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ENG150Y1 - The Hebrew Bible - Lecture Notes.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
William Robins

ENG150Y1 – LECTURE NOTES Hebrew Bible – Lecture 1 – Exodus November 5 2012  Story of exodus and the Aeneid is very similar o Differences:  Polytheism vs monotheism; the religious content  Wandering in A is associated with the mediterrian area; sea vs wandering in land in E  Different in perspective  Slight different tension  Implications of A are to underpin rome in which augustus ruled  E is a story about those who are out of power; oppressed  Moses is not a king, not a warrior  Through motif of boy being exposed and found, the different between moses‟s kingship and destiny is clear  Assimilation of people; A focuses on this when they want to assimilate the Latins and join with them  Rejects the idea of assimiliation – the book of E; focuses on resistance, surivival, refusal to subject to emperial power  Troubles of A can be attributed to the opposition of the gods  Attribution cannot be used for E  Monotheism o Tutelary deity – god of Israel o Universal deity – god of whole world  Song of the sea – archaic part of the E  Singularity to worship, even when the context suggests there are more gods  Exodus 3 o „I AM‟ emblemizes the oneness of a god  Chapter 19, 3 o Moses wet up to god o God insists that he is the god of the whole entire world o Different kind of relationship  Relationship with gods in A seems almost genealogical; A‟s mom is Venus  Relationship with god in E is more of a covenant  Different conceptions  God hardens the pharaoh‟s heart because he wants the Israelites to fear his power o Chapter 9 – 10  Suffering of the Israelites if prolonged, unlike A, suffering is shown as tests  Blocks of exodus o 1-4 israel in Egypt; calling of moses o 5-13 encounteres with pharaph o 5-10 9 plagues o 11-13 tenth plague, Passover, escape o 13-15 crossing the red sea o 15-18 crises in the wilderness o 19-24 revelation at mount Sinai o 25-31 instructions for the tabernacles o 32-34 golden calf; covenant restored o 35-40 building of the tabernacles  Joseph escape Sinai Sinai 2 promised land Egypt wilderness golden calf wilderness  WORTHAM FRYE ^  Narrative rhythm of loss and restoration  Absence of deity shows that god is true  Torah o Genesis o Exodus o Leviticus o Numbers o Deuteronomy  The composition of genesis and exodus o Escape is told in oral stories o Different versions of the story were being written at different times th o Final redacted into a single narrative around the 5 century o Standard version ^ o Survives intact for the next many centuries o Writing eventually becomes central o Final redaction happened during Babylonian captivity or shortly after o Jersualem conquered multiple times o Period of captivity, the writers of ancient Israel and prophets think about what their religion means  A is written after the civil war in rome; E‟s final redaction / editing is written after the problems of captivity  Structural analogies with the A  E is central to the religion of Judaism; establishment of a covenant based on the respect of the law Hebrew Bible – Lecture 2 – Genesis November 7 2012  Monotheism conveys relationship of the invisible world of the divine and the visible world of earth  Reorganization changes over time; affected by 2 imperial powers o Egypt / mesopotania  Books convey that the relationship between god and Hebrews are based on the idea of a covenant; a nation set apart for which he shows concern and Hebrews observe the rules and laws and follow it  Monotheistic god becomes present in world o through the laws, revelation of Sinai introduces laws, manifests god‟s will, laws are written down in scriptures o through covenantal relationship  however, in some ways, god in monotheism becomes transcendent  direct relationship between polytheism and justification of distribution of power in Egypt/babylonia  god is attached to the subjugated land, no longer justifies the status-quo, or social hierarchy of Egypt/babylonia  god intervenes according to his own will and from afar  god is increasing understood as a transcendent being, a being outside this realm  reflects the axial age / transformation; there is an understanding of the divine as universal  we talk about the bible as a unity, one book  but its name is translated to “books” ; a gathering of books  different religious traditions conceive the books of the bible in different ways o some books are included, excluded o different order  therefore means differently per religioin  Christian revelations fulfill earlier scriptures  New testament superceded the old and showed the truth of the old in a new perspective  Jewish point of view, old testament is considered the actual scriptures  Book of genesis distances itself from polytheistic religion A historical manifestation of divine will  Ancient near eastern polytheist myths o It is recreated through ritual re-enactment o The primordial past of creation is severed from the present  Genesis o The primordial past f creation is historically continuous with the present o It is recollected though collective remembrance o Linked to past of patriachs who established Israel; moses, Abraham o Goes beyond this too o Laid out in exodus of remembering as a historical event o History of present is related to the past  Genealogies o The list of beggetiing as a genre incorporated alongside narrative genres o Ex chp 5; seth and his family tree o Marking structural divisions in the text of genesis o Enactment of themes of fertility, propagation and survival o Fundamental coordinates of history and narrative o promised is fulfilled with fertility o narratives are interruptions of the genealogy o an ancient genre of listing one‟s lineage o separate narrative moments o explain how god‟s promise is accepted, fulfilled, regected ; explains what goes on o verse 4, chp 2  story of generation  creation can be another way for authors of genesis to connect with other ancient stories of sexuality and generations  divine generation o mark different moments in the text o bring truth of the command of god in different times; ex noah  from poetry to prose o s. talmon – ancient Hebrew writers purposefully nurtured and developed prose narration to take the place of the epic genre which by its content was intimately bound with the world of paganism o r. alter – prose narration could be ultilized to liberate personages from the fixed choreography of timeless events and thus could transform storytelling from ritual rehearsal to the delineation of the wayward paths of human freedom o prose allows writers of genesis to do something prose cannot  with prose, writers felt able to talk about characterization of their characters o alter‟s form, poetic forms constrain and doesnot provide supplements of the human ethical freedom o poems are implemented still in genesis  chp 1  “god, image, likeness, dominion over fish” – “god created human in his image and the image of god…”  Archaic text this part, retained to give crstyalization of themes and diction  Separates the surrounding story  Turns prose into suttle form  4 lines, creation of eve, takes rib, made men into women (another poem in prose example) “this one shall be called women…”  Addes elevation, dignity  Makes it obvious that its different o Stresses relationship to the divine and to the spouse ^ prose/poetry o Style is role of repetition  Lies of the core of literary representation  Reason seems to be to enforce that god works through his word, by speaking to set out what he intends and the world will follow  Idea that god creates through his word and this is central to the creation story  Stylistic feature of both G and E  Story of the flood / noah o Similar to mesopotonia story  Adam and eve + serpent o Chp 2 -3 o Seems to be 2 diff creation stories at work here o Chp 2 introduces new scene unlike light and dark imagery in chp 1 o God is called two diff things o Suggests 2 diff authors o Inconstitencies  Creation of eve seems to contradict early story of creation; chp 1 says man and woman are created at the same time but chp 2,eve is made last  Humans are made last in chp 1, but in chp 2 they are made first  Two stories have interesting tension  Story insists that god‟s creation is good ; chp 1  Chp 2 shows intrusion of wickedness into the good creation; goodness comes in second act  Separation of good and evil is diff from creation story of mesmopotania  Evil is one of the principles pre-existing in the world  Conditions of evil are present before the world is created  Genesis separates these two and then has to explain why evil exists  Formless void of darkness and god says let there be light  Notion of void seems to be derived from mesmopotania notions of darkness Hebrew Bible – Lecture 3 – Genesis – November 14 2012 Last week:  narrative consequences of monotheism,  intertextuality (the way works of writing allude to others, quote others) –  genesis is in a dialogue of stories of mesmopotania  connections between narrative consequences and intertextuality  literary aspects This week:  episodes of dialogue and style  structure  distinction between the moment world was created and moment of intrusion of evil  balance between order and disorder, good and evil – evil comes about through human activity  why not just show adam disobey god by eating the forbidden fruit? Why involve eve and an elaborate deviation?  Adding eve creates human dynamic, furthers the responsibility of god creating evil  Being led astray that‟s not human, something outside that leads us on, becomes a drama of temptation, creates human culpability  Gender differences, most differences are mentioned during falls  After the fall, they take on names and gender characteristitics  Its adam who is given instructions, not eve – not the same direct connection – different intermediary  Extranatually of evil  The fact that 2 people are involved states that its adam‟s predicament socially  Complicates this because it involves intermediaries  P. Ricoeur: “the serpent represents the following situation: in the nhistorical experiences of humans, every individual finds evil alredy there… he always already there of evil is the other aspect of evil for which, nevertheless I am responsible” // “the serpent represents the aspect of evil that could…”  Serpet represents the image of tiamat, goddess of chaos and generation, from the mesmopotania culture  Stresses that evil is already there  Evil is there beyond our own responsibility  Intertextuality is there to show monotheistic and polythesistic differences and similarities o Similiaries between genesis and mesompotania stories o Noah‟s arc  Creation myth, creation of human, destruction is written in 11 chapters of genesis to show how this new religion is different from mesmopontania Four main parts of genesis  Adam – noah  Story of Abraham  Story of Jacob  Story of joseph  T. brodie: “the whole book moves systemically from episodes to continuous narratives. Stories become complex and unified. This stready pattern of narrative expansion is best pictured not as a straight line but as a spiral”  Stories become larger: joseph is larger than adam  But stories circle back to each other; reference to characters and these characters are later expanded into their own stories  Stories are interlocked  Depth of characterization changes as stories change, more revealing in Jacob than Abraham  Role of divine diminishes ; few appearances in joseph, god is only revealed in dreams  Move to myth into history; continuous in history, gradually one way of explaining changes into another – myth into history  Jacob is important from the move of episode into continousou narractive  EOG is episodic  Odyssey is continuous  Story of Jacob is in between  Has similar sense of continuity and understanding o Symmertrical structure (chiasm) A. Encounter between J and Esau B. Encounter with god and departure from home C. Acquisition of wives, leah and Rachel D. Fertility birth of jacob‟s children E. Birth of joseph F. D‟ Fertility growth of j‟s flock G. C‟ Jacob‟s removal of wives H. B‟ Encounter with god on return home I. A‟ Reunion encounter between J and E  Starts spiral thing  Jacob follows characteristics of a folkore trickster  J treats E to give up his right and bless joseph  Trickes to grow flock  The trickster is tricked  On wedding night, he goes into room and wakes up to see that its leah and not Rachel o Custom to give the younger before the older  Tricked his father  Folkloric themes in interxtual dialogue from ancient world  Pattern of exile and return o Trickster turns into someone else o Realizes the understanding of the role of god o Has experience away from home; a vision of a ladder connecting to heaven o Threshold place and god appears to him here  When J goes to Haron o J has revelation; symbolizes connection between this world and the divine o The ladder o Communication o Crosses river and he stays on the near side while whole family crosses it o Man rested with him and struck him in the hip o Doesn‟t let go of man until he is blessed and then Jacob is then called Israel o Journey is marked by two encounters with the divine  First is easy communication  Second shows struggle and restling, unclear and reveals the change of name  An initation ritual  Overlays important divine significance  Intertextuality when Jacob meets Rachel o Betrothel at the well; typical scenario to convey information to readers o It‟s a convention o When J arrives at paron where his uncle lives, he comes upon a well and sees pastural workers with their ships, going to lift stone off well, J talks to them, Rachel is a female herder, j lifts stone by himself to allow rachel‟s flock to drink, and j kissed Rachel, o Refers to common motif of this time o Refers to moses who meets his wife at a well o Refers to issac meets wife Rebecca at a well  Abraham gets messenger to go to haron to find issac a wife, messenger goes to well and finds Rebecca  Rebecca is the chosen one for issac  Hospitality is conditional  Chp 24- no dialogue from issac, Rebecca does all the action  Issac is intermediary between Abraham and Jacob o Typescenes used in order to demonstrate that stories told are different from others as narrative spirals  Story of Abraham represents break between gods‟ convenant and convenant of the people  Themes of barrenness, struggling brothers and love  Romantic love is exclusive  Sense of favouristism, expecially with children  Love becomes symbol of exclusiveness with the divine in terms of the convenant  Favouritism in love, provides human metaphor for exclusive devotion  Exodus appears in the story of Abraham o Abraham goes to eygpt o Plagues  Hebrew prophets ; role of them are written into these stories  Chp 12 of story of Abraham o No description of childhood o Told to separate from home o Thought of as a prohpeht because he left home o Gets the call and goes to new place o Sense of tension o Dynamic of promise and fulfillment of promise o Becomes agonizing o But he keeps on obeying o Eventually becomes confused o Story becomes overcoming obstacles o Tensions are indicated elipicity, very suttle, readers must pick these up on their own o Role of silence becomes important o Gaps are filled by readers th November 19 2012 – The Book of Job Finish discussion about genesis:  Erik ourbot wrote essay and compared stylistic techniques of Odyssey and the book of Genesis  Showed how the story/binding of Issac is different from Odyssey‟s scar story  In the O, everything given to you, “the foreground” is “externalized, uniformly presented phenomena, connected together without gaps in a perpetual foreground; thoughts and feelings completely expressed”  The O focuses on circumstantial details such as domestic life and contrary, the book of genesis does not; it has gaps which must be filled by readers  Genesis presents things via a “background”, “externalization of only so much; all else left in obscurity; thoughts and feelings remain unexpressed, are only suggested by the silence and the fragmentary speeches; the whole, permeated with the most unrelieved suspense and directed toward a single goal, remains mysterious and fraught with background”  These two are different modes of transportation  Essay written in the 1940s  Showed genesis has powerful techniques of its own Binding of Isaac: (Akedah)  Chp 22 of genesis  Abraham is asked by God to sacrifice Isaac and kill him  Text expands that this is a test and is made clear that A has passed through his willingness to kill his only son  Main message / ideology = one should be willing to follow god and become tolerable  Some aspects divert from this main interpretation though o Second call – obedient response even though his life is all perfect; he got what he wanted o Asked to make lifechanging decision like his first one when god asked him to leave his home to go to Canaan o “Take your son, your only son, the one you love, Isaac” = comas signify pauses and a conversation within the clauses  Take your son = which son?  Your only son = the legitmate one?  The one you love = but I love them both!  Isaac = Oh…  Final precision at the end  Psychological predicament despite that he is a man of faith  Anamentic depth of character  Main message of obedience is subcluded to Isaac  Story unfolds to Isaac  Abraham took the wood ….. where is the lamb for a burnt offering … so the two of them walked on together o Details focus on the togetherness of family o Repetition of the word “father” o Repeats “here I am” just like he said to god when he asked him to sacrifice son o Is A consoling I with what he knows to be a lie? Or does A believe that God will somehow provide? o Detail revealed by silence  Isaac doesn‟t mention the knife  Perhaps A was concealing the knife  Perhaps I already knows he will die and its too terrifying  I is perhaps more concerned with what he omitted  Knife comes into focus by its omission  The moral / psychological consequences work to complicate the message  Episode if fraught with background o Repetition of “here I am” when angel appears to stop A form killing I o A is the patriarch for the man of faith o What about Isaac? o I takes a second place; not really active  Rebecca does all the work  I loves her because he needs comfort since his mother died o In Jacob‟s mind, the two things – god of convenat / promise and the god of terror and fear – creates the aspect of the divine and what god is o His visions suggest this same thing  Ladder = suggests easy communication between the divi
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