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Kamran Scot Aghaie, Chair CAL 528 | 204 W 21st St F9400 | Austin, TX 78712-1029 • 512-471-3881

Jo Ann Hackett

Professor Ph.D., Harvard University

Jo Ann Hackett

Contact

Biography

Jo Ann Hackett is Professor of Middle Eastern Studies and Religious Studies.  Prior to joining the University of Texas at Austin in fall 2009, Prof. Hackett taught Biblical Hebrew and Northwest Semitic epigraphy and directed the Biblical Hebrew program in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University.  While at Harvard, she also served as the Director of Graduate Studies for the NELC Department and Director of Ph.D. Studies for the Committee on the Study of Religion.  In 2006, Hackett was awarded the Everett S. Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Award from the Harvard University Graduate Student Council.  She has taught in the Religious Studies Departments at Indiana University and Occidental College.

Besides general Old Testament and epigraphy, Prof. Hackett's research interests have embraced Phoenician language and religion; the period of Judges; women's lives in the ancient Near East; "fertility" religion; sacrifice, including child sacrifice; the study of myths and mythology; polemic against foreigners in the ancient Near East; and computer imaging of Ugaritic tablets.  She is the author of numerous monographs, including The Balaam Text from Tell Deir Alla, and has contributed to The HarperCollins Study Bible and The Oxford History of the Biblical World.  Her recently-completed textbook, A Basic Introduction to Biblical Hebrew, was published in May 2010.

HEB 380C • Bible In Hebrew II

40550 • Fall 2015
Meets M 300pm-600pm CAL 422
(also listed as R S 386H )
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Bible in Hebrew II

In a series of four courses, all Hebrew Bible/Ancient Near East graduate students will read the Hebrew Bible in its entirety, in Hebrew (and the small amount of Aramaic that also appears).  This schedule amounts to approximately 30 pages of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia each week.  In addition, each professor will stress some element of Biblical Hebrew or the Hebrew Bible, e.g.,  historical grammar or syntax.

Texts

Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia

Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar

Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew-English Lexicon

Joüon-Muraoka, A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew

Bauer-Leander, Historische Grammatik der Hebräischen Sprache des Alten Testaments

Waltke-O'Connor, Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax

Grading

Class participation:  50%

Research paper:  50%

MEL 301 • Gateway To The Middle East

40705 • Fall 2015
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm GAR 0.120
show description

This course is a lecture-based survey course aimed to introduce students to major themes in Middle Eastern Studies. This year, the course covers four themes. During two of the weekly meetings, various members of the faculty will offer lectures relating to one of these themes, concentrating on their period, geographical area, and field of research. The third meeting of the week will be dedicated to discussing the lectures comparatively, in view of both distinct features and overarching threads.

Texts

Texts will be posted on Blackboard

Grading Policy

Class attendance, participation and preparation: 20%

Postings on the website: 20%

Reports:  60%

 

 

HEB 380C • Semitic Epigraphy

40595 • Spring 2015
Meets F 1000am-100pm CAL 422
show description

Course Description

We will read and vocalize authentic pre-exilic Hebrew inscriptions, several Phoenician inscriptions, and many of the later Punic inscriptions, placing each in its historical and cultural context. Conducted in English.

Texts

Required: 

Frank Cross and D. Noel Freedman, Early Hebrew Orthography

Zelig Harris, Introduction to Phoenician; Christopher Rollston, Writing and Literacy in the World of Ancient Israel

Shmuel Ahituv, Echoes from the Past. 

Inscriptions that are not easily found will be posted on Blackboard.

Grading & Requirements

Attendance: 25%

Homework: 50%

Final exam: 25%

MEL 321 • Gendering The Old Testament

40775 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm BEN 1.106
(also listed as J S 363, MES 342, R S 353, WGS 340 )
show description

What happens if you jettison the sweetly smiling, long-suffering, or dastardly evil biblical women we know from our youth and instead look at their stories through the modern lenses of feminism, sociology, anthropology, and women’s history? You will get a 21st-century picture of women’s motivations, women’s sources of power, women’s relationships with their men and their societies. Rather than exploring conventional religious/spiritual interpretations, we will nurture instead critical thinking and close readings of the stories of Ruth, Jezebel, Deborah, and many more.

Texts

To be determined.

Grading

Attendance 10%, Quizzes 50%, Oral report 10%, Final project 30%

MES 342 • Gendering The Old Testament

41040 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm BEN 1.106
(also listed as J S 363, MEL 321, R S 353, WGS 340 )
show description

What happens if you jettison the sweetly smiling, long-suffering, or dastardly evil biblical women we know from our youth and instead look at their stories through the modern lenses of feminism, sociology, anthropology, and women’s history? You will get a 21st-century picture of women’s motivations, women’s sources of power, women’s relationships with their men and their societies. Rather than exploring conventional religious/spiritual interpretations, we will nurture instead critical thinking and close readings of the stories of Ruth, Jezebel, Deborah, and many more.

Texts

To be determined.

Grading

Attendance 10%, Quizzes 50%, Oral report 10%, Final project 30%

HEB 380C • The Bible In Hebrew I

41680 • Fall 2014
Meets W 300pm-600pm CAL 422
show description

In a series of four courses, all Hebrew Bible/Ancient Near East graduate students will read the Hebrew Bible in its entirety, in Hebrew (and the small amount of Aramaic that also appears).  This schedule amounts to approximately 30 pages of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia each week.  In addition, each professor will stress some element of Biblical Hebrew or the Hebrew Bible, e.g.,  historical grammar or syntax.

Texts

Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia

Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar

Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew-English Lexicon

Joüon-Muraoka, A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew

Bauer-Leander, Historische Grammatik der Hebräischen Sprache des Alten Testaments

Waltke-O'Connor, Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax

Armstrong-Busby-Carr, A Reader's Hebrew-English Lexicon of the Old Testament

Grading

Class participation:  50%

Research paper:  50%

HEB 380C • The Bible In Hebrew II

41940 • Fall 2013
Meets W 300pm-600pm CAL 515
show description

In a series of four courses, all Hebrew Bible/Ancient Near East graduate students will read the Hebrew Bible in its entirety, in Hebrew (and the small amount of Aramaic that also appears).  This schedule amounts to approximately 30 pages of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia each week.  In addition, each professor will stress some element of Biblical Hebrew or the Hebrew Bible, e.g.,  historical grammar or syntax.

Texts

Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia

Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar

Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew-English Lexicon

Joüon-Muraoka, A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew

Bauer-Leander, Historische Grammatik der Hebräischen Sprache des Alten Testaments

Waltke-O'Connor, Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax

Armstrong-Busby-Carr, A Reader's Hebrew-English Lexicon of the Old Testament

Grading

Class participation:  50%

Research paper:  50%

MEL 321 • In Search Of King David

42184 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm BEN 1.126
(also listed as J S 363, MES 342, R S 365 )
show description

The first use of the term "Israel" occurs on an Egyptian stela from around 1200 BCE. It simply describes a group of people rather than a town or city or any other geographical entity, although they are situated in what will later be the borders of ancient Israel. Between that time and the later rule of Kings Saul, David, Solomon, and others is a 200-year period when ancient Israel emerges, first from the rugged highlands and later over a much larger territory. From this premonarchic era we have a series of narratives of men and women called, variously, saviors or deliverers or "judges."  This class will cover the book of Judges in its entirety, from the earliest poetry through the narratives of the deliverers, including the book's editing and placement within the Bible, ending with the disturbing final chapters of the book that speak of deceit, rape, and war.

Texts

  • Common English Bible
  • Judges (Old Testament Library), by Susan Niditch
  • various readings to be provided

Grading

  • Attendance in class, 10%
  • Quizzes over the reading, 20%
  • Oral reports, 20%
  • Report on a scholarly article 20%
  • Research paper, 30%

MES 342 • In Search Of King David

42364 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm BEN 1.126
(also listed as J S 363, MEL 321, R S 365 )
show description

The first use of the term "Israel" occurs on an Egyptian stela from around 1200 BCE. It simply describes a group of people rather than a town or city or any other geographical entity, although they are situated in what will later be the borders of ancient Israel. Between that time and the later rule of Kings Saul, David, Solomon, and others is a 200-year period when ancient Israel emerges, first from the rugged highlands and later over a much larger territory. From this premonarchic era we have a series of narratives of men and women called, variously, saviors or deliverers or "judges."  This class will cover the book of Judges in its entirety, from the earliest poetry through the narratives of the deliverers, including the book's editing and placement within the Bible, ending with the disturbing final chapters of the book that speak of deceit, rape, and war.

Texts

  • Common English Bible
  • Judges (Old Testament Library), by Susan Niditch
  • various readings to be provided

Grading

  • Attendance in class, 10%
  • Quizzes over the reading, 20%
  • Oral reports, 20%
  • Report on a scholarly article 20%
  • Research paper, 30%

HEB 380C • Hebrew Bible Doctoral Smnr II

41550 • Spring 2013
Meets M 300pm-600pm UTC 4.120
show description

In this seminar, doctoral students will write substantial papers to be distributed to all the students and faculty.  One student and one faculty member will respond formally to each paper.PrerequisiteTwo semesters of The Bible in Hebrew.GradingTo be determined by instructor.

HEB 380C • Ugaritic

41561 • Spring 2013
Meets W 300pm-600pm UTC 1.142
show description

Taught in English. Study of the West Semitic language from the city of Ugarit in what is now Syria, which was spoken from the fourteenth through the twelfth century B.C.E. This course covers the essentials of grammar needed for reading Ugaritic texts and concludes by reading texts from several genres. Prerequisite: Graduate standing. Course number may be repeated for credit when the topics vary.

TextsJohn Huehnergard, Introduction to Ugaritic.

Grading

Class attendance: 10%Accuracy of class participation: 25%Homework: 15%Mid-term exam: 20%Final exam: 30%

HEB 380C • Hebrew Bible Doctoral Smnr I

41340 • Fall 2012
Meets M 300pm-600pm MEZ 1.118
show description

Course Description This course will produce bibliography about the issues that are current in scholarship about the book of Judges, and the Deuteronomistic History into which the book fits.

Prerequisite

Two semesters of The Bible in Hebrew.

Grading

To be determined by instructor.

MEL 321 • In Search Of King David

41605 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm WAG 308
(also listed as J S 363, MES 342, R S 365 )
show description

Israel’s second king, David son of Jesse, is remembered in later literature as the ideal king—he overcame obstacles to rule a large kingdom; he was loyal to and beloved of Yahweh, Israel’s god; he played the lyre and wrote psalms; he was even the type of the Messiah, an idea taken over by the early Christians. But is that really the way the Hebrew Bible paints him? Was he a king by Yahweh’s design or a usurper? Was he moved to compose a lovely poem to King Saul and his son Jonathan or responsible for their deaths? What kind of loyal Yahwist would send his pregnant mistress’s husband to die in battle?

David is an enigma, no less to modern scholars than to ancient narrators. We will examine his story in the context of the Hebrew Bible, of archaeology, of other kings in the ancient Near East, and of his relationships—with his family, with Saul, and with Yahweh.

Texts/Readings

Common English Bible

Life in Biblical Israel, by Philip King and Lawrence Stager.

Articles posted on Blackboard

Grading

40%  6- to 8-page project describing art devoted to King David 15%   Oral Report on the art project 10%   Peer Review of the Oral Report 10%   Attendance in class 25%   Participation in class

MES 342 • In Search Of King David

41706 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm WAG 308
(also listed as J S 363, MEL 321, R S 365 )
show description

Israel’s second king, David son of Jesse, is remembered in later literature as the ideal king—he overcame obstacles to rule a large kingdom; he was loyal to and beloved of Yahweh, Israel’s god; he played the lyre and wrote psalms; he was even the type of the Messiah, an idea taken over by the early Christians. But is that really the way the Hebrew Bible paints him? Was he a king by Yahweh’s design or a usurper? Was he moved to compose a lovely poem to King Saul and his son Jonathan or responsible for their deaths? What kind of loyal Yahwist would send his pregnant mistress’s husband to die in battle?

David is an enigma, no less to modern scholars than to ancient narrators. We will examine his story in the context of the Hebrew Bible, of archaeology, of other kings in the ancient Near East, and of his relationships—with his family, with Saul, and with Yahweh.

Texts/Readings

Common English Bible

Life in Biblical Israel, by Philip King and Lawrence Stager.

Articles posted on Blackboard

Grading

40%  6- to 8-page project describing art devoted to King David 15%   Oral Report on the art project 10%   Peer Review of the Oral Report 10%   Attendance in class 25%   Participation in class

HEB 380C • Semitic Epigraphy

41410 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm PAR 305
show description

Course Description

We will read and vocalize authentic pre-exilic Hebrew inscriptions, several Phoenician inscriptions, and many of the later Punic inscriptions, placing each in its historical and cultural context. Conducted in English.

 

Texts

Required: 

Frank Cross and D. Noel Freedman, Early Hebrew Orthography

Zelig Harris, Introduction to Phoenician; Christopher Rollston, Writing and Literacy in the World of Ancient Israel

Shmuel Ahituv, Echoes from the Past. 

Inscriptions that are not easily found will be posted on Blackboard.

 

Grading & Requirements

Attendance: 25%

Homework: 50%

Final exam: 25%

MES 320 • Gods Of Old: Ancient Near East

41665 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm CAL 221
(also listed as R S 375S )
show description

The earliest written records we possess come from ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt.  Among those documents, the ancients not only recorded economic transactions and royal inscriptions, but they also took the time to write down stories—stories of creation, of heroes, of gods.  Likewise, other cultures between Egypt and Mesopotamia wrote down their myths, and we have their records from a later time. In this course, we will review a number of ways of dealing with mythology, such as functionalism; structuralism; phenomenology; poststructuralism.  We will spend the majority of our time, however, reading and interpreting myths from Mesopotamia, from the Hittites, from Ugarit, from Canaan, and from Egypt.  We will find a number of similarities, but also significant differences; whichever it may be, we will read and interpret fascinating ancient literature.This course will have a writing flag, and thus students are expected to write frequently, substantially, and with peer input.  Students will write 5 response papers to the weekly readings, and will work through the stages of writing a research paper.   The course will also have an independent inquiry flag, and while the course readings will focus on ancient Near Eastern mythology and its interpretation, students are welcome to write research papers on myths from other traditions, for example, or to examine the lives of those who theorize about mythology.  Some of the ideas we encounter have even made their way into the modern world, and students may be interested in investigating those phenomena.  Deciding on a topic for the final paper will be one of the challenges of the course.

 

Texts

Dundes, Alan, ed.  Sacred Narrative: Readings in the Theory of MythLincoln, Bruce.  Theorizing MythFoster, Benjamin.  Before the Muses: An Anthology of Akkadian LiteratureHoffner, Harry.  Hittite MythsParker, Simon, ed.  Ugaritic Narrative PoetryPinch, Geraldine.  Egyptian Myth: A Very Short Introductiona Bible:  either the HarperCollins Study Bible or the Jewish Publication Society TanakhIn addition, a set of articles and primary source readings will be placed on Blackboard.

Grading

class participation (= attendance & engagement): 25%final paper (10-12 pages):  25%prospectus of final paper: 5%1st draft of final paper:  10%2nd draft of final paper: 10%5 1-2 page responses:  15%  (3% each)peer responses:  10%

HEB 380C • Aramaic Inscriptions

41315 • Fall 2011
Meets TH 330pm-630pm MEZ 2.118
show description

To be provided by instructor. 

 

Texts

To be provided by instructor. 

 

Grading

To be provided by instructor. 

HEB 313K • Second-Year Biblical Hebrew I

41341 • Fall 2010
Meets MW 330pm-500pm MEZ 1.104
show description

This course is the third semester of biblical Hebrew.

HEB 380C • The Bible In Hebrew I

41380 • Fall 2010
Meets W 500pm-800pm WMB 5.134
show description

In a series of four courses, all Hebrew Bible/Ancient Near East graduate students will read the Hebrew Bible in its entirety, in Hebrew (and the small amount of Aramaic that also appears).  This schedule amounts to approximately 30 pages of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia each week.  In addition, each professor will stress some element of Biblical Hebrew or the Hebrew Bible, e.g.,  historical grammar or syntax.

 

Texts:

Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia; Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar; Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew-English Lexicon; Joüon-Muraoka, A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew; Bauer-Leander, Historische Grammatik der Hebräischen Sprache des Alten Testaments; Waltke-O'Connor, Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax

Armstrong-Busby-Carr, A Reader's Hebrew-English Lexicon of the Old Testament

 

Grading:

Class participation:  50%

Research paper:  50%

 

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