Jo Ann Hackett

ProfessorPh.D., Harvard University

Jo Ann Hackett



J S 363 • Gendering The Old Testament

39395 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm BEN 1.106
(also listed as MEL 321, MES 342, R S 353, WGS 340)

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.


To be determined.


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

J S 363 • In Search Of King David

40604 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm BEN 1.126
(also listed as MEL 321, MES 342, R S 365)

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.


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


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

J S 363 • In Search Of King David

40053 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm WAG 308
(also listed as MEL 321, MES 342, R S 365)

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.


Common English Bible

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

Articles posted on Blackboard


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

Curriculum Vitae

Profile Pages