Coordinator, Ancient Near Eastern Studies
Professor of Ancient Scripture
Offices: 2015 HRCB (Kennedy Center); 365-F JSB
Phone: 801-422-3359
Twitter: @EricDHuntsman

ANES 201 - Intro to Ancient Near Eastern Studies

Fall 2014

This course is designed to introduce new and potential majors to the Ancient Near Eastern Studies program. It will begin by providing a historical overview of the Ancient Near East and the Classical Mediterranean world. It will then introduce the languages and texts—particularly those that became the Hebrew Bible and Greek New Testament—while also providing a history of their interpretation, the field known as hermeneutics. Finally, it will introduce students to the profession by introducing specialty fields and discussing graduate school and employment opportunities.

ClCv 363 Syllabus

Course Schedule

W04 Sep
Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset
Course Introduction.

  • Topics: The ANES major, its two tracks, and their requirements. Students of the Ancient Near East (SANE). Course objectives and standards. Review of texts and basic resources.


F06 Sep
Third Millennium.

  • Topics: Egyptian and Mesopotamian origins. Early Bronze Age: Egyptian Old Kingdom; Sumer and Akkad.
  • Reading: deBS, 1–19; Epic of Gilgamesh excerpt (handout online).

M09 Sep
Research Methods and Resources.
Class in the library: meet at the Religion Reference Desk, second level, 11:00 a.m. sharp, for a tour by Ryan Combs, Religion/Ancient Studies Librarian & Reference Specialist.

  • Topics: What is research? Kinds of sources. Text and online resources. BYU’s Ancient Studies room.
  • Reading: BCW, 3–15, 68–101. CV, Ryan Combs.

W11 Sep
Second Millennium

  • Topics: Middle Bronze Age. Egypt, Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period. Old Assyrian and Babylonian Empires. Late Bronze Age and “The Concert of Powers.” Egypt, New Kingdom. Kassites. Mitanni. Hittite Empire. Minoan Crete and Mycenaean Greece.
  • Reading: deBS, 20–32.

F13 Sep
Yom Kippur begins at sunset
First Millennium.

  • Topics: Iron Age. Egypt, Third Intermediate Period; Syria, Phoenecia, and “Israel.” Neo-Assyrian Empire. Neo-Babylonian Empire. Persian Empire. Jews returned from exile.
  • Reading: deBS, 33–45; “The World between the Testaments,” JCWNT, 16–20.

M16 Sep
Research Methods and Questions.

  • Topics: Understanding the role of the writer and the nature of the audience. Selecting and focusing a topic. Constructing and supporting a thesis. Making claims and arguments. Begin thinking about a historical or textual topic you would like to address.
  • Reading: BCW, 16–67, 102–119.

W18 Sep
Religion, Economy, and Government in the Ancient Near East.

  • Topics: Polytheism, henotheism, and monotheism. Anthropomorphism and theriomorphism. Mythology, cosmologies, and festivals. Views of the afterlife. Redistributive economies. Trade. Social organization. Kingship.
  • Reading: deBS, 46–62.

Th19 Sep
Sukkot begins at sunset

F20 Sep
Archaic Greece.

  • Topics: The Greek “Dark Age.” The eighth century renaissance: recovery and the rise of the polis. Social and military changes: the “Hoplite Revolution.” Greek tyranny and further political evolution in Greece. Colonization. Early Greek art and literature. Case studies: Sparta and Athens.
  • Readings: “The Greek and Roman Worlds,” JCWNT, 28–29; deBS, 65–88.

M23 Sep
Classical Greece.
Turn in topic for research paper crafted as a tripartite thesis

  • Topics: The Persian Wars. The Rise and Fall of Athens. The Delian League and the Peloponnesian War. Athenian democracy and imperialism. Fourth Century: Sparta, Thebes, Second Athenian League. Philip II and the Rise of Macedonia. Survey of cultural and intellectual developments (time permitting).
  • Readings: “The Greek and Roman Worlds,” JCWNT, 29–30; deBS, 89–102, 116.

W25 Sep
The Hellenistic World.

  • Topics: Alexander the Great. The Diadochoi or “successors.” Hellenistic kingship. Antigonid Macedonia and Greece. Seleucid Syria. Ptolemaic Egypt. Developments in Hellenistic culture.
  • Readings: “The Greek and Roman Worlds,” JCWNT, 30–33; deBS, 119–135.

F27 Sep
Jews in the Hellenistic World.

  • Topics: Jews and Alexander? Alexandria, Jews and the Septuagint. Jews and the Ptolemies. Jews and the Seleucids. The Maccabean Revolt and the Hasmonean Dynasty.
  • Readings: deBS, 136–138; Cecilia M. Peek, “Alexander the Great Comes to Jerusalem,” BYU Studies 36.3 (1996–97): 99–112 (electronic reserve); JCWNT, 8; Melvin K. Peters, s.v., “Septuagint,” ABD 5:1093, 1096–97; 2 Maccabees 4:23–7:42 (HCSB 1526–1533); 1 Maccabees (HCSB with intro, 1477–1518); “Crisis and Revolution (The World between the Testaments),” JCWNT, 21–25.
  • Take-home quiz 1 distributed

M30 Sep
Early Roman History.

  • Take-home Quiz 1 due.
  • Topics: Geography and peoples of Italy. Roman antecedents: the Latin people, Etruscan civilization, and the influence of Greek colonies. Archaic Rome and the monarchy. The Early Republic: Roman families and society; the Struggle of the Orders; expansion in Italy. Parallel developments in Carthage. The Middle Republic: the Punic Wars and Rome’s expansion in the East; provincial administration.
  • Readings: “The Greek and Roman Worlds,” JCWNT 33–34; deBS, 141–184;

W02 Oct
Roman Revolution and Early Empire.

  • Topics: The Late Republic: economic and social instability. Viri militares: Marius, Sulla, Pompey, and Caesar. Octavian to Augustus: oligarchic republic to disguised monarchy. The Augustan settlement and Pax Romana.
  • Readings: “The Greek and Roman Worlds,” JCWNT 34–39; deBS, 185–224.

F04 Oct
Jews in the Roman Empire.

  • Topics: Herod the Great and his successors. After Augustus: Julio-Claudians and Flavians. The province of Judea. Jewish Revolts.
  • Readings: JCWNT 40–41, 38; deBS, 224–30; “A World in Turmoil,” JCWNT 300–303 (electronic reserve).

M07 Oct
Imperial Rome.

  • Topics: The High Empire: adoptive or “good” emperors. Roman imperial society and law; Greeks in the Roman Empire; Eastern and other religions. Severans, third century crisis, and Diocletian.
  • Readings: deBS, 230–60, 265–79.

W09 Oct
Christians in the Roman Empire.

  • Topics: The early New Testament church; From Jerusalem to Rome: Pauline Christianity? Roman persecutions and accommodation. Constantine.
  • Readings: deBS, 261–64, 280–83; Howard W. Kee, “After the Crucifixion—Christianity through Paul,” CRJ, 85–103 (electronic reserve); deBS, 280–92.


Th10–F11Oct; Sa12Oct (late)
(Testing Center, check for hours)


F11 Oct
Ancient Egyptian.

  • Topics: The Afroasiatic family. Brief overview of ancient Egyptian. Hieroglyphics. Some representatives texts—Tale of Two Brothers and The Stella of Merneptah.
  • Readings: Selden, “Introduction” from Hieroglyphic Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Literature of the Middle Kingdom, 3–13, 20–23 (electronic reserve or handout). Tale of Two Brothers and The Stella of Merneptah (electronic reserve)

M14 Oct
Eastern Semitic.

  • Topics: Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, and Assyrian. Cuneiform writing. Creation and hero tales.
  • Readings: Michalowski, “Sumerian,” and Huehnergard and Woods, “Akkadian and Eblaite,” from The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Aksum, 6–14, 83–90; Enûma Eliš (electronic reserve), The Descent of Ishtar to the Underworld, and short excerpt from Epic of Gilgamesh (handout)

W16 Oct
Northwestern Semitic.

  • Topics: Aramaic. Ugaritic. Canaanite, Phoenecian, Paleo-Hebrew. Introduction to Biblical Hebrew.
  • Readings: Selections from The Semitic Languages, edited by Robert Hetzron: Daniels, “Scripts of Semitic Languages,” 16–23, 28–29; Kaufman, “Aramaic,” 114–118; Segert, “Phoenecian and Eastern Canaanite Languages,” 174–75; Pardee, “Ugaritic,” 131–32; Steiner, “Ancient Hebrew,” 145–47 (short handouts). Pratico, “The Hebrew Alphabet,” 1–7 (handout or electronic reserve).

F18 Oct
Introduction to the Hebrew Bible and Greek New Testament.

  • Topics: Why study biblical languages? The Tanakh—Torah, Nevi’im, Ketuvim. The Masoretic Text and the Biblia Hebraican Stuttgartensia. “Biblical” Greek? The New Testament canon. Novum Testamentum Graece.
  • Readings: Waltke, “How I Changed My Mind about Teaching Hebrew,” Luther, “On The Importance of Biblical Languages,” and Zwingli, “Languages are Gifts of the Holy Ghost,” in Pratico, 66–67, 119–121, and 135–37 (handout). Coogan, “What is the Old Testament,” 3–9 (electronic reserve). Pratico, “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” 403–414 (handout or electronic reserve). Wallace, “The Language of the New Testament,” 12–30 (electronic reserve).

M21 Oct
Introduction to Hermeneutics.

  • Topics: Texts and readers—faith and suspicion. The hermeneutic circle—text or interpretation? Midrash and rabbinic interpretation. Christian canon and interpretation by tradition. Alexandria vs. Antioch. Augustine and semiotics.
  • Reading: Jasper, 1–44.

W23 Oct
Medieval Hermeneutics; the Reformation and Enlightenment.

  • Topics: Scholasticism and Thomas Aquinas. Eckhart and eisegesis. Erasmus, the beginnings of textual criticism, and Christian humanism. The printing press: a revolution. Luther, Calvin, and the Protestant hermeneutics of sola scriptura. The Age of Reason, Chladenius, and the hermeneutics of suspicion.
  • Reading: Thomas Aquinas, excerpts from Summa Theologica (electronic reserve). Jasper, 45–67.

F25 Oct
The Rise of “Critical” Hermeneutics and the Age of Romanticism.

  • Turn in literature review for research paper.
  • Topics: The Bible and History. Reimarus and “history.” Lowth and the rediscovery of Hebrew poetry—the Bible as literature. Cultural relativity and the crumbling of canon—the end of sola scriptura. The tension between rationality and feeling and the end of “bibliolatry”. Schleiermacher and reading—an art and a science.
  • Readings: Jasper, 69–87.
  • M28 Oct
    Exegesis: Getting Back to the (Presumed) Original Meaning.

    • Topics: Exegesis versus exposition—them, there, then and us, here, now. Biblical criticisms—textual, historical, source, form, redaction, and more.
    • Readings: Gorman, “The Task,” 9–34 (electronic reserve). Brown, “How to Read the New Testament,” 20–46 (electronic reserve; NT examples apply to Hebrew Bible as well). Gorman, “Contextual Analysis and Formal Analysis,” 69–100 (electronic reserve).
    • See also: Huntsman, “Teaching through Exegesis: Helping Students Ask Questions of the Text,” Religious Educator 6.1 (Winter 2005), 107–126 (available on electronic reserve).

    W30 Oct
    Case Study: Documentary Hypothesis.

    • Topics: The Torah and the tradition of Mosaic authorship. Perceived inconsistencies in the received text. Wellhausen’s theory on multiple sources and redaction.
    • Readings: Brown, “Approaches to the Pentateuch,” SS3 3–23 (electronic reserve); Friedman, 15–49.

    F01 Nov
    All Saints Day
    Judah and Israel, J and E. And a Bit of P for Good Measure.

    • Topics: Twin creation accounts. The story of Noah–twice. “By my name ‘the LORD’ I did not make myself known unto them.” Aaron and Miriam versus Moses.
    • Readings: Genesis 1:1–9:29; Exodus 3:13–22, 6:1–9; 32:1–35; Numbers 12:1–16 (HCSB, 3–18, 88–89, 93, 137–39, 215–16). Friedman, 50–88.

    M04 Nov
    The Deuteronomist, Back to P and Seeking R.

    • Topics: The reforms of Josiah and the book of the law. The Deuteronomist’s covenant world view. The old school: DH, Dtr1 , and Dtr2 . Friedman’s proposal: Dtr1 = Dtr2 = Baruch! Dating P: mistakes and tabernacles. Diminishing Moses. Unveiling the Final Redactor. A review of documentary hypothesis and a proposal.
    • Readings: 2 Kings 22:1–20; Deuteronomy 1:1–11:32, 27:1–29:29; Exodus 17:2–7, 25:1–30:38; Numbers 16:1–35, 20:1–13, 25:1–18 (HCSB, 553–54, 255–75, 294–300, 113, 126–37, 223–25, 230–31, 240–41). Friedman, 89–233. Handout: Working Theory of the Editorial History of the Torah (online).
    • See also: Kevin Barney, “Reflections on the Documentary Hypothesis,” Dialogue 33.1 (Spring 2000): 57–99 (
    • Take-home quiz 2 distributed

    W06 Nov
    Case Study: The Synoptic Problem and the Two-Source Theory.

    • Take-home Quiz 2 due.
    • Topics: The connections between Mark, Matthew, and Luke. Marcan priority and “Q.” Alternative proposals.
    • Readings: Millet, “The Testimony of Matthew,” SS 5, 44–50 (electronic reserve). Brown, “Gospels in General; Synoptic Gospels in Particular,” INT, 99–122 (electronic reserve). Read in this order: Mark 5:1–43, 14:1–72; Matthew 8:28–9:1, 9:18–26, 26:1–75; Luke 8:26–56, 22:1–62 (HCSB, 1732–34, 1751–55, 1682–83, 1713–17, 1779–80, 1805–08).
    • See also: David Laird Duncan, A History of the Synoptic Problem, n.b., 302–94.

    F08 Nov
    Case Study: The “Historical Jesus.”

    • Topics: The Age of Science—history and Jesus. The problem of sources and context. Jesus of Faith versus the Jesus of History? First, second, and third quests. Historical “facts” about Jesus. Questions about scholarly evaluation and judgment.
    • Reading: Jasper, 89–98. Sanders, “The Life of Jesus,” CRJ, 41–83. Wright, “Jesus, Quest for the Historical,” ABD 3.796–801 (electronic reserve). Millet, “The Historical Jesus: a Latter-day Saint Perspective,” pp. 171–192 in Hoskisson, Historicity and the Latter-day Saint Scriptures (electronic reserve).

    M11 Nov
    A Faithful Look at the Historical Jesus I.

    • Topics: Authenticity and overly critical methods. Questionable texts—canonical versus apocryphal and dubious sources
    • Readings: Evans, 15–99.

    W13 Nov
    A Faithful Look at the Historical Jesus II.

    • Exegetical Paper due.
    • Topics: Alien contexts, skeletal sayings, and diminished deeds. The use and misuse of Josephus as a source. Other scholarly missteps. “Will the real Jesus please stand up?”
    • Readings: Evans, 100–235.

    F15 Nov
    The Twentieth Century and Postmodern Hermeneutics.

    • Topics: Barth, theology, and “the impossibility of faith.” Bultmann’s attempt at “demythologizing.” Heidgegger—hermeneutics and theology meet again. Derrida, existentialism, and deconstructionism. Postmodernism—Bible as literature, liberation, political agenda, and textuality without texts.
    • Readings: Jasper, 99–137.


    Sa16–M18Nov; Tu19Nov (late) (Testing Center, check for hours)


    M18 Nov
    Crafting a Research Paper.

    • Topics: Making claims. Making and supporting arguments from the evidence. Anticipating and countering objections. Drafting and revising your paper. Introductions and conclusions. Style, especially “the rhetoric of scholarly circumspection.” Ethics—especially avoiding plagiarism.
    • Readings: review BCW, 105–119, read BCW, 120–151, 177–212, 232–269, 273–76.

    [Huntsman away 11/20–11/26]

    W20 Nov
    Hebrew Bible and Dead Sea Scrolls

    • Guest: Dana Pike
    • Readings: “The Rule of the Community” (electronic reserve); other readings TBA. CV, Dana Pike.

    F22 Nov

    • Guest: Kerry Muhlestein
    • Readings: TBA. CV, Kerry Muhlestein.

    M25 Nov
    No class. Work on research papers

    Tu26 Nov
    Tuesday is Friday but no class anyway!

    W28 Nov
    H. ănukkāh begins at sunset

    Th28 Nov

    Su01 Dec
    First Advent (Hope)

    M02 Dec
    Greco-Roman Early Christianity.

    • Guest: Lincoln Blumell
    • Readings: “The Acts of Paul and Thecla” (electronic reserve); other readings TBA. CV, Lincoln Blumell.

    W04 Dec
    Eastern Christianity

    • Guest: Kristian Heal
    • Readings: TBA. CV, Kristian Heal.

    F06 Dec
    Biblical Archaeology

    • Guest: Jeff Chadwick
    • Readings: TBA.

    Su08 Dec
    Second Advent (Love)

    M09 Dec
    Seminaries and Institutes; Religious Education and Religious Studies.

    • Guest: Shon Hopkin
    • Readings: TBA. CV, Shon Hopkin.

    W11 Dec
    Belief and Biblical Scholarship.

    • Research paper due.
    • Reading: Rex E. Lee, “By Study and Also Faith,” 133–41, and Neal A. Maxwell, “Discipleship and Scholarship,” 198–203, in Educating Zion, edited by John W. Welch and Don E. Norton, BYU Studies (1996) (both on electronic reserve). Paul Y. Hoskisson, “The Need for Historicity: Why Banishing God from History Removes Historical Obligation,” 99–116, in Hoskisson, Historicity and the Latter-day Saint Scripture (electronic reserve and also

    Su15 Dec
    Third Advent (Joy)

    Th19 Dec


    Su22Dec Fourth Advent (Peace)

    Tu24Dec Christmas Eve

    W25Dec Christmas!

    Announcements and Upcoming Events

    Recent Lectures

    September 12: “Sitting at the Feet of Jesus,” Time Out for Women, Denver

    August 18-21 “Worship: Encountering and Being Transformed by God,” BYU Education Week

    August 17 “LDS Christology and the Gospel of John,” BYU Education Week

    August 5-11 Aspen Grove Family Camp

    April 22: “Grateful for Grace: Appreciating the Saving and Transforming Power of Jesus Christ,” YSA 18th Stake Fireside

    April 30: Womens Conference 2015 "Wells of Trust Fanning Flames of Faith"

    May 8–9:   “The Search for the ‘Real’ Jesus of Nazareth: The Jesus of Faith, History, and Revelation,” Miller-Eccles Study Group, Fullerton and La Cañada, California

    Upcoming Lectures

    September 24 Second John A. Widtsoe Symposium, “Religion in the Public Square,” 7:00-9:00, tutor Center Ballroom, USC, Los Angeles (with the following link:

    October 9 “The Footsteps of Jesus: Remembering His Miracles,” Cruise Lady Learn Our Religion Series, 7:00, 9118 S Redwood, West Jordan

    November 8: “Sitting at the Feet of Jesus,” Time Out for Women, St. George

    November 14: “Sitting at the Feet of Jesus,” Time Out for Women, Portland