Religion 101

Topics: God, Abraham, Yahweh Pages: 43 (6530 words) Published: October 15, 2014
Why does the university require this course?
To have a firmer understanding to the foundations of our beliefs

What is the Old Testament?
39 Books
6-10 centuries
Two dozen+ authors
Before the Jews were born
First 17 books are arranged chronologically
Remaining 22 are randomly arranged

The canon of the Bible
The Old Testament is part of the ‘canon: of scriptures for Jews and Christians “Canon” = List of authoritative writings
Jewish = The Hebrew Bible
Protestant = Old Testament, New Testament
Catholic = Old Testament, Apocrypha, New Testament

How did we get the Old Testament?
Books were originally written in Hebrew (1300-300BC)
Oldest Surviving copies are in the Dead Sea Scrolls (250-50AD) Oldest Greek Translation at 250BC (Septuagint = LXX)
Oldest surviving copies are “codexes” (200-400AD)

The Old Testament in Church
Early Christians read the Septuagint, which includes the seven books of the Apocrypha Jerome produced the Latin Vulgate (at the time a common language) from the Septuagint at 400AD Renaissance scholars (1400-1600AD) studied Hebrew and Greek copies seeking earliest forms possible

The Bible in English
Protestant leaders argue to omit the Apocrypha
They called for translations in the native language of Christians (not Latin) A stream if ‘modern’ English translations followed:
King James Version (1611)
American Standard Version (1901)
Revised Standard Version (1952)
New American Standard Bible (1971)
New International Version (1973)
New Standard Revised Version (1989)

Setting the Stage
Egypt (3100BC)
Sumer (2800BC)
Syria (2300BC)
Babylon (2200BC)
Assyria (2200BC)
Canaan (1500BC)
Phoenicia (1300BC)
Israel, Edom, Moab, Ammon (1100BC)
Israel’s enduring contribution lies in its religious/theological ideas

Israel’s place in the Ancient World
Mostly farmers, herdsmen
Export olive oil and wine
Small nation, relatively late on scene, crossroads between Egypt and Mesopotamia It’s monotheism profoundly influences human understanding

For many centuries, a biblical passage was known by the “book” in which it stood and an important phrase In the 1200s, scholars divided the books into sections and subsections: “chapters” and “verses” “Chapter” – One story, song, scene –

“Verses” – One sentence, poetic line –

Proverbs 8
Personifies Wisdom, God’s first creation and a pervasive presence in the universe Wisdom speaks to everyone
Whoever finds wisdom finds life
It doesn’t rhyme but the repetitive nature makes it a poetry

Science and Genesis 1
Current popular views about the origin of the universe
Natural Evolution:
Began and developed by chance, for 15 billion years
Miraculous creation in six days, 6,000-10,000 years ago
Intelligent Design:
Nature too complex to work without planning
Lesser known views
Theistic Evolution:
God uses evolution in creating
Day-Age Theory:
Each “Day” represents geological age
Shared Assumption:
The author intends to give a fact-orientated account (scientific, historical)

Interpretation Basics
Expand our gaze beyond words to sentences and paragraphs – what gives it all structures Repeated lines
Repetition to emphasize
Setting up structures

Structure of Genesis 1:1-2:3
“In the beginning” is accurate but imprecise
“God” is in plural form, singular meaning
“The heavens and the Earth” is the universe, all that is physical Only God “creates”
Before Day 1: Spirit Hovers “formless and void”
“Formless and void” used twice more in the bible to describe conquered land. (Isaiah 34:11 & Jeremiah 4:23) Other passages use “formless” to describe desert wasteland “Formless and void” describes and uninhabited place

Each day begins with “And God said”
Each day ends with “And there was evening, and there was morning” Spoken words became reality “And it was so”
Then are evaluated “And God saw that it was good”
“Light” was associated with life
The two verses before the first “And God said,” form a bracket with...
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