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Introduction to the NT The Intertestamental period.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to the NT The Intertestamental period."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to the NT The Intertestamental period

2 The Structure Old Covenant (Testament)New Covenant (Testament) Torah (Pentateuch, 5 books of Moses) A Nevi’im (Prophets: Former and latter) A Kethuvim (writings: Poetry, wisdom, etc.) Four Gospels (Story of Jesus) Book of Acts (church history) Letters of Paul and other church leaders Book of Hebrews & General Epistles Apocalypse (Revelation)

3 Timing There is a big jump between the OT and NT (Remember, we are using a Christian perspective when we refer to the Hebrew scriptures as the Old Testament). Babylonian exile around 600 BCE The OT ends years before the beginning of the NT. A popular, though probably not quite true belief is that th Torah was canonized circa 400 BCE, the Prophets circa 200 BCE, and the Writings circa 100 CE Israel was never independent since the Babylonian Captivity in 6th Century BCE until the 20th century. Babylonian and Assyrian exile spread Judaism which in turn, influenced Judaism.

4 Three Centers of Judaism

5 Eastern Judaism-Aramaic Often called the “Eastern Diaspora” or “Eastern Dispersion” Under the Persian/Assyrian King Cyrus, many exiles returned to Palestine/Judea/Israel, and many did not. It was safer and easier to stay in Babylonia under King Cyrus’ benevolent rule. The Babylonian/Persian/Assyrian period is also called the silent period Their principle language changed from Hebrew to Aramaic (Related like Spanish and Portuguese) The Torah was probably completed in Babylon by the exilic community Jewish tradition says it was Ezra, a Babylonian-Hebrew scribe (Ezra 7:6), who brought Mosaic Law back to Judea. It is clear that there was intense study of Hebrew Scriptures in the Eastern Diaspora. This is probably the beginning of local centers in each community for the study of the Torah (later called the “synagogue”).

6 Egyptian Judaism-Greek Egypt has played the role of both villain (The Exodus) and A place of refuge during trouble (Abraham, Joseph, Baby Jesus) (Also 2 Kings 25:26) Greater more unity in the East, especially under Alexander the Great in the 4th century means more freedom and ease of travel (safety for travelers, common language). For a time, Palestine and Egypt were under the same rule of Alexander the Great’s general, Ptolemy and his heirs. Alexandria was a great Hellenistic city where Greek was spoken and it attracted many Jews. The practice of allegorizing Hebrew Scripture also seems to have begun with the Jewish community in Alexandria. This technique originated with Greeks in the 6th century to explain the contents of the Iliad and Odyssey. Jesus applies this technique extensively to the Jewish Scripture.

7 Egyptian Judaism: The Septuagint Produced in Alexandria. Hebrew scripture’s translation/reinterpretation into Greek. They seem to have made it say what they supposed the Hebrew writers would have written had they lived in later times. –Example of Esther where the Hebrew scriptures mention neither God nor religion directly. The Greek translation slips in a few passages that make reference to God and religion. Translation choices were made, –The Hebrew word “Torah” (teaching) was translated as nomos (law). This made Judaism appear more like a legal system. Even now, we refer to the Torah as Mosaic Law, rather than “Moses’ Teaching” –God’s proper name yhwh was translated as a title: kurios (“lord”). This was already an oral tradition.

8 Palestinian/Judean Judaism Small area near rebuilt temple, but with the most religious conflict. Many Jewish sects: Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Scribes, Zealots. Opposing groups saw themselves as the true heirs of ancient Israel: –the “sons of exile” and –those who stayed in the land during the exile. –Samaritans a “mixed” group. Jewish name (shomeronim) means “people of Samaria” Their name for themselves (shamerim) means “Keepers [of the Covenant].” They had their own version of the Torah. Josephus says: “To understand the Jews one must first understand that they did not constitute a monolithic community. –Josephus was a Jewish priest in the first century who fought the Romans in the first Jewish War. He later became a Roman citizen and governor, and most notably a Jewish historian who survived and recorded the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. His works give an important insight into first-century Judaism

9 Changes in Judaism Belief in resurrection. –Unambiguous reference to conscious life after death is not seen the OT. –Sheol is a shadowing underground place mentioned in the OT where all people go when they die –Resurrection of the dead helps answer the problem of suffering in the present life (because there will be rewards in the next) –Resurrection is seen in 2 Maccabees (written in Egypt around 125BCE) as a reward for Martyrdom. –If there is resurrection of the dead, who is it for and how does it work? Loss of a commanding prophetic voice. Messianism –Messiah comes from the Hebrew mashiah (in Greek, it is christos) which means “anointed one.” –The Hebrew word was applied to Kings like Saul, David, and Solomon as well as Cyrus the Great. –It does not mean a hoped for rescuer or universal savior in the Hebrew scripture. –This idea seems to have developed during the intertestamental period and can be seen in apocryphal books such as 1 Enoch. –It doesn’t appear to have been a widespread concept before Jesus.

10 Prominent Jewish sects Major groups of Jewish religious people. –Pharisees –Sadducees –Essenes –Samaritans –Zealots However most people didn’t belong to any of these groups. The common people were sometimes looked down upon as unteachable “sinners.” These sinners were the main audience for Jesus’ teaching.

11 Pharisees Believe in a coming day of judgment Resurrection of the dead A future life of rewards and penalties based on deeds in this life Existence of angels, demons, and other inhabitants of unseenworld Devoted to study of scripture, they were not dependent on temple worship or promised land. Accepted the three parts of Hebrew scripture and “oral law” traditions (Mark 7:3) Small in number but the most powerful religious force Very strong standards of religious piety and commitment Emphasized progressive reinterpretation of the scripture to fit the times

12 Sadducees More conservative religiously and politically than the pharisees Members of Jewish upper class Sons of Zaddok (high priest under David and Solomon 1 Kings 1:26) They were the officiating priests at the Jeresalem temple None of their writing survive, so hard to know as much about them Caiaphas, who condemned Jesus, was a Sadducee. On good terms with Roman government, wanted a stable society Rejected the oral law of the Pharisees Rejected Pharisee’s belief in afterlife, angels, demons, etc. They died off as a group with the destruction of the temple.

13 Samaritans Jews at Jesus’ time regarded the Samaritans as alien people who practiced a false version of Judaism Whereas Jews worshipped at the Jerusalem temple on Mt Zion, Samritans viewed Mt Gerizim, near Shechem as God’s approved holy place (John 4:20). They recognized the Torah, but not The Writings or the Prophets. They are treated nicely by the NT writers. Jesus was called a Samaritan on one occasion (John 8:48) A small community of religious Samaritans still exists today

14 Essenes Essenes flourished from 140BCE-68CE One main community was Qumarn near the northwest corner of the Derad Sea. They were a monastic group- gave up worldly life including marriage. Lived in an isolated desert community, they were awaiting two messiahs –A priestly Messiah descended from Aaron –A kingly Messiah descended from David They wrote and hid the Dead Sea scrolls before they were annihilated by the Romans. A few (not many) scholars think Jesus may have spent his “lost years” in an Essene community. John the Baptist seems a lot like an Essene

15 Essenes & the Dead Sea Scrolls Dead Sea scrolls discovered in 1947—Pottery jars full of ancient manuscripts. A shepherd boy in the area threw a rock and heard the sound of pottery breaking. Composed during 200BC-100CE 1. Oldest surviving copies of parts of the Hebrew Bible –There is a complete Isaiah text, 900 years older than any other surviving Isaiah text and it is almost exactly the same, but others differ significantly. 2. Apocryphal books, such as 1 Enoch, Tobit, Book of Jubilees. 3. Commentaries on canonical books –Shows that Essenes, like later Christians thought of many scriptures as full of prophecies 4. Many of their own documents such as rules for how to live and outlines of Essene rituals, and hymns.

16 Modern site of Qumran

17 Two of the 12 caves where scrolls were found

18 Scroll jar and scrolls

19 Zealots Passionately committed to Jewish religious and political freedom Dedicated to evicting Rome from Palestine In 6CE Judas the Galilean led a revolt that Rome easily suppressed –Jesus is compared to this Judas (Acts 5:37-39) Simon, one of Jesus’ disciples is called a zealot. According to Josephus, the Zealots’ blind nationalism forced the Palestinian Jews on a suicidal course. They wouldn’t surrender, even after Jerusalem fell compelling Rome destroy the temple.

20 Messiah expectations Deliver the covenant people from their Gentile oppressors Reassemble Jews after the diaspora Reestablish the Davidic kingdom Establish universal peace Suffering servant Isaiah 53: bears pain and humiliation for others


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