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Publisher's Summary

The Old Testament is one of the foundational texts of Western civilization, and is among the most impactful and widely read books in world history. In 24 enthralling lectures, Professor Miller guides you through a core selection of the major books of the Old Testament, inviting you to probe their meaning and relevance in incisive and thought-provoking commentary. Among the books of the Old Testament, you’ll explore:

  • Genesis: Uncover fascinating features of the Old Testament’s opening, such as how the events of the first week of creation form an elaborate pattern, expressing the complex order of the universe; and how the text does not lay primary blame for “the fall” on the woman, Eve;   
  • Deuteronomistic History: Study the epic history of the people of Israel in the Promised Land; follow the story of the Israelites’ disobedience to God, and its tragic consequences;  
  • The Prophets: Through the dramatic stories of the prophets, take account of the challenges faced by those who sought to actualize God’s plan for humanity;  
  • The Books of Ruth and Esther: Among notable women in the Old Testament, explore two stories of women who are doubly at risk, and who prevail through loyalty, resourcefulness, and integrity; and
  • Daniel and the Apocalyptic: In the Book of Daniel, encounter the genre of apocalyptic literature - revelation initiated by God - and contemplate the figure of “the Son of Man,” a promised redeemer.

Throughout the lectures, Professor Miller offers a wealth of perspectives on how to approach the texts. You’ll assess the role of translation in the understanding of the texts, studying the meanings of key Hebrew words; you’ll also look in depth at the history, dating, and writing of the texts, and you’ll study their literary and linguistic features, noting how they achieve their impact on the reader.

In Understanding the Old Testament, you’ll take a revelatory look at this epically impactful document, finding its deeper historical and religious meanings, as well as its sublime literary treasures.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2019 The Great Courses

What listeners say about Understanding the Old Testament

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revolutionary

great lectures, love the companion text pdf, a great way to respark your investigation of faith.

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  • A person healing
  • 2020-05-09

This is not what I was hoping for...

Based on reviews, I expected a scholarly discourse on the texts that were compiled to form the Old Testament. No doubt Robert Miller is a scholar, but he is also clearly an apologist, promoting only scholarship that justifies modern Catholic doctrine. I heard enough of that as a kid. A scholarly discourse of texts this ancient should leave lots of room for uncertainty, and a discussion of different interpretations (without always the need to select the one most convenient for Catholic dogma) would really have been interesting.

54 people found this helpful

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  • Mark
  • 2019-12-07

Radical (in a good way)

This is an excellent course. Professor Miller strips away centuries of tradition and offers what to my ears is a fresh and persuasive interpretation of the Old Testament. His approach to the text is interdisciplinary, combining history, anthropology, structural analysis, literary criticism and linguistics. His conclusions are often surprising but are always well-supported with evidence. In Lecture 4, for example, his novel reading of Genesis 3 (The snake isn’t a snake! Eve’s not to blame! There’s dark humour and puns! How angry was God?) is presented so forcefully that even if you don’t accept it, you’ll still be impressed by the scholarship. Highly recommended.

33 people found this helpful

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  • L
  • 2020-01-17

Great recap for an agnostic

This course is full of fascinating little linguistic tidbits lost in translation of the Bible (e.g. who came up with the name Jehovah? Was the snake in Genesis really a dragon? Satan just means “the accuser”?!) I never felt that the lecturer was preaching, which was great. I would have liked a bit more context on how the Old Testament is interpreted by religions today, but with 12 hours of audio I really couldn’t ask for more with one credit.

23 people found this helpful

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  • BMay
  • 2019-12-29

Literary Look

Looking at the Old Testament as a literary aspect was not only intriguing, but exciting at times. You can hear the passion in the professor's voice during the lecture. The professor has great insight into the time of writing, characters in history, and religions of the day. The Bible we have today may have literary errors, but in context is infallible, which is evident to one who has studied the Old Testament for themselves and then heard the lectures.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Joseph Officer
  • 2020-08-08

dissapointed

ok I did not listen to it all but I wanted a book to learn about the Bible more. after the narrator said BCE I stopped. if you can't use BC and AD in a Bible study something is wrong.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Cliente de Kindle
  • 2020-05-04

Too much shouting

It sounds like the professor is talking in a hall to a big audience without a microphone, therefore he is like shouting. With time it becomes annoying. Furthermore the speech is quite monotonous in comparison to other Great Courses, so sometimes it's hard to get involved in it. Also these lectures are quite difficult and the listening isn't easy. However, it is still a great way to learn more about Old Testament

7 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2021-01-09

Not an Overview, Too Literary

I got this after listening to some new testament great courses as I wanted to learn more about the old testament as well. However, this was very specific to certain books of the old testament and very focused on the literary context. I was hoping for more understanding of the history and the old testament in that context.

The professor sounded extremely knowledgeable and informed. I did hear some interesting things, but overall, it was a disappointment.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Spacey8Crys
  • 2020-07-16

The More You Know!

There is a lot that I don't understand from the old testament and these lectures helped me answer a lot of questions.

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  • Ashley
  • 2020-08-10

very insightful!

scholarly and religiously insightful. I listened at 2.15X speed and I devoured this over a few days! will re-isten.

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  • jk pendleton
  • 2020-11-20

outstanding review of the old testament

i am a believer. i have no idea if the author is. that is because he gave a great even handed review of the old testament. i grew in my knowledge and understanding of the old testament. i will listen to this again.

3 people found this helpful