The Bible Story: The Old Testament Essay

The Bible Story: The Old Testament Essay

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To speak of the Hebrew Scripture is to speak of story, a story stretching from the very beginning of time to only a few centuries before the beginning of the Common Era. It is to speak of richness of content, of purpose and of reality and to engross oneself in an overarching narrative that, depending on your personal convictions, continues to the present day. Within this richness is found a wide variety of different events and experience, told through a series of genre ranging from foundational myth to apocalypse, law giving to poetry, genealogy to wisdom and many more. Within this diversity however, three broad sections can be discerned that speak to a shared purpose and content, these are the sections of Law, Prophecy and Writings. It is the purpose of this talk then to examine each of these sections, identifying their commonality and differences and exploring why they exists as discernable sections. To achieve this, we will be led through a brief survey of each section, delving into the content and purpose of each with reference to the others. In addition to this we will also explore the three genres of foundational myth, type scene and wisdom that are found in these sections, discussing their features and how they have been used in specific circumstances as a part of the greater biblical narrative.

The first section of the Hebrew Scriptures we will be exploring is that of Law, or to use the original Hebrew term for it, ‘Torah’. This section is rich in narrative, encompassing the stories of creation and fall from Genesis as well as the foundational myths of Israel in the forms of the Patriarchs, Exodus, Law and the concept of the ‘Promised Land’. Involving the first five books of the canonical Hebrew Scriptures, this s...


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Fee, D. Gordon, and Stuart Douglas. How to read the Bible Book by Book. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002.

—. How to read the Bible for all its worth. 3rd Edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003.

LaSor, William Sanford, David Allan Hubbard, and Frederic William Bush. Old Testament Survey: The Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament. 2nd Edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing co., 1996.

Mark, Strom. The Symphony of Scripture: Making sense of the Bible's many themes. Phillpsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2001.

Robert, Alter. The Art of Biblical Narrative. New York, NY: Basic Books, 1981.

Rogerson, J. W., and Judith M. (ed) Lieu. The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Wenham, J. Gordon. Exploring the Old Testament: A guide to the Pentateuch. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003.

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