The program title for the 73rd meeting of the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was “Genesis: Origins of the Universe and Humankind”. The meeting involved professors from various disciplines within the university, including the following offerings from biblical scholarship:
Sunday June 6, 2010
Prof. Yair Zakovitch – From Creation to History (1:19:55)
Prof. Rachel Elior – Mystical Perspectives on Creation (1:50:20)
Tuesday June 8, 2010
Prof. Nili Wazana – Forever Outsiders: The Origins of Israel According to the Bible (1:08:05)
To many people today, the opening chapters of Genesis—the seven-day creation account and the stories about Adam and Eve and the flood—are merely entertaining. To ancient readers, however, the stories answered serious questions about human life. Can these stories instruct us today?
Videos are available on YouTube from the three-part BBC production The Bible’s Buried Secrets(2011), hosted by Francesca Stavrakopoulou of the University of Exeter. Stavrakopoulou discusses the existence of David, the development of Jewish monotheism, and the historical background giving rise to the Garden of Eden myth.
A national hero and icon for the Jewish people, and a divine king for Christians, David is best known as the boy-warrior who defeated the Philistine giant Goliath. As king, he united the tribes of Israel. But did he really rule over a vast Israelite kingdom? Did he even exist?
When submitted to rigorous analysis, the biblical texts actually reveal quite another story. I think that the evidence now shows that the people of the Bible believed in many gods. And the scribes who composed the Bible did their best to conceal this – but not altogether successfully.
– Francesca Stavrakopoulou