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Old Testament Why do we use it?

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  1. Old TestamentWhy do we use it? It’s Old and has all of the most controversial beliefs

  2. Testament? • Testament is the Latin translation for Covenant-God’s actions with humanity • Torah is the acronym for The Law, the Prophets and the Writings in Hebrew • Protestant and Jewish Canons are 39 books • Catholic Old Testament Canon is 46 Books

  3. Judith-Tobit-Baruch-1st,2nd Maccabees-Ecclesiastics-Wisdom of Solomon • Septuagint was the Greek Torah translation for the Jews of the Diaspora • Septuagint refers to the 72 Greek Rabbis who translated the Hebrew Torah before the time of Christ for Greek Jews • More Jews remained outside of Palestine than were in Palestine after the Diaspora

  4. Pentateuch • Genesis-5 Books- pre-history of God’s call in creation and the time of the patriarch's • Exodus-Deliverance from Egypt & receiving the Covenant • Leviticus-obligations of the Covenant • Numbers-increases laws and time in desert • Deuteronomy-Moses gives meaning of Covenant

  5. Historical Books • Joshua-conquest of the Promised land • Judges-settlement and survival in the land • 1st & 2nd Samuel-Chosen peoples need for King and coming of Saul and David • 1st & 2nd Kings-History and fidelity of Kings who followed David down to the end of Jewish Monarchy in 586 BC

  6. Historical Books • 1st & 2nd Chronicles-Priestly view of period from Saul to return from Exile & David • Ezra-Emphasizes Jewish piety and the Torah in the face of Hellenism-closes Israel’s openness to mixed marriages-race • Nehemiah-Rebuilding, Practicality, census, feast of Booths (tents)

  7. Historical Books • Tobit-Jewish piety & Oriental folklore-life at Nineveh-1st cure by fish-Angel Raphael • Judith-God saves Israel through a woman! • Esther-Feast of Purim-another woman saves Israel-teaches the people • 1st Maccabees-Alexander the Great-Jews & Gentiles revolt against Greek Syria • 2nd Maccabees-Theological viewpoint, homily and history joined together

  8. Wisdom-Writings • Less attention to divine salvation, Torah • Less interest in Israel’s history, nationhood • Seeks answers to human problems: death-suffering-inequality-prosperity of wicked • Search for living a good life before God • Lessons for all people and not just believers

  9. Wisdom-Writings • Wisdom writings are similar too ancient texts of time, some as late as 2000BC • Sumeria-Assyria-Egypt all had Wisdom sayings • Sources used to educate within families and even in formal educational context • Everyday life, relationships, money and aspects other than survival and piety taught

  10. Wisdom-Writings • Maxims for life and living • Problems that are the precursors to the solution given by Christ in the New Testament • Wisdom knowledge was a longer period in Israel’s history than the time of prophets • Lessons of order, cause and effect, time as God is revealed in creation

  11. Wisdom-WritingsJob • Written between 7th-5th Century BC • When bad things happen to a good guy • Setting is a folktale used still today to convey interesting stories • A search for meaning in suffering • Who needs friends like Job’s • Asking the hard questions of God

  12. Wisdom-WritingsPsalms • The Hebrew Psalter (150)- at least half attributed to Davidic authorship • Written specifically for liturgical worship • Songs have distinct patterns, uses • Praise of God, exaltation, thanksgiving, lament are the most prolific both communal and individual • Don’t know how to pray, seek a Psalm

  13. Wisdom-WritingsProverbs • Order in God’s creation governing man too • Cause & Effect-acts have consequences • Time- Israel was to move forward in time mistakes of the past don’t end hope • God is revealed in nature’s beauty • God’s transcendent mystery is in the world • Suffering has meaning • Life is positive-there is always hope

  14. Wisdom-WritingsProverbs • Responsibility is the human condition • God’s plan is a gift beyond human understanding • Fear of the Lord is Wisdom • Wisdom knows its limit • God is beyond all human wisdom • The virtue of the wise is TRUST in God

  15. EcclesiastesPessimistic Preacher • Qoheleth is Hebrew for Preacher-head of the assembly • Implied to be from Solomon-good source • Israelite thought after exile-Greek influence-doubts old answers • Tries to understand, find meaning in life by human thought • There is a time for everything

  16. EcclesiastesPessimistic Preacher • Futility and emptiness result of constant searching in humanity • Divine mystery is always mystery • Enjoy what life affords you as “all is gift” • 1st step away from God as punisher • Eat-drink and be merry for tomorrow we die • Trust and hope in God in faith is the truth

  17. Song of SongsCreation-Love-Sex • Solomon gets around-many cultures* advance love and beauty of marriage feast • God’s love seen through the allegory of human love • Extols the power of undying love as God has for Israel and Christ has for his Church and our soul • Source of much Middle Ages Mysticism

  18. Book of Wisdom • Written about a century before Christ • Book of Wisdom known only in the Greek Septuagint* • Philosophy found in Philo of Alexandria other Jewish writers of the 1st century BC • Probably last book written of Old Testament • Solomon given credit where due • Keep the faith-don’t be wise of the world

  19. Book of Wisdom • Justice and Wisdom under the eye of God brings eternal reward for just • Praise of Wisdom for its value to all • Long history of Israel’s failures and God’s mercy-folly of ungodliness • Salvation is starting to be seen as reward • Sheds light on Israel’s struggle in secular Greek and Roman world-as we do today

  20. SirachEcclesiasticus (Church Book) • Not in Protestant or Hebrew Scripture • Written in Hebrew about 175-200BC-translated to Greek • Jesus son of Eleazar, son of Sirach translated by author’s grandson • Ancient Hebrew text found at Masada predates Christ (by 1900 half proven ok)

  21. SirachEcclesiasticus (Church Book) • God is compassion, but… • Ambiguity & uncertainty of life and human limitations; we can’t resolve God’s mystery • Ethics for everyday life • The rule of the Law and fear of the Lord are true wisdom • Not doctrinal but a good map

  22. SirachEcclesiasticus (Church Book) • One living and Eternal God • He makes himself known through creation • Made man for God’s glory and goodness • Endowed man with free will and accountability • Israel-the chosen people • Wisdom is the fear of God • Proven in Faith, Hope, Love and Trust in God

  23. Prophets • Out of Order • “Nabi”: one called, “pro-phates”: speaks on behalf of another-herald, announcer • Often “stood in heaven-with God” • Early and late-early prophets were specific and on payrolls-not hereditary, odd job • Later Prophets concerned with morality, virtue, piety, vice and failures of people

  24. Prophets • Major Prophets-wrote a lot • Minor Prophets-wrote less • Prophetic Books are collections of thoughts and words of prophets and later translators and editors • The written words are translated to every times needs • God’s words don’t die but lives anew

  25. Isaiah • Longest prophetic book in Bible • Written over 40 years around 700BC • Original work believed to be only the 1st 39 of 66 chapters • Isaiah had access to king and most likely a person of noble birth and education • Lived through wars and rebellions • Much of this history found in museums

  26. Isaiah • Focus on God’s plan for the whole world • Visions of Immanuel and hope to show God’s love for the people • God is the “Holy One of Israel” residing in the midst of the people • Foresaw destruction of Israel, but with a remnant for hope and from which to rebuild

  27. Isaiah • God is not hateful, but exalted in justice and righteous in holiness • Made use of Jerusalem’s Royal traditions • A southern prophet in Jerusalem not of the northern kingdom • The Temple was next to palace in place and mind and politics • Trust in the Lord will lead the way

  28. Isaiah • Ethical insight, real warnings of disaster, and hope for the future mark Isaiah • Isaiah becomes basis for reflections • Gave hope in the time of Exile • Stirred the messianic hopes in post exile prophets • Isaiah is the most quoted book of early Christianity for explanation of Jesus Christ

  29. Jeremiah • Prophet chosen from the womb • A book about and not just from Jeremiah • Written over 45 years during a time of great change • Egypt, Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, Pharaoh, all holding sway over Israel • Israel had 3 kings in the 20 years • Exile to Babylon begins (2Kings24:10-16)

  30. Jeremiah • Taught against idolatry and injustice • Had great sympathy for God’s and mans needs • Message of obedience to God’s will • Israel failed to take up pleas and Jeremiah despairs of being able to halt or intercede for the people • Foretells first destruction of Temple

  31. Jeremiah • Temple priest, prophets and others were hotly opposed to Jeremiah • Saved from execution more than once • Spoke against Temple prophets who only spoke words of comfort and peace • Rails against the easy life of comfort they live and their idolatry • Claims true prophets must have been with God in someway taken to Him

  32. Jeremiah • Jeremiah sees a new Covenant for the people-written on the hearts by God • Israel could not achieve obedience on their own, God will grant the grace to obey • In Jeremiah’s view the exiles will have gained more than they lost while those who remained in Israel will have lost more • It is in exile that Biblical tradition will grow

  33. Lamentationsof Jeremiah • Total destruction of Judah left very few scavengers living off the land-586BC • Describes the death of Jerusalem in terms of a widow and not as just death as end • Alone, lonely and friendless without comfort, but not without hope and faith • The visions of Jeremiah are given flesh in Lamentations.

  34. Lamentationsof Jeremiah • A work of an eyewitness to the fall of Jerusalem • A confession of grief and humiliation in the world • Submission to the merited chastisement and a strong faith in God’s love to restore the Israel • Reflects the weakness of man & God’s strength • Israel’s faith survives national ruin and despair • First letters of poems are actually the Hebrew alphabet in order-gives order in emotion

  35. BaruchSecretary to Jeremiah • Not in Protestant or Jewish Scripture • Written either in Jerusalem or Babylon • Confessional and liturgical in view • Lessons learned once again point to the importance of Wisdom and the fear of the Lord • Last Chapter stands on its own

  36. BaruchSecretary to Jeremiah • Epistle of Jeremiah-conflict of authorship • Patterned on work of Jeremiah • Warnings against idolatry without poetry • Seems to be a compilation of works • Admittance to Canon was settled for Catholics at the Council of Trent

  37. EzekielThe prophet from exile • Contemporary of Jeremiah • Seems to have psychic power, mystic seer • Draws themes from more ancient prophets • Recreates trust that God’s still at work • First prophet to teach out of promised land • Like Jeremiah not a person of popularity • He must preach even of people don’t listen

  38. EzekielThe prophet from exile • Book is highly ordered-symbolic, literary • Great detail and unity proves single writer • Judgment a major theme • Tells of infiltration to priesthood of pagans • Individual responsibility for actions • Sin no longer seen as passed down • Strong sense of community-nationhood

  39. EzekielThe prophet from exile • Saw Babylon as God’s instrument • Israel as constantly failing the Covenant • God has to act for “His Name” • Plan for return from exile and restoration • Punishment even for lands of pagan gods • Speaks to a people left to pick up the pieces

  40. EzekielThe prophet from exile • New Covenant was to be on the hearts • Religion was not to be external but in the peoples hearts • Religion had now to be practiced outside the Temple and the Promise • The Pentateuch written during this time • Deuteronomic History to explain the disaster of exile

  41. DanielApocalyptic • 4th and last Major prophet-order varies from Talmud which places it last • Daniel lives in Royal Court of Babylon-exile • Chapters 3-14 only in Septuagint-includes • Prayer of Azarias-3 in furnace-writings on the wall-and the lion’s den • Story of faith-Not of history-confused details

  42. DanielApocalyptic • Dreams, interpretations and history mixed into a story of faith • These collections are a collection of predictions after the face • Long ago events that have already taken place coded to protect those in peril • Written over 400 years to interpret history after the fact

  43. DanielApocalyptic • Integrity & courage, study the law and behave well give example of piety • Gives first divine promise of life after death • Kingdom of God-Son of Man are given • Apocalyptic wording is new literary form used for the first time here • Symbolic language, special agents not of human origin but as God as Master of all

  44. The Minor ProphetsHosea • Hosea-prophesied at same time as Isaiah did in Judah • God chastises as a jealous lover • Israel’s infidelity like Gomers • Israel had been ruthless to poor and the rich were extremely greedy • The first example of God and Israel as marriage-used by Paul as Christ and Church

  45. The Minor ProphetsJoel • Post-exilic (516BC) Penitential in nature • Rend your hearts, not your garments • Plagues and punishments come, always • Apocalyptic visions and a new present to the world • God’s fidelity and love are eternal • The closer the time of Christ comes the more apocalyptic Jewish prophecy becomes

  46. The Minor ProphetsAmos • Contemporary to Hosea (750BC) • Sheppard did not go to prophetic school • Told to go Northern kingdom to preach • Israel rebuked more than Judah • Heartless luxury, self indulgence • Book ends in hope of God’s restoration of Davidic kingdom and purified nation

  47. The Minor ProphetsObadiah • Shortest Book in Old Testament • Written to Edomites as they seized areas of Israel with Babylon • Edom was people by Esau’s children (Jacob (Israel) & Esau (Edom) ) brothers • Stress on God’s justice against nations • God cares for all who suffer and will prevail in justice sooner or later

  48. The Minor ProphetsJonah • Contains only one prophecy-Jonah’s words to Nineveh • Johan disobeys is sent to sea to be saved by a fish and praises God • Jonah considered humorous to Israel then • Jonah is a story to enjoy with a smile • Reverses and irony show a universal God • We can’t figure out God with our ways

  49. The Minor ProphetsMicah • Not of Jerusalem-talks of villages & towns • Contemporary to Isaiah-but opposite type • Same evils as seen in Jerusalem • Condemnation of big city problem life • Punishment for all of Israel • Hope remains but in lawyerly language • Condemns: if everyone does it, its ok • Rather: do right and walk humbly with God

  50. The Minor ProphetsNahum • Name means Consoler but he foretells destruction of Nineveh, Assyrian capital • Nineveh was hated by all • Israel’s failures were seen to be less than Nineveh’s • The same fate would await Israel • Nineveh trusted in its walls and warriors • Know what God had done and trust Him