Thursday, January 12, 2017

Gribetz on how to teach the Mishnah

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Teaching Students to Read (the Mishnah) ( Sarit Kattan Gribetz).
How do we effectively teach students to read new types of texts that might seem daunting for them at first glance? I have a set of simple suggestions, based on my experiences teaching rabbinic sources in introductory religion courses, that might help those looking for new strategies for incorporating texts and genres unfamiliar and seemingly inaccessible to students into their courses. While the example below focuses on teaching the Mishnah, it could easily be adapted to other sources, especially texts or artifacts that might confound students who encounter them on their own for the first time (e.g. Babylonian omen texts, Greek magical papyri, Justinian’s Digest, documents from the Judean desert, etc.).

There are some really good ideas in this essay and I think I will be adapting some of them in the Mishnah unit of my new Ancient Jewish Literature course this semester. And as the author observes, her overall approach could be adapted for teaching a wide range of ancient literature.