2015 Fall Seminar Series
Wednesdays: September 30,
October 7 and October 14
The Bible and the Ancient Near Eastern Context"
Dr. John McLaughlin
This Fall’s seminars will be presented on September 30 and October 7 and 14. Our presenter will be Dr. John McLaughlin, St. Michael’s College Faculty of Theology. Dr. McLaughlin is Associate Professor of Old Testament / Hebrew Bible and an Associate Member of the Graduate Faculty, Dept. of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto. The sessions will explore how military and cultural contacts with the nations around Israel affected the development of ancient Israel and its sacred literature: the First Testament and will produce a deeper understanding of the history and literature of ancient Israel itself within its larger context, namely the ancient Near East.
Supper is available at 6 pm. Pre-registration is required by 1 pm on the Monday before the seminar. Please register online if possible; otherwise, please use the registration forms available at Coffee Hour or in the church office.
Ancient Israel did not exist in a vacuum. Due to its geographical location between the Mediterranean Sea to the west and the Arabian Desert to the east, it formed a “land bridge” between Egypt and Mesopotamia. Since the trade and military routes ran through Israel, for most of its existence Israel was under the influence, and more often the direct control, of one of those two major powers. This means that the history and literature of the ancient Near East not only provide the general background for understanding the history and literature of ancient Israel, at times those countries influenced ancient Israel directly, sometimes through their literature, sometimes through their political interactions, and sometimes through both.
These sessions will explore how military and cultural contacts with the nations around Israel affected the development of ancient Israel and its sacred literature: the First Testament. Each week will concentrate on a different geographic area, illustrating general parallels, direct points of influence and borrowing, and significant differences between the religious traditions of ancient Israel and its neighbours. The resulting will produce a deeper understanding of the history and literature of ancient Israel itself within its larger context, namely the ancient Near East.
John L. McLaughlin earned a BA (Philosophy Honours and English Major) from St. Thomas University, Fredericton, NB, and an MA in Philosophy from the University of Toronto. He studied Theology and Scripture at the University of St. Michael’s College, where he earned an MDiv and PhD. After teaching at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, West Virginia for seven years, Professor McLaughlin joined the Faculty of Theology in July 2002. He is Associate Professor of Old Testament / Hebrew Bible and an Associate Member of the Graduate Faculty, Dept. of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto. He has served as the Director of Advanced Degree Programs in the Faculty of Theology from 2003-2008, 2009-2012, and 2013-2014, and was Interim Dean of the Faculty for 2014-2015.
John has been a member of the Editorial Board, Journal of Hebrew Scriptures, since 2008 and an Associate Editor of the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, since 2013. He is an Article and Monograph Abstractor for Old Testament Abstracts and a Monograph Abstractor for Religious Studies Review. He has convened the Divinity in Ancient Israel Seminar during the Catholic Biblical Association of America Annual International Meeting since 2003. He is a member of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, the Catholic Biblical Association and the Old Testament Colloquium. He is currently the President of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies.
He teaches and researches in a number areas related to the Old Testament / Hebrew Bible and contributes annually to Pastoral Aids such as the Living With Christ Sunday Missal. He has written 5 books, the most recent being Justice in the Balance: Learning from the Prophets (Novalis Press, 2008) and The Ancient Near East: An Essential Guide (Abingdon Press, 2012).