Introducing MEMRA: My New Online Institute for Biblical and Ancient Studies

Posted By on June 10, 2010

Call me crazy.

I’ve hinted off and on about an announcement concerning something I’ve had in the works. A year ago I offered Hebrew and Greek courses on this blog — something ultra-simple, just me going through a Hebrew and Greek grammar, creating screen casts to explain the content and go through the exercises. This October will mark the completion of the first round of those courses. On that anniversary I’ll be starting something much bigger.

This October will mark the kickoff of MEMRA Institute for Biblical and Ancient Studies. MEMRA offers over 70 courses, the vast majority of which are six weeks in length (there are language courses that are year round). Besides myself, Mr. Johnny Cisneros and Dr. Judd Burton are the other faculty members. front page of the institute’s website summarizes the purpose and distinctives:


MEMRA Institute for Biblical & Ancient Studies exists to provide academic instruction to interested non-degree-seeking students via the convenience of the online environment.


MEMRA biblical studies courses are not devotional in nature. Rather, MEMRA exists to provide serious academic content. Students study the same level of content they would experience in an undergraduate level course.

MEMRA courses are formal online courses designed for the serious student. Students enroll in a course that follows a fixed calendar (usually six weeks in length). The course includes a range of weekly activities, such as discussion forums with other students and the professor, videos, podcasts, readings, and webcasts with the professor.

For the 2010-2011 academic calendar nearly 40 courses are scheduled in the following areas:

Old Testament
New Testament
Biblical Theology
Ancient History
Ancient Languages
Ancient Religions
Ancient Jewish Literature

Some special items of interest to Naked Bible readers include:

  • a five module sequence in biblical theology, with a focus on ancient Near Eastern contexts;
  • for those who took Hebrew and Greek, “text analysis” courses are schedule to teach you the interpretive value of the languages you’ve been learning;
  • year-long Hebrew and Greek courses will be offered again;
  • a year long course in Aramaic;
  • a three module sequence in the Book of 1 Enoch;
  • ancient Israel religion sequence;
  • ancient Egypt sequence, with a special module on pyramids;
  • sequences in Old and New Testament interpretation;

and much, much more.

Please visit the site. Deep discounts are offered until September 19, 2010.† I hope some of you register. Please tell some friends!

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11 Responses to “Introducing MEMRA: My New Online Institute for Biblical and Ancient Studies”

  1. Robbie says:

    Couple of questions, Mike. Are MERMA courses accredited, and if not, will they be, or is it too much of a hassle to offer accreditation? Will MERMA courses lead to a certificate, diploma or academic recognition of some kind?
    This is a very good idea, as it wiil afford students like myself the opportunity to preserve family time while still being able to advance our education. Looking forward to taking the Hebrew class in October.

    • MSH says:

      not accredited; not interested in pursing any sort of accreditation. Too much red tape and piles of money. This is just aimed at the interested laity. I’m thinking of awarding a gift certificate to Amazon or Logos when students take a certain number of courses, but that hasn’t crystallized in my mind yet. It would be at least $100 though, if that happens.

  2. Nobunaga says:

    Aw man I’m like a poor kid in a sweet shop. Hold me a place till i save some money. I’m in the UK do i have any obstacles stopping me from taking part apart from my lack of grey matter ?

    • MSH says:

      nope – the only forseeable issue would be if there is a scheduled web conference your time zone might be problematic.

  3. blop2008 says:

    Looks good. Kudos. Will tell my surrounding.

  4. tom bionic says:

    awesome man.

    I’ve got a pocket full of cash and willingness to learn. Both at memra and pppsi.

    If I did all three of the hebrew courses, what “level” of hebrew would I be at?

    beginning grad stuff?

    I really really want to learn and get really good at greek and hebrew, and I’m looking for cost effective ways, that don’t involve driving 2 hours each way to do so.

    Looking forward to taking some memra courses!

    • MSH says:

      you shouldn’t do all three at once. The 52 week course is the most difficult. It is a traditional grammar course aimed at enabling you to translate Hebrew and understand its grammar from a translator’s perspective. Consider it “Hebrew for Marines.” Lot’s of memorization involved. The “Hebrew readings” course is a follow up to having that level of Hebrew. The “Hebrew tools” course will teach you grammatical terms and concepts and how they relate to biblical interpretation. No memorization, but still quite useful. “Hebrew for the 90 day wonder.”

      All that applies to the Greek courses as well (same set up).

  5. blop2008 says:

    Your main site ( is looking well garnished, good job.

  6. Danebow says:

    Hey Mike. I have a question concerning the courses you are offering. What days of the week would the weekly activities take place for these courses i.e podcasts, discussion forums webcasts etc? I am definitely interested but there are certain evenings I wouldn’t be able to participate depending on the time. Thanks.

    • MSH says:

      The courses will be predominantly set up so that students could engage in the activities whenever it suited them. The only potential exceptions would be any live chatting or conferencing. Logistically, it works best for me (due to the number of courses) to schedule anything like that infrequently — but that also allows the possibility of having more than one such “conference time” in whatever week one of those might occur.

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