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Back to the Prophets — II Samuel: King David Undone

This course was offered in Winter/Spring, 2017.

This spring, we continue our study of the book of II Samuel.

King David is on a roll! Having consolidated his kingdom, he has conquered surrounding nations and established a Davidic Empire. His newly-established capital city, Jerusalem, is the dominant political and military force in the entire Levant.

But cherchez la femme. David falls in love (or at least lust) with Bathsheba, and things begin to unravel. He betrays a friend, and is, in turn, betrayed or deserted by those closest to him. His household dissolves in a sea of incestuous rape and murder. Ultimately, his own beloved son, Avshalom, leads a violent rebellion that has David running for his life from Jerusalem.

Only the unmatched viciousness of David’s uncle saves the day, and David is confronted by the limits of power and loyalty. His once brilliant future seems mostly behind him.

This is not a weekly “torah-study” class, but an in-depth exploration of each chapter and verse, uncovering the religious, historic and cultural messages of the author, and the historical context of the book’s composition and its first audiences.

Our class' methods are eclectic, including text-critical and literary approaches. These are enriched by archaeological information and contemporary scholarship, and are spiced and profoundly enriched with classic midrash and later Jewish interpretations of Biblical messages.

We will read and study in English with occasional references to the original Hebrew (fully explained for non-Hebrew speakers). Class members will be expected to read a chapter or so each week in preparation for class discussions.

Bring a Jewish Bible (Tanakh) to class. The more translations, the merrier!


# Sessions
Date & time

Thursdays, April 20 – June 22 (no class 6/1)
7:30 - 9:15 pm

$150 for the public
$135 for members
Session Time Days Location Instructors
Apr 20 7:30 PM–9:15 PM Thu CCJDS Ken Cohen
Apr 27 7:30 PM–9:15 PM Thu CCJDS Ken Cohen
May 04 7:30 PM–9:15 PM Thu CCJDS Ken Cohen
May 11 7:30 PM–9:15 PM Thu CCJDS Ken Cohen
May 18 7:30 PM–9:15 PM Thu CCJDS Ken Cohen
May 25 7:30 PM–9:15 PM Thu CCJDS Ken Cohen
Jun 08 7:30 PM–9:15 PM Thu CCJDS Ken Cohen
Jun 15 7:30 PM–9:15 PM Thu CCJDS Ken Cohen
Jun 22 7:30 PM–9:15 PM Thu CCJDS Ken Cohen


Contra Costa Jewish Day School

955 Risa Road

Lafayette, CA 94549


Class meets in the school Makom/Library


Ken Cohen

Ken Cohen Ken Cohen, MA, former President of Lehrhaus Judaica. He holds a Master's Degree in Jewish Studies from the Graduate Theological Union and is an adjunct faculty member at San Francisco State University. Ken lectures widely on topics including the Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and ancient Israelite history.