Although this week and next I am focusing on Native American materials, I had some finishing-up to do in the Classical/Biblical section, including the Noah unit. I am really happy with how this unit works: there is all the material from Genesis for people to read (5 pages), and then there are all the Noah materials from Ginzberg's amazing Legends of the Jews. Some of the Noah legends are very closely entertwined with details in the Biblical text, like the story of Satan and Noah which is a prequel to the Biblical story of Noah's drunkenness. Then, some of the other legends, like Adam and Eve killing and eating the child of Samael, are very far afield from the Bible, but still full of Biblical themes and characters. I had a unit on Noah in my class before where I tried to do three things: introduce people to documentary hypothesis (the Noah part is a great place to see how different Noah stories were combined, sometimes awkwardly, into one), introduce people to different Bible translations (and so how a story changes over time as language changes), and to introduce people to the extra-Biblical Jewish folklore tradition. Well, I just was not able to get people really excited about documentary hypothesis or Bible translations (it just requires a certain level of word-nerdness that my students don't necessarily have), but the Ginzberg part of the unit was very successful. So, I was able to build on that first effort to create a better unit this time.
And who knows, this unit might get a boost from Russell Crowe: you never know! I'm not really interested in seeing the movie, but surely some of my students will have seen in by the time August rolls around.
Here's a link to the unit page:
http://mythfolklore.blogspot.com/search/label/Unit%3A%20Noah
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