Layers: Story of the Old Testament

Layers: Story of the Old Testament


The Old Testament is a fascinating part of the church’s heritage. It rewards close reading and prayerful study. Many of us—both in and outside of Christianity—know some of the stories, but we lack a clear portrait of the Old Testament as a whole. 

Modern approaches to history, archaeology, and literature have revolutionized how specialists see ancient Israel, early Judaism, and the formation of the Old Testament. But most of us aren’t specialists, and their insights are often not pulpit-friendly. 

This class is designed to help you teach, preach, and live the Old Testament as a theological story. Borrowing from archaeology, we’ll describe the Bible as layers, from older to newer, deposited by people of faith for future generations’ use. Each new layer borrows from older ones.  No individual or community ever quite owns or controls these layers, not even the one they so carefully created. 

The layers are: Creation, Election, Torah, Exile, Wisdom, and End Times.  

Our wise guide (via our readings) is retired Professor James Kugel, an Orthodox Jew and storyteller. 

Book list: 

  • A study or reference Bible - The Harper Collins Study Bible or the Jewish Study Bible are both great options.
  • How to Read the Bible by James E. Kugel. 

Save these dates and times for Zoom meetings: Tuesdays, 7 - 8:30pm: October 11 and 25, and November 8 and 22, 2022.

Instructor contact: The Rev. John Bellaimey: