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..."