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Bi 117 the bible as literature

  1.  The Bible in the West includes the Hebraic and Christian scriptures, respectively the Old and New Testaments.  Jews accept the Old Testament as their foundational text.  Christians broaden that outlook to include both the Old and New Testaments.
  2. • Accepting the scriptures as the revealed word of the Lord is a matter of faith, and systematic analysis of the scriptures is theological interpretation, which results in a code of beliefs called religion.
  3.  Even if divinely inspired (“The Word of God”), the Bible is still a product of human beings written for human audiences. The book is a collection of writings produced by real people who lived in actual historical times.
  4. Came from a variety of social positions and professions: Kings Shepherds Doctor A Tax Collector Fishermen
  5. --The Bible is the common heritage of us all, whatever our religious beliefs. --The Bible contains various literary forms written for a variety of purposes: It contains genealogies, laws, letters, royal decrees, instructions for building, prayers, proverbial wisdom, prophetic messages, historical narratives, tribal lists, archival data, ritual regulations, and information about personal problems Poetry-Prayers-Short Stories- Novels- Gospels
  6.  Explains how religious rites, rituals and ceremonies came into existence, such as…  Marriage  Bar Mitzvah  Baptism  Sacrifice  Circumcision
  7.  Teaches a community or individuals how to behave appropriately  Obey God  Obey your elders  Don’t sleep with your brother’s wife  Don’t drink water that has a dead moose in it
  8.  The structure --The Bible as an anthology--a set of selections produced over a period of some one thousand years. *The Old Testament (39 books) *The New Testament (27 books)
  9. *The Old Testament (39 books) Timeline: Creation of the universe and of mankind to the end of BC Subject: History of Israel Original language: Hebrew *The New Testament (27 books) Timeline: AD to the end of the world Subject: life of Jesus Original language: Greek
  10.  OLD TESTAMENT  Pentateuch  Historical Books  Wisdom Books  Prophetic Books
  11.  NEW TESTAMENT  The Gospels (Historical and Wisdom)  Epistolary Literature (Historical)  Apocalyptic Literature (Prophetic)
  12.  Called the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), also called the Torah by the Jews, contain numerous literary forms:  In Genesis, the story of Creation is a literary catalogue distinguished by classification and division and by incremental repetition.
  13.  The Pentateuch, continued: contain numerous literary forms:  In Genesis Continued: In the first stage or day of Creation, the narrator recounts that God created light, divided it from darkness, and classified the light as day and the darkness as night.  The narrator follows the same pattern in describing subsequent days of Creation. Accordingly, God separates the earth from the sea, then creates the respective creatures dwelling on land and in the water.
  14. “Creation” – numbers “In the Garden”- Adam and Eve “The First Murder” – Cain and Abel “The Great Flood” – Noah and symbols “Babel” – Theme “Abraham: A Promise and a Test”- Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael, Isaac, Holy Messenger
  15. “Jacob”- (also known as Israel), Isaac, Esau “Joseph” – Dreams, Joseph, Coat of many colors “Moses: The Calling” – Moses, Aaron, Burning bush, numbers “Moses: Challenging Pharaoh” – the Plagues, Passover, Red Sea, Miracles in the Desert
  16.  “Samson”- Samson and Delilah  “David” – David, Goliath, Bathsheeba  “Jonah”- Numbers, Symbols,  “Job”- Theme, Theodicy, Comforters  “Daniel”- Daniel, Darius, Dreams, Symbols
  17.  Remember to use images-  Do NOT use many words in your presentation
  18.  Paradise • Serpent • The Apple
  19.  The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden is Aetiological helping to explain how sin and temptation came into the world.  This is also a story that helps to explain marriage.  Finally, the story is instructional in that it teaches human beings subservience to God.
  20.  Similar to the Gilgamesh narrative.  Differs in the motivation behind the cause.  Differs in the construction.  The pattern of God’s judgment and mercy.
  21.  Noah tested in the flood.  Abraham tested when God commands him to sacrifice Isaac.  As protagonists in the stories of Genesis, the patriarchs by their trials, sufferings, and eventual triumph resemble heroes in literature.
  22.  Aetiological- And so Yahweh scattered them upon the face of the Earth, and confused their languages, and they left off building the city, which was called Babel "because Yahweh there confounded the language of all the Earth."(Genesis 11:5-8).
  23.  When God speaks in this story, He uses the phrase, "let us go," referencing the trinity (3).  God says in Genesis 11:6, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them." (NIV)  God realizes that when people are unified in purpose they can accomplish impossible feats, both noble and ignoble. This is why unity in the body of Christ is so important.
  24.  Some scholars believe that this marks the point in history where God divided the earth into separate continents. •To build, the people used brick instead of stone and tar instead of mortar. They used "man-made" materials, instead of more durable "God-made" materials. The people were building a monument to themselves, to call attention to their own abilities and achievements, instead of giving glory to God.
  25. The Child of Promise
  26.  Known  called the father of the Jews and is considered the founder of the Jewish religion. He was the first to believe in one all-powerful God instead of many gods.  Christians and Muslims also honor Abraham and trace their belief in one God back to him.  Progenitor of the three major Western Religions.
  27. (These came after Isaac and Ishmael)
  28. ISHMAEL ISAAC  Son of Abraham and Hagar  Known as “the Outcast”  Muslims believed that he is the ‘sacrificial’ son as he was Abraham’s only child for 13 years.  Becomes the progenitor of Arabs and is an ancestor of Mohammad.  Son of Abraham and Sarah  His son is Jacob who will become known as Israel and whose 12 sons will become the 12 tribes of the Jews.  Because he was born to a sterile mother (Sarah) he is seen as an example of God’s providing for a savior.
  29.  Theodicy- The problem of evil. Why does evil exist in the world? Why do bad things happen to good people?  Job’s ‘comforters’- Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar  Schadenfreude- taking pleasure in the misfortunes of others.  God as judge, and the adversary (satan)
  30.  The Book of Job extols an exemplar of faith and fortitude who is beset by one misfortune after another.  Urged by his wife to renounce the Lord, who is perceived as having unjustly punished one of his faithful servants, Job enhances his fortitude and affirms his faith despite intense suffering.
  31.  Urged by friends to accept blame for the disasters of his life—thus allowing them to maintain a sense of order in the universe.  Calls for a conference with God.  Gets no answer, but is responded to by the Lord Himself.  In the course of suffering, Job becomes humble, learns the limitations of human intelligence in probing the mystery of God, and marvels at the higher wisdom of the Lord that humankind can never fully comprehend.
  32.  Numbers in the Bible have deep spiritual and symbolic significance.  Although the books of the Bible have multiple authors, there seems to be a remarkable consistency with number symbolism throughout the Bible from “Genesis” to “Revelation”  Numbers reference both Good and Evil.
  33.  1-Beginning, First  2- Witness, Separation  3- The Godhead, Trinity  4- Earth, Creation  6- Man, Beast, Satan  7- Perfection, Completeness  10- Law, Government, Restoration  12- Divine government, Apostles  13- Rebellion, apostacy  30- Consecration, maturity  40- Trial, Test, Probation  75- Separation, cleansing  666- Antichrist, Satan, the damned triplicate
  34.  THREE-THREE- Trinity,Trinity, “Let us go” in Babel,“Let us go” in Babel, Noah had 3 sons,Noah had 3 sons, Jonah in Fish, 3Jonah in Fish, 3 comforters, 3 wisecomforters, 3 wise men, Jesus in tombmen, Jesus in tomb Peter’s denial, 3Peter’s denial, 3 patriarchs ofpatriarchs of JudaismJudaism,,  FOUR-FOUR- Creation,Creation, (Earth, Wind, Fire,(Earth, Wind, Fire, Water) Horsemen ofWater) Horsemen of the Apocalypse,the Apocalypse, GospelsGospels
  35.  SEVEN-SEVEN- Perfection,Perfection, Combination ofCombination of God +creationGod +creation includingincluding mankind. 7 daysmankind. 7 days and nights inand nights in Genesis, in Noah,Genesis, in Noah, in Joseph,7 yearsin Joseph,7 years of plenty, (Jesus-of plenty, (Jesus- 7777thth in line fromin line from  TEN-TEN- 1010 commandments,commandments, 10 plagues, (1010 plagues, (10 generationsgenerations between Adambetween Adam and Noah; Noahand Noah; Noah and Abraham.)and Abraham.)
  36.  TWELVE-TWELVE- 12 sons12 sons of Jacob (Israel)of Jacob (Israel) become the 12become the 12 Tribes of the Jews,Tribes of the Jews, 12 apostles; (1212 apostles; (12 days ofdays of Christmas).Christmas).  FORTY-FORTY- 40 days40 days and nights of rain,and nights of rain, 40 years in the40 years in the desert (Israel), 40desert (Israel), 40 days and nightsdays and nights (Jesus), 40 days(Jesus), 40 days after theafter the resurrection beforeresurrection before the ascension.the ascension.
  37. BIRTH and NATIVITY  “Where is he who has been born king?” MINISTRY and MIRACLES  “Is this not the Carpenter?”  “The Sermon on the Mount”  “Parables” DEATH AND RESURRECTION  “Last Days in Jerusalem”  “The Tomb is Empty”
  38.  Jesus- as Man, as God  Mary- Mother of God  Joseph- Jesus’ human father  Herod- tries to kill Jesus  Peter- denies Jesus at his death  Judas- betrays Jesus  Thomas- doubts the resurrection
  39.  Instructional stories meant to reveal a truth or teach a lesson.  Sometimes confusing and ambiguous.  “The Good Samaritan”  “Prodigal Son”  “The Great Supper”  “The Lost Sheep” “The Lost Coin”
  40.  Among the historical books of the Bible, Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles predominate.  They are part of the Jewish scripture called the Nebim (the prophets)  Officially in the Jewish tradition there are two subsections  The former prophets—from the entrance to Canaan to the Babylonian captivity.  The later prophets—Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the 12 minor prophets.  They describing the roles of kings and prophets among the Chosen People and the evolution of a nomadic community into a political and military kingdom in the land of Canaan.
  41.  Emphasized are the first monarchies of Saul and David, the histories of various kings, and the grandeur of their temporal realms.  More important is the role of the prophets as spokespersons of the Lord.  Inveighing against monarchs and the people for their periodic lapses in fidelity to the Lord, the prophets uphold the expectations of the Lord in the midst of a community whose majority, at times, becomes wayward.
  42.  The histories of the kings are presented in accord with the literary form of the exemplum, an example or “case study.”  The kings who are faithful to the Lord thrive, whereas the unfaithful sovereigns are punished, even to the extent of being defeated by their enemies in battle. When impelled by vainglory and by lusts (materialistic or carnal), the kings are self-indulgent.
  43.  In line with the literature of didacticism, these books teach readers clear-cut lessons concerning one's relationship with the Lord, the virtues to be imitated and the vices to be shunned, the importance of fidelity to the Lord and his heavenly realm, and the dangers of inordinate attachment to worldly pleasures and possessions.
  44.  Thus, the prophets, in contrast to the kings, are self-disciplined, abstemious, and humble. Such a state of purgation and purity readies them to accept and disseminate the word of the Lord.
  45.  Among the so-called Wisdom Books, the most often cited are Job, Psalms, Proverbs (also known as a Book of Wisdom), and The Song of Songs.  In the Jewish tradition these are contained in the Kethubim (the Writings)  The collective wisdom of these books instructs people concerning the adversities of life and the means to withstand and overcome them.  In short, the Wisdom Books stress fortitude and faith in the Lord in the present life so that one may be rewarded.
  46.  In doing so, the Wisdom Books adapt the overt methods of didactic literature:  to highlight exemplars who manifest faith and fortitude during adversity,  to dramatize a prayerful relationship between the people and the Lord,  to cite aphoristic lore derived from the experience of generations, and  Aphoristic – “a concise statement of a principle or a terse formulation of a truth or sentiment” (  to use allegory in highlighting the interaction of the Lord and humankind.
  47.  Ecclesiastes 9:11, "I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all."
  48.  “Psalm” is based on the Greek word which represents the sound of a plucked string.  Hebrew poetry is not based on strict metrical pattern alone (as in Greek or Latin) or on metrical pattern and rhyme (as in English and other modern languages).  It works by what is known as “parallelism.” A first statement is repeated or amplified in a different form--”The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart:the commandments of the Lord is pure,enlightening the eyes” (19:8 KJV) (Berggren).
  49.  The Psalms, collected into a book or Psalter, number approximately 150, including both communal songs and prayers and individual utterances, often set to music.  Like lyrical poetry, which was often sung or recited to musical accompaniment, the Psalms manifest a tonal range that includes primarily praise and gratitude to the Lord and the self-examination of a sinner who becomes a penitential suppliant.  Since many of the Psalms are attributed to King David, they are called the Davidic Psalms (Labriola).
  50.  The book is a compilation of gnomes, a word derived from the Greek “to know.”  It is presented in the manner of gnomic or sapiential literature, which is commonplace in cultures as varied as the Greek and the Anglo-Saxon,  the Book of Proverbs provides pithy summations of wisdom to be imparted to younger generations.  As a distillation of the “lessons learned” by an older and wiser generation, the Book of Proverbs imparts a philosophy of life, a perception of one's place in society, and an outlook on one's relationship to God.
  51.  Also called the Song of Solomon and the Canticle of Canticles.  The text features a loving relationship, including courtship and marriage, between a bridegroom and his wife.  Though attributed to Solomon and interpreted as his wedding song to his beloved, the Song of Songs is more often perceived by Christian commentators as allegorical literature.  Especially through lyricism, drama, and dialogue, the work suggest various interrelationships (Labriola):  God and His People (or one soul)  Jesus and His Church  Christ and his mother Mary
  52.  The description of the beloved “to a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots” (Chap. 1).  Robert Alter clarifies this perplexing reference: “a mare in heat, let loose among chariotry, could transform well- drawn battle lines into a chaos of widely plunging stallions.”  The male celebration of female sexuality as landscape is familiar to readers of later love poems.  However, the Song of Songs is also remarkable for the frequency with which the woman speaks (Berggren).
  53.  The term “prophet” is derived from a Greek word meaning “to speak on behalf of” (Britannica).  The prophets were ancient Israelites who spoke to the nation on behalf of God. In other words, they were preachers.  Their purpose was not, as is often mistakenly assumed, to foretell the future.
  54.  The prophets were men who interpreted Israel's behavior in the light of God's laws and frequently found reason to condemn that behavior.  The prophets also declared that Israel would be punished for breaking the laws.  A series of national disasters that befell Israel seemed to prove the merit of the prophetic warnings:  Israel was conquered or subjugated in turn by Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome over a period of seven centuries (Britannica).
  55.  summoned by God,  received the divine word, and  preached it to the people.
  56.  The literary genre of prophecy, including the oral traditions and written narratives of Graeco-Roman and biblical antiquity, characterizes the prophets as spokespersons with two major functions:  (1) to admonish the people against wrongdoing, usually violations of their covenant with the deity, and to foretell punishment if wayward conduct persisted;  (2) to proclaim the expectations of the Lord, which the people are urged to heed.
  57.  In the literary genre of prophecy, prophets typically received communication from God through dream-visions and trances.  Unaware of their surroundings and impervious to external stimuli, prophets became more attentive to divine communication.  Characterized as zealots who were abstemious and at times ascetic, prophets renounced the temptations of worldliness and carnalism, purifying themselves to become fit vessels to receive and disseminate the divine word.  Isaiah, in fact, cleansed his lips with a
  58.  As they inveighed against wayward rulers of the Israelites or against the people at large, the prophets often jeopardized their physical well-being while they served as divine spokesmen.  Whether imprisoned, persecuted, or martyred, the prophets were resolute in their faith in God and in their steadfast service,  This passion derived, in part, from the dramatic manner in which prophets were summoned to their ministry, which often led to their ardent zeal reflected in denunciations of wrongdoing, in dire predictions of the imminent wrath of the Lord, and in vivid descriptions of the torment of everlasting damnation.  The preaching of Jeremiah, notably mournful in his lamentations and fierce in prophesying the Lord's wrath, gave rise to the term “jeremiad,” a diatribe often couched as a sermon admonishing sinners that their souls will be in the hands of an angry God (Labriola).
  59.  Jonah also spelled “Jonas,” the fifth of 12 Old Testament books that bear the names of the Minor Prophets, embraced in a single book, The Twelve, in the Jewish canon.  Unlike other Old Testament prophetic books, Jonah is not a collection of the prophet's oracles but primarily a narrative about the man. (similar to the patriarch narratives).  Jonah is portrayed as a recalcitrant prophet who flees from God's summons to prophesy against the wickedness of the city of Nineveh (Britannica).
  60.  Like Odysseus, Jonah is a reluctant traveler who takes refuge in sleep.  Ancient writers use symbolic details like this to suggest delicate psychological states of mind (Berggren).  A clear example of a travel archetype.  Go a great distance to the edge.  Come back with a new understanding.  Jonah is willing to obey  Jonah learns that his ways are not God’s.
  61.  According to the opening verse, Jonah is the son of Amittai.  This lineage identifies him with the Jonah mentioned in II Kings 14:25 who prophesied during the reign of Jeroboam II, about 785 BC.  It is possible that some of the traditional materials taken over by the book were associated with Jonah at an early date, but the book in its present form reflects a much later composition.  It was written after the Babylonian Exile (6th century BC), probably in the 5th or 4th century and certainly no later than the 3rd, since Jonah is listed among the Minor Prophets in the apocryphal book of Ecclesiasticus, composed about 190.
  62.  Like the “Book of Ruth,” which was written at about the same period, “Jonah” opposes the narrow Jewish nationalism characteristic of the period following the reforms of Ezra and Nehemiah with their emphasis on Jewish exclusivity.  Thus the prophet Jonah, like the Jews of the day, abhors even the idea of salvation for the Gentiles.  God chastises him for his attitude, and the book affirms that God's mercy extends even to the inhabitants of a hated foreign city.  The incident of the great fish, recalling Leviathan, the monster of the deep used elsewhere in the Old Testament as the embodiment of evil, symbolizes the nation's exile and return.
  63. Berggren, Paula. Teaching With the Norton Anthology of World Literature Vols. A-C. New York: Norton, 2002. Cauthron “What the SNU Religion Department Believes and Teaches” What SNU Teaches. (13 Sept. 2005). Fairchild, Mary The Tower of Bable –Story Summary” Christianity 19 Sept. 2010 < es/p/towerofbabel.htm> "Jonah, Book of." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2005. Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition. 20 Sept. 2005 <>.
  64. Labriola, Albert “The Bible as Literature” The Literary Encyclopedia. (16 June 2003) (13 Sept. 2005). Walton, John H. "Is there Archaeological Evidence of the Tower of Babel?" Christians Answers. 19 Spt. 2010 < abr/abr-a021.html>
  65.  "Are the individuals mentioned in the Old Testament (such as Adam, Eve, Noah, Jonah, Job, David, and Solomon) real people or just allegories for teaching principles?" • Scripture everywhere speaks of them as real people. Archaeological exploration in the Middle East have pointed increasingly to many identifiable parallels (names, places, artifacts, and texts) with things in the Bible. These parallels give warrant for accepting the actuality of persons named in the Old Testament (Cauthron).  Remember, however, their importance is not determined by their historical but spiritual reality.
  66. “These stories focus on events that took place long before humanity began to document its history and civilization.. . . These chapters contain narratives about the world out of which Israel's ancestor Abraham came to follow God's call." Discovering the Old Testament 62).
  67. This question appears to assume that historical veracity is the complete measure of all truth. To say it another way: It takes the affirmation "If it is historical, it is true" and turns it into the statement "If it is true, it is historical." Yet, one must ask how we usually understand Jesus' parables in the gospels. Must we hold that Jesus referred to a specific, living individual when he spoke about a farmer, a land owner, a wife making bread, a pearl merchant, a father who divided his possessions (see Matthew 13 and Luke 15)?
  68. • The theological truth of a parable is not lessened, or made any less legitimate, when we assume that these were stories of what might happen rather than specific reports of what actually transpired in someone's life. • In fact, Biblical interpreters through the centuries have argued that the father in the prodigal son parable would not have been a real Jewish father in Jesus' day. In that culture, a father would not be so foolish as to do what the younger son asked, because the request was an insult to the father. Yet, these same interpreters have spoken at length about the message and meaning of the parable with regard to Jesus' emphasis upon God as Father.

Hinweis der Redaktion

  1. The story of Adam and Eve and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.