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Blog

1 Semester Down, Many More to Go

Thomas Whitley

Things have been quiet here for a few weeks with the holidays, my wife moving to join me in Florida and a lot of travelling, packing, unpacking, and preparing for the semester which started today. This is my second semester as a PhD student and things really are going great. Because I know some of you are interested in these types of things, I thought I'd give a quick rundown of my classes this semester.

Aramaic This promises to be a great language class as I learn Aramaic (in just one semester). Aramaic's many similarities to Hebrew make learning it significantly easier than just any other language. By the end of the semester I should have translated all of the Aramaic portions of Daniel (roughly half the book) as well as at least some of the Genesis Apocryphon, an Aramaic text found in Cave 1 of Qumran.

Rabbinic Judaism This course serves as an introduction to the rabbinic literature of late antiquity. Most of our reading will be from the Babylonian Talmud and Genesis Rabbah. The readings will all be in English, but knowing Dr. Levenson we will spend plenty of time focusing on the Hebrew and Aramaic versions, at least as reference resources. I'm extremely excited about this class and the potential to how it allows for a better and more thorough understanding of the 1st century world.

Hebrew Bible Proseminar This is a seminar on the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) which will focus on the history of scholarship surrounding the HB and various critical approaches to the text. I'm particularly interested in the section on scribal culture as it relates to the HB.

Christianity in Antiquity This is the followup class to last semester's Christianity After the New Testament. Mostly we'll be dealing with 4th and 5th century Christianity with the majority of our time spent with primary texts, though we will also be spending a healthy amount of time studying the rise of saints and monks during these years. This is much more my area (early Christianity) so I am naturally looking forward to this course.

I am also TAing an Intro to the New Testament course for Dr. Levenson. And when you add on a likely weekly Josephus Greek reading group my semester will be quite busy. I wouldn't have it any other way.