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1. What is the Hebrew Bible? AKA Tanakh AKA The Old Testament.

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Presentation on theme: "1. What is the Hebrew Bible? AKA Tanakh AKA The Old Testament."— Presentation transcript:

1 1. What is the Hebrew Bible? AKA Tanakh AKA The Old Testament

2 The Holy Book of Judaism The Tanakh is the chief holy book of Judaism Judaism’s other holy book is called the Talmud. The Talmud is largely composed of an oral tradition of interpretation of the the Tanakh that was eventually written down.

3 Who are the Jews? AKA Hebrews, AKA Israelites (One of the) first monotheistic religions = worship of one God. Their history, beliefs and laws are recorded in the Tanakh and the Talmud.

4 Judaism is an ethnicity as well as a religion Hence, there are ‘secular Jews’ – people who are ethnically Jewish but who do not subscribe to Jewish religious beliefs.

5 A very brief history of the Jews Babylonian exile 587 – 539 BCE Destruction of the Second Temple 70 CE by Titus, son of the Roman emperor, Vespasian Diaspora Anti-semitism: religious in origin/ then racial, culminating in the holocaust. 1948: Establishment of the modern state of Israel

6 The Hebrew Bible is also part of the Christian Bible The Hebrew Bible is the first part of the Christian Bible – what is called the Old Testament. Jesus was as a Jew, as were the first Christians. At first Christianity was a new development within Judaism, only after time did it become a separate religion.

7 Stories of the Hebrew Bible also retold in Islam’s holy book – the Quran

8 The Structure of the Bible The Hebrew Bible aka the Old Testament (Christian & Jewish): The Law – The five books of Moses The Prophets – history of the united monarchy and the kingdoms of Judah and Israel, including Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings. The Writings New Testament (Christian): Gospels - the life and death of Jesus Acts of the Apostles - the work and teaching of the early founders of the Church Epistles - letters from Christian leaders, particularly Paul, to Christian communities Book of Revelation

9 TaNaK (Tanakh) aka the Hebrew Bible, aka Old Testament An acronym for the three parts of the text: Torah (law); Nebi’im (prophets); Kethub’im (writings) A total of 24 books (39 by the Christian system of counting)

10 Torah (also called Books of Moses or Pentateuch) Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy

11 The Torah as a Collection First part of the canon established It was pulled together after the fall of Jerusalem in 587/86 BCE. Regarded as fixed by the 4 th century BCE Most authoritative texts in Judaism

12 The origins of the Torah according to the Torah According to biblical tradition, the Torah was revealed to Moses at Sinai. Aron Tendler, Associate Rabbi, Yeshiva University: “We believe the Torah was written by the hand of Moses but dictated to him by God himself in a totally divine manner, no different than you would dictate a letter to a secretary.”

13 Rabbi David Wolpe, University of Judaism: “The Torah itself never exactly claims that Moses wrote all of it. There’s a section that says Moses wrote down these words but it never says ‘and all the other words in this book’. The belief originated in pre-Rabbinic and Rabbinic times, the first couple of centuries BCE, for lots of reasons not the least of which was; you can’t establish the authority of the book any better than saying G-d wrote it.”

14 Prophets (Nebi’im or Nevi’im) Former Prophets – Joshua – Judges – Samuel – Kings Latter Prophets – Major Prophets Isaiah Jeremiah Ezekiel – Minor Prophets (Book of the 12) Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

15 The Prophets as a Collection “Prophecy” does not mean telling the future; it is about the action of God in history This collection is far more diverse. It was closed by the 2 nd century BCE. We know that because Daniel (c. 164 BCE) was not included.

16 Writings (Kethub’im or Kethuv’im) Psalms Proverbs Job Song of Songs Ruth Lamentations Ecclesiastes Esther Daniel Ezra-Nehemiah Chronicles

17 The Writings as a Collection Different formulations existed over time (compare Mt 7:12 to Lk 24:44) Following the destruction of the second temple in Jerusalem (70 CE), the pressure rose to close the canon Some hold the final form was declared at Jamnia at 90 CE

18 The Tanakh The Tanakh is written primarily in Hebrew We do not have any original manuscripts; we only have copies of copies Codex Leningradensis is the oldest complete Hebrew manuscript we have. It dates to 1008 CE

19 Genesis Chapters 1 - 3

20 The Documentary Hypothesis The Documentary Hypothesis is the theory that the first five books of the Hebrew Bible (aka The Torah aka The Five Books of Moses aka the Pentateuch) derive from four distinct sources. These four sources sometimes overlap and are sometimes inconsistent. EG: Modern scholars, observing what seemed to be inconsistencies in the text, questioned whether chapters 2 and 3 (the Adam and Eve story) had even been written by the same hand that wrote chapter 1 (creation of the world in six days).

21 When did God create woman? Chapter 1: 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Chapter 2: God creates Adam. At first he is alone. Almost as if the creation recounted in chapter 1 had never happened. Then creates all the animals and has Adam name them and only then creates Eve.

22 When did God create birds? [On the 5 th day, prior to creation of man and woman on the 6 th day] 20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind.” [Man and woman created on the 6 th day]. Gen 2:19 Animals and birds created after Adam, in conflict with chapter 1.

23 When did God create plants? Gen 2:4-7 seems to announce a wholly new beginning. Seems to say humanity was created before plant life but Chapter 1 has vegetation created on the third day (along with the earth) and humanity created on the sixth.

24 What is God like? Chapter 1: God is a cosmic sovereign. Chapters 2 and 3: God is a divine craftsman. He Himself shapes Adam out of the mud and breathes air into his nostrils. God walks about the Garden (Gen 3:8). When Adam and Eve hide from him, he calls out “where are you?” Apparently, he does not know. At the end, God makes clothes for the pair – another hands-on act.

25 ‘God’ vs ‘Lord God’ God is referred to quite consistently in chapter 1 by the word “God” (elohim). Starting at Gen 2:4, exactly where the story of Adam and Eve begins, he suddenly becomes “the Lord God”. The word “God” is now preceded by YHWH (the proper name of the Hebrew god). “The Lord God” is used consistently until the end of chapter 3. The writer who referred to him as God saw him as a cosmic deity. The writer who used the name “the Lord God” conceived of him in more personal terms, a sort of divine humanoid who walked around and shaped things and made clothes.

26 The Documentary Hypothesis

27 The Yawehist (J) is the source of the Adam and Eve story Story of Adam and Eve a product of the author known as J: uses YHWH; anthropomorphic conception of God; focused on humanity; the effect of past events on humanity’s present condition People have to work for food, women have to suffer the pain of childbirth because of the first humans’ disobedience. Human beings are called man (adam in Hebrew) because that’s what the first created human was called. This in turn was because he was made out of the ground (adamah)

28 Adam and Eve as allegory Interesting theory about the meaning of Adam and Eve – seems to reflect the moment humanity discovered the secret of agriculture. Figuring out that seeds can be collected and then deliberately planted in fields was a great step forward for humanity. But agriculture brought with it certain pains – working long hours under the sun, earning one’s bread “by the sweat of your face” (Gen 3:19)

29 Adam and Eve as allegory At a similar stage of historical development, people began to wear more clothes. At a similar time, human beings discovered that childbirth is the result of an “act of planting” nine months earlier. Before this discovery, a father may not understand he has any specific relationship to this or that child. Afterwards, the man “will cling to his wife and they shall be one flesh” (Gen 2: 24).

30 Noah and the Flood Q) Do repetitions or inconsistencies in Genesis 6 – 9 (the flood story) support the ‘documentary hypothesis’? If so, how?

31 Noah and the Flood Q) There are a number of common features of the biblical and Babylonian flood stories. What does this indicate about the veracity and/or origins of the biblical story?

32 Noah and the Flood Q) Outline the case that Genesis 6 – 9 is based on an actual historical event.

33 Biblical TraditionHistorical Scholarship (according to Watson 2005 and Kugel 2007) Tower of Babel (Genesis) 1765 BCE: God created a variety of languages so people of Babel could not co-operate in building a tower to heaven. Kugel - “Ziqqurats had become an essential feature of temple complexes in Mesopotamia as early as the end of the third millennium BCE.” - Built out of mud bricks stuck together with bitumen - “scholars believe that… collapses… of the ziqqurat facades were probably not uncommon in ancient times” - “The thing that must have most characterized Babylon in the minds of ancient Israelites was its big cities with their massive populations.” - Story possibly dates to Babylonian exile but the nature of God and the suspicion of urban sophistication points to an earlier date. - “most [scholars] hypothesize that all Semitic languages do indeed go back to an original ancestor.”

34 Abraham (Genesis) 1813 BCE: Abraham born 1738 BCE: Abraham settles in Canaan 1677 BCE: Isaac prepared as sacrifice 1653 BCE: Jacob born Watson - No independent corroboration for any of the early figures (although Egyptian and Babylonian kings at the time of, say, Moses are firmly established, we know of their actions, remains have been found) -- No archaeological evidence that Abraham, Noah, Moses or Joshua ever existed -- Place names, Philistines, domesticated camels all belong to 1200 BC and after -- Inconsistency between two accounts of creation in Genesis

35 Abraham (Genesis) 1813 BCE: Abraham born 1738 BCE: Abraham settles in Canaan 1677 BCE: Isaac prepared as sacrifice 1653 BCE: Jacob born Kugel - 19 th Century scholarship: “… believed that someone (that is, J or E) who lived long after Abraham, indeed, long after the people of Israel had settled Canaan, made up these stories in order to justify that settlement…” - 2Oth Century – first half: discovery of Ur (which had disappeared from history in the 17 th century BCE); Nuzi tablets (near Haran) reveal legal practices, customs that fit with Abraham narrative; Mari tablets mention names that are those of Abraham’s family. His life and times appear to fit uniquely well with the first half of the 2 nd millennium BCE. - 20 th Century – second half: Philistines interacting with Abraham seems anachronistic; absence of any reference to Abraham of Israel’s 8 th and 7 th century prophets; one scholar argues Abraham’s story created to reflect the Jews’ return after exile in Babylon; nowhere in the bible does it say that Abraham did not worship other Gods. - Sacrifice a ritual to mark an agreement like a signature is today

36 Joseph (Genesis) 1562 BCE: Joseph born 1546 BCE: Joseph sold into slavery 1532 BCE: Joseph becomes Egypt's viceroy 1523 BCE: Jacob and family move to Egypt Kugel - “Ancient Egyptian records reveal that Semitic peoples from the area of Canaan did indeed frequently go down to Egypt in time of famine...” - Western Semites known as the Hyksos, actually took over control of Egypt for a century or so (approximately 1670 – 1570 BCE)

37 Moses (Exodus) 1429 BCE: Egyptian enslavement begins 1393 BCE: Moses born 1313 BCE: Exodus from Egypt Revelation at Mt Sinai 1312 BCE: Moses brings down second set of tablets Watson - No independent corroboration for any of the early figures (although Egyptian and Babylonian kings at the time of, say, Moses are firmly established) -- “One account has the descendants of Abraham going to Egypt and then being led by Moses, via the Wilderness, into Canaan. In the other account, the land is settled from the east, with no mention of Egypt.” (Watson, p. 156) -- “It is the J source that refers to the special relationship between God and the Jews, but there is no mention of a covenant concerning the land. This is why the covenant is thought to be a later invention of the 6 th century when, during exile, the Jews became aware of Zoroastrian beliefs in Babylon.” Kugel - Expulsion of the Hyksos may be the basis for the Exodus story

38 Joshua and the conquest of Canaan 1272 BCE: Death of Moses Yehoshua (Joshua) leads Jews into Israel Watson - Menetaph stele dated to 1204 BC records Egyptian conquest of Ashkelon and Gezer and describes the destruction of ‘the people of Israel’. - No independent corroboration for any of the early figures (although Egyptian and Babylonian kings at the time of, say, Moses are firmly established) - No archaeological evidence to support the story of a 13 th century conquest followed by a united monarchy - no evidence of a short military campaign of conquest - no evidence of any cities in the area being sacked or burned - Arud, Ai and Gibeon – said to have been conquered by Joshua are now known not to have existed then - Evidence of continuity of lifestyle: distinctive pottery, four-room house evolved over 150 years - Possibly, the Jews were a local tribe amongst others

39 David and the period of the kings 879 BCE: Saul anointed king over Israel 877 BCE: David anointed king over Israel 868 BCE: King David establishes rule over all of Israel Watson - Tel Dan stele (dated to the 9 th century) refers to the ‘House of David’ - Goliath wore a helmet. Archaeological discoveries have shown that helmets of the time had a strip that covered the nose and brow. How could a stone from David’s sling have hit Goliath’s forehead? - Examination of 850 female figurines from the 8 th to the 6 th century concludes they are Astarte - - Yahweh’s consort. ‘Pagan Yahwehism’ did not evolve into full-blooded monotheism until the time of the Babylonian exile. -Nobody questions that monotheism was a uniquely Israelite creation in the Middle East

40 Merneptah Stele (aka the Menetaph Stele, aka Israel Stele)

41 Merneptah Stele Dated to 1209/1208 BCE Inscription by the Ancient Egyptian king Merneptah (reign:1213 to 1203 BC) Found at Thebes

42 Merneptah Stele “Canaan is captive with all woe. Ashkelon is conquered, Gezer seized, Yanoam made nonexistent; Israel is wasted, bare of seed.”

43 Merneptah Stele The determinative accompanying Gezer, Ashkelon and Yanoam indicate they are city- states. The determinative accompanying Israel indicates it is a foreign people, perhaps a nomadic tribe.

44 Merneptah Stele Scholarly debate about translation for Some scholars suggest it doesn’t refer to Israel but Jezreel. Only known Egyptian reference to the Israelites Earliest known reference to the Israelites


46 Mesha Stele

47 Commemorates the victory of Mesha, a Moabite king, over Omri the king of Israel. Dated to 840 BCE

48 Tel Dan Stele

49 Aramaic inscription King of Damascus, Hazael, commemorates a victory over Israel. The inscription includes the phrase, ‘House of David’. Dated to 9 th or 8 th century BCE

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