Ancient Near Eastern Studies BA Hebrew Bible
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.
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.
History and Culture of Ancient Near East
Students learn and are 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).
Students are 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.
Acquire and demonstrate functional capacity in Hebrew and textual interpretation of the Hebrew Bible, being able to read, comprehend, analyze, and interpret these significant religious and historical texts with methodological soundness. Students are also encouraged to gain exposure to other pertinent ancient languages (e.g., Aramaic, Ugaritic, Syriac, Greek) and modern research languages (such as German, French, and Modern Hebrew).
Students develop the capacity for informed, independent, critical thinking and are able to perform appropriate library and online scholarly research and utilize these skills in the professional study of the ancient Near East.
Students are 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.
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.
Students are able to understand the relationship between academics and faith and are given models of academically sound but also faithful scholarshiop. They are encouraged to engage in a spiritually informed, lifelong pursuit of learning, scholarship, and 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.
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.