Mike Condit will follow up on his RE presentation of May 1 centered on a book by Kenneth E. Walsh entitled Bible Stories for All Without the Dogma by facilitating a series of six weekly classes beginning on Monday, September 19, and extending through October 24. These will be delivered at 7:00 pm via Zoom and will last for up to 90 minutes. This will give us the camaraderie of a joint study group.

This course is for those of you who would like to learn more about the Bible yet may be turned off by some classes which heavily overlay the discussions with doctrine and dogma. It will contain only parts of the Hebrew Bible (or Christian Old Testament) that deal with prehistorical myth and later stories which have somewhat of an historical slant. Participants in the class will be expected to attend, read the materials beforehand, and be involved in discussion. These are not didactic sessions delivered by a speaker.

Requirements are a copy of Walsh’s book (a short one!) and a version of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). The preferred versions are the Jewish Study Bible, the Revised New Standard Version, or the NIV (New International Version).

It is necessary to sign up in advance if you want to attend. The sooner you do this, the sooner we can see how many are interested, plan accordingly, and get further information out about the course.

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions below!

Click this link to sign up, or message Mike with questions about the group!

(1) When is this being offered?

These sessions will take place on Monday evenings, September 19 through October 24 from 7:00-8:30pm via Zoom.

(2) Why is the course not offered in the regular 10am hour on Sundays?

The regular Adult Ed time on Sundays has many different usages and is not conducive
to a multi-week class that requires more than 45 minutes per session. The hope is that
Emerson can offer several of these Zoom courses during the week on different topics
that require more in-depth examination and discussion.

(3) Does this cover the entire Bible?

No. It will deal only with the early parts of the Hebrew Bible (Christian Old Testament)
that are either prehistoric and mythical as well as the early familiar stories that have a somewhat historical nature.

(4) What does “without dogma” mean?

Some Bible study courses stress doctrinal or dogmatic teachings alongside a reading
of the scripture. This sometimes alters the actual or historical meaning of the text.
Although doctrine can be important as an historical note, the focus in this course
will be the text itself and its influence on subsequent Western culture.

(5) How will the class be structured?

The six sessions will be based on Kenneth E. Walsh’s book Bible Studies for All Without
the Dogma, which is available on the UUA bookstore website (we will also have some copies available in the Emerson bookstore). There are associated scriptural readings.
The class is intended to be discussion-based, not didactic. Therefore, participants are
expected to prepare for each session by reading the materials in Walsh’s book
as well as the scripture.

(6) Will the entire book be covered?

No. Due to time restraints, the facilitator will structure six sessions that cover the
essential material. The topic for each session, as well as the reading assignments,
will be available to the participants in advance.

(7) What will be included in the six sessions?

This could change somewhat as the exact content of each session is worked out
in the next few weeks, but currently the schedule is:

Week 1 – General approach to Bible study
Introduction to “Pre-historical” Genesis

Week 2 – The early “historical” parts of Genesis – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Esau

Week 3 – The Book of Genesis, part 2 – Joseph and his brothers, Joseph in Egypt,
Joseph’s brothers and Jacob in Egypt

Week 4 – Exodus and the Early Israelites – Moses, Joshua, Judges, Ruth

Week 5 – The Height of Consolidated Israel – Samuel, Saul, David, Solomon, Esther

Week 6 – What’s next? General considerations of the remainder of the Hebrew Bible and discussion regarding further Biblical courses

(8) Can I take the course if I have to miss one or two sessions due to conflicts?

Yes. We recognize that it may be difficult to commit to six weeks in a row. However,
we encourage attendance since it adds to the learning potential and the development
of camaraderie within the group.

(9) Why do I need to sign up in advance?

This is a class, not simply a set of lectures to attend. We need to know the numbers
of interested individuals to plan appropriate class size and to forward materials that
are essential for the course.