Spring 2013

Personal Religion in the Bible

Listed in: Religion, as RELI-365

Formerly listed as: RELI-36


Susan Niditch (Section 01)


In contemporary discussions about the role of religion in the lives of individuals we often hear questions such as the following: Does God hear me when I call out in trouble? Why do bad things happen to good people? How do I define myself as a believer? What is the role of prayer? Do I have a personal relationship with a divine being, apart from the institutional religion?  What roles do material objects, personal images, and private practices play within my religious life?  This course will suggest that questions such as these are entirely relevant to the study of early Judaism in the late biblical period, a time when the preserved literature and the evidence of material culture place great emphasis on the individual’s spiritual journey.  This course introduces students to ways of thinking about personal religion and applies that theoretical framework to the study of a variety of sources in the Bible and beyond.  Topics include the Book of Job, the confessional literature of the prophets, psalms of personal lament, visionary experiences, vow-making, incantations, ancient graffiti, and memoirs written in the first person. This course has no prerequisites and provides students with the methodological and historical background to appreciate this interesting corpus, its social context, and its composers.

Spring semester.  Professor Niditch.

RELI 365 - L/D

Section 01
Tu 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM CHAP 210
Th 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM CHAP 210

This is preliminary information about books for this course. Please contact your instructor or the Academic Coordinator for the department, before attempting to purchase these books.

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
Ancient Israelite Religion Amherst Books TBD
Biblical Prose Prayer Amherst Books TBD
Life in Biblical Israel Amherst Books TBD
Lived Religion Amherst Books TBD
Oxford History of the Biblical World Amherst Books TBD
Religion and the Self Amherst Books TBD
Religious Diversity Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2010, Spring 2013