Torah Ses. 2

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Torah Ses. 2

  1. 1. Torah Catholic Scripture: Dei Verbum affirms that the books of Scripture "Teach firmly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted to put into the sacred writings for the sake of our salvation" (DV 3:11). Inerrancy of the Bible is relevant only insofar as it teaches us the truth about God and God’s plan for our lives. The Bible is not to be read as a text book of natural science or history.
  2. 2. <ul><li>Catholic approach - </li></ul><ul><li>- Non literal </li></ul><ul><li>- Rejects fundamentalism </li></ul><ul><li>- Uses the literary tools of historical </li></ul><ul><li>criticism. </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. Midrash - using exaggeration to describe an event in light of previous stories. </li></ul><ul><li>Moses divides the Sea of Reeds - freedom for Israel </li></ul><ul><li>Joshua divdes the Jordan - promised land </li></ul><ul><li>Jesus stands in the Jordan to be baptized - heaven and earth are ‘one’. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Key Truths: </li></ul><ul><li>There is only one God. </li></ul><ul><li>God wants a relationship with His people. </li></ul><ul><li>God rejects ‘blood sacrifice’. </li></ul><ul><li>- Abraham not required to sacrifice his son. </li></ul><ul><li>- Moses rejects sacrifices to false gods. </li></ul><ul><li>- Prophets proclaim God does not want </li></ul><ul><li>blood sacrifice. </li></ul><ul><li>- Jesus condemns ‘temple sacrifice’ and </li></ul><ul><li> proclaims God’s temple is within. </li></ul><ul><li>- St. Paul: ‘…do you not know your body is </li></ul><ul><li> is the temple of the Holy Spirit?’ </li></ul>
  4. 4. ‘ Flat earth theology’ creates a spirituality where we are seen as separate from God, need to be perfect for God to love us, have to earn our way to God, heaven is ‘up’, a reward after we die. Images: Tower of Babel, Moses on mountain top. Incarnational theology - God is with us - divine indwelling! Images: Adam/Eve ‘walking together in the evening air’. Moses and the ‘burning bush’ - YHWH, “I Am Who Am” Jesus: Baptism in the Jordan..heaven and earth are ‘one’. Good News: Reign of God is here, within. Lk.
  5. 5. <ul><li>The author first writing in the Pentateuch referred to God by the name Yahweh, or at least by an unpronounceable set of consonants that were written as YHWH. </li></ul><ul><li>The Yahwist tradition is referred to as </li></ul><ul><li>the ‘J’ source because of a mispronunciation of the word ‘Yhwh’. When vowels were inserted it sounded like (J)ehovah. </li></ul><ul><li>This tradition also refered to the holy mountain of the Jews as Mt. Sinai. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>The material in the Pentateuch that called God YHWH appeared to be centered in Jerusalem for it extolled the institutions identified with Jerusalem: </li></ul><ul><li>- the King </li></ul><ul><li>- the High Priest </li></ul><ul><li>- the Temple </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Writing history, which is what the Torah purported to be, is an activity that normally starts only when a nation has become established and secure enough to begin to look at itself with some objectivity. </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>When this strand of material is lifted out of the Torah and separated from the later strands, its historical setting becomes immediately visible. </li></ul><ul><li>The Jewish nation has been established. </li></ul><ul><li>Saul, the first king, a member of the tribe of Benjamin, had been unable to secure his throne. </li></ul><ul><li>The narrative describes Saul as a melancholy, depressed man, who could not unite the various tribes of Israel. </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>It is David who is the clear hero of this Yahwist writer. David was portrayed as chosen by God and anointed by the prophet Samuel to be king of the Jews at a very early age, indeed while still a shepherd boy keeping the flocks of his father Jesse. </li></ul><ul><li>Heroic tales had obviously gathered around him in the memory of the people as tends to happen to a popular leader. It was said of the young David that he had killed a lion, a bear and finally that he had killed Goliath, a Philistine. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>When David moved to claim the throne for himself, the Yahwist writer suggests that he immediately instituted a series of political moves to solidify that claim and to win popular support. He ordered a national time for mourning the deaths of King Saul and his sons, punished anyone who appeared to take pleasure in Saul's demise and made plans to conquer the city of the Jebusites, called Jerusalem, to make it his new capital. </li></ul><ul><li>If he was going to unite the disparate tribes of Israel into a single political entity he needed a neutral city as a symbol of that new unity into which he intended to call the people of his nation. </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>David set out to establish three institutions: - the throne of David, </li></ul><ul><li>- the city of Jerusalem </li></ul><ul><li>- and the Temple of Solomon that was </li></ul><ul><li>finished in the first decade of King </li></ul><ul><li>Solomon's rule </li></ul><ul><li>Now the time was right for someone to set this nation into the stream of history by telling their national story. </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>This was the setting in which a court historian, perhaps a member of the royal family, perhaps a priest associated with the Temple, or perhaps someone who was both, was commissioned, probably by the king, to write the history of this Hebrew nation. </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>When his story was complete, the image of Israel as God's chosen people was secure. It was buttressed by the claims made in this narrative. </li></ul><ul><li>-They were basically three: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- God had chosen the House of David, and thus the tribe of Judah, to rule over the chosen people. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- The will of God was expressed through the Temple in which God lived as a protective presence. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- And the high priest specifically and the Temple priesthood in general were alone designated to order the religious life of the nation as the sign of God's continuous blessing. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>As soon as this narrative was complete, it began to be read as part of the liturgy of the people gathered in the Temple for worship, as is the destiny of all sacred scripture. In that process this narrative with its power claims achieved the status of being &quot;God's revealed truth.&quot; </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>In a world in which there was no division between Church and State (i.e. religion and politics), this first text to become part of the scriptures of the people was in fact a very political document. </li></ul><ul><li>By tracing the Jewish story from creation (Gen. 2) to the call of Abraham, this narrative had gone from the universal beginning of human history to the dawn of their own national history. </li></ul><ul><li>By relating the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph this narrative established, as both legitimate and moral, the Jewish claim to the land that they had in fact conquered. </li></ul><ul><li>By incorporating the ancient shrines of Hebron, Beersheba and Bethel into their story they identified the religious traditions of the past with a new center in Jerusalem, which was their ultimate and grander successor. </li></ul><ul><li>By telling the story of the noble history of the Jews prior to falling into slavery in Egypt, this narrative rebuilt their national reputation. It was political propaganda at its best, a powerful and effective attempt to define what it meant to be a Jew, a member of the &quot;Chosen People.&quot; </li></ul>

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