© Rabbi David L. Kline  

WHAT’S GOING ON HERE, II,  Introduction to Hebrew Bible
Rabbi David L. Kline, BOLLI

This course uses critical reading.  I follow the Documentary Hypothesis, for a brief introduction to which, see:    For a more thorough grounding, I recommend: Who Wrote the Bible? By Richard E. Friedman.

1)                         Genesis 12; 20; 26:6-14            Our story opens.  What did our ancestors have in mind about their ancestors?  Whence the subject matter?  How the telling?
12:1-4a (first half of verse 4), The first promise, cf 12:7; 13:14; 15:4,18; 17:4,19
12:4bf            (following verse), vital statistics, genealogy, geography, cf  11:22-32
12:6-20 2nd promise.  Wife/sister narratives.  Ch 20; 26:6-14

2)                        Genesis 22                        This is a test? 
22:1a            Title.  By the narrator or the redactor?   What about Akeidah, (“Binding”)?  Note  Hebrew refers to “the God” (HaElohim).  Why the mistranslation throughout?
22:1b-13    The narrative.  Look for vivid detail, suspense, tension, repetition, etc.
22:2               “Only son?”  cf Qur’an, Sura 37:99ff (see supplement)
22:14            Geographical gloss, unclear meaning.  Cf Targum Onkelos: 14. And Abraham worshipped and prayed there in that place, and said before the Lord, Here shall generations worship: wherefore it shall be paid in that day, In this mountain Abraham worshipped before the Lord.  Targum Jonathan: And Abraham gave thanks and prayed there, in that place, and said, I pray through the mercies that are before Thee, O Lord, before whom it is manifest that it was not in the depth of my heart to turn away from doing Thy decree with joy, that when the children of Izhak my son shall offer in the hour of affliction, this may be a memorial for them; and Thou mayest hear them and deliver them, and that all generations to come may say, In this mountain Abraham bound Izhak his son, and there the Shekina of the Lord was revealed unto him.
22:15-18  Additional response, from Yah.  Redundant?  Cf. 12:2f; 13:16
22:19  Be’er Sheva?  Cf 21:33f; 23:2!

3)                        Genesis  37; 38             Joseph and his brothers (see supplement)
37:1-2a Bridge from preceding chapter to the story of Joseph. P detail.  Cf 36:1
37:2b-4  Simple characterization.  J
37:5-20  Dreams, device favored by E but a psychological element here for J.
37:21-29  Two narrative traditions present here, E and J.  See deconstruction.
37:30-36  E concludes: note Midnianites in 36 and Judah, not Israel, in 34.
38     An easy read, pure J.  Remember J also signifies Judah, the southern kingdom, as E signifies Ephraim, the northern.  Interesting points: don’t displease Yah; levirate marriage (Deuteronomy 25:5-10); onanism; strong women.  The tale concludes with a bit of etiology – Perets is ancestor of David.

4)                        Joshua 2; 6; 7; 8             One tough God
2   Spy story, sex, danger, treachery, escape.
6   The Battle of Jericho!  Proscribe!  Ban!  Devote!  Curse!
7   Crime and Punishment
8   Divine military tactics.               :30-5  Cf Deuteronomy 11:29-32

5)                        Judges 3:7-11; 4; 5            Jews of yore
3:7-1   Template at its formulaic simplest.  Deuteronomistic historiosophy.
4,5   Heroines, their stories and songs.  Data and imagery.  Folk memory.  

6)                        I Samuel  8 – 16            Transition: tribes to monarchy
Possibly getting closer to a contemporary account. 

7)                        I Samuel  17 -19            The adventures of young David.  (Ctr II 21:19)
What’s wrong with this story?  What’s right about it?  What’s a folktale?

8)                        I Kings  2 – 11:10            Soloman son of David.
Politics, violence, ambition, dreams of wisdom.

9)                        I Kings 18; II Kings 2            Elijah Rock
Legendary, but provocative.

10)                        II Kings 21-23                        History of history?
The launching of Deuteronomy.  Things have never been the same.

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