Spring 2010
FSW – Phoenix



OT570: RUTH AND ESTHER.  Tom Parker.



DESCRIPTION:  This course is a study of the books of Ruth and Esther in Hebrew. In addition to the grammar, literary structure and vocabulary of each book, we will give special attention to 1) Ruth and Esther as Hebrew Narrative genre; (2) historical contexts and theological content; (3) close exegetical analysis of select passages.


SIGNIFANCE FOR LIFE AND MINISTRY:  This course aims to develop the student's understanding of the nature of Hebrew narrative literature and appropriate ways to interpret it. Reading these narratives in their original language brings to light many aspects of the text not readily apparent in translation. A close analysis of the narratives, with attention to the theological content that arises out of this analysis (exegesis), should give rise to applications that are appropriate and relevant to Christian ministry today, especially as class participants discuss the text together.


LEARNING OUTCOMES: This course will enable students to (1) better know and understand Ruth and Esther; (2) understand more about the literary features of Ruth and Esther; (3) better understand the historical and cultural situations of Ruth and Esther; (4) develop ability in interpreting narratives; (5) see more clearly the nature of the Bible as both human word and holy Scripture; (6) appreciate new ways of reading Scripture; (7) apply Hebrew language skills to specific texts.


COURSE FORMAT: Ten meetings over ten weeks will provide 30 hours of in-class hours for lecture, translation, and discussion.



       Recent English translation of Ruth, Esther, and the "Additions to Esther" in the Apocrypha.

       Davis, Ellen F., and Margaret Adams Parker. Who Are You, My Daughter: Reading Ruth Through Image and Text.  Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 2003. [125pp.] ISBN: 0664223745.

       Bush, Frederic W.  Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 9, Ruth-Esther.  Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1996. [514pp.] ISBN: 0849902088.

       See the Biblical Division bibliography "Linguistic and Exegetical Books Required in the Master of Divinity Program" available in the SOT Academic Advising office.

       CHOOSE one of the following:

       Berlin, Adele. Esther. The JPS Commentary. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2001. [110pp.] ISBN: 0827606990. OR

       Levenson, Jon. Esther: A Commentary. OTL; Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 1997. [142pp.] ISBN: 0664220932.



       Bar-Efrat, Shimon. Narrative Art in the Bible. JSOT Supp. 70. Trans. Dorothea Shefer-Vanson. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000.   ISBN 0567084957.

       Brotzman, Ellis R.  Old Testament Textual Criticism.  Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994.  ISBN 0801010659.

       Hubbard, Robert L.  The Book of Ruth.  NICOT.  Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988.  ISBN 0802825265.

       Perdue, Leo G., Joseph Blenkinsopp, John J. Collins and Carol Meyers. Families in Ancient Israel. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1997.  ISBN 0664255671

       Sakenfeld, Katherine Doob.  Ruth, A Biblical Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Interpretation. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1999.  ISBN 0804231494.



1.     Two Summary Papers (5 pp. each)  (25% each = 50% total)

2.     Exegetical Term Paper (10-12 pp.)  (50%)


PREREQUISITES:  LG502 or equivalent.






This ECD is a reliable guide to the course design but is subject to modification.