Lecture notes, September 27
With the last plague of Moses where God kills the first born of all nonhebrews
(establishing the first passover), we have a very powerful myth in that the Pharoah
is himself a God and YHWH has killed his son, the son of a god.
God has the generation that escapes wander forty years in the desert, essentially
ensuring that the people who left Egypt never see the promised land, only their
descendants to. this is because they worship a golden calf (ba'al) while moses is on
mount sinai hearing from God.
the authors really want to give the impression of monotheism amongst the
hebrews but there are a lot of other gods being worshipped, even hercules.
some of the purposes this story has always shown: sets people apart from
canaanites even though they are not all that different. these myths may have been
there to justify their overruling the people of canaan. rome would do this too,
saying they were the most pious and so god allowed them to take over all this land
because of their piety. it is not that these myths are being lied, they are just self
justifications of which they may not have been very much conscious of creating.
judges led the twelve tribes of israel, they were kind of like wise war lords.
eventually they amalgamate, north and south tribes, into a monarchy, the prophet
samuel appointing a man named Saul to be king.
after saul's death, there is a power struggle and David wins, establishes jerusalem,
develops plans to build temple in Jerusalem. When he takes over, there is already a
god named El. YHWH and EL get conflated. David dies before finishing the
if there wasn't a David it wouldn't matter becuase the myths have had such an
impact eithe way.
Solomon finishes temple. Wisdom king. Player (forty wives). After he dies the
kingdom split into two, Israel to the north and Judah to the south. This split
happend around 930 BCE.
During this period, in Judah and Israel, a group of folks called Prophets come
along and they are incredibly important to the myth and governance of these
places. They speak on behalf of God.
Continuing up to about 500, these prophets were very active. Two primary
concerns: ethical concerns (violations of justice such as kings oppressing the poor),
and cultic concerns (the people/kings were worshipping foreign gods). These
prophesies usually related back to political events such as lost or won wars. A lot
of retroactive propoganda to legitamize current regimes.
Starting around the 8th century BCE these prophets became incredibly important
when israel and judah started getting a lot of pressure from outside kingdoms.
Assyrians take israel in 7 BCE. prophets argue that this is because Israel was being punished by God because they had strayed from him. God lets Assyrians
Kingdom of Judah stave off assyrians for a long time.
in 586 babylonians took Jerusalem. Judeans had for a long time paid tribute to
have the babylonians leave them alone
Babylonians took over the assyrians eventually (they were a province that
Jerusalem was not rebuilt until 539.
Key Judeans were deported prior, but in 586 there was a much wider spread
deportation to Babylon. They would disperse these people so that they can't
organize or dissent.
this period marks Babylonian exile (586539). this was extremely important in
the hebrew narrative. This was called Diaspora. Hebrew people formed
communities in Babylon. problem: now displaced from the land given to them by
god, displaced from their temple, displaced from their kingship, how will they
maintain their communities and identity? THE HEBREWS REALIZED THAT
THEY HAD TO MOVE FROM A LARGELY ORAL TRADITION TO A
WRITTEN TRADITION IF THEY WERE TO PRESERVE THEIR
PEOPLE/HISTORY. before, you were in the land, you knew who the king was,
you knew who God was. now that this vacuum was here, things had to be written
down and articulated. AND! they have to find a way of defining themselves that
works within their exiled position. what you get are all the stories about david and
solomon and the prophets getting written down.
folks just started trying to figure out which versions of the text were best,
canonization, locking these final versions in stone. if you mess with it, you are a
heritic. the process wasn't finalized until 200CE. 800 year gap! much longer than
Christian or Muslim canon.
folks would meet and try and figure out the best ways to interpret these texts.
what developed from this were sabbath meetings in babylon to discuss these issues
with the texts.
this time marked a very different change in the social structure. prophets used to