Israel and the Geography and History of the Ancient Near East

The chapter on Israel and the Geography and History of the Ancient Near East is up and running. Learn about the environment in which the ancient nation of Israel existed and the changing world powers that pressured its existence. See how Israel dealt with pressure from Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Greece, and finally Rome. How did the changing history of the surrounding regions impact life in ancient Israel? Read this chapter to see.

As with the other chapters, there is a form at the end of this one to allow you to leave comments and questions.

Ancient Empires

Genesis 1—11

I have published two sections of my chapter on Genesis, a brief introduction, and the section that I call the “prehistory.” The first eleven chapters of the book of Genesis are set in the time before writing was invented. They are based on oral traditions. Since history is essentially a written phenomenon, we can talk about such early narratives as prehistory.

As with the other chapters, there is a form at the end of each section to allow you to offer comments or ask questions.

How Should We Read the Bible?

This is a loaded question course. Its answer depends on the purpose of the reading. Someone reading for devotional reasons would not answer the same way as someone reading to better understand the history of the ancient world.

The chapter “How Should We Read the Bible?” raises this issue and talks about the purpose(s) of this online textbook. I hope you enjoy it.

As always, feel free to leave feedback or ask questions. There is a form at the end of the chapter for that purpose.

The Literary History of the Bible

My four-part chapter on the Literary History of the Bible is up and running. The main page is located here: Literary History of the Bible. The four subsections can be reached directly using the titles below:

Each of these sections has a form at the bottom to allow you to leave feedback or ask questions. I hope you find the new chapter helpful.

Authorship and Composition of the Torah

On June 2, 2015 I published the Authorship and Composition of the Torah chapter and added a link from the table of contents page. This chapter is a revised version of the materials on the Pentateuch/Torah that I use when teaching at Meredith College in Raleigh.

The content of the first five books of the Bible is the same in all Christian Bibles and in the Hebrew Bible used in Jewish places of worship.

At the end of the chapter, there is a place to leave comments. Feel free to post your reactions or questions.


This site is growing out of my many years of teaching Biblical Studies at Bluefield College, NC State University, and Meredith College.

I am converting materials I used for those classes into a collection of electronic materials that I hope you will find useful in the coming months. When completed, this website will constitute a complete textbook for an Introduction to the Bible class.

UPDATE (March 13, 2018:

Yesterday I produced an audio recording of the chapter on the contents of the Bible. It may take a very long time to provide audio for all pages, but I hope to have enough recorded by this time next year to make the site useful as a podcast as well as simple web pages. As I record episodes, I will also revise the pages on which the episodes are based, hopefully improving the quality of the writing.