"It Ain't Necessarily So": Rereading Classical Bible Stories

The Dennis and Phillip Ratner Museum - Bethesda

Dates: Every Sunday, September 18, 2016 - June 04, 2017
Time: 10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Speaker: Gideon Amir

When George and Ira Gershwin wrote this famous song title, they may not have realized that their lyrics were so in sync with biblical scholarship!  In this year’s Bible Study Center course, you will find some of your most long-held assumptions challenged and derailed by a close reading of the text.

We are familiar with the story of the Garden of Eden, and we “know” that the first human sin involved Adam and Eve eating the apple from the Tree of Knowledge. But when we read the text carefully we learn that not only is the story quite different, but that there is no apple at all in the Garden!

Many Jews learn that they are commanded to eat matzah on Passover because the Jews left Egypt without time for their bread to rise.  But is this really true?  For that matter, what really IS matzah?

The tale of little David using his slingshot to kill the giant Goliath has become a favorite metaphor for those who challenge power with determination.  But who really killed Goliath? 

In this course we will study many examples of biblical texts that we think we know.  But upon careful reading, we find that they tell a different story. We will also look at texts that are ambiguous, how Jewish tradition allows us to understand them in more than one way, even adding a theological layer to “fit” into the Hebrew Bible’s theology.  Learn how to read between the lines, and you may never sing the same “tune” again!

The academic year is divided into three sections. Participants can register for each section separately or for all three together.

There will be 26 classes in the 2016-2017 academic year.  Please note that classes will not be held on the following dates: October 2, November 27, December 18 and 25, January 1 and 15, February 19, March 5 and 12, April 9, and May 28. There is no class on December 13 or March 20, unless those days are needed as snow days.

Session I: 9 classes 

September 18, 25; October 9, 16, 23, 30; November 6, 13, 20
There is no class October 2.

$90 - Friends of the Foundation
$108 - General Public

Session II: 8 classes

December  4, 11; January 8, 22 and 29; February 5, 12, 26
There is no class December 18, 25, January 1, 15, February 19.

$80 - Friends of the Foundation
$96 - General Public

March 19 will be a snow make-up day if needed.

Session III:  9 classes

March 26; April 2, 16*, 23, and 30; May 7, 14*, 21; and June 4
There is no class on April 9, and May 28

*Classeson April 16 and May 14 will be held at Tikvat Israel Congregation

$90 - Friends of the Foundation
$108 - General Public

Unless otherwise noted, classes are held at:

The Dennis and Phillip Ratner Museum
10001 Old Georgetown Road
Bethesda, MD 20814
For directions, please click here.

Registration Form

Number of Participants*

Session i Friend of the Foundation - $90

Session I General Public - $108

Session II Friend of the Foundation - $90

Session II General Public - $108

Session III Friend of the Foundation - $80

Session III General Public - $96

Become a Friend - $36

Participant Names


Items marked with * are required fields


2200B Baltimore Road, Rockville, Maryland 20851 Phone: 301-770-4787 Email: [email protected]