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Old Testament History and Literature

 

Course Syllabus

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

This course is a survey of the Old Testament in the context of the history, geography and culture of Old

Testament times. The chief events, characters, and teachings of each book are studied in relation to their

place in the ongoing revelation of God's plan.

COURSE TEXTBOOKS: Online textbook and Holy Bible, and links

 

 

Quizzes

 Worksheets

 

 

Recommended Texts:

Beckwith, Roger. The Old Testament Canon of the New Testament Church and Its Background in Early

Judaism. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985.

Bright, John. A History of Israel. Third Edition. Philadelphia: Westminster, 198 1.

Bruce, F. F. The Books and the Parchments: How We Got Our English Bible. Revised edition. Old Tappan, NJ:

Fleming Revell, 1984.

Long, V. Philips. The Art of Biblical History. Foundations of Contemporary Interpretation, vol. 5. Grand

Rapids: Zondervan, 1994,

COURSE OBJECTIVES:

As a result of his/her experiences in  Old Testament History and Literature the student should be

able to:

I . Gain an appreciation of the Old Testament as a Christian document.

2. Gain an ability to read the Old Testament as a Christian document.

3. Demonstrate familiarity with the basic content of each Old Testament book.

4. Demonstrate a familiarity with critical issues related to the books of the Old Testament.

5. Articulate a conservative position relative to issues of Old Testament criticism.

6. Employ the Old Testament more effectively in preaching and teaching.

7. Demonstrate a familiarity with the historical background of the Old Testament.

8. Demonstrate a familiarity with the geography of the ancient Near East.

9. Utilize the Old Testament as a resource for their own personal edification and spiritual growth.

COURSE REOUIREMENTS:

1. Each student will read the entire Old Testament in the translation of their choice, and will document their

reading in the manner stipulated by the professor.

 Old Testament History and Literature I

2. There will be four examinations based on the textbook and the corresponding sections of Scripture.

 

COURSE OUTLINE AND OBJECTIVES:

 Prologue and Pentateuch:

Bible, Genesis -Deuteronomy

At the end of this unit the student should be able to:

Chapter 1. Approaching the Old Testament

I . State and define the primary objective of the OT.

2. Define the terms "revelation ... .. inspiration," and "inscripturation."

3. List and explain the various approaches (methodologies) to the OT.

4. Discuss the concept of the "authority" of the OT.

5. State the main principle of interpreting the OT.

. The Formation of the Old Testament Scriptures

I . Discuss the concept of canon and its formation.

2. Give the tripartite division of the Hebrew Scriptures.

3. Define the terms "Apocrypha" and "Pseudepigrapha."

4. Know approximately how many years and how many human writers it took to produce the OT.

5. Explain the role of scribes both before and after the Exile.

6. Know what a Masorete was.

7. Know the nature and purpose of textual criticism.

8. Define the word "canon" and list the four stages in its formation.

9. Know the order of the OT books in the Protestant canon.

10. Give English divisions of the OT.

11. Define the term "Antilegomena."

12. Know the canonical status of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha in both Judaism and Christianity.

. Historical Overview of Old Testament Timed,

1. Give a brief historical overview of OT times.

2. Be able to sketch the periods from 3000 BC to 450 BC.

3. Give the two main civilizations (cultures) before the Patriarchal Period.

-4. Know the two dates for the Exodus and which is held by most conservatives.

.11~ITXX

. The Geography of the Old Testament

1. Discuss the significance of geography as it relates to the OT story.

2. List several ways in which the geography of Palestine made it politically and theologically significant.

3. Know what the Fertile Crescent is.

4. Know what the word "Mesopotamia" means.

5. Grasp the theological significance of the land.

 Archaeology and the Old Testament

1. State and explain some of the contributions and limitations of archaeology.

2. Know what the main contribution of archaeology to biblical studies is.

3. Explain the limitations of archaeology relative to history and theology.

Exam 1

 Introduction to the Pentateuch

1 . Explain the unity and complexity of the Pentateuch.

2. List and describe the various literary types found in the Pentateuch.

3. Explain various ways the Christian church has interpreted the OT.

4. Discuss Christ's relationship to and Paul's attitude toward the OT.

5. Give some names for the collection comprised of the first five books of the OT.

6. State the basis for the claim that Moses wrote the Pentateuch.

7. Explain how and why the Pentateuch may be partitioned in two.

8. Explain the two main divisions of the book of Genesis.

9. Discuss the types of laws in the Pentateuch.

10. Discuss the labels J, E, D, and P as they relate to one theory of authorship for the Pentateuch and explain

why this theory gained such popularity.

. Genesis

I . List and discuss the major themes of the book of Genesis, including "covenant" and "election."

2. Discuss the division of Genesis into "Primeval History" and "Patriarchal Narrative."

3. Describe the cultural and religious heritage of Abraham.

4. Explain what is meant by the phrase "Toledoth Formula."

5. State the theological message of the patriarchal narratives.

6. State the promises God made to Abraham.

7. List the names of the patriarchs in order.

8. Define "monotheism" in distinction to polytheism and henotheism.

9. Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

. Exodus

1 . List and discuss the major themes of the book of Exodus.

2. Explain the major issues relative to the date and route of the Exodus.

3. Recount the major details of the life and role of Moses.

4. Explain the significance of the tabernacle.

5. List in order the Ten Commandments.

6. Explain the three purposes of the Law (in the textbook?)

7. Relate the name "Yahweh" to the nature of God.

8. Understand the two- fold purpose of the plagues.

9. Understand the purposes of the tabernacle.

10. Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

. Leviticus

1 . List and discuss the major themes of the book of Leviticus.

2. Explain how the book divides in two and what each section is about.

3. Identify the central verse.

4. Distinguish between the terms "holy," "common ... .. clean," and "unclean."

5. Explain the value of sacrifices in relationship to a person's faith.

6. Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

. Numbers

I . List and discuss the major themes of the book of Numbers.

2. Discuss the purpose of the book of Numbers its time frame.

3. List the three purposes for taking a census.

4. Explain the distinction between "testing" and "tempting."

5. Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

. Deuteronomy

I . List and discuss the major themes of the book of Deuteronomy.

2. Give and discuss the four topical issues suggested by the Decalogue in Deuteronomy.

3. Understand the main features of the suzerainty treaty pattern and list them in order.

4. List the Ten Commandments in order.

5. Explain the "retribution principle."

6. Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

Exam 2

Unit 2: Historical Books - Poetic Books:

; Bible, Joshua-Song of Songs

. Introduction to the Historical Books

1. Explain the distinctions between the "Historical Books" and the "Former Prophets."

2. List the contents of the Historical Books and Former Prophets.

3. State the contents of the Deuteronomistic History and summarize its message.

4. Compare and contrast the ancient and modem models of historiography.

5. State the purpose of the historical literature.

 Joshua

1. Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

2. List and discuss the major themes of the book of Joshua.

3. Discuss "theological purpose" in the book of Joshua.

4. Understand what is meant by the word "historicity."

5. Relate the concept of "land" to "covenant" in Joshua.

6. Identify, explain, and illustrate what "herem" is.

7. Understand the concept of "corporate solidarity"

. Judges

1. Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

2. List and discuss the major themes of the book of Judges.

3. Relate the six-part "cycle of apostasy" in Judges that serves as the key for understanding the book.

4. Know the names of the six judges in the book.

5. Define and describe the role of a "judge" as a "charismatic" leader.

6. Recognize and interpret the key verse of the book ( 17:6).

7. Describe how Hebrews 11 presents the judges.

. Ruth

1. Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

2. Explain the themes of "kinsman-redeemer" and "covenant loyalty."

3. Identify and describe Ruth.

. 1-2 Samuel

1. Discuss how these books point forward to Christ.

2. List and discuss the major themes of the books of 1-2 Samuel.

3. Describe the major events in the lives of Samuel, Saul, and David.

4. State the three leadership roles filled by Samuel.

5. Trace the movements of the ark of the covenant.

6. Identify Saul's main strength and weakness.

7. Note the three proofs that David did not usurp the throne of Saul.

8. List David's major successes.

9. Assess the rightness of the people's request for a king.

10. List the four elements of the Davidic Covenant and relate them to the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant.

11. Identify who occupies David's throne today.

12. Describe how the Bible relates Jesus to David.

1-2 Kings

I . Discuss how these books point forward to Christ.

2. Describe the policies of Solomon that led to Israel's "Golden Age."

3. Relate the events leading up to the division of the kingdom.

4. Recount the events leading up to the fall of Israel in 722/721 bc.

5. Discuss the significant roles played by Elijah and Elisha. (not on the test)

6. Explain the nature and result of Josiah's reforms. (not on the test)

7. Recount the events leading up to the fall of Judah in 587/586 bc.

8. List three or four of the most positive characteristics of Solomon's reign as well as three or four of the most

negative characteristics.

9. Distinguish between the Northern Kingdom and Southern Kingdom in terms of. the first king, the number of

tribes, the official name, the capital, the empire and leader who defeated it, and the year of defeat.

10. State what Jeroboam did to discourage the northern Jews from going to Jerusalem.

. 1-2 Chronicles

1 . Discuss how these books point forward to Christ.

2. Discuss the perspectives of "the Chronicler."

3. Know the purpose of the work in distinction to that of Samuel-Kings.

4. Identify the dominant theme.

5. List the four marks of a righteous king and note their fulfillment by Christ,

. Ezra-Nehemiah

I . Discuss how these books point forward to Christ.

2. Explain the interrelationship of Ezra and Nehemiah

3. Identify the main point of each man's ministry.

4. Give the date and significance of Cyrus' decree.

5. Describe the condition of Jerusalem at the arrival of Ezra and Nehemiah.

6. Explain what these books say about Yahweh.

7. Name the dominant theological idea in the restoration of Israel.

. Esther

I . Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

2. List the unique features of the book of Esther.

3. State the message of the book.

4. Explain the theology of Purim.

Exam 3:

. Hebrew Poetic and Wisdom Literature

1 . Describe the nature and theological significance of Hebrew poetry and wisdom.

2. Identify the most obvious feature of poetry in Hebrew and the languages of the Ancient Near East.

3. Recognize the 5 ways Hebrew poetry uses rhythm of thought.

4. Define the meaning of the Hebrew word for "wisdom."

5. State the two forms of wisdom in the OT and where they are found.

6. Define the concept of "theodicy."

. Job

1 . Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

2. List and discuss the major themes of the book of Job.

3. Explain the purpose of the book of Job.

4. State the essential difference between the book of Job and the related literature of the ancient Near East.

5. Explain the book's teaching on the relationship of righteousness and blessing.

6. Know why the evil figure in chapters 1-2 is technically "the satan."

7. Explain what the retribution principle is, as well as its corollary.

8. Compare and contrast the sufferings of Job and Christ.

9. Using Scripture, explain whether or not a Christian should accept suffering as part of the will of God.

. Psalms

I . Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

2. List and discuss the major themes of the book of Psalms.

3. Explain the structure of the Psalms and their devotional use.

4. Know how many "books" the Psalter is divided into.

5. Explain how psalms I & 2 introduce the Psalter.

6. Define the category (form) known as the "lament." What does it include?

. Proverbs

I . Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

2. List and discuss the major themes of the book of Proverbs.

3. Describe the purposes of the book of Proverbs as listed in chapter 1.

4. In 1:2-6, recognize the difference between moral and mental perception.

5. Explain Solomon's role as a patron of wisdom.

6. List the three ideas implicit in the phrase "the fear of the LORD."

7. Know whether or not individual proverbs are "promises."

8. Understand the link between conduct, consequence, and character (in that order).

. Ecclesiastes

I . Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

2. List and discuss the major themes of the book of Ecclesiastes.

3. Evaluate the identity of "Qoheleth" as the author.

4. State the conclusion of the book.

5. Give the biblical reason why believers should enjoy life.

. Song of Songs

1. Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

2. List and discuss the various interpretations of the Song of Songs

Unit 3: The Prophets and Epilogue:

 Bible, Isaiah - Malachi

 Introduction to the Prophetic Literature

1. Define the word "prophet" and describe the major functions of the prophet during Israel's history.

2. Explain the categories of prophetic oracle and discuss the concepts of prediction and fulfillment in relation

to biblical prophecy.

3. Distinguish pre-classical from classical prophets.

4. Describe the fundamental difference between classical prophecy and apocalyptic.

5. List and illustrate the three kinds of messages the prophets gave.

6. Know the facts and dates on the handout "Quick Reference Facts on OT Prophets."

 Isaiah

1. Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

2. List and discuss the major themes of the book of Isaiah.

3. Explain "messianic prophecy" as it relates to the person, office, and kingdom of the Messiah.

4. Understand the meaning of the phrase "vaticinium ex eventu."

5. Know how and why some scholars have assigned the book to two or more authors.

6. Sketch the political situation during the reigns of Ahaz and Hezekiah.

7. Discuss the issue of the identity of the "Servant" (chs. 42, 49, 50, 52-53, 61).

. Jeremiah

1. Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

2. List and discuss the major themes of the book of Jeremiah.

3. Name the Babylonian king who captured Jerusalem.

4. Describe how and why many of the people of Judah were taken to Babylonia.

5. List and recognize the four kinds of oracles in the book.

6. Explain the reason Jeremiah (and the other prophets) spoke oracles against the nations.

7. Explain God's policy of dealing with the nations and how it differs from his dealings with individuals.

8. Know how Hebrews 8-10 deals with the subject of the New Covenant (Jer 3 1).

9. Describe the basic message of the false prophets.

. Lamentations

1. Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

2. List and discuss the major themes of the book of Lamentations.

3. Explain the historical setting of the book.

4. Describe what an acrostic poem is and state its purposes.

 Ezekiel

1. Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

2. List and discuss the major themes of the book of Ezekiel.

3. Identify the three phases of Ezekiel's prophetic ministry.

4. State the place of Ezekiel's ministry.

5. Summarize the reigns of the last kings of Judah: Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah.

6. Explain the content and meaning of the vision of the chariot-throne (ch. 1)

7. Explain the meaning of the proverb in 18:2.

8. Explain the content and meaning of the vision of dry bones (ch. 37)

. Daniel

1. Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

2. List and discuss the major themes of the book of Daniel.

3. Define "apocalyptic" and explain the characteristics of this type of literature .

4. State why some scholars date the writing of Daniel in 168-164 BC.

5. List the 4 characteristics of apocalyptic literature.

6. Identify the 4 kings and 2 kingdoms Daniel served under.

7. List in order the 4 kingdoms represented in Daniel's visions and relate these kingdoms to the parts of the Statue

.

. Hosea

1. Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

2. Explain the theological significance of Hosea's marriage.

3. Name Hosea's wife and children.

4. State the meaning of the names of Hosea's children.

5. State the general location and time period of Hosea's ministry.

. Joel

1. Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

2. Relate the message of Joel to Peter's sermon on the Day of Pentecost.

3. Relate Joel's vision of the locust plague to the "Day of the Lord"

 Amos

1. Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

2. Discuss the theme of social concern as portrayed in the book of Amos.

3. State Amos' two occupations.

4. State his home town and where God sent him to minister.

. Obadiah

I . Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

2. Define and discuss the "Day of the Lord" as proclaimed by Joel, Amos, Obadiah, and Zephaniah

3. Identify the nation Obadiah prophesied against.

4. State that nation's offense.

5. Explain the meaning of "lex talionis."

. Jonah

I . Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

2. List and discuss the major themes of the book of Jonah.

3. Describe the prophet Jonah.

4. Identify Nineveh as the capital of the Assyrian Empire.

5. State the central message of the book.

. Micah

1. Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

2. List and discuss the major themes of the book of Micah.

3. Identify Micah as the prophet who foretold Bethlehem as the Messiah's birthplace.

4. Recognize the contents of Micah 6:8.

. Nahum

1. Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

2. Discuss the unique message of Nahum.

3. Identify the object of Nahum's message and the people who actually heard it.

. Habakkuk

1. Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

2. Discuss the unique message of Habakkuk.

3. Relate the purpose and message of Habakkuk to the book of Job.

 Zephaniah

1. Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

2. Discuss how the NT uses the concept of the "Day of the Lord."

. Haggai

1. Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

2. Explain the historical context of the ministry of Haggai.

3. Trace the history of the temple from Solomon to AD 70.

 Zechariah

1. Discuss how this book points forward to Christ.

2. Explain the historical context of the ministry of Zechariah.

3. Distinguish between those prophecies of Zechariah which refer to the first and second comings of the

Messiah.

 Malachi

I . Discuss how this book points forward to Chr ist.

2. List and discuss the major themes of the book of Malachi.

3. Compare what Moses said about divorce (Gen 2:24; Deut 24:1-4) with Malachi 2:16 and Matthew 5:31-32.

4. Identify the NT person who fulfilled Malachi's prophecy about the coming of "Elijah" (4:5).

 Toward the New Testament

1. Explain the interrelationship of the OT and NT.

2. List and discuss the three major groupings of NT references to the OT.

3. Describe key Old Covenant themes that are developed in the New Covenant.

4. Expla in what is intended by the phrase "already- but not yet."

 What We Have Learned

1 . List and discuss the scriptural evidence for several of the major OT teachings about God.

2. Discuss the false dichotomies often drawn between the pictures of God of the OT and the NT.

Note: Even though we may not cover this material in class, you are still responsible for knowing it and will be

tested over it on the final exam.

Final Exam:


 

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