ancient Israelite Religion. Due in class September 30.

Your review of Niditch should consist of two parts: first a summary of her breakdown of biblical religion, and then an analysis of a specific biblical story or theme within her categories.

In the first part of your paper, identify the categories that Niditch uses for her analysis. What does she mean by the various terms? Give concrete examples to illustrate both what she means by the terms and how she feels biblical religious categories differ from those of other religious cultures. (Hint: Try to explain why she gave the book the title it has, and why she broke it up into these particular chapters.)

As a guide to provocative biblical passages for the second part of your paper, you may refer to the questions at the back of Niditch’s text. Most useful are the questions for chapter 2, chapter 4 (#1), chapter 5 (#6, 7). Another possibility is to take one of the shorter books of the bible (e.g., Job, Jonah, Esther) and try to analyze the religious concepts which they express. Feel free to choose some other passage or theme that has caught your attention. Whatever story you pick, try to describe both how Niditch understands the story and how you see it. Feel free to agree and/or disagree with her.