King David is one of the most complex figures to emerge from the Bible—a mighty warrior, famed for his poetry and music, chosen by God to found the Judean dynasty. Yet he commits both adultery and murder, repents, and pays inexorably for his sins. This course explores David as both a historical figure and mythical character.
How does the story of David earn its reputation as one of the great masterpieces of world literature? And how did the highly flawed king at its center become the idealized figure celebrated as the author of the Psalms and the ancestor of the messiah? In seeking answers to these questions, we will address several larger issues:
- The nature of the Bible as a literary work of art
- The shifting political and religious roles of prophet, judge, priest, and king over the Books of Samuel
- The meanings projected onto the Bible by later poets, artists, and novelists.
The Story of King David is a 10-week adult learning class. It meets Mondays, 7-9:30 p.m., Feb. 5 through May 7, 2018, and is taught by Rachel Adelman, Ph.D.
Dr. Rachel Adelman provides a dynamic, open approach to text study, drawing on a wide range of sources, from Tanakh and classical midrash to modern Israeli poetry. She holds a master of arts in Jewish studies from Matan/Baltimore Hebrew University and a Ph.D in Hebrew literature, with a specialty in midrash, from The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Adelman’s first book, “The Return of the Repressed: Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliezer and the Pseudepigrapha” (Brill, 2009) is based on her dissertation work. She just completed her second major book project: “The Female Ruse—Women’s Deception and Divine Sanction in the Hebrew Bible” (Sheffield-Phoenix Press, 2015), which she began as a research associate four years ago in the Women’s Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School. She also teaches Hebrew Bible at Hebrew College. When not writing books, articles, or divrei Torah, it is poetry that flows from her pen.+ More... - Less...