Did they always interpret biblical texts literally

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Reference no: EM13949219

I. Choose one of the following topics : (30 points)

1. Discuss the early Christian (pre-critical) approach to the OT. Answer the following questions:

a) What did the Christians in the early Church believe concerning the nature of the Scripture or its origin? What did they believe about inspiration? According to them, who wrote the Pentateuch?

b) Did they believe that the Scripture is inerrant in all its parts? Why?

c) Did they always interpret biblical texts literally? What methods did they use? Give one example of each of these methods. Briefly discuss their advantages and disadvantages.

d) What was the major task or goal of the Christian interpreters of the OT?

e) How does the Catholic Church position (today) on the nature of the Scripture differ from the position on the nature of the Scripture held by the early Church?

2. Discuss the Catholic modern or critical approach to the OT today. Answer the following questions:

a) How many books does the Catholic Bible have in its OT part? When (approximately- between what centuries) and by whom (Jews or Christians) were these books written?

b) What is the modern Catholic position on the nature or authorship of the biblical books? What does it mean that the "scripture is inspired by God"? In what sense is the Bible "God's Word"?

c) Does the Catholic Church today believe that the scripture is inerrant in all its parts? Why? In what sense is scripture inerrant or what is true in it?

d) What is the Historical- critical method? What is its task? To what questions concerning the text does it try to find the answers? Which extra- biblical sources or other sciences does it use? How does the Historico-critical approach correspond to the position held by the Church today on the nature of the Scripture?

e) What is the Documentary hypothesis? What does it say concerning the authorship of the Pentateuch? When and who gave to it its final shape? What problems does it try to resolve?

II. Choose one of the following topics: (10 points)

3.What are the Patriarchal stories? What do they try to explain? How do the ancient authors of these stories depict their ancestors? What virtues and vices do their main actors (Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Judah and Levi) examplify?

4. What (human) characters and in what stories demonstrate the following virtues:

a) faith/trust in God; b) obedience, commitment to God; c) solidarity, compassion; d) justice; e) forgiveness; f) humility

What (human) characters and in what stories demonstrate the following characteristics/vices:

a) lack of trust/faith in God; b) fear and hatred of people; c) jealousy; d) cowardice; e) dishonesty; f) arrogance

5. Briefly discuss the Christian allegorical, typological and prophetic interpretation of the Abrahamic cycle (Gen. 12:1-7, 18; 22).

6. Briefly discuss the Christian allegorical and typological interpretation of the Exodus story ( the plagues, the first Passover/Pesach, the crossing of the Red Sea/ Sea of Reeds).

7. Give the examples of 5 characters from Genesis-Exodus who (for the Christians readers of the OT) are the prototypes or prefigurations of Jesus. Explain: what is similar between each of these characters and Jesus?

III.(You have no other choices: (20 points)

8. a)Contrast the origin, and function of the Mosaic constitution in Israel with the origin, nature and function of the constitution in America.

b) What is "sin" in the OT and what do we call "transgression" today?

c) What crimes were/are considered the most grievous in the Ancient Israel and in America today?

d) Explain, why the Ancient Israel' religion was not compatible with the concepts of democracy (=rule of the people), separation of Church/religion and State and religious plurality/tolerance?

IV. Choose one of the following topics: (20 points)

9. Discuss how the biblical authors viewed monarchy and their rulers. What should be a king ideally (acc. to the Mosaic law)? Why did the biblical authors disapprove the establishment of monarchy and considered it as a sin? Under what condition would God tolerate monarchy? What political/religious mistakes did the rulers make? Use the examples of David, Solomon, Rehoboam, and Jeroboam (all of them!).

10. Discuss the position (ideal and real) of a prophet in the Ancient Israelite society. Use the example of Jeremiah. Describe his relationships with kings, priests and other prophets. Why was he blamed for being unpatriotic? Who does he call "false prophets"? Give 2 criteria of a true prophet.

11. Compare the prophet Jeremiah with Moses: when (in what -different!-centuries) did they live? Compare and contrast their calls, missions, and their accomplishments. To which historic events were they witnesses?

12. Discuss the meaning and function of the prophetic symbolic acts using examples (at least 3) from the books of Hosea and Jeremiah.

13. Contrast Jonah with Jeremiah. Compare their missions, their behavior, and their accomplishments. Why do the Jews read the book of Jonah on the Day of Atonement?

14. Discuss the imagery and metaphors used by the biblical writers for God and Israel (at least 5 for Israel). Explain their meanings in the context of the different periods of the history of Israel. Give examples from the Pentateuch (Ex., Deut.), Hosea, Jeremiah and Isaiah 40-55.

15. According to tradition, who -priests, professional chronographers/historians or the prophets- wrote the biblical historical books (the DeuteronomisticHistory)? Explain that. Contrast the biblical interpretation or the explanation of the historic events with our modern approach to history. Bring one example of the event from the OT and one example from the non-biblical (American, European) history. How did the biblical writers explain why that event happened? How does this approach differ from our way to see the causes behind history?

16. Discuss how the Second Isaiah envisioned the restoration of Israel and its mission to other nations. Discuss the nature of the New Covenant preached by Jeremiah. Contrast that New Covenant with the old one.

V. Choose one of the following topics (20 points):

17. Discuss the role and duties of priests in Ancient Israel as well as the challenge(s) associated with their profession. Describe the priests' position (ideal and real) with respect to the prophets, kings, judges and other people on the basis of the Pentateuch (Aaron in Ex. 32; Dt. 16-17), Hosea and Jeremiah.

18. What is "atonement"? Discuss the evolution of the concept of atonement on the basis of priestly cultic laws, Isa 52:13-53:12 ; and Jesus' death on the cross. What is the"vicarious suffering"? Compare a sin offering (an animal without blemish of the cultic laws) with the atoning death of the innocent ones (the Suffering Servant, martyrs, Jesus). In what sense does the sin offering prefigure Jesus?

19. Who is "messiah"? What do the Jews expect from the Messiah? (Use Targum for Isa 52:13-53:12 and your notes for the last class). Discuss messianic role of Israel/Christians on the basis of 2nd Isaiah.

Extra credit essay. (5 points max)

20. Choose five stories/texts. Demonstrate the relevance/importance of the messages/lessons they teach for us today (for our family life or spiritual/religious life, or political life, etc.)

Reference no: EM13949219

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