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The Bible in one Year. Biblical history. Chief purpose is to communicate a religious message, not to record events event + interpretation, events are essential Meaning of God’s intervention Parables and myths communicate religious truths, events are not exact or even thought to be real

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biblical history
Biblical history
  • Chief purpose is to communicate a religious message, not to record events
    • event + interpretation, events are essential
    • Meaning of God’s intervention
  • Parables and myths
    • communicate religious truths, events are not exact or even thought to be real
    • Judith, Job, Jonah, Cain, are literary figures
  • The word of God in human language
    • inspired dimension and human dimension
salvation history
Salvation History
  • The overriding unity of the Bible
    • Time is linear, unfolding, each depends on preceding, towards fulfillment
  • Begins with humanity’s false idea of God
    • Adam and Eve  Jealous overlord
    • Noah  capricious
    • Abram  wants human sacrifice
  • God as God
  • God as King
  • God as Father
  • God as Friend N.T.
ta biblia
  • The Books
    • Named from Byblos the Phoenician port
      • 1st Codex
    • A wide range of literature
      • New Testament: Letters, Gospels, Apocalyptic, Historical Epic
      • Old Testament: Psalms, Wisdom literature, prophets, chronicles, Poetry, etc.
  • Testamentum
    • covenant in Latin
  • Catholic Bible
    • Includes the Deuterocanonical and apocryphal books
      • Judith, Tobit, I & II Macabees, Wisdom, Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus), Esther, Baruch and the letter of Jeremiah
  • Protestant and Jewish Bible
    • Since 90AD Palestinian Rabbis recognized Hebrew books only
    • Martin Luther rejects Greek (Deuterocanonical) books, c.1530AD
  • Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy
  • Genesis
    • First 11 chapters: God’s creation of the world & early relationship with humanity
    • Remaining 39 chapters: Covenant with
      • Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Jacob’s children, (12) especially Joseph
  • 4 remaining books tell story of Moses, a renewed covenant and God’s bringing the Hebrew people from slavery to a new land
    • Ends with the death of Moses
the prophets
The Prophets
  • Story of the rise of the Kingdom of Ancient Israel after Moses
  • Its split into Judah (southern kingdom) & Israel (northern kingdom) after Solomon’s death
    • Ends with conquest by Assyria and then Babylon
  • The prophets are leaders throughout and a voice for God
  • Psalms, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, Wisdom Books, Ruth, Job
  • A collection of books including poetry prayers, ancient wisdom, and Jewish universalism
  • Philosophical books about life’s meaning
  • Examples found in every civilization
oral traditions epic history
Oral Traditions, Epic history
  • A living history and identity
    • The Bards of Ancient Greece
      • Iliad and Odyssey of Homer
      • Plymouth Rock
  • The birth of a nation, a chosen people
  • Ancient epics
    • 2000 BCE: Epic of Gilgamesh (Mesopotamian)
    • 18th century BCE: Atrahasis (Mesopotamian)
    • 8th to 6th century BCE: EnumaElish (Babylonian) & Iliad, ascribed to Homer (Greek) & Jaya, ascribed to Vyasa (Hindu)
oral traditions epic history1
Oral Traditions, Epic history
  • Memorials
    • Liturgical rituals and Holy days
    • source of earliest written accounts
  • Revelation occurs in historical events
    • In lives of individuals, then of nation
    • Israel’s history not written before 1100 BCE
new testament
New Testament
  • Jesus the Rabbi
    • An interpretation of our shared scriptures
  • Main Task
    • Jesus is the Messiah
    • Jesus is Lord
  • Written in less than c.200 years
    • Letters, Gospels, History, Apocryphal
    • Oral teachings for c.20years
      • Pauls Letters oldest part of N.T. c.50’s AD
the new testament canon
The New Testament Canon
  • List of books Church believes to be its Scripture, inspired by the Holy Spirit
    • Early Church: “canon of truth” or “rule of faith”
  • Decided upon after several generations
    • From Oral stories about Jesus, sayings
    • From a large body of Early Christian literature:
      • Letters (of Paul, John, Ignatius of Antioch, Barnabas, Clement etc.)
      • Gospels, creedal formulas (Shepherd of Hermas, Didache, Eph 1:3-14)
    • From N.T. Pretenders
      • Gnostic: Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of the Savior, Sayings of Jesus
      • Proto-Christian: Acts of Paul, gospel of Peter
  • Marcion (c.144) forces the question, excommunicated for rejecting O.T. and much of Luke
criteria for belonging to canon
Criteria for belonging to Canon
  • Apostolic author
  • Orthodox
  • Accepted by apostolic churches
  • Corporate inspiration
  • Sensusfidelium
how we interpret scripture

How We Interpret Scripture

Where does it say that in the Bible?

principles of interpretation
Principles of Interpretation
  • God acting in history
    • revelation within historical events with people rather than exploits of the gods or dreamy philosophy
    • All of creation speaks of Him, transcendent and personal
  • The Living Word of God
    • Jesus didn’t write a book, he founded a community and gave them the Holy Spirit (Jnch 16)
      • Basis to judge what books belong to the N.T. and which don’t
    • Apostolic Tradition, One, Holy and Catholic
    • Read with HS in the spirit in which was written
principles of interpretation1
Principles of Interpretation
  • Presuppositions to interpretation
    • History, culture, traditions, assumptions, attitudes
  • The Unity of the Bible
    • Old Testament is fulfilled in the New and the New revealed in the Old (St. Augustine)
  • The unity and diversity of the Bible
    • 2 testaments one history, factual differences, circumstances, symbolism
    • One (divine) author and many (human) authors
    • No one interpretation method is sufficient alone
text and context
Text and Context
  • Moses the Author of the Torah?
  • Literary History
    • multiple sources combined by one redactor, documentary hypothesis
      • J = YHWHist, literary golden age in Judea, time of Solomon c.900 BCE, anthropomorphic God
      • E = Elohist, northern kingdom, c.800 BCE, distant God
      • D = Deuteronomnist, c. 700 BCE, Fidelity to God, law
      • P = Priestly, interest in laws and worship, uses Elohim for God, Mysterious and Almighty God
      • R = final redactor, probably a priestly tradition author
the human dimension
The Human Dimension
  • The World View of the persons involved
  • The Culture of their time
    • Nomadic, Ur, and the ancient world
  • Political ideas
    • King is godlike, eg. Pharaohs
  • History of Salvation
    • Revelation is not cyclical but progresses
      • Step by step process adapted to human understanding
the divine dimension
The Divine Dimension
  • God’s message and its development
  • Inspiration
    • The inerrant saving truth
    • Scripture teaches not how the heavens go but how to go to heaven (Galileo)
  • Signs and Wonders
  • Through a human instrument
  • Exact vs. True
    • The meaning of Myths
    • The meaning of actual events
gifts of the jews to human ideas
Gifts of the Jews to human ideas
  • History is linear not infinite cycles
    • “Zion has fallen 6 times” (Matrix)
    • Seasons of the year
      • Futile to seek to change it
    • Geneologies show historical development to present
  • A personal God who intervenes in history
  • Superior to human empires and demi-gods, uses evil for good
  • Good because God says, demands morality
  • God is one, the universe is intelligible
  • Rejection of slavery
  • A day of rest


Over 4 centuries after

Joseph’s death

archeology and the bible
Archeology and the Bible
  • William F. Albright et al
  • Discoveries of Cuneiform Tablets
  • Nova Program
wonders of ancient egypt
Wonders of Ancient Egypt
  • British National Museum website
  • Recreations of Pyramids, Monuments, and daily life
  • Biblical Archeology on Exodus
burning bush
Burning Bush
  • Exodus chapter 3
  • God reveals Himself as
    • Mystery YHWH (Job 11:17; Is 40:28)
    • Savior (Exodus; 2 Sam 22:3-51)
    • Compassionate “I have heard the cry of my people” (Ex 33:19; Judges 2:18; Zec 7:9)
    • Almighty (Ps 46, Is 43:3)
    • Holy (Ex 30:29-36)
  • Fear of the Lord is Wisdom (Prov 9:10; Is 11:12)
  • To fear God
    • The day of the Lord (Is 13:6-9;Jer 46:10;1 Cor 5:5)
    • To listen and obey (1Sam 12:14)
    • to forget God is the opposite of fear (2K 17:38; Ps 9:17)
  • See God and Live
    • to see one’s face (Ex34:29)
  • Beatific Vision (Job 19:26; Mt 5:8; 1Cor 13:12)
  • Law is terms of a covenant with the Savior, a Jealous God
    • God is first Savior instead of Creator
    • One of the many gods has chosen Israel, saved them from death, so they may serve him, YHWH
    • Teaches wisdom, forms a nation
  • Given to Israel alone (Dt 7:6; Ps 147: 19-20)
    • A matter of life or death (Dt 30:15)
  • To keep the law is to know and serve God and to be blessed, righteous, wise, joyful (Ps 110)
  • Tablets kept in the Ark, YHWH’s presence (Ex 25:8ff)
  • Written by living God on Hearts (Dt. 30:11-14; Jer 31:33; Ez 36:26)
    • Natural law, a moral sense


Pre-history Gn 1-11

Origins of the People of God Gn 12-50

  • Verb in Genesis is used only for God’s action
  • Ex nihilo (not from chaos, or from water)
    • all of nature and Man are called from nothing. Great distance between creature and Creator in OT
    • both give glory to God’s power
  • Continuing
    • Israel (Jer 1:5; Dt.) Nature (Ps 104)
    • becoming, being and perishing all depend on God’s continual action
mesopotamian genesis
Mesopotamian Genesis
  • Genesis contains numerous parallels with the older Babylonian creation epic Enumaelis (When on High)
  • Babylonian “science” most advanced and influential of ancient world of that time
evolution and creation
Evolution and Creation
  • God creates from within
    • Days of Genesis, an evolving process
    • Must dramatically intervene twice
      • When non-living becomes living
      • When living becomes intelligent
  • Einstein: “Gravity cannot explain the wonder of two people falling in love”
  • Intelligent Design theory
text and context1
Text and Context
  • Two Creation Accounts? (P & J)
  • Humani Generis (Pius XII)
    • Nuanced position on Evolution
    • Polygenism condemned
  • John Paul II’s 1996 address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences
    • Today Evolution theories “more than a hypothesis”
    • Ensoulement cannot come from any source but God, body may come from evolution
hebrew anthropology
Hebrew anthropology
  • Adam
    • Image of God
    • names the animals
    • needs a helper, companion
    • y-cromosomal Adam
    • Spencer Wells on human origins 60,000 years ago the story of genetics
  • Dependence on God
    • Man is vanity (Ps 39:; Job ch 14)
    • understanding, heart, wisdom and righteousness from God’s law (Ps 119)
  • God is Transcendent and Immanent (Dt. 5:23-33,Is 55:6-9 and Ex 34:5, Lk 12:7)
genesis pre history themes
Genesis Pre-history themes
  • Tension between harmony in created order and human Rebellion
    • lawlessness vs. obedience
  • God’s punishment makes restoration possible,
    • eg. Cain and Abel
  • Relationship with God is disrupted and hence with creation and humanity
  • Etiologies, answers to perennial human questions
origins of the people of god
Origins of the People of God
  • Reconstruction begins with God’s promise
    • Promise to Noah (Gn ch 6-9)
    • land, progeny and blessing/protection
    • journey
  • Ancestral narratives (Gn chs 12-50)
  • Abraham “father in Faith” (Rm 4:12, Gn 15:6)
    • obeys call, makes peace with brother, a just warrior, takes no plunder, wealthy, clever, hospitality, gives thanks, intervenes for God’s mercy, prays and heals
origins of the people of god1
Origins of the People of God
  • Isaac and Jacob (Gen 22-32)
    • Jacob is clever, deceitful, persistent (Hos 12:4)
    • Journey transforms him
    • Jacob struggles with the LORD
      • given new name Israel
        • Theophany
        • Conversion --reconciles with Essau
        • Goes to Bethel on pilgrimage
  • “Being filled with blessings, power, good fortune” occurs over 400 times in OT
    • “I will be with you” (Gn 26:3)
  • permanent power and can transmit it
    • to son given only once & cannot be revoked (Gn 48:15)
  • God is source
    • first thing he does to man (Gn 1:28)
    • can change curse into blessing (Dt 23:5)
the joseph story
The Joseph Story
  • Contains numerous allusions to Egyptian stories, customs, words and attitudes
    • Anubis and Bata like Joseph and Potiphar
  • Continues Genesis theme of divine promise and protection for the leader who trusts in YHWH
    • God is with Him in slavery
  • Hyksos rule Egypt c.1700-1550BCE
the joseph story cont
The Joseph Story (cont.)
  • Joseph’s slavery and imprisonment lasted 13 years (37:2-3)
  • I Fear God
    • (42:18; 22:12; Dt 25:18; Ex 18:21 & Acts 13:16)
  • God sent me before you… 45:4ff
  • Beginnings of resentment against the Hebrews (Gen 47:23-26)
joshua and judges

Joshua and Judges

The Occupation of The Holy Land

god forms a nation
God Forms a Nation
  • YHWH source of all justice/ righteousness, judge (Ps 99)
  • Born of Exodus Liberation from slavery so Israel may serve him
    • Law establishes justice in hearts and among the people
  • Evolution of Social order
    • Clan property of Israel modeled after nomadic society
    • God establishes a nation, gives a law, a king and a land
    • Live among other nations with Private property
      • Canaanites, Jebusites, Philistines, etc.
  • Conquests and trade give rise to private property among people of God
  • King becomes largest landowner
  • Split between rich and poor
    • Day laborers, slaves
the holy land
The Holy Land
  • The Promised Land, flowing with milk and honey (Dt. 11:17)
    • Where if faithful the Lord makes fruitful, brings rain and plenty
    • Where God will protect them (Dt 12:10)
  • Given to ALL the people of Israel (Jos 18:1-10)
    • On condition
      • If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever. (Jer 7:6-7)

“There will be no poor among you” (Dt. 15:4)

holy land
Holy Land
  • They are stewards, land ultimately belongs to the Lord, and its fruits (Lv 27:30; Os 9:3; Ps 85)
    • Sanctuary & Levites due portion of fruits (Ez 45:4)
    • Leave gleanings for the Poor (Lv 19:9-10)
    • May feed any passer by (Dt 23:25-26)
    • Annual tithe (Lv 27:30)
cycle of judges
Cycle of Judges
  • People turn away from Lord and serve other gods
  • Lord becomes angry and allows them to be oppressed
  • Lord raises up judges to deliver them
  • After the judge dies, the people again turn to evil and the cycle begins again
  • Heros/Judges arise
    • Ehud, Deborah & Barak, Gideon, Samson (Judges ch 13-14) etc.
1 2 samuel
1 & 2 Samuel
  • Context: life and death struggle with Philistines
  • Transition to Nation with Monarch
    • challenge to Self understanding, religion and tribal system of Israel
    • The Judge/prophet Samuel anoints the Kings, Saul and David and dismisses Saul
  • David(ch 16) as the model king contrasted with Saul (c.1000 BC)
    • Faith (Goliath ch 17), Musical, obedience warrior, clever (21:12; ch 27), loyal, pure heart (ch 24), ark, Temple (2Sam 7), Absalom (2Sam 13)
the dual monarchy
The Dual Monarchy
  • Men of Judah anoint David king of Judah (2S 2:4)
  • Elders of Israel anoint David king of all Israel (2S 5:3-5)
  • Two States one sovereign (eg. 2S 11:11; 1K 1:35) Is 8:14 “The 2 houses of Israel”
  • David’s short lived empire with conquered vassals (2S 8:1-14) Edomites, Moabites, Ammonites, etc.
    • Until 1993 discovery of a 9thc. stella with the inscription “the house of David” there was no evidence David ever existed. Few dispute it today.
  • God Judges by the heart (1 Sam 16:7)
  • Anointed, but for what purpose?
  • Friendship with Jonathan (1 Sam 18:1)
  • Musical, a harmony of soul
    • Dances before the ark (2 Sam 6:14)
  • Trusts in the Lord and therefore instrument of his power
    • Goliath, Saul, Nabel
    • Victorious warrior, completes the conquest of Cana
  • Clever, feigns madness (1Sam 21:13; Ps 34)
    • Raids Judah’s enemies from Philistine refuge and tells King of Gath he was raiding Judah
  • Sins with Bathsheba (2 Sam 11:3ff; Ps 51)
  • Troubled by revolution, Forgiving
    • Absalom (2 Sam 13:28ff & 15:13; 18:5 ff)
  • Temple, seeks right worship for YHWH
    • Unifies people in one Temple one capital
the temple of solomon
The Temple of Solomon
  • Solomon builds palace compound and Temple
    • Takes 13yrs (1K ch 7)
  • Glory of the Lord fills the Temple (1K 8:10)
  • Solomon doubts it can hold YHWH (1K 8:27)
    • His name dwells there, footstool (Ps 99:5; Is 66:1)
    • Pray there for forgiveness of sins of Israel
  • Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement (Lev. 16)
      • Rain, famine, plague, war
  • Lord Agrees to dwell there (1K 9:3; Ps 48)
  • Holy of Holies (Lev 16:2; Ps 42)
    • Paul arrested because violates holiness of temple (Acts 21:28)
    • Prefigures Christ Hebrews ch 9
from empire to exile
From Empire to Exile
  • Solomon’s Golden era
    • A modern near eastern kingdom
      • Forced labor, fortifications, chariot army, trade
      • Foreign brides, alliances
      • Revolt under his son Rehoboam and Jeroboam
      • Invasion from Egypt leaves 2 weaker kingdoms
from empire to exile1
From Empire to Exile
  • 1 & 2 Kings History of Israel and Judah
    • Every northern king decried
    • Josiah and Hezekiah of south only kings praised
      • Deuteronomic history, evaluated by enforcing centralizing worship in Jerusalem and obedient to statutes of the Lord
    • Prophets foretell disaster for disobedience
    • First Israel in north (722 BC) and then Judah in south fall to foreign armies (2Kings ch 23-25)
    • Beginning of Babylonian Exile (587 BC)
      • Psalm 137
babylonian exile
Babylonian Exile
  • Destruction of Jerusalem and enslavement of its inhabitants (2 Kings 25:8 ff; Jer 52:30)
    • A remnant for hope and God’s mercy (Ezera 9:13)
    • Plant your vineyards and prosper for a time (Jerch 29)
  • Archeological evidence from Cuneiform tablets found in Iraq of Biblical account
    • Names of Babylonian officials in Bible account
    • Nebuchadnezzar’s directions to supply captive King of Jews Jehoiachin with grain and oil
monotheism from the exile
Monotheism from the Exile
  • Poly-theism
  • Monolatry
    • I am a jealous God (Ex 34:14; Josh 24:29)
  • The Temple is destroyed Israel captive (Ps 79, 137)
    • The Temple, the Land the King all instruments of YHWH’s presence and covenant are lost
monotheism from the exile1
Monotheism from the Exile
  • Second Isaiah (ch 40-45): YHWH is only God
    • Marduk, the God of Babylon, has not defeated YHWH
    • Temple replaced by meeting God in meditation on his Word, synagogue
    • King a prisoner, but YHWH is true king of people
    • Land replaced by Judaism, a people circumcised in the flesh rather than by territorial boundaries
  • Priests become trustees of Judaism, political and religious leaders
    • Priestly writings in Genesis and Leviticus originate during exile
monotheism from the exile2
Monotheism from the Exile
  • I alone am Lord (Is 44:24-45:19)
    • The Creator of Heaven and earth
    • Cyrus my anointed one (2Chr 36:22; Is 45:1; Ezr 1:1-8)
      • 539 BC Persia seizes Babylon, 538 BC sends (about 50,000) Jews home
    • Temple rebuilt in 515 AD (Ezra 3:10; Neh ch8-10)
      • Heralded by prophets Zechariah, Haggai, Joel, Malachi, Third Isaiah and Nehemiah
  • The Anointed
    • First signification is Royal (1 Sam 10:1;16)
    • The people cannot survive if the anointed is not leading them (Ps 2:2; Ps 20:6)
  • Three kinds of Anointed
    • King (1Sam 10) to judge, govern
    • High Priest, to make expiation (Sr 45:23; Lev 4)
    • Prophet, to speak for God (1K 19:16)
  • Political tensions, false messiahs arise: Theudas and Judas the Galilean (Acts 5:33-39)
messianic prophecy
Messianic Prophecy
  • To David (2 Sam 7:12-17)
    • From your offspring
    • Will build a house for my name
    • Will reign forever in peace and justice
    • I will be a father to him, and he a son to me
  • Son of David as messiah
    • Faith of Israel for generations (Ps 89)
    • As long as King is in David’s line the promise is alive (Sr 47:22)
  • Son of Man who will reign forever in peace and Justice (Dn 7:13)
  • Shepherd who will gather the people together (Ez 34:8-13; Jer 23:1)
hope in catastrophe
Hope in Catastrophe
  • The Messiah redeemer, David’s descendant (Is 11)
    • Righteous and meek
    • Idyllic reign of Peace and Justice
    • Spirit of Lord upon him, judge
  • From the remnant of Israel (2K 25; Is 10:20-23)
  • Cyrus to rebuild the Temple (Ezr 1:5; Is 45 & 48:14)
messiah as liberator
Messiah as liberator
  • Immanuel (Is 7:10-17)
    • after destruction
    • victory through knowledge of the Lord
  • Of all nations (Is 2:2-4)
  • Israel as the messiah for the world
    • Prophetic role for all of Israel, light to nations (Is 42:1; 45:22-23)
    • “It is too little a thing,” he says, “for you to restore the tribes of Israel. You must be a light for the nations that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Is 49:6)
the messiah as servant
The Messiah as Servant
  • Out of the captivity, a chosen one to do the Lord’s work (Is 41:8)
  • Israel as suffering servant
    • Prefigure of Messiah, sacrificial lamb (Is 52:13-53:12)
    • I have refined you like silver (Is 48:10)
  • In exchange for you (Is 43:14)
one who announces
One who announces
  • ‘Oracle of the Lord’
    • Predict, speak for God (2 Kings 20:16ff)
      • True prophets vs false prophets of Baal (Jer 23:16)
      • Even false prophets of Israel (Jerch 29)
  • Advocates of the Covenant
  • Call for repentance, vision of hope, warnings, miracles
    • Elijah raises boy from the dead (1 kings 17:22; 2K 13:21)
one who announces1
One who announces
  • Former Prophets
    • Samuel, Nathan, Gad, Elijah, Elisha
      • Ahijah and Shemaiah associated with rebellion and division of Kingdom
  • Prophets from 8th century BC
    • Major prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel
    • 12 minor prophets: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
role in israel
Role in Israel
  • Charismatic, inspired figures, leaders
  • Ambassadors between God and King
    • Pray for Israel, counsel King, warn or rebuke
  • Zealots of Mosaic covenant / religion
    • Heralds of the Day of the Lord
      • As Elijah against Queen Jezebel’s cult of Baal
        • Kills the prophets of sedition (1K ch18)
      • Prefigure of the Messiah
        • John the Baptist as a new Elijah (Mt 11:14, 17:10)
        • Passover cup set out for Elijah, hope for messiah.
prophetic literature
Prophetic Literature
  • Poetry
    • The majority of Prophetic literature, includes prayers, oracles of the Lord “thus says the Lord”…
  • Narratives
    • The Call, unworthiness expressed, reassurance and commission by the Lord (Ez 1-3, Jer 1, Is 6)
    • Visions reported
      • Prelude to resurrection (Ez 37:1-14)
      • Day of the Lord (Dn 7:12)
    • Symbolic actions
    • Dramatic Encounters with kings
    • Persecution of the Prophets
prophets a voice for poor
Prophets, a Voice for Poor
  • Most salient and virulent against social injustice
    • Amos, Micah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah especially
  • Against corrupt judges, false witness, tyrant kings, luxury of wealthy who have stripped fellow Israelites (Is 3:13; Mic 2:8; Amos 6:4)
    • YHWH will not listen to their prayers (Is 1:12)
    • Judean tax officials are like wolves (Ez 22:27)
prophets a voice for poor1
Prophets, a Voice for Poor
  • Special concern for poor, widow, orphan and stranger (Ps 10; 82; Jer 7:6 etc.)
    • God is their advocate (Amos)
    • Call to conversion, repent even to Gentiles eg. Jonah to Assyria
  • Praise righteous acts: give to hungry, cover naked
  • A change from collective to individual responsibility (Ez 18:5-9 & 18:19-24)
the return
The Return
  • 538 BCE Edict of Cyrus allows Jews to return and rebuild (Ezra 1:2-4)
    • 200 years part of Persian Empire
    • Darius defeated at Marathon after conquering Macedonia in 490 BCE
  • After 5 yrs of problems Second Temple built (Ezra 3:10) 515 BCE
    • Nehemiah and Micah advocate for rebuilding walls and reviving faith
    • Public readings of law and prayer emphasized over sacrifice (Neh 8-10)
prophets of the return
Prophets of the Return
  • Haggai
    • You have rebuilt your houses but after 20yrs still haven’t rebuilt the Temple to its original splendor
  • Zechariah
    • Apocalyptical tone added to Haggai
  • Malachi
    • Temple rebuilt, but people need reform
  • Joel
    • Judgment of Lord is coming
  • Third Isaiah (56-66)
persian period
Persian Period
  • Diaspora remains in Babylon
  • Aramaic is lingua franca of Persian empire
  • Inhabitants rebuffed who wanted to help rebuild the Temple (Ezra 4:1-3)
  • Intermarriages forbidden (Neh 13:23-27)
    • Ruth
  • Apocalyptic Literature in response to problems, delays
    • End times are near, visions, imagery, Day of the Lord

Daniel; Is 24-27; 40-55; Ezekiel; Zechariah 1-8; Haggai 2

israel s sacred songs
Israel’s Sacred Songs
  • Psalms
    • 150 Poems and prayer hymns
      • Employ parallelism and literary structure
      • Include imagery of surrounding cultures (74:13-14; 89:9)
      • God and I, God and other beings, God and Israel, God and Nature
    • Most frequently Laments (13; 25-28; 51-59 etc.)
    • Songs of praise (22-31; 95-100; 138 etc.)
    • Wisdom Psalms (90; 73; 49 etc.) Royal (2; 21; 144 etc.) Liturgical (e.g.19; 24) Zion (e.g. 46; 48; 132) Divine Kingship (e.g. 47; 95-99)
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Israel’s Sacred Songs
  • Song of Songs or Song of Solomon
    • The Lord and his bride Israel, mutual expressions of desire and love
  • Lamentations
    • 5 Poems to remember yearly destruction of Temple and Jerusalem
    • Anguish turns to hope (ch 3)
wisdom books

Wisdom Books

Jewish philosophical writings

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Wisdom Books
  • What is the meaning of human existence?, Why do innocent suffer? What is happiness?
    • A form of literature found in every culture
    • Influenced by Egypt, Babylon and Persia
      • Read in faith in the One God, source of true Wisdom
      • Fear of God is wisdom
    • Jonah and Ruth, examples of universalism
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Wisdom Books
  • Proverbs
    • Collections of at least 9 sources over various periods
    • Egyptian (Pv 22:17-24:22), foreign wise men (ch 30-31)
    • Make little mention of God, authority of experience, practical advice in reverence for the Lord, wisdom as Logos
  • Job, God alone has wisdom’s secret (ch.28)
    • Suffering is a test of fidelity
    • Hope in Lord’s justice (9:33; 19:25)
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Wisdom Books
  • Ecclesiastes (c. 400 BC)
    • Old sage’s view of futility of wisdom
    • Fatalistic, vanity, all will be forgotten
      • Nothing better than to enjoy life day by day (3:1-9; 9:7-9) God’s gift
      • Not gluttony, but moderation is wisdom
  • From Greek Period
    • Ecclesiastes, Tobit (3:1-15, ch 8 and 13:1-10), Song of Songs, Sirach
    • Chapters 9-14 of Zechariah are probably also from time of Alexander
    • 1 & 2 Maccabees and Judith
  • Greek: Reveal
  • Daniel and Revelation are only two
    • Portions of prophets also (Is 24-27; 34-35 & Zech 1-8)
  • Author uses pseudonym attributes to a holy man of the past in time of crisis
  • God has foreseen all in advance
  • World is doomed, but God will create a new world
  • Use visions and symbolism
job s justice
Job’s Justice
  • Job’s virtue is described as:
    • Blameless or integral
    • Upright or righteous
    • Fearing God, “my servant Job”
    • Avoiding evil
  • After loss of all he does not curse God
  • Contrasted with his “wise” friends
  • Faith that God loves him against human authority and suffering
theodicity the problem of evil
Theodicity - the problem of Evil
  • If God is willing and able to remove evil from the world why doesn’t he? Justice of God?
    • Evil exists therefore God does not exist
  • Job’s dilemma
    • Scandal that the wicked triumph and the good suffer
    • Moral: don’t question God, remain faithful & hope
      • Will always remain a problem for us
    • Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning (Ex 20:20)
    • Must believe that God loves us and yet lets us suffer (Teresa of Avila)
  • St. Irenaeus
    • Mingling of good and evil is a proving ground for souls, enabling them to emerge from this conflict better
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Theodicity - the problem of Evil
  • St. Augustine
    • Evil is a privation of being
      • Corrupts some good, exists only in & through good
    • Due to free will, the condition of love
      • God is not the cause of evil, we are
      • A human will infected by evil cannot choose the good
    • Human suffering is due to consequences of moral evil
    • “principle of plenitude” all part of universal harmony
      • Grace and conversion remedy damage of evil and sin
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Theodicity - the problem of Evil
  • Old Testament God is so far beyond evil that he uses it for His good Lord and Savior
    • E.g. Joseph enslaved by his brother’s jealousy and thereby able to save the family in Genesis
    • Theme of Faith throughout, beginning with Abraham
  • Psalms  Prayers of hope (Ps 46; 125; Is 26:4)
    • St. Paul, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”(Rm 8:28)
      • Grace, both helps us to do good and to desire good
        • for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.(Phil 2:13)
greek and roman period
Greek and Roman Period
  • 333 BC Alexander the Great’s victory at Issos, north of Antioch
      • 332, Egypt falls, 331 Babylon, 321 reached India
      • Established 70 cities, Greek culture, language spoken in Mediterranean for 8 centuries
      • Died in 323 in Babylon at age of 33
    • Seleucids given Syria to India, Lagids given Egypt and Palestine, Antigonids Greece
      • Palestine Jewish practices free under Lagids until 198 BC when Seleucids take control and impose Greek culture and religion
      • 167 Antiochus IV abolished Sabbath, circumcision and installs statue of Zeus in the Temple
    • Three centers of Judaism emerge
      • Palestine, Babylon, Alexandria
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Greek and Roman Period
  • Maccabean Revolt
    • Priest kills emissary of Antiochus and flees with 5 sons
      • Judas ‘Maccabee’ (hammer) wins liberation of Jerusalem and restores worship to Temple on 12 December 164 BC
        • Commemorated as Hanukkah
      • Hasmonian dynasty lasts until 63 BC when divided with 2 kings are forced to appeal to Rome for arbitration
        • Roman army led by Pompey arrive to support one side and after 3 months of siege capture Jerusalem
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Greek and Roman Period
  • Hellenization provokes both sympathy and defiance
    • Sirach, Tobit, Baruch, Wisdom, 2nd Zechariah, Song of Songs
    • Translation of LXX
    • Esther, Judith, I and II Maccabees
    • Sadducees supported Hasmoneans, Pharisees (separate ones) originate from time of Ezra, Essenes escape to desert
herod the great
Herod the Great
  • Tomb found in 2007?
  • Archeologists believe to have found Herod’s tomb in Jerusalem