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BIBS413 God, Suffering and Justice (Advanced)

A detailed study of texts from the Hebrew Bible and related literature that wrestles with the problem of how God can be regarded as just in the face of the reality of suffering.

Why do we suffer? Why did ancient Israel and Judah believe that they suffered? This paper focuses on the relationship between divine justice and human suffering in the Hebrew Bible, which we will approach through the careful exegesis of particular texts from 1 and 2 Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Psalms, Job and 4 Ezra. Many of these texts respond theologically to catastrophes in the historical life of ancient Israel, such as the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BCE and 70 CE, but some of them have a more individual focus. We will pay special attention to what is sometimes called the protest tradition. The aim is not to construct a systematic theological account that can explain the problem of suffering, which some would regard as not only an undesirable but a profoundly immoral task. Rather, the aim is to engage with particular biblical and early Jewish texts that deal with issues connected with suffering, evil and the justice of God.

Paper title God, Suffering and Justice (Advanced)
Paper code BIBS413
Subject Biblical Studies
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2017
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,076.55
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,267.52

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Restriction
BIBS 317, BIBX 317, BIBX 413
Limited to
BA(Hons), PGDipArts, PGCertChap, PGDipChap, MChap, BTheol(Hons), PGDipTheol, MTheol, PGDipMin, MMin
Textbooks
Students need to have access to a Bible that contains the apocryphal and deutero-canonical books, including 4 Ezra (part of 2 Esdras). A course book exists for this paper.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Critical thinking.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Contact
james.harding@otago.ac.nz
Teaching staff
Lecturers: Revd Dr James Harding and Revd Dr Don Moffat
Paper Structure
Lectures and videoconferences focus on the exegesis of specific texts that deal with divine justice and human suffering.

Assessment:
  • Assignment One (3,000 words) 35%
  • Assignment Two (4,500 words) 50%
  • Assignment Three (1,500 words) 15%
Teaching Arrangements
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete this paper will have an awareness and understanding of each of the different perspectives on divine justice and human suffering attested in the Hebrew Bible, how they developed in response to specific historical events, and how they interrelate with one another and an ability to analyse critically a range of specific biblical texts, assessed by means of three internal assignments.
Eligibility

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Timetable

Not offered in 2017

Location
Dunedin
Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system
Blackboard

A detailed study of texts from the Hebrew Bible and related literature that wrestles with the problem of how God can be regarded as just in the face of the reality of suffering.

A detailed study of texts biblical and early Jewish texts that wrestle with the problem of reconciling a belief in the justice of God with the reality of human suffering. This paper focuses on the relationship between divine justice and human suffering in the Hebrew Bible, based on the careful study of texts from 1 and 2 Kings, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Psalms, Job and 4 Ezra. Many of these texts respond theologically to catastrophes in the historical life of ancient Israel, such as the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BCE and 70 CE, but some of them have a more individual focus. We will pay special attention to what is sometimes called the protest tradition. The aim is not to explain the problem of suffering, but rather to engage critically and sympathetically with particular biblical and early Jewish texts that deal with suffering, evil, and the justice of God.

Paper title God, Suffering and Justice (Advanced)
Paper code BIBS413
Subject Biblical Studies
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period(s) First Semester, First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,098.05
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,352.87

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Restriction
BIBS 317, BIBX 317, BIBX 413
Limited to
BA(Hons), PGDipArts, PGCertChap, PGDipChap, MChap, BTheol(Hons), PGDipTheol, MTheol, PGDipMin, MMin
Eligibility
All students are welcome to study the Bible regardless of whether they have a particular faith commitment or not. All that is required is an inquiring mind and an interest in acquiring the critical skills common to all subjects in the Humanities.
Contact
james.harding@otago.ac.nz
Teaching staff
Lecturers: Revd Dr James Harding
Paper Structure
Lectures and videoconferences focus on the exegesis of specific texts that deal with divine justice and human suffering.Assessment:-¢ Assignment One (3,000 words) 30%-¢ Assignment Two (3,000 words) 30%-¢ Assignment Three (4,500 words) 40%
Teaching Arrangements
On-campus students: 26 x 1-hour lecturesDistance students: Teaching day and 4 x 2-hour videoconferences
Textbooks
Students need to have access to a Bible that contains the apocryphal and deutero-canonical books, including 4 Ezra (part of 2 Esdras). A course book exists for this paper.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
At the end of this paper, all students will:
  • be able to summarise the major approaches to the problem of suffering in the Hebrew Bible (and related texts)
  • have a solid grasp of the different understandings of divine and social justice in the Hebrew Bible
  • have studied the Deuteronomistic History and the books of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Lamentations, Psalms, Ezra, Daniel, 4 Ezra, 2 Baruch, and Job in connection with divine justice and human suffering
  • understand how modern events, such as the Holocaust, have shaped the way modern Jewish and Christian theologians read the Psalms, Lamentations, and Job

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Timetable

First Semester

Location
Dunedin
Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system
Blackboard

Workshop

Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend
T1 Monday 15:00-20:50 11

First Semester

Location
Dunedin
Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system
Blackboard

Lecture

Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend
A1 Tuesday 13:00-13:50 9, 12-13, 15-22
Thursday 13:00-13:50 9, 12-13, 15-22