Religion 21 Professor Niditch Ancient Israel Chapin 114

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To Think About:

1. Discuss the ten commandments in terms of Hittite treaty forms. Are there better explanations of the origins and functions of the commandments?

2. Note divine warrior imagery in Ex 20:18 ff.; 23:9, 15 ff. What is the place of this imagery in the midst of covenant making?

3. What sort of society might produce each of the laws in Ex 21-23? For any given law, ask yourself if it seems appropriate to an urban or rural society, to a settled group or to nomads, to a pre-monarchic setting or to a monarchic setting.

4. Can you explain the purity laws contained in Leviticus in terms of Douglas' theories? What are the sociostructural roles of laws of religious conduct and cultic purity?

5. Can you work out the symbolic values of any of the rituals described in Lev.? Are certain objects, materials, colors, or actions employed in a consistent way in a number of rituals?

6. Explain Lev 26 in terms of the conditional covenant.
Problems in Exodus and Numbers
V. October 17, 19

1. Ex 32 employs a constantly repeated theme in the history of Israel: a. lack of faith by the people; b. their disobedience and backsliding; c. punishment. Outline the particulars involved in the golden calf incident and trace this pattern of disobedience and punishment in the quails incident (Num 11), in the spies incident (Num 13), and finally in Moses` own problems at the rock (Num 20).

2. Note the storm god imagery in Ex 33 (cf. 19:17-19). What impression is given of the relationship between man and God?

3. Which source preserved Num 1-20? See also Num 17-18. Do you notice any pro-priestly prejudices? Is Aaron listed as an equal to Moses?

4. Do Aaron and the Levites always appear in a consistently positive light? See Ex 32, Num 12, and Lev 10:1-4.

5. Discuss Moses' role as prophet, revealed in Numbers. Take special notice of Num 12:6-8.

6. Discuss signs of dissension, of differing "parties and politics" among the Israelites. See Num 16 and 12 especially. Note the varying groups who vie for power. Especially take note of differing priestly parties.

7. Compare Num 16:28-35, Ex 7:8-13, and 1 Kgs 18:20-40.

8. Read Num 22-24 carefully. Deal with it as a narrative. Describe the characters, the pattern of events, and the style of prose and poetic sections. What does it say theologically? How does this narrative reinforce our previous discussions of the nature of blessing and cursing in ancient societies?
VI. October 22, 24

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