REL 101: Study Guide 3
Gen 1–3 again
Review main themes in Pentateuch & JEPD; review contrasting features of J & E.
How should one interpret the statement in Gen 6.4 that "sons of God" married women? If you have time, look up "sons of God" in the Anchor Bible Dictionary in the library.
What in God's name is going on with God's name in Gen 15.1–8? Pay attention to the capitalizaed letters. Consider & compare Gen 4.26 & Ex 6.2–3.
In Gen 22.1–19 note its literary features. As always with all biblical texts answer the Qs on the 'exegesis guidelines' Web page. What is (are) the meaning(s) of the narrative?
In what ways is God portrayed in Gen so far? In what ways are the interaction & relationship between God & human beings portrayed?
Can you point out moral practices in Gen which we would disapprove of today?
Why would deeply religiously people preserve traditions about their ancestors like Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob that show them lying, cheating, deceiving, or stealing to advance their interests? What do these narratives say about God?
In Gen 37.18–36 can you follow the story line (who did what, when, with or to whom, etc.)? See if you can discern J & E (tip: note the "double" characters or puzzling repetitions in the text; also who sold Joseph to whom where?; pay attention to the plural pronouns, e.g., "they").
What is the significance of Gen 38? Can you point out moral practices in Gen which we would disapprove of today?
What are the lessons for the faith community?
What do you think about the story of Sargon (Pritchard)? How does it affect the way you understand the story of Moses in Ex 2.1–10, if at all? What do you make of the similarities? What is the meaning of the stories?
What's so interesting about Exod 6.2–3? Why? Cf. Exod 3.6; Gen 4.26.
How many "commandments" are there? Are they all commands? How would we know?
In the Code of Hammurabi (Pritchard), read these samples of law: 2, 129, 142, 153, 154, 185, 192, 193, 195–214 (NB: class distinction), 250.
What differences are there between the Code of Hammurabi and the legal material in Exodus (esp. with regard to class distinction)? Note & compare the issue of social or political class distinctions in the legal materials found in the reserve readings & in the biblical materials. Also see biblical parallels (marginalia). What do the differences regarding class distinction reflect with regard to the exodus experience?
Review Ex 14 where J & P are intertwined (see box in Harris); cf. Gen 37.18–36 (J & E).
Leviticus & Numbers
If you were to begin instruction to become Jewish, one of the first things you’ll study is Leviticus. Why would Jewish instruction in the biblical faith begin with Leviticus (cf. Exod 3.1–6: holy ground)?
What do you think the meaning of all the laws & regulations is? What relevance do they have for Israelite faith? Any significance for contemporary world (e.g., legal-philosophical concept of "rule of law")
Read Num 12 carefully to see what you think of it. What’s going on? What reality does it reflect about the reality of leadership?
As you learn about Deuteronomistic History, reflect on the optical illusions (e.g., how what we "see" is influenced by the perspective or point of view).
NB the Deuteronomistic principle of interpreting history: Deut 29.24–29.
Note the Horeb-vocab of the northern traditions (as opposed to Sinai-vocab of southern traditions). See if you can find other discrepancies in vocabulary.
Deut 6.4–9: the "shema"
Deut 6.5. Where else does this phraseology appear in OT? Where else in OT do all 3 "with all ..." phrases occur?
Deut 17.14–20: egalitarianism of Yahwism
Deut 26.5: who's the wandering Aramean?
Deut 26.5–10 & 29.13–15: present-ing & future-ing the past
If you have extra time (?!?), here's something to research. The phrase "I am YHWH" appears in the following passages. Note any pattern? (Remember Gen 4.26 & Ex 6.2–3.)