Hebrew Bible II

Correspondence Course
This course is a continuation of the examination of the Word of God as it was expressed through some of Israel’s
prophets, selected Psalms, and selected passages from the book ofJob.
Course objectives:
1. To focus on the biblical message as a whole by integrating this study with
previous study of the Bible.
2. To gain greater familiarity with a number of the great passages in Israel’s
prophets, Psalms, and the book of Job
3. To continue exegetical practice.
4. To explore the assigned passages as relevant for preaching, mission, and ministry
by today’s pastor and congregation.
Required Texts:
1) The New Interpreter’s Study Bible (NISB). Walter J. Harrelson, ed. Nashville:
Abingdon, 2003.
2) Gutierrez, Gustavo. On Job: God-Talk and the Suffering of the Innocent. Trans.
Matthew J. O’Connell. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1987.
3) The New Interpreter’s Bible, Volume IV (NIB IV), eds. Leander E. Keck et al.
Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996.
4) David L. Petersen, The Prophetic Literature: An Introduction. Louisville:
Westminster John Knox, 2002.
5) Marti J. Steussy. Psalms: Chalice Commentaries for Today. St. Louis: Chalice
Press, 2004.
6) Renita J. Weems. Battered Love: Marriage, Sex, and Violence in the Hebrew
Prophets. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995.
1) Introduction to the Hebrew Bible’s literature of prophecy and poetry
a) Read Petersen pp. xi-45 and Adele Berlin’s “Introduction to Hebrew Poetry” in NIB IV (pp. 301-315).
i) Write a response paper describing what was new to you in these readings, and how it can help you in doing
exegetical work. (2 pages)
2) Prophets
a) Read Petersen pp. 47-241 to prepare for the following seven exercises.
i) In all of the following exercises, you are to consult Petersen, NISB, and other sources on the prophets. Use
the “Exegesis Guide” (below) to help guide your research in preparing these exercises. In all cases, your
research and reading should be apparent in your work through the use of bibliography and footnotes.
ii) Write a four-session (1 /2 hours each) adult Bible study curriculum for Lent on the original historical
context of the servant songs in Isaiah. Start your research on this by reading Isa 42:1-4; 49:1-6; 50:4-9; 52:13-
53:12. Also read Susan Ackerman’s “Excursus: The Servant Songs in Christian Tradition” (NISB, 1011), and
“Excursus: Vicarious Suffering” (MSB, 1031). Be sure to consult at least three other resources. (3 pages;
portions of the curriculum may be in outline form)
iii) Prepare a 1hour Sr. High youth group session on Jeremiah’s commissioning report/call narrative (Jer 1:4-10).
Consult Petersen and at least one other source (such as a Bible dictionary, or another Introduction textbook) to
learn more about this genre. Use that information in this youth group curriculum. Be creative in how you teach
this session. You are encouraged to include teaching tools such as games, discussion questions, small group
work, and so forth. (3 pages; portions of the curriculum may be in outline form)
iv) Write a sermon on Ezekiel 37:1-14 (Lent 5, Year A) in which you pay attention to that book’s original
historical context. (7 pages)
v) Write curriculum for a six-session adult Bible study (1 hours each) on Daniel. Be sure to teach your participants
about the original historical context of Daniel, and the apocalypse genre. Do not hesitate to be creative in teaching
these things! In addition, allow the students some opportunities to discuss how the book may or may not apply to
their lives. (6 pages; portions of the curriculum may be in outline form)
vi) Write an opening devotion for the missions committee from Amos 5:14-21. Be sure that you at least briefly
describe the historical context of Amos’ words before you make a connection to the contemporary context of the
church’s mission work. (2 pages)
vii) Write a children’s sermon on Micah 6:1-8. In the first 2 pages of this exercise, summarize your exegetical work
on the passage. Include at least two word studies and at least two sources other than Petersen and MSB. The fourth
page is to be the children’s sermon itself, along with your explanation of how it helps make sense of the passage (and
your exegetical work on it) for children. (3 pages)
b) Read Weems.
i) Write a response paper on this book that answers the following questions: (5 pages)
(1) Why does Weems care about the issues of marriage, sex and violence in
the Hebrew Prophets?
(2) What does Weems think we can learn about women and men in ancient
times from the prophetic books?
(3) What does Weems think these metaphors tell us about the prophets’
(4) How aware of these issues (of marriage, sex and violence in the prophets)
were you before you read this book?
(5) How does Weems think contemporary people of faith should understand
the prophets’ metaphors of marriage, sex and violence?
(6) How do you think contemporary people of faith should understand the
prophets’ metaphors of marriage, sex and violence?
c) Focus: Jonah
Write an exegetical paper on Jonah 4:1-11. (11 pages) Use the “Exegesis Guide” (including the secondary research it
instructs you to do). As part of your paper, be sure to work on the specific issues named below:
i) Intertextual Criticism
(1) Explore how Jonah 4:2 echoes throughout the Hebrew Bible, starting back
in Exodus. Read Tom Dozeman, “Excursus: The Character of Israel’s
God” MSB, 134-135.
(2) How does context impact the theological statement in Jonah 4:2?
ii) Literary Analysis
(1) Describe the character Jonah. Is he someone to emulate or not? Support
your answer with clues from the text.
(2) Describe the character the King of Nineveh. Is he someone to emulate or not? Support your answer with
clues from the text.
(3) Describe God as a character in this story. How does this shape your
understanding of ancient Israel’s theology?
iii) In writing the conclusion of your paper reflect on contemporary applications of Jonah as it relates to Sr. High
3) Job
a) Read Job 1:2-2:13, and outline it. (1 page)
b) Choose one speech from each of the characters in the poetic dialogue in Job. (4 pages)
i) Read each in three different translations.
ii) Describe translation issues that you see in a paragraph or two.
iii) Outline each speech.
c) Read Job 29-31 and 38-42 and outline those sections. (2 pages)
d) Read Newsom’s Introduction to the book of Job in NIB IV (317-341), and her
commentary sections on the passages you read in 3a-c. Discuss what in
Newsom’s commentary surprised you and why, and what you would want to
explore further. (3 pages)
e) Read Gutierrez. Based on Newsom, Gutierrez, and your own reading of Job,
answer the following questions. (Be sure to cite appropriate passages from Job in
your answer, and cite Gutierrez and/or Newsom as their work relates to your
answers.) (9 pages)
i) Describe and compare the ways that Gutierrez and Newsom understand the relationship between the prose
and poetic sections of Job.
ii) Read Lisa Davison’s “Excursus: Satan in the Old Testament” (MSB, 747), Newsom’s “Excursus: Satan in
the Old Testament” (MB IV, 347-348), and review Gutierrez ch. 1. Write an explanation of the character
satan in Job that you could use in an adult Bible study group.
iii) Describe what Gutierrez means by God’s gratuitousness.
iv) How do Gutierrez and Newsom identify Job’s “redeemer” (Job 19:25, NRSV)?
v) Explain what retribution theology (i.e., the doctrine of retribution) is, and how it is important in the book of
vi) Compare Gutierrez and Newsom’s views on how Job changes throughout the book. Be sure to discuss how Job
changes after God’s whirlwind speech.
vii) Explain how the book of Job can serve as a guide (either positive or negative or both) for doing pastoral care.
viii) In what ways does Gutierrez view the book of Job as relevant for the contemporary world?
4) Psalms
a) Read all of Steussy, and J. Clinton McCann Jr.’s Introduction to the book of Psalms in NIB IV (639-682).
b) Write two Exegesis Papers according to the “Exegesis Guide” on two of the following three Psalm(s): 23, 51, 137.
Use NIB IV and Steussy as two of your other sources. (11 pages each)
i) Be sure to answer the “Exegesis Guide” questions d iii, iv, vii (paying special attention to parallelism), and viii.
ii) In the Conclusion section of each exegesis paper, be sure to discuss how you would use this Psalm in pastoral

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