Monday, June 29, 2009

Old Testament Week I, Class I

I'm taking a class on the Old Testament this summer for six weeks. I'm going to be taking notes on this blog in case it will be of service to anyone reading.

Besides the Bible, we are also reading Scott Hahn's book A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God's Covenant Love in Scripture.

Recommended books for educators, or future educators (that's me, God-willing!) is Antonio Fuentes' Guide to the Bible and The Scripture Documents: An Anthology of Official Catholic Teaching. The latter is particularly interesting to me. As St. Jerome said, "Ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ." But also, ignorance of the Church is ignorance, or maybe even worse, misinterpretation of the Scriptures. Remember, the Universal Church gave us the Bible and the Bible is part of the Tradition of the Church. No Church, no Bible.

One last note, in my Bible (Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition--the best translation) are two inserts: The Bible Timeline: The Story of Salvation (Thank you, Mother!) and a Bible Map Insert (Thank you, Professor!).

The Bible contains 73 books, but if you are going to read the Bible with a chronological approach, there are 14 at the core.

Alright, back to my class. Since I've been pretty lazy about note-taking (I'd rather pay attention than labor for notes), here are some of my randomly selected notes from my first day:

1. Mosaic authorship of the first five books of the Bible. The "Torah" in Hebrew, the "Pentateuch" in Greek.
2. To understand Genesis, one must understand Exodus.
3. In Biblical numerology, seven is the number symbolizing perfection. The Hebrew word "Sheva" (Seven) is the word for "swear." When you swear in an oath (to God), you are "sevening" yourself.
4. St. Ephraim the Syrian's commentary is the most important on the Pentateuch.
5. Contrary to popular belief, there were two "special" trees in Eden: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The latter's fruit was forbidden. Some theologians have surmised that eventually Adam and Eve would have been permitted to eat of its fruit, but disobeyed eating prematurely and against God's command.
6. The Hebrew word for "helper" is azar which translates into helper, counselor, adviser, partner, perfect match.
7. Eve is equal to Adam implied in his words, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh..."


Anonymous said...

Oh cool I just finished an Old Testament class. The OT is cool so I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Do you find Scott Hahn's book an easy-reader? I have a few of his books and they seem to be written for the regular ignorant Catholic versus an inspiring theologian. Also, are you learning Greek/Hebrew by chance? I have the RSV 2nd C.E. and have been somewhat disappointed with it (like I am with all translations). I just said "forget it" and am learning the original languages.


Simone said...

Dear Brent,

Thank you for reading and for your comment! I find Scott Hahn helpful in order to break things down for students and for the big picture! For inspiration, I turn to Ratzinger!

I studied Latin and have a background in other languages but not Greek or Hebrew unfortunately. I do have a NRSV of the NT called the Orthodox Study Bible which has excellent commentaries.

Good for you for studying the original languages, which is ideal!

Where do you study?

Anonymous said...


I do distance learning from Franciscan University and do the orginal language stuff on my own...real slow going, though...but hey, it'll be worth it I think.

You can't go with Ratzinger! The Holy Father is the biggest theology stud ever! He's great!


Anonymous said...

Did I just call the Pope a stud? Hahaha......oh my. ;)

Simone said...

Good for you! I was enrolled in the Distance Learning myself but found it too hard to discipline myself.

I share your love for the Holy Father. If you haven't read it yet, I recommend his book on spiritual christology "Behold The Pierced One." Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Yeah the distance learning program is hard! Not due to the material but purely on a discipline level. I have a new goal that's helping me out, though. Once I complete so many classes, then I get to go to Rome for a semster and do classes to fulfill my residency requirement. So now I'm really attempting to truck along so I can speed up my Rome vacation...I mean Rome education! ;)

Simone said...

Oh man, I *really* need to get to Rome. Never been. :(

Simone said...

Brent, are you Brent Robbins? I just read your response to Mark Glesne's post on Transubstantiation. Great work!

P.S. Where are you located?

Anonymous said...

Yup I'm Brent Robbins! Yeah I almost forgot about that post I did on Mark Glesne's blog. Do you have a link to it by chance? Did he ever rebuttle to our responses? Haha.

PS: Herndon, Virginia

Simone said...

He never did. How could he argue? It's especially difficult when you are wrong.

Here's a link to his blog:

So how do you know Jasmin?

By the way, I live in Alexandria. I bet we've crossed paths in this tiny orthodox Catholic world of D.C. before! Ha!

Anonymous said...

You know, you would *think* he could not argue, but I see Protestants all day every day arguing every single thing uniquely Catholic, regardless of how much evidence there is for the teaching. Prideful Prots will continue to argue it till death (though after death I doubt they will!!) ;)

How do I know Jasmin? One day when I was on business in California I walked into a Starbucks and saw a pretty Lebanese woman tapping away on her laptop. So I went up to her and said, "Hey, how YOU doin'?" and that was that!

Hey we live close to each other! Where do you think we could have crossed paths? Do you ever go to Our Lady of Lebanon in DC by chance? Or do the March for Life or Christ House?

Simone said...

Interesting. No. Have you ever gone to the Faith Discussion Dinners?

If not, I highly recommend it!

Anonymous said...

Oh cool! I've never heard of the Faith Discussion Forum, but it sounds really interesting (and a good evangelization tool). If the next meeting on the 25th starts after 6PM, I'll definitely be there. Do you think you'll be able to make it?

Anonymous said...

Faith Discussion *Dinner* I mean...not Forum. Haha...I just woke up. Stayed out late at the NYC fireworks last night....good times. Happy 4th by the way!

Simone said...

Happy Fourth to you too! I will be there! It's a really great time! See you then!


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