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Reading the Old Testament An Introduction by Lawrence Boadt


Persia learned that the best way to conquer Greece was to bribe the Greek City ... main purpose for the Book of Esther si to give the reason for the beast of Purim ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Reading the Old Testament An Introduction by Lawrence Boadt

Reading the Old TestamentAn IntroductionbyLawre
nce Boadt
Ch. 24 Faith Confronting New Challenges
A.) Judaism In The World of The Greeks
  • - Persia tried to conquer Greece in 490 B.C.
    under Darius, and again in 480 under Xerxes, but
    fell short both times.
  • - Persia learned that the best way to conquer
    Greece was to bribe the Greek City States with
  • - IN 459 to 404 B.C Athens and Sparta were locked
    in a deadly civil war due to Persia bribing the

Alexander the Great
  • 356 B.C. Alexander Born in Macedon
  • 338 B.C. His father, Philip defeats the Greeks
    and takes rule over Greece
  • 336 B.C. Philip is assassinated and Alexander
    becomes King at age twenty
  • 334 B.C. Wins Granicus and rules western Turkey
  • 333 B.C. He wins Syria, and all of the near east
    up to the Euphrates
  • 331 B.C. at the battle of Gaugamela he defeats
    Darius III and rules all of Persia
  • 326 B.C. looses a battle in India and is forced
    to retreat
  • 323 B.C. Alexander dies in Babylon of fever.

The Book of Esther
  • Is a tale of thrilling escape from mortal danger
    for the Jews
  • It is set Persia under King Xerxes in 486-465
  • It is about a Jewish maiden named Esther, who is
    chosen to be the queen of Xerxes.
  • Haman the Persian prime minister is enraged by
    Mordecai (Esthers Jewish cousin) and wants
    Xerxes to slaughter all the Jews.
  • Xerxes realizes Hamans evil intensions and has
    Haman executed

The Book of Esther
  • A main purpose for the Book of Esther si to give
    the reason for the beast of Purim
  • Another reason is remind the Jewish people to
    always keep themselves serarated from the danger
    of a pagan government

The Book of Judith
  • Tells a story of a heroic widow in the town of
    Judah who saved the nation from the invasion King
  • Nebuchadnezzar is angry at all the Western Asia
    for refusing to support him and defeats state
    after state.
  • Judith fools General Holofernes into thinking she
    will sleep with him. Judith gets him and drunk
    and cuts his head off.
  • This seems to be historically impossible and a
    fantastic combination of the imagination.

The Book of Ruth
  • Is a fairy tale story, begins with Once upon a
    time there were judges
  • The book has a simple message about the true
    faith in Yahweh. It not blood or marriage that
    matters, but faith.
  • Because though Ruth is a Moabitess she decides to
    follow Namoni far away from home to serve her.
    Ruth has full faith and respect for Naomi. Ruths
    faith leads to her fortunate marriage to Boaz, a
    wealthy citizen in Bethlehem.

The Book of Tobit
  • A romance about how God gave merciful care upon
    two of his faithful adherents. One is Tobit who
    is an exile from northern Israel and Sarah.
  • Both characters have complete trust in Yahweh and
    fidelity to his law.
  • Both characters are cursed by an evil demon,
    Tobit is blinded by bird droppings and Sarah has
    been engaged seven times to see her husbands
    killed on the day of the wedding.
  • Both pray to Yahweh for help. In the end Tobias
    and Sarah are the ideal Jewish couple and Tobit
    is healed from his blindness.

The Book of Baruch and Letter of Jeremiah
  • Made up of four parts
  • Ch. 11-39 the celebration of a penitential rite
    among the exiles in Babylon that emphasize
    promises of God
  • Ch. 39-45 observance of the law of Moses as
    hope of Israel.
  • Ch. 45-59 series of prophetic oracles of hope
    to exiles and call to trust in the Lord
  • Ch. 6 letter of Jeremiah to the exiles. Sometimes
    put separate in the bible.

The Jewish Struggle for Freedom (175-160 B.C.)
  • Life in Judah was generally quiet and uneventful
  • During the time period around 175-160 B.C. the
    Jewish community was upset with how the upper
    class people were trying to be like the Greeks in
    all their practices.
  • The two books of Maccabees were written in Greek
    and make up part of the deuterocanonical books in
    the Catholic Bible. These two books describe the
    fight for freedom for the Jewish community.

The First Book of Maccabees
  • Describes the battle for freedom through the eyes
    of Mattathias and his two sons.
  • Judas took over after his father Mattathias died
    and lead a strong revolt with a mobile guerrilla
    arm that was victorious over the Syrian Armies
    sent by Antiochus IV.
  • By 164 B.C. Judas had enough control of the
    country to purify and rededicate it to Yahweh
    after the three years of pagan worship that went
    with it.

The Second Book of Maccabees
  • A book of persuasion rather than a plain report
    of what happened. Has three Parts
  • 11-218 contains two letters giving direction to
    the Jews about he celebration of the feasts of
    Booths and Hanukkah.
  • 219-109 summarizes the account by Jason up to
    the dedication of the temple by Judas in 164
  • 1010-1539 is the remainder of Judas life up
    the his great victory over the Syrian general
    Nicanor in 160.

B.) The book of Daniel and Apocalyptic thought
  • The Book of Daniel
  • Is Filled with dreams and visions that reveal
    coming events.
  • Hebrew Bible places Daniel among the end of the
    Bible and does not consider it be prophecy like
    the English translation.
  • Can be identified as examples of trust in God
    similar to Esther, Judith, and Tobit.
  • Some scholars consider it to be prophecy, other
    wisdom, and others apocalyptic, because it speaks
    about the overthrow of the whole world.

Daniel continued
  • Book of Daniel can be divided into to two parts
    for the Hebrew and three in the Greek and Modern
    Catholic Bible.
  • 1st part has six romantic stories intended to
    edify and teach proper religious attitudes.
  • 2nd part has four visions in which Daniel learns
    about coming occurrences either in a dream or
    through an angel. Explains the past and future
    events that will culminate in the destruction of
    Israels enemies.

Daniel Continued
  • Part 3 contain three stories about Daniel but are
    only found in the Septuagint. The 1st show Daniel
    uncovering the lies of two elders against
    Susanna. The second the third describe how Daniel
    was refuses to worship a great statue of Baal and
    a dragon. Daniel is thrown in a lions pit, but
    God saves him from death and the lions rip apart
    his accusers instead.
  • The entire book claims to take place in the 6th
    century B.C.

The Special Purpose of Daniel
  • Purpose of Daniels visions is to predict the
    fashioned end of the kingdom of Antiochus
    Epiphanes and his persecution.
  • Making it highly probable that the author of
    Ch.s 7-12 was living thought the terrible times
    wrote the visions to give strength to the
    suffering Jews.
  • Though, this was not how the king died so we must
    assume that this part was written in 164 B.C.,
    the year before the King actually died.

The Lasting Significance of Daniel
  • 1) Daniel and his friends frequently pray and
    fast, they are ideal examples of good piety for
    the post-exilic period.
  • 2) Contains first teaching about a divine promise
    that the just person will rise after death to a
    life of happiness with God.
  • 3) The book also projects a coming kingdom of God
    that will be brought about by a heavenly yet
    human figure, known as the Son of God
  • 4) Since prophets had ceased centuries earlier,
    apocalyptic continues the work of prophecy in a
    new form. It accents God as the master of all
    events revealed through special agents such as
    angels, special visions, or dreams.

More On Apocalyptic
  • The Greek word apokalypsis means uncovering or
  • Labeling Daniel as apocalyptic suggests that its
    chief characteristic is the revelation of the
    some secret about the future.
  • Though there are more occurrences of apocalyptic
    in the Bible the book of Enoch which tells the
    coming and of the messiah
  • 4 Ezra which tells the woes and miseries ahead of
    Israel until the Messiah comes as the Son of Man.
    And many other books in the bible have signs of
    apocalyptic significance.

The Values of Apocalyptic Thinking
  • 1) God is never indifferent to his world, nor is
    he powerless to intervene for the sake of his
    name and to achieve justice.
  • 2) We can expect God to act in new ways and not
    in the same old ways.
  • 3) Belief rejects the power of evil to control
    our lives, and says death is not final end for
    those who are faithful to Yahweh.
  • 4) Must show a strong trust in Yahweh and reject
    human war and violence to accept pacifism.
  • 5) Apocalyptic literature brought the imagery of
    last judgment, heaven and hell into Judaism and

The Values of Apocalyptic Thinking Continued
  • 6) It is it apocalyptic that we can attribute
    much of our present hope in the resurrection of
    Jesus as a source of life.
  • Also, apocalyptic literature did not survive in
    Judaism and represents only a small portion of
    the Old and New Testament.
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