And here's my pitch for what I do with my life, in the form of another course writeup:
This course introduces the most popular book in history, and the main thing Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have in common. The Hebrew Bible’s determining force in Western culture is connected to its remarkable political and theological claim that it contains commands by the ruler of the universe to his subjects. Yet this book appears, on closer inspection, to be no book at all but a collection of disparate documents put together by an imperial subject people. Through careful reading of the text in translation, we will explore the Bible as both a marginal ancient literature and a voice of supreme power. We will direct our readings and questions with key texts in the history of modern Bible criticism and the ancient Near East.
We'll be using:
Adele Berlin, ed. The Jewish Study Bible (Oxford U P, 2003)
John J. Collins, Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Augsburg Fortress, 2004)
Richard Elliott Freedman, Who Wrote the Bible? (HarperSanFrancisco, 1997)
Jon Levenson, Creation and the Persistence of Evil (Princeton U P, 1994)
Martti Nissinen, Prophets and Prophecy in the Ancient Near East (Society of Biblical Literature, 2003)