Steven Stark-Riemer

ALBANY– Armchair archaeologist Steven Stark-Riemer of Delmar will repeat one of his most popular courses at B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation entitled “Unlocking ‘Noah’” and will teach it online via Zoom over six Thursdays beginning Sept. 10, 10-11:45 a.m. The course is open to the community.

According to organizers of the course, when director Darren Aronofsky’s film “Noah” was released in March 2014, it provoked a range of reactions from praise to outrage. Moviegoers were puzzled, and many were offended, by what seemed to be bizarre additions to the story, particularly the digitally created monsters.

The first class will feature a shared-screen viewing of “Noah.” The next four classes will examine the ancient Jewish apocryphal and midrashic literature that was used by the film’s creators to flesh out the biblical story. Contrary to many reviewers, who accused the moviemakers of making up much of the material in their film, the movie actually is carefully researched and well-grounded in Jewish literature written roughly between 200 B.C.E. and 100 C.E. that did not make it into the Hebrew Bible. The final session will screen “Noah” once again followed by a discussion of any effect the study sessions had on participants’ second viewing.

Stark-Riemer has taught about the scientific study of the biblical world since 2007. He studied anthropology at City College of New York, where he specialized in archaeology, and received his degree in 1972. He obtained fieldwork experience at the Tel Gezer excavations in Israel under the direction of William G. Dever, director at that time of the Hebrew Union College Biblical and Archaeological School. Stark-Riemer continues to pursue his interest in the archaeology, history and religion of the ancient Near East.

Fee for the six-session course is $45 ($35 for B’nai Sholom members), and registration is required. Zoom links will be provided upon registration.

Information may be obtained at or by contacting the B’nai Sholom office at 518-482-5283 or