Week 01: Getting Started with the Hebrew Bible and OOTLE16

February 2-8, 2016


  1. See Dave Cormier's very short YouTube video, "Success in a MOOC." It will give you a great idea about how you might approach an open course like this one.
  2. Read Bandstra's introductory chapter, or the introductory chapter(s) in your textbook of choice (whatever chapters talk about the shape and content of the Hebrew Bible, and about its "composition history" in broad strokes). If you're feeling crazy, you might look at Bandstra's concluding chapter, "After the Hebrew Bible," as it gets into books that are part of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox canons but not part of the Protestant canon, plus the Dead Sea Scrolls, New Testament, and some other stuff.
  3. View or listen to the two-part lecture, "Introducing the Tanak A" and "Introducing the Tanak B." View on YouTube, or get them as MP3s back at the OOTLE15 site. (Weekly lectures will normally be in two parts, each part about 25-30 minutes in length.) Sound quality is uneven on some of these early efforts on my part, but they are audible, and it gets better.


OOTLE16 Week One Treasure Hunt!

See how many of these you can do:

  • Orient Yourself: If you haven't already, follow our instructions to "Get Involved" with OOTLE16, creating a blog and a Twitter account, and signing up to participate. Browse around this site, including our Twitter feed, and our learners' blog posts so far at our aggregation page.
  • Declare Yourself: On your blog, respond in some way to this week's resources: What surprises did they hold for you? What, if anything, bothers you? What excites you? What further questions do you have now about the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament that you did not have before engaging this week's resources? (Remember to tag your post with the "ootle16" tag, so that your post appears in our aggregation page!)
  • Make Connections: Visit the aggregation page, and find some posts that look interesting to you. Visit those blog posts, and make comments: ask questions, thank the writer for their insights, start a conversation.
  • Housewarm your blog! If you haven't already, write some information into your About page on your blog. Even if you use a pseudonym and avoid including identifiable information, you can communicate some of your loves and interests.
  • Housewarm your Twitter! If your avatar is still the "Egg," replace it with a photograph or some other image. Not sure where to find images that you're allowed to use? Start with sites like Public Domain Images. Also remember to write up your short bio. Want to take it further?
    • "Follow" someone else who is participating in OOTLE16.
    • Retweet somebody else's tweet.
    • @-mention ("at-mention") somebody else in a tweet.
    • Promote somebody else's blog post by writing a tweet that includes that post's URL (web address). Remember also to use our course hashtag, #ootle16.
  • Invite a friend: Know anybody who is "Hebrew Bible curious"? Let them know we're here, and help them get started.

Biblical Scholar OOTLE16 Hangouts!

Beginning in our second week (hopefully), I plan to start interviewing other biblical scholars in a series of Google Hangouts. You will be invited to watch and listen in real time, sharing questions and comments with us via Twitter. Or, you can watch and listen to the recorded Hangout later.

On weeks when we do not have an interview lined up, maybe we can invite learners to "Hangout" as a kind of "office hours." Stay tuned for more information.