courses/In this course we study a group of texts concerned with the Patriarchs, Matriarchs and Heroes. These texts are set in a mythological time long before the story of the Israelite migration into the land of Canaan. The principle characters are: Sarah and Abraham, Rebekah and Isaac, Rachel and Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Miriam and Aaron. Although presented as belonging to historical time, these figures were not historical in the way that the biblical text presents them. The stories which will be examined were passed down from one generation to the next over many centuries. They were pieces of oral literature which were finally written down and transmitted in textual form. Their importance does not lie in any historical reality, but rather in the sense they gave to the Hebrew people of having been chosen by God, and of living in constant relationship with him. These tales explore moral and religious issues, but they do so in the widest possible sense. Included amongst them are tales containing deep insights into our relationships with one another and into humankind’s response to God’s call.