L&S Curricular Connections

L&S Discovery Courses

LS C60V / German C60V

Moral Provocations: Abraham, Moses and Job

Philosophy & Values

In this Discovery course we will focus on three biblical narratives that have frequently been interpreted as teaching moral lessons, namely the story of Job, the story of Abraham and the binding of Isaac, and the story of Moses giving the law. These stories have been interpreted variously in moral terms—e.g. as demonstrating the virtues of faith, obedience, mercy, and forgiveness, and as teaching us about guilt, punishment, reward, and human frailty. They have also been analyzed as existential parables, psychological dramas, and political allegories. The goal of this course is to examine how a range of different, and often provocative, interpretations of these stories’ moral lessons rest on particular ways of reading; what we focus on and what we bring to a story shape the moral we perceive it to be communicating. We will also contrast classic “moral readings” of these stories with provocative readings that produce less common moral interpretations, or interpretations that have nothing to do with morality at all.

Class readings and discussions will be entirely in English.

Karen Feldman
Karen Feldman (German)

Terms Offered

  • Spring 2022
  • Spring 2021