Let there be Shmoop.
What are the two things you're never supposed to talk about in polite company? Politics and religion. And the first five books of the Bible have them both—in spades.
So yeah, the Torah can be a touchy subject. Nothing can derail a nice evening out with friends quicker than someone dropping some accusatory verses from Leviticus, areweright?
Shmoop knows that everyone out there has different takes on these books—and guess what? That's okay. Whether or not you think God once wiped out all of humanity in a flood, you're cool by us.
See, we'll be studying the Bible as literature. That means our Bible curriculum won't be trying to figure out if Eve really gave Adam that fruit. We'll be analyzing these books like you would a short story, novel, or poem. That means you will
- think about Genesis as the beginning of all literary beginnings, including an activity that compares it to Dickens and Austen.
- complete close-reading activities to compare the different creation stories.
- examine the use of symbolism in the Torah.
- discuss and debate how biblical laws impacted the lives of the ancient Israelites and how they still influence us today.
- write literary essays about the Bible the way you would about any other work of literature.
And it will be good.
Unit 1. The Big Five
Get ready to tackle Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy in one fell swoop. (NB: 1 fell swoop is equivalent to 15 lessons.)
Sample Lesson - Introduction
Lesson 2: Family Matters: Genesis
Now that we've got the whole creation-of-the-world thing under our belts, let's zoom in a bit. How much? Well, we're gonna focus our sights on one of Shmoop's favorite things: family.
Ever since Abraham was introduced a few chapters ago, Genesis switched from talking about Big Deal Myths to telling us all about the ins and outs of one particular clan. And really, Abraham's family—whose stories will take up the rest of Genesis—is just like any other. There are moms and dads; sons and daughters; favoritism; sibling rivalry; and loads of family drama.
Okay, so they may occasionally fight and misunderstand each other, but deep down it's all love and hugs for Abraham's clan, right?
Um, sort of. Abraham's family reminds us a bit of the folks you see on The Jerry Springer Show. Except these biblical relations have way more issues. Most of us never reminisce about the time our dad tried to kill us. Or when our uncle tricked us into working for free for fourteen years. Sure, we've all taken something that belonged to a sibling, but usually, that thing was a sweatshirt and not their God-given birthright.
Family: can't live with 'em; can't ship 'em off to a remote land.
Or can you?
Sample Lesson - Reading
Reading 1.2: Genesis 22-36: Abraham's Boys
After you're all done with that, take a peek at some of our character breakdowns for the folks we've been reading about. Don't you want to know exactly where these guys and gals are coming from? Yeah, we thought so:
Sample Lesson - Activity
Activity 1.2a: The Way We Were: Good Old-Fashioned Sibling Rivalry
Jacob and Esau don't exactly get along. Though they manage to bury the hatchet in the end, we'd say they've got a few issues left to work out together in family therapy. This whole in-fighting between siblings thing is all over the place in Genesis.
First, read what we have to say about sibling rivalry in Genesis.
Got it? Good.
Sample Lesson - Activity
Activity 1.2b: Cain and Abel, Meet Everyone Who Came After You
Let's broaden our scope of sibling rivalry.
- Course Length: 3 weeks
- Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, College
- Course Type: Short Course
- High School
Just what the heck is a Shmoop Online Course?
Common Core Standards
The following Common Core Standards are covered in this course:CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.1