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RELIGIOUS STUDIES 253 INTRODUCTION TO THE HEBREW BIBLE OR OLD TESTAMENT.

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Presentation on theme: "RELIGIOUS STUDIES 253 INTRODUCTION TO THE HEBREW BIBLE OR OLD TESTAMENT."— Presentation transcript:

1 RELIGIOUS STUDIES 253 INTRODUCTION TO THE HEBREW BIBLE OR OLD TESTAMENT

2 2 My Website:

3 3 HANDOUTS - WHAT THE COURSE IS ABOUT: - assignments; - evaluations; - textbooks; - tentative outline; - introduction (SEGMENT 1); - the Hebrew Bible/TANAK or Old Testament (SEGMENTS 2-6); - Deuterocanonical /Apocryphal (SEGMENT 7); - between the two Testaments, that is, between the Old and the New Testament (SEGMENT 8).

4 4 READINGS: S. L. HARRIS, UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE, 7TH ED., 2007, Chapter 1: “The Bible: An Overview”, pp. 1-12, and Chapter 2: “The Process of Formation”, pp S. L. HARRIS, UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE, 8TH ED., 2007, Chapter 1: “The Bible: An Overview”, pp. 1-12, and Chapter 2: “The Process of Formation”, pp

5 5 INTRODUCTION (SEGMENT 1): Questions people frequently ask about the Bible. - The biblical God and the covenant people; - What is the Bible? - a collection or a library of books written over a a period of more than 1,000 years; - an anthology of ancient Hebrew and Greek writings; - Christians divide the Bible into the Old Testament (OT) and the New Testament (NT);

6 6 - The OT is also known as the Hebrew Scriptures of Judaism; - Jews also call their Hebrew Scriptures the TANAK/TANAKH, an acronym for: - TORAH (Law or Instruction); - NEVI’IM (The Prophets); and - KETHUVIM (The Writings) (See Box 1.1: “TANAK – The Three-Part Hebrew Bible”, p. 3.) (See Table 1.1 “Order of Books in the TANAK and in the Old Testament,” pp. 4-5.)

7 7 To the original Hebrew Bible, Christians add the New Testament See Table 2.1: “Approximate Order of Composition of New Testament Books”, p. 19/20. See Box 2.2 Abbreviations of Books of the Bible, in Alphabetical Order (pp ).

8 8 THE CHRISTIAN BIBLE: - for most Protestants the Bible consists of 66 books (39 from the Hebrew Scriptures/Old Testament and 27 from the New Testament) (see Table 1.1, pp. 4-5); - Roman Catholics, most Eastern Churches, and some Protestants include several additional books from a Greek edition of the Hebrew Bible (see Table 1.1, pp. 4-5); - these books, although authoritative for Roman Catholics, etc., are known to most Protestants as the APOCRYPHA or Deuterocanonical; - For these Christians, the Bible consists of 72 books.

9 9 Examine the Bible you have. What is the arrangement of the books?

10 10 What value does the Bible have for us today? - It is the foundation document for Judaism and Christianity; - It profoundly influences standards of human behaviour; - It influences assumptions about the purpose of life; - Western culture remains permeated by biblical principles...; - Western society is still largely defined by ancient Judeo-Christian religious traditions.

11 11 - How is the Bible used and/or studied today? - Its use in a religious service…; - Its use as studied in a university…; Reading: pp Harris, Understanding the Bible.

12 12 BIBLICAL WRITERS, MANUSCRIPTS, AND TRANSLATIONS: See Chapter 2, “The Process of Formation: How the Bible was Transmitted, Canonized, and Translated”, pp / Ancient tradition had Moses as the author of the TORAH/PENTATEUCH, that is, the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy); - The Books of JOSHUA, EZRA, NEHEMIAH, etc., assumed to have been written by Israelite leaders whose name they bore; - However…but the product of a multiple authorship and a lengthy process of repeated editing.

13 13 What were the Original Languages in which the Bible was written: - Hebrew – most of the Hebrew Bible; - Aramaic – see Gen 31.47; Jer 10.11; Ezra ; ; Daniel 2.4b-7.28.; - Greek – many of the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books and all NT books.

14 14 What were the First Translations of the Bible: - The SEPTUAGINT (LXX): from the original Hebrew and Aramaic into Greek – done by Jewish scholars in Alexandria, Egypt; - The VULGATE (translation from the Hebrew and Greek into Latin): done by Jerome, living as a monk in Bethlehem, between 385 and 405 C.E., with the help of Jewish scholars; -Pre-Reformation translations at first merely rendered the Vulgate, into the languages of modern Europe; - See Textbook, pp ; - Not until the 1500s were translations again made from the Bible’s original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek manuscripts.

15 15 How was the CANON of the Hebrew Bible determined? - The term CANON (see G-7, and “Canonization process”, pp /18-22); - It refers to a list of books officially approved for use in a religious community; - a standard of measurement by which books are included or excluded from the authoritative list; - CANONIZATION occurs as an historical process; - CANONIZATION: the end result of a long period of development.

16 16 - HULDA, and the canonization process (time of Josiah [ BC] {see 2 Kings ; 2 Chronicles }).

17 17 - By about 400 B.C.: the Torah accepted as Scripture, authoritative for teaching the Mosaic legacy; - Within another two centuries, the Former and Latter Prophets (see Box 1.1) were probably regarded as sacred; - As early as the mid-2nd century B.C., a third category of Scripture was also recognized (see “Introduction” to ECCLESIASTICUS, OR SIRACH);

18 18 THE BIBLE AND MODERN SCHOLARSHIP (see Textbook, pp /25-29): - BIBLICAL CRITICISM: - “CRITICISM”: from a Greek word meaning “to judge” or “to discern”…. - in biblical studies, scholars use various critical methods to study the Bible;

19 19 BIBLICAL FUNDAMENTALISM: - A theological movement…. (see pp and G-15/G-14 in textbook); - Its insistence….; - In this view, in the act of writing, biblical authors transcended ordinary human limitations to produce absolutely infallible documents; - It is a response to modern scientific methods of analyzing the Bible.

20 20 BIBLICAL FUNDAMENTALISM: - a rejection of any historical-critical study of the biblical texts; - most biblical scholars, whether Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish do not accept fundamentalism; - they believe in the use of a variety of scientific methodologies in studying the Bible; - they seek an informed understanding of the processes by which the Bible evolved.

21 21 Reading Analytically: The Bible and Modern Scholarship (pp /25-28) New Ways of Analysis.

22 22 HISTORICAL CRITICISM: - The evaluation of documents; - The historical critic investigates: - WHEN was the book written? - WHERE was the book written? - WHAT sources were used? - WHO is the author? - FOR WHOM was the book intended? - Does the book have an editorial history? - If so, what is that history?

23 23 HISTORICAL CRITICISM (contd.): - The primary question for the historical critic is: - What did the book mean when it was written? - Once this is determined, we may then ask: What does the book mean now? For me? For us? For today?

24 24 HISTORICAL CRITICISM (CONTD.): - The historical critic wants to determine: - What were the social, political, and religious forces that may have influenced the authors’ or editors’ views of their subject?

25 25 SOURCE CRITICISM: - Scholars search for the different SOURCES, both oral and written, that the author(s) or editor(s) incorporated into it; - e. g., four main literary units, namely, J, E, D, AND P, in the Torah/Pentateuch (Documentary Hypothesis, G-11/G , pp /67-72): - Jahwist; - Elohist; - Deuteronomist; and - Priestly. - See the beginning of the Gospel according to Luke (1.1-4).

26 26 FORM CRITICISM: - a related method; - The recognition that the Torah/Pentateuch is made up of many smaller units: - For example, ancient folk tales, priestly rituals, genealogies, court archives, war hymns, parables, poems, creeds, etc.; - These units can generally stand alone. - See, for example, Genesis a and 2.4b-25 – two stories of creation (P and J).

27 27 PERICOPES: - These independent units are called PERICOPES; - they originally had an independent existence….: - they are building blocks….(like bricks that go to make up a building);

28 28 FORM CRITICISM: - Looks behind the written form of the PERICOPE…; - The SITZ-IM-LEBEN…, that is, the “life setting”; - for example, the two versions of God’s disclosure of his personal name, Yahweh, to Moses (Exodus 3 and 6), etc.

29 29 - These traditions, i.e., PERICOPES, circulated orally ….before they were written down…and before they were put into the permanent form in which we now find them in the biblical text; - Thus, FORM CRITICISM deals with the stages of development that orally transmitted traditions undergo....

30 30 REDACTION CRITICISM: - The role of the individual Bible writer; - The author-editor (redactor) did not slavishly copy sources, but rather revised them (see the beginning of the Gospel according to Luke 1.1-4); - He wove them together and shaped older documents according to a specific theological purpose (see Genesis , the story of the great flood) (P and J interwoven); - Thus, an emphasis on the author’s crucial function in assembling, rearranging, and reinterpreting older materials; - See, for example, the arrangement of the two stories of Creation in Genesis a and 2.4b-25.

31 31 LITERARY CRITICISM: - Literary criticism attempts to discover the significance of the text as we now have it; - The literary critic examines the texts’ final form, searching for ways to interpret their meaning; - Every experienced reader is a literary critic….not only to acquire information but to recognize the author’s interests, images, and phrases; - all this suggests the author’s intent or purpose.

32 32 LITERARY CRITICISM (CONTD.): - Step One: to identify the various literary genres in the Bible (See Box 2.4 “Some Representative Literary Genres in the Hebrew Bible”, p. 31/26); - to attempt to determine if the author is using expressions of speech…..

33 33 THE READER DOES NOT COME EMPTY-HANDED TO THE TEXT; - the personal experiences of the reader; - the reader’s assumptions and preconceptions ….; - what the reader often does unconsciously…; - the reader’s projection of subjective meaning…; - thus, the creative act of reading….; - the text will then cease to have objective autonomy.

34 34 Example of a reader with experience in Near Eastern culture, history of religions, etc. - A reader who approaches the text with a particular goal/purpose in mind…..

35 35 Questions: 1. WHAT IS THE BIBLE FOR A JEW, A PROTESTANT, AND A ROMAN CATHOLIC? 2. WHAT ARE THE MAIN DIVISIONS OF THE HEBREW SCRIPTURES? GIVE EXAMPLES OF BOOKS IN EACH DIVISION. 3. WHAT IS MEANT BY APOCRYPHA? DEUTEROCANONICAL? 4. WHAT VALUE DOES THE BIBLE HAVE FOR A BELIEVER? A SECULAR PERSON?

36 36 QUESTIONS (C0NT.): 5. WHAT ARE WAYS IN WHICH THE BIBLE IS USED AND STUDIED TODAY BY DIFFERENT PEOPLE? 6. WHAT IS MEANT BY BIBLICAL FUNDAMENTALISM? 8.WHAT IS THE REACTION OF MOST BIBLICAL SCHOLARS TO BIBLICAL FUNDAMENTALISM? 8. In what languages was the Bible originally written? 9. Explain clearly “Septuagint” and “Vulgate.”

37 What is meant by the canon of Scripture? 11. Describe clearly Huldah’s role in the canonization process. 12. Why is it that there is a different canon of Scripture for the Jews, Protestant Christians, and Roman Catholic Christians? 13. Describe the process that led to the canonization of the books of the Hebrew Scriptures. 14. Describe clearly “historical criticism”.

38 WHAT IS SOURCE CRITICISM? 16. WHAT IS FORM CRITICISM? 17. WHAT ARE PERICOPES? GIVE EXAMPLES OF PERICOPES IN THE HEBREW SCRIPTURES/OLD TESTAMENTS. 18. WHAT IS MEANT BY REDACTION CRITICISM? 19. EXPLAIN CLEARLY THE GOALS OF “LITERARY CRITICISM”. 20. GIVE EXAMPLES OF FIVE DIFFERENT LITERARY CATEGORIES THAT THE BIBLICAL AUTHORS EMPLOYED.

39 39 Plus “Questions for Review” and “Questions for Discussion and Reflection” on p. 11 and p. 34/30 in Textbook.


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