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Department of Theology, Reinbolt Hall, One Camino Santa Maria, San Antonio, TX 78228

HO 3302, Honors Theology: Wisdom Literature

Spring 2021, Mondays and Wednesdays
Section V: 1:45-3:00 (small group days) or 3:15-4:30 (plenary days)
Section V1: 3:15-4:30
Virtual only through and Zoom (login to Canvas for the link to the Zoom room).
Instructor: Dr. Todd Hanneken,
Zoom office hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 10:10am CT – 12:10pm CT and by appointment

Course Description

This course will examine the wisdom literature of the Hebrew Bible (Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes) and the Greek Bible (Sirach, Wisdom of Solomon). We will also consider the context of wisdom in Ancient Israel, the Ancient Near East, the Hellenistic world, and Early Judaism. The primary focus will be the literary study of each book on its own and in conversation with the tradition. We will seek to understand the diversity of questions and answers offered by the literature. Additional foci include the historical and social context of the composition of each book, the influence of the literature on Jewish and Christian thought, and the relevance of the literature in the life of the church today, including personal spirituality and social concerns.

Required Course Materials

At least one scholarly translation of the Christian Bible using the New American Bible (NAB, Catholic) or New Revised Standard Version with Apocrypha (NRSV, Protestant). The Jewish Publication Society translation is also very good, but does not include Sirach or the Wisdom of Solomon.

Roland E. Murphy, The Tree of Life: An Exploration of Biblical Wisdom Literature. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.

John J. Collins, Jewish Wisdom in the Hellenistic Age, Old Testament Library. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1997.

Todd R. Hanneken, Theological Questions. Version 202101.

Additional readings will be available through Canvas.

Student Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course the student should be able to:

Activities and Responsibilities

Social responsibility: Responsibility to the common good supersedes all other responsibilities associated with this course. The course never requires you to endanger others by violating health guidelines from the University or government.

Quizzes: The quizzes are designed to gauge comprehension, analysis, and retention of readings and lectures.

Exams: The final exam will be cumulative and will focus on retention, comprehension, and synthesis of points from the quizzes.

Papers: Students will write or edit four position papers following the genre of five-paragraph essay. See the Writing Rubric in Canvas. (LINK)

Participation: Engagement during our synchronous (Zoom) class meetings is essential. Video and audio should be considered the default mode of participation, but the chat window and reaction emojis are also effective. Logging into Zoom without any additional form of participation means very little.


What follows until the schedule should be standard for all your classes at St. Mary’s.

University Policies

All university policies apply to this course, including the following.

University Spring 2021 Attendance Policy

Given the variety of teaching modalities that will be used this spring, it is necessary to define attendance and absences. Agreement on these terms is essential for consistent application of the proposed attendance policy.  The Attendance Policy for Spring 2021 is available via the link below. As part of The St. Mary’s University Honor Code in the Graduate Catalog, Academic Policies and Procedures, all students are expected to follow the new spring 2021 attendance policy guidelines.

Face Mask Policy

Face coverings must be worn on campus this semester. Please consult the University policy at .

Grading Scale

FBelow 60

Academic Policies and Procedures

This course adheres to St. Mary’s University’s academic policies and procedures.
This course adheres to the policies for academic dishonesty and misconduct, as described in the Student Code of Conduct (see especially section V).

This course adheres to the policies for study days and final exams. There will be two study days, Wednesday, May 5th and Thursday, May 6th, during which students prepare for final exams. No classes should be scheduled on study days; optional review sessions can be held. Final exams will be held on Friday, May 7th, and Monday-Wednesday, May 10th-12th. The final exam schedule can be found at .

St. Mary’s University is committed to providing a safe, equitable, and fair environment where students can pursue academic excellence. Policies and procedures have been developed to foster and sustain such an environment and apply to all courses offered at the university. Students need to be aware of these policies and procedures, which can be found at

Please become familiar with these important policies and procedures, which include:

Disability Statement

In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act, Student Accessibility Services is the designated office responsible for coordinating all accommodations and services for students with disabilities at St. Mary’s University. St. Mary’s University supports equal access of qualifying individuals with documented disabilities to all educational opportunities, programs, services and activities. If you have a documented disability, or a condition which may impact your performance and want to request disability-related accommodations, you must first register with the Office of Student Accessibility Services, located in the Student Counseling Center (in the Center for Life Directions Building) in room 139. Please stop by the Student Accessibility Services Office, call 210-431-5080 or email to set up an appointment to meet with the Student Accessibility Services staff.

Preliminary Schedule

Unit 1: Introductions, Context, Proverbs

Unit 1 quiz due by 4:00pm Friday, February 5, 2021

Unit 2: Job

Plenary class meeting Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 3:15-4:30pm CT

Writing assignment 1 due 4:00pm Friday, February 12, 2021

Writing assignment 2 due 4:00pm Friday, February 19, 2021

Plenary class meeting Wednesday, February 24, 2021, 3:15-4:30pm CT

Unit 2 quiz due by 4:00pm Friday, February 26, 2021

Unit 3: Ecclesiastes/Qoheleth

Unit 3 quiz due by 4:00pm Friday, March 12, 2021

Unit 4: Sirach

Writing assignment 3 due 4:00pm Friday, March 19, 2021

Writing assignment 4 due 4:00pm Friday, March 26, 2021

Unit 4 quiz due by 4:00pm Thursday, April 1, 2021

Unit 5: Wisdom of Solomon

Unit 5 quiz due by 4:00pm Friday, April 23, 2021

Unit 6: Dead Sea Scrolls

Unit 6 quiz due by 4:00pm Friday, April 30, 2021

Plenary class meeting Monday, May 3, 2021, 3:15-4:30pm CT