Ancient Near Eastern Studies BA Hebrew Bible

Program Purpose


Ancient Near Eastern Studies (ANES) deals with the history, literature, religions, and cultures of the ancient Near East from about 3000 B.C. to A.D. 640. It involves study in the humanities, social sciences, and ancient scripture. Geographically, the ancient Near East consisted of the region currently designated the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean, and ANES majors are structured to provide students with a broad understanding of the civilizations in this area.

Although it prepares students for any advanced study of the cultures of the ancient Near East, in many ways the ANES program represents the academic study of the Bible and its context at BYU.

Within the ANES discipline, the Hebrew Bible Emphasis focuses on the study of biblical Hebrew to enable students to read the Hebrew Bible, related literature such as the Mishnah, and other Semitic documents. It also provides coursework on the history and religion of ancient Israel and the roots of later Judaism.

Career Opportunities

ANES majors prepare students for graduate programs and future academic careers in biblical studies, other aspects of ancient Near Eastern studies, ANES-related library and information science, and LDS Church Education. With their interdisciplinary approach and emphasis on advanced functional capability in a language, ANES majors also provide a good liberal arts education for students planning a career in law, business, foreign service, intelligence, or any other field requiring well-developed research, analytical, and writing skills.

Learning Outcomes


History and Culture of Ancient Near East

Students will learn and be able to interpret the significant events and developments in the history and cultures of the ancient Near East, including the history and culture of ancient Israel and surrounding civilizations (e.g., Egypt, Greater Syria, and Mesopotamia).

Courses that Contribute: ANES 310 ANES 353R ANES 392R ANTHR 351 HIST 238 HIST 239 REL A 211 REL A 212 REL A 301 REL A 302
Linked to BYU Aims: Gospel knowledge, Human knowledge, Competence
Ancient Text Interpretation

Students will able to translate and interpret major ancient Near East texts, including the Hebrew Bible, and analyze their significance for understanding the cultures that produced them. They will also learn proper hermeneutical skills and practice sound exegesis as well as learn how to do modern readings, including readings from an LDS perspective.

Courses that Contribute: ANES 201 ANES 310 ANES 392R ANES 430R ANES 495 HEB 432R
Linked to BYU Aims: Human knowledge, Competence
Language Proficiency

Students will develop the capacity for informed, independent, critical thinking and be able to perform appropriate library and online scholarly research and utilize these skills in the professional study of the ancient Near East.

Courses that Contribute: ANES 201 ANES 310 ANES 495 HEB 331 HEB 332 HEB 432R
Linked to BYU Aims: Human knowledge, Competence
Critical Thinking

Students will develop the capacity for informed, independent, critical thinking and be able to perform appropriate library and online scholarly research and utilize these skills in the professional study of the ancient Near East.

Courses that Contribute: ANES 201 ANES 310 ANES 353R ANES 392R ANES 430R ANES 495 ANTHR 351 HIST 238 HIST 239
Linked to BYU Aims: Think soundly, Competence, Lifelong learning
Analytical Writing

Students will be able to write cogent and substantial research papers on a university level that utilize theoretical and methodological approaches from the Social Sciences and Humanities that integrate historical and artifactual analysis with the translation, analysis and interpretation of ancient Near Eastern texts and topics.

Courses that Contribute: ANES 201 ANES 310 ANES 353R ANES 392R ANES 430R ANES 495 HIST 238 HIST 239
Linked to BYU Aims: Gospel knowledge, Think soundly, Communicate effectively, Competence
Academic Integrity

Student participants will be taught the ethical standards adhered to by professionals in the academic fields of textual analysis, archaeology, and historical research and encouraged to follow them.

Courses that Contribute: ANES 201 ANES 310 ANES 392R ANES 430R ANES 495 HIST 238 REL A 211 REL A 212 REL A 301 REL A 302
Linked to BYU Aims: Competence, Character, Lifelong service
Academics and Faith

Students will consider the relationship between academics and faith and will be given models of academically sound but also faithful scholarship. They will be encouraged to engage in a spiritually informed, lifelong pursuit of learning, scholarship, and service.

Courses that Contribute: ANES 201 ANES 310 ANES 430R ANES 495 HIST 239 REL A 211 REL A 212 REL A 301 REL A 302
Linked to BYU Aims: Faith and testimony, Gospel knowledge, Lifelong learning, Lifelong service

Evidence of Learning


The inter-departmental nature of BYU's Ancient Near Eastern Studies program dictates that much of course-related assessment of a student's progress is distributed throughout several departments. Program level assessment of student learning includes the Direct and Indirect Measures listed below. Additionally, the ANES Coordinator meets with ANES majors as they declare the major, periodically during their coursework, and a year before they graduate.

Direct Measures

Specific, direct assessments of the Ancient Near Eastern Studies program include:

1. A student's successful completion of the ANES required courses.

2. A serious, in-depth senior paper as part of the ANES 495 capstone course.

3. An electronic portfolio that includes three major papers, one of which is the ANES 495 seminar paper, one an example of the student's translation capability with Hebrew or Greek, and one a historical or other advanced paper from courses such as ANES 363, ClCv 363, ANES 430R, or Clscs 430R.

4. An exit interview, either individually or as part of a focus group, with the ANES Coordinator that includes discussion of each student's electronic portfolio and their future plans.

5. The tracking and assessment of the average overall GPA in ANES core courses.

Indirect Measures

Other assessment tools to measure the success of the Ancient Near Eastern Studies program include:

1. Adding an additional sheet to the Kennedy Center "Graduation Reflection Survey" that contains specific questions regarding each graduate?s perceptions of the ANES program.

2. Tracking the graduate programs and professional positions to which ANES graduates gain access.

Learning and Teaching Assessment and Improvement


ANES faculty meet as a Committee of the Whole at least once each year to assess the major and discuss changes that may need to be made. The ANES Executive Committee communicates regularly internally, and as needed with the Committee of the Whole, concerning matters related to the major. ANES faculty are encouraged by the ANES Coordinator to create clearly defined and rigorous learning outcomes and to continue to improve their courses.