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  • Dr. Nili Samet, Zalman Shamir Department of Bible

    Dr. Nili Samet, Zalman Shamir Department of Bible

    Zalman Shamir Bible Department Launches MOOC on Harvard University's edX Network

    Date: 2017-10-02 Hour: 9:58

    With the opening of academic year 2017-18 on the horizon, Bar-Ilan University's Zalman Shamir Department of Bible is offering a new online course on The Bible in Light of the Ancient Near East.

    This will be the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to be offered by Bar-Ilan University, using a technology that sets a new standard for online and global learning, the main goal of which is to break down geographical and cultural barriers between learners around the world. 

    The Bible in Light of the Ancient Near East is an introduction to the Bible, set against the background of the rich archaeological findings from the Ancient Near East. The purpose of the nine-week course is to introduce students to the fascinating world of Israel’s neighboring civilizations in biblical times, and offers a comparative study that examines the relationship between the Bible and these civilizations.

    Opening on Wednesday, October 25, the course will also provide a new understanding of the ancient Near Eastern context of such central biblical themes and genres as creative traditions, flood stories, the Tower of Babel story, law literature, prophecy and wisdom.

    The professionally-produced course combines images filmed at the British Museum, rich images of many relevant findings, and a variety of online activities.  The course was produced as part of the first cycle of an innovative program of the Council for Higher Education (CHE) and the CHE's Planning and Budgeting Committee, together with Digital Israel, as part of the effort to make Israeli academia accessible to the interested public around the world.

    The course will be presented via edX, an online learning and MOOC provider founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012 that offers high-quality courses from the world's leading universities and institutions to learners around the globe.

    The course will be taught by Dr. Nili Samet, who teaches Bible and Assyriology in the Zalman Shamir Department of Bible.  A member of the Bar-Ilan faculty since 2011, her research interests include the study of the Bible in its ancient Near Eastern context, Biblical and Mesopotamian Wisdom and Lamentation literature, Sumerian language and culture, and Biblical Hebrew.  Dr. Samet has received numerous honors, including a Bikura Postdoctoral Scholarship and Alon Fellowship for Outstanding Young Researchers.

    The Zalman Shamir Department of Bible at Bar-Ilan University is the largest of its kind in the world devoted to the study of the Hebrew Bible. Dedicated to the teaching and critical study of the plain meaning of the text of the Hebrew Bible, the Department also imparts tools for the study of the entire tradition of classical commentators – the ancient translations from the second-Temple period, Talmudic writings, medieval and early modern rabbinic commentators.  The Department's faculty of scholars covers a wide range of sub-disciplines and contributes broadly to the scholarly community.