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The Old Testament. Background for Teaching the Sacred Texts Strand of the New Religion Curriculum. Sacred Texts Strand Quiz. Choose the answer to the following statements which best aligns with Catholic Teaching about Sacred Scripture. Question One. How is God revealed in the Bible?

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the old testament

The Old Testament

Background for Teaching the Sacred Texts Strand of the New Religion Curriculum

sacred texts strand quiz
Sacred Texts Strand Quiz

Choose the answer to the following statements which best aligns with Catholic Teaching about Sacred Scripture.

question one
Question One
  • How is God revealed in the Bible?
      • In the first five books (Torah)
      • Through the Decalogue (Ten Commandments) and the 613 mitzvoth (laws)
      • In the history of the Chosen people and the life of Jesus
      • By the teaching of the Prophets, including Jesus
      • Syllabus P 32
answer one
Answer One
  • How is God revealed in the Bible?
      • In the first five books (Torah)
      • Through the Decalogue (Ten Commandments) and the 613 mitzvoth (laws)
      • In the history of the Chosen people and the life of Jesus
      • By the teaching of the Prophets, including Jesus
      • Syllabus P 32
slide5

S1 The Bible tells of God’s self-revelation in the history of the Chosen People, culminating in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ.

• The Abraham story tells how God chose to call and be faithful to special people. ccc 60

• The history of the Chosen People reveals what God is like. ccc 234

• Jesus Christ is the central person in the Bible for Christians. ccc 129

question 2
Question 2
  • Which is True?
  • Jews and Christians share the same Sacred Texts
  • While they share some common texts, Jews, and various Christian groups, count different texts as forming their canon.
  • All Christian groups share the same Sacred Scriptures (the Bible)
answer 2
Answer 2:

Which is True?

  • Jews and Christians share the same Sacred Texts
  • While they share some common texts, Jews, and various Christian groups, count different texts as forming their canon.
  • All Christian groups share the same Sacred Scriptures (the Bible)
question 3
Question 3
  • The Christian term for the collection of texts which tell of Israel’s encounter and relationship with God is:
  • The Old Testament
  • The Hebrew Scriptures
  • The First Covenant
  • All of the Above
  • A and C are the better terms
answer 3
Answer 3:
  • Christians name the collection of texts which tell of Israel’s encounter and relationship with God as:
  • The Old Testament
  • The Hebrew Scriptures
  • The First Covenant
  • All of the Above
  • A and C are the better terms
question four
Question Four
  • The (Catholic) Bible consists of 46 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books which:
      • must be understood and interpreted by believers in different places and times
      • must be read as equally inspired and equally applicable for all people in all times
      • were dictated by the Holy Spirit and therefore are without error and are literally true for all peoples in all times.
      • Syllabus P 33
answer four
Answer Four
  • The (Catholic) Bible, consists of 46 OT books and 27 NT books which:
      • must be understood and interpreted by believers in different places and times
      • must be read as equally inspired and equally applicable for all people in all times
      • were dictated by the Holy Spirit and therefore are without error and literally true for all peoples in all times.
slide12

S4 The books of the Bible are of different literary genres. Each contributes to revealing God’s Word.

• The Bible includes such genres as historical narrative, legend, poetry, letters, legal code, proverbs and parables. ccc 110

• A consideration of literary genre is necessary to understanding the message of the Scriptures. ibc 8

• The Holy Spirit uses people’s everyday ways of communicating to reveal God’s teaching. dv 12

slide13

S6 The individual books of the Bible come from different eras and cultural contexts. They must be understood against this background.

• The culture of the Hebrew peoples developed with their history, e.g. the move from tribal to rural to urban life.

• Invasion by and contact with other peoples influenced the Jewish culture.

• The modern reader needs to have some awareness of the different ways of thinking represented in the Bible. ccc 110

• The chronology of the biblical writings differs from the order of books in the Bible.

question five
Question Five
  • Christians believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God. This means:
      • The sacred writers were not the “true” authors of the books, but only used their faculties and powers to write exactly what the Holy Spirit directed them.
      • The Bible must be true in every way, because Jesus told us the Holy Spirit is Truth and would not confuse us.
      • the Holy Spirit moved the biblical authors to write, in their own ways, only that Truth which God wished to be contained in the Sacred Scriptures.
      • Syllabus P 34
answer five
AnswerFive
  • Christians believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God. This means:
      • The sacred writers were not the “true” authors of the books, but only used their faculties and powers to write exactly what the Holy Spirit directed them.
      • The Bible must be true in every way, because Jesus told us the Holy Spirit is Truth.
      • the Holy Spirit moved the biblical authors to write, in their own ways, only that Truth which God wished to be contained in the Sacred Scriptures.
slide16

S13 The Church teaches that the Holy Spirit guided the formation of the Sacred Scriptures. The Bible is the inspired Word of God.

• Inspiration is the action of the Holy Spirit moving the biblical authors to write only what God intended. ccc 105

• The sacred writers remained the true authors of the books, using their own faculties and powers. ccc 106

• Inerrancy refers to the truth of the Bible. The biblical texts “firmly, faithfully and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the sacred Scripture.” dv 11

• There are different types of truth: historical, factual, scientific, religious.

The intention of the author is important in determining the nature of the truth imparted. ccc 110

• The canon of Sacred Scripture was established gradually within the Church under guidance of the Holy Spirit. ccc 120

question six
Question Six
  • The central message of the Old Testament is:
      • God is an omnipotent, omniscient and omni-present judge who must be feared, obeyed and worshipped
      • The Law (The Ten Commandments) and the proclamation of the Prophets
      • An irrevocable Covenant between God and the Chosen People
      • There are many themes for the Old Testament, depending on when the books were written.
      • Syllabus P 33
answer six
Answer Six
  • The Central theme of the Old Testament is:
      • God is an omnipotent, omniscient and omni-present judge who must be feared, obeyed and worshipped
      • The Law (The Ten Commandments) and the proclamation of the Prophets
      • An irrevocable Covenant between God and the Chosen People
      • There are many themes for the Old Testament, depending on when the books were written.
slide19

S9 The theme of Covenant is central to the Old Testament.

The Prophets recall Israel to fidelity to the Covenant.

Matthew presents Jesus as establishing the New Covenant.

• The Covenant is the unique relationship between God and the Chosen People, based on God’s gracious choice. ccc 62

• The Covenant is irrevocable. ccc 71

• When the people neglected the Covenant, God remained faithful by sending the prophets. ccc 64

• Jesus’ death and resurrection establishes a New Covenant, this one between God and those who become one with Christ. ccc 613

question seven
Question Seven

Which is the best answer?

  • The Four Gospels tell the story of the life of Jesus
  • The four Gospels interpret and re-tell the life and teaching of Jesus for their particular communities
  • The Four Gospels each contribute different, but accurate information about the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus
  • Unlike the Old Testament, books of the New Testament must be accepted and believed without interpretation.
  • Syllabus P 35
answer seven
Answer Seven

Which is the best answer?

  • The Four Gospels tell the story of the life of Jesus
  • The four Gospels interpret and re-tell the life and teaching of Jesus for their particular communities
  • The Four Gospels each contribute different, but accurate information about the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus
  • Unlike the Old Testament, books of the New Testament must be accepted and believed without interpretation.
slide22

S14 Some knowledge of biblical criticism helps a better understanding of the Bible’s message.

• Scripture needs to be understood in its proper historical and cultural setting. ccc 110

• The spiritual sense of Scripture opens one to a deeper meaning of the text where some events are signs of another reality. ccc 117

S20 The teaching office of the Church has been entrusted with the task of providing authentic interpretation of God’s Word.

• Fundamentalism denies the authoritative role of the Church in interpreting Sacred Scripture. ibc IF

• The Biblical Commission offers expert guidance on the interpretation of the Bible in the Church.

• The science of biblical interpretation serves to open the Scriptures to a deeper understanding.

what s in a name yrs p 3
What’s in a name? (Yrs P-3)
  • “The” Bible. Gr: tabiblia- the books
  • Testament: covenant/agreement
  • Scriptures:
    • Word of God (i.e. a Sacred Book) set down in writing (So there are words of God not in writing)
    • Originally an oral tradition for hundreds of years (OT) and at least a generation (NT)
    • Word of God for particular peoples: (Set down in the context of time and place and culture and the worldview of those peoples.)
whose scriptures
Whose Scriptures?
  • Hebrew Scriptures
    • The Tanakh (TNK) is an acronym of the initial Hebrew letters of the Tanakh's three traditional subdivisions: Torah (Law) Nevi'im (Prophets) and Ketuvim (Writings). According to Jewish tradition, the Tanakh consists of twenty-four books.
  • “Protestant” OT: 39 books
  • “Catholic” OT: 46 books add 1,2 Maccabees; Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus; Baruch (Deutero-canonicals)
old testament new testament
Old Testament, New Testament
  • Jewish Scholars have no issue with this nomenclature.
  • The Christian Old Testament (39, 46 books) is not the same as the Hebrew Scriptures (24 books)
  • The structure of the Jewish Sacred Writings is not the same as that of the Christian Old Testament.
  • The Jewish Texts are structured so as to point to reconstruction and renewal of Israel.
the christian old testament
The Christian Old Testament
  • While all Christians agree there are 27 books in the New Testament, Catholics (46)and Protestants (39) disagree on the number of books of the Old Testament.
  • Protestant scholars follow Martin Luther who accepted only those texts originally written in Hebrew, rejecting the texts first recorded in Greek. Hence seven Deutero- (extra)canonical books of the Catholic Bible (Septuagint)
an arranged text
An “Arranged” Text
  • Jewish and Christian compilers arranged the texts of the Old testament for their own purposes.
  • The Jewish Texts are structured so as to point to reconstruction and renewal of Israel.
  • The structure of the Christian Old Testament is such that it ends with prophets, pointing to the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah.
one book many text types yr 4
One “Book”: Many Text Types (Yr 4)
  • The Bible is an omnibus: it contains a collection of books, written in a variety of Text Types: e.g.
    • Myth and Story
    • Codes and Laws
    • Accounts of historical events and characters
    • Songs and Prayers
    • Letters
    • Prophetic Utterances
    • Chronologies
    • Gospels
    • Collections of sayings and wisdom
many text types many authors
Many Text Types, Many Authors
  • Authorship of the Bible texts is a complex thing.
  • Oral traditions/written texts
  • Drawn from encounters with many different cultures: Mesopotamian; Egyptian; Babylonian; Greek; Persian; Ammonites; Philistines
  • Worked and re-worked: (JEDP); Septuagint (LXX 250-150 BCE); Pentateuch (400CE); in retrospect of historical events- especially the Exile.
  • Across time: Y: 950 BCE; E: 750BCE; D: 8th C; P: 587-538 BCE;
  • Translated across time and cultures.
  • Meaning is affected by all of these.
learning 1 for the classroom
Learning 1 for the Classroom

The concept of “ The Holy Bible” needs constant unpacking for students.

  • Students need to be reminded every time they open a Bible that it is not one, uniform, sequential and cohesive book they are opening: they are opening a particular text type, among a collection of text types transmitted over a period of about 1100 years and written and arranged for specific religious, social and political purposes. (See Yr 4, 6, 7)
  • However, the text is still part of a sacred story; it is to be treated with reverence and awe because it reveals religious truths about God and God’s desire that humans would enter into a relationship that would challenge and transform the way they lived.
how the bible was formed
How the Bible was formed
  • Events/ exposure to other cultures
  • Oral Traditions
  • Written Tradition (J,E,D,P)
  • Canons
the written tradition
The Written Tradition

Four source hypothesis: JDEP

  • J - Yahwist
  • E - Elohist
  • D - Deuteronomist
  • P - Priestly Group
j yahwist
J - Yahwist
  • Names G-d as Yahweh,
  • Describes G-d with humanlike characteristics
  • Composed in southern kingdom – Judah
  • favourable view of kingship
e elohist
E - Elohist
  • Names G-d as Elohim
  • Portrays G-d as beyond human understanding
  • composed in northern kingdom – Israel
  • unfavourable view of kingship
d deuteronomist
D - Deuteronomist
  • Emphasises G-d’s covenant love and election
  • Calls for change of heart
  • Begun in Judah near time of religious reform,
  • Finished in Babylon after destruction of Judah
  • Sees Judah’s unfaithfulness as cause of her destruction
p priestly group
P – Priestly group
  • Emphasises G-d as source of life and hope
  • stresses Sinai/Mosaic covenant as bilateral
  • interested in priestly concerns, matters of ritual worship and law
  • Begun during exile, finished after return to promised land
  • serves as final redactor of Pentateuch, writing with hindsight
well what s in the old testament
Well, What’s in the Old Testament?
  • The Law (Torah- First Five Books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy)
  • Historical Books (e.g.Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Judith, Ester, Maccabees)
  • Wisdom and poetry books (e.g. Job, Proverbs, Psalms, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Wisdom)
  • The Prophets (Major and minor: e.g. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Daniel, Micah, Zechariah)
what happens in the ot
What Happens in the OT?
  • Creation
  • Sin (Original and lots of others!)
  • Murder and betrayal (Cain and Abel, Joesph and his brothers; David and Uriah)
  • Migrations and exiles (Mesopotamia, Egypt, Babylon)
  • Great escapes (Sea of Reeds, Joseph, Moses, Daniel)
  • Battles (David & Goliath; Judas Maccabeus; Ester)
  • Division ( Northern and Southern Kingdoms; Jews and Samaritans)
  • God is revealed (Burning bush; Mt Sinai; floods, rainbow, wind, columns of fire)
  • Foreign Occupations (Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans)
who s who in the ot
Who’s Who in the OT?
  • First man and first woman
  • Abraham and Sarah
  • Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob, Leah and Rachel
  • Joseph and his brothers
  • Moses, Pharaoh, Joshua
  • Samuel, Sampson
  • Kings Saul, David and Solomon
  • Ester, Deborah, Ruth
  • The Prophets
learning 2 for the classroom
Learning 2 for the Classroom:
  • Scripture needs interpretation in order to determine historical truths; factual truths and religious truths (Yrs 4, 7)
  • The Bible, like all classical texts, must be interpreted through study of author, text and message. (Yr 10, Yr 7)
  • No longer is it accepted that Bible provides an unchanging and unmediated revelation from God.
  • Selecting a text merely for “what it says” is no longer acceptable for mainstream Christians
religious stories religious history
Religious Stories, Religious History
  • Each Biblical text type serves it own purpose/s.
  • Each Biblical text type uses text features to serve its own purpose/s.
  • Each Biblical text type has its own intended audience/s who are unique in nature and time.
  • Each Biblical text type held a specific meaning for its intended audience which subsequent audiences will probably never fully grasp.
  • Each Biblical text type uses its source material/s differently, for its own purpose/s.
  • Each Biblical text type is rendered more powerful by being more than a literal account.
classroom learning four
Classroom Learning Four
  • The rules for writing were not the same then as they are today.
    • Plagiarism/copying/re-writing
    • “Storyteller’s licence”
    • Writing back into the story
    • Adding to the story, particularly with hindsight
scriptural texts are not originals
Scriptural Texts are not Originals

Each Biblical text type is the product of significant and multiple processes of:

  • Recording
  • Editing
  • Transmission
  • Reproduction
  • Enculturation
  • Authorship
  • Translation
slide45

EnumaElish: Babylonian

Creation Epic

The Gilgamesh Epic-

The Babylonian Flood Account

Tablet 11

examples from the old testament
Examples from the Old Testament
  • Circa 2000 BCE Mesopotamian cultures develop creation stories based on heroes and Gods of creation.
  • In the 12th Century BCE, Babylonian scholars write their creation story, the EnumaElishon clay tablets. Their hero is Marduk.
  • The EnumaElish becomes known throughout the lands of the Bible, as people travel and inter-marry and trade.
transmission
Transmission
  • In the 6th century BCE, Israel is captured by the Babylonians and the people taken to Babylon as exiles.
  • The Israelites learn of the Babylonian creation account and adapt the Mesopotamian myths into their own Creation account(s) with seven days of creation and Adama. At least two different versions developed in the oral tradition and both were kept in the written texts.
  • Jewish creation account included in the Book of Genesis first written in Hebrew and Aramaic (Masoretic text); then koine Greek (Septuagint).
translation
Translation
  • Jerome translates the Greek Septuagint into Latin (Vulgate) 382-420 CE.
  • Genesis is included in the Christian canon of Scripture which became fixed by the 400 CE.
  • Books of the Bible transcribed and translated by monks and clerks until the invention of the printing press. (Wycliff, Erasmus)
  • Protestant Reformation; Luther, Brest and King James translations.
  • Translations by Protestant denominations across centuries.
  • Catholic church allows translations from other sources than the Vulgate in 1943.
  • Many translations of the story used in Catholic Schools today.
example 2 from the old testament
Example 2 from the Old Testament
  • Circa 2000 BCE Mesopotamian cultures develop a flood story based on heroes and Gods of creation.
  • In the 12th Century BCE, Babylonian scholars write their creation story, the Epic of Gilgamesh on clay tablets. Their hero is Utnapishtim
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh becomes known throughout the lands of the Bible, as people travel and inter-marry and trade.
transmission1
Transmission
  • In the 6th century BCE, Israel is captured by the Babylonians and the people taken to Babylon as exiles.
  • The Israelites learn of the Babylonian flood myth and adapt the Mesopotamian myths into their own flood story with Noah as the hero.
  • Jewish flood account included in the Book of Genesis first written in Hebrew and Aramaic (Masoretic text); then koine Greek (Septuagint).
translation1
Translation
  • Jerome translates the Greek Septuagint into Latin (Vulgate) 382-420 CE.
  • Genesis is included in the Christian canon of Scripture which became fixed by the 400 CE.
  • Books of the Bible transcribed and translated by monks and clerks until the invention of the printing press. (Wycliff, Erasmus)
  • Protestant Reformation; Luther, Brest and King James translations.
  • Translations by Protestant denominations across centuries.
  • Catholic church allows translations from other sources than the Vulgate in 1943.
  • Many translations of the story used in Catholic Schools today.
three ways to translate
Three ways to translate....

Across time, a variety of linguistic, philological and ideological approaches to translation have been used, including:

  • Dynamic equivalence translation
  • Formal equivalence translation (similar to literal translation)
  • Idiomatic, or Paraphrastic translation.
classroom learning six
Classroom Learning Six
  • Be circumspect about what you attribute as “fact” to the Bible or characters in the bible!
  • Change the language you use when speaking about the Bible or characters in the Bible.
two key words
Two Key Words
  • “Finally, for those of us hoping to say something about the times and places in which Biblical characters lived and acted, two words in particular come in very handy....

Imagine... and

Perhaps...

Scott Korb 2010

a process for reading ot texts
A process for reading OT Texts
  • Read the text ( Code breaker)
  • Read it in its context (chapter, book, history, culture. (text analyst)
  • Read it for its original meaning and purpose (meaning maker)
  • Read it for its message for today (text user)
  • Read it for its universal message (meaning maker)
  • Ask not Did it happen? but What does it mean?
ot texts in the new re curriculum
OT Texts in the new RE Curriculum
  • Both OT and NT texts are used as exemplars of teaching and learning about God and Jesus, or our relationship with them.
  • The text is studied in order to draw lessons about God’s revelation and God’s promises.
  • E.g. the great themes of the Pentateuch include:
    • Creation; sin (failure to live up to God’s expectations); covenant; law; and promise, worship and chosen people)