The Bible is not only the sacred scripture of Jews and Christians, it was also the first book to be printed and ever since, has been the most frequently published and translated. Without knowing the contents of the books collected in the Bible, it is impossible to understand not only the history of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, but also the development of European cultures, art, literature, music, theatre and cinema.
The Bible was written in Hebrew in the land of Israel, expanded in Greek, then translated into Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Slavonic, Arabic and other ancient languages, then into virtually all modern languages. From the ancient Middle East, the influence of the Bible extends far beyond the boundaries of Europe, Russia and the United States.
The Department of NES offers a large varieties of courses on the documents in the Bible, as well as a specific minor in Biblical Studies. The approach is interdisciplinary, from ancient languages to intellectual history and material culture.
The study of the Bible provides an indispensable foundation for any study in the Humanities and any career related to Judaic and Christian Studies. The ultimate goal is to provide our students with the capability of understanding the texts not only in their "original" meanings but also in the rich diversity of their interpretative history along the centuries, up to the present where the Bible is still at the center of the religious, cultural, and political debate of our age.
Biblical studies courses can be found in the LSA Course Guide under the subject "MIDEAST," while language courses related to Biblical studies are listed in the LSA Course Guide under the subject "MELANG." Please note that Biblical studies course offerings vary by semester. Please contact the department at Near.Eastern.Studies@umich.edu with any questions.