Old Testament


Paradise 1445 Giovanni di Paolo (Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia) Italian 2

The well-known and beloved poetry of the Hebrew Bible is discussed in this eight-session study. You will learn that this scripture clearly expresses the widest range of human emotions: from anguish to joy. There is truly a psalm for every “occasion”: from hymns to prayers to songs to celebrations to laments. An important writing which makes no claim to divine revelation, that is, it is clearly man’s attempt to communicate with God, not God’s direction to man.

Study note: These studies ordinarily have scripture assignments and optional extra reading with each session. The document, “Psalm Classification List,” contains lists of psalms which correspond to the topics discussed in the individual sessions. Those explicitly mentioned in the session or any selection from the lists (including the complete list) may be assigned as preparatory reading. The “General Bibliography” shows more comprehensive reference material which may also be accessed to delve into deeper study. Some sessions also reference other reading specific to the topic covered. Any combination of reading may be assigned by the group facilitator/accessed by the learner.


Dr. John J. Collins

Dr. John J. Collins is the Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation at Yale Divinity School. A native of Ireland, Professor Collins was a professor of Hebrew Bible at the University of Chicago from 1991 until his arrival at YDS in 2000. He previously taught at the University of Notre Dame. He has published widely on the subjects of apocalypticism, wisdom, Hellenistic Judaism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

His books include The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Biography; Early Judaism: A Comprehensive Overview; the commentary on Daniel in the Hermeneia series; The Scepter and the Star: The Messiahs of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Other Ancient Literature; Apocalypticism in the Dead Sea Scrolls; Jewish Wisdom in the Hellenistic Age; The Apocalyptic Imagination; Between Athens and Jerusalem: Jewish Identity in the Hellenistic Diaspora; Introduction to the Hebrew Bible with CD-ROM; Does the Bible Justify Violence?; Jewish Cult and Hellenistic Culture; Encounters with Biblical Theology; The Bible after Babel: Historical Criticism in a Postmodern Age; King and Messiah as Son of God (with Adela Yarbro Collins); and Beyond the Qumran Community: The Sectarian Movement of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

He is coeditor of the three-volume Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism, The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism, and The Oxford Handbook of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and has participated in the editing of the Dead Sea Scrolls. He is general editor of the Yale Anchor Bible series. He has served as editor of the Journal for the Study of Judaism Supplement Series, Dead Sea Discoveries, and Journal of Biblical Literature, and as president of both the Catholic Biblical Association and the Society of Biblical Literature. He holds an honorary D.Litt. from University College Dublin. Professor Collins is a fellow of Trumbull College.

Dr. Joel S. Baden

Prof. Joel Baden, Professor of Hebrew Bible at Yale Divinity School, is a specialist in the Pentateuch, Biblical Hebrew, and disability theory in biblical studies. He is the author of numerous articles, essays, and books on individual pentateuchal texts, critical methodology, and Biblical Hebrew. Future projects include commentaries on Deuteronomy and Exodus. He holds degrees in Judaic Studies (BA, Yale), Semitic Languages (MA, University of Chicago), and Hebrew Bible (PhD, Harvard).