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REL 130 Final Exam Study Guide


December 15, 2017


Be able to define or describe the following terms in a sentence or two and/or highlight two or three key points (such as might be included in a multiple-choice or matching-type question).

Source Criticism Casuistic Fall of Jerusalem Qohelet  Hasmoneans
Form Criticism Wilderness Generation Exile Megillot Sirach
Redaction Criticism Shema Messiah 9th of Ab Palestinian Canon
Torah Centralization of Cult Restoration Period  Genre Alexandrian Canon
Documentary Hypothesis Deuteronomic Historian  Zerubbabel Allegory  Apocrypha
Habiru  Jerusalem Second Temple Nebuchadnezzar Deuterocanon
Covenant United Monarchy Parallelism Apocalyptic Septuagint
Binding of Isaac  Fall of Samaria Sitz im Leben Apocalypse Masoretic Text
Joseph Novella Court Prophet le-Dawid Hellenization
Sojourn Proto-Isaiah  Imprecatory Psalms Alexander the Great
Passover Deutero-Isaiah  Chokhmah  Antiochus IV
Decalogue Trito-Isaiah  Mashal Ex Eventu Prophecy
Apodictic Jehoiachin Lady Wisdom Maccabean Revolt

Points to Ponder

Be able to discuss the following issues in a brief essay.

  1. Be able to describe the Documentary Hypothesis in general terms. What are J, E, D, and P? What phenomena in the text of the Pentateuch have led scholars to embrace the Documentary Hypothesis, and what criticisms have been leveled against it?
  2. Trace the struggle of Abraham and Sarah to have an child. What obstacles did they face? How do the concepts of “covenant” and “promise” figure into this struggle?
  3. Be able to trace the highlights of the lives of both Jacob and Joseph. How do these characters and their actions advance—or threaten—the promises God made to their ancestors?
  4. Describe the Decalogue. How have various groups organized its contents? How is it like similar texts from Israel’s neighbors, and what are the elements that make it unusual or unique?
  5. Describe the place of Deuteronomy within the Pentateuch. How does it compare or contrast with other documents of Israelite law? How should it be understood in the historical and theological contexts of Israel’s developing faith?
  6. Describe the cycle of apostasy and liberation in the book of Judges. How does this cycle serve as a theological “grid” through which to interpret the book?
  7. Describe the political, economic, and religious contours of the United Monarchy period. What was good? What was bad?
  8. What is a “prophet”? What are the functions and characteristic elements of Israelite prophecy? How were Israelite prophets both like and unlike prophets in other Ancient Near Eastern cultures?
  9. Discuss the book of Isaiah in its final form as a message for the post-exilic community. What does Isaiah say that would be a comfort (or a challenge) to Jews returning to their homeland?
  10. Discuss the Babylonian exile as a catalyst for the religious thought of Judaism. What theological questions did the exile raise, and how did those who lived through it seek to answer them?
  11. Describe Jeremiah’s prophetic career. Name two or three key passages in the book of Jeremiah that shed light on his message in the years leading up to and following the Fall of Jerusalem.
  12. Discuss the diversity of the Psalms in terms of historical context, authorship, and subject matter. Be able to say something about the arrangement of the Psalms and what this might say about their continued importance in Israelite/Jewish religion.
  13. What is Hebrew “wisdom literature” and how does it differ from other genres of the Old Testament? Describe the overall message of the book of Job. Describe the nature of the wisdom material found in the book of Proverbs.
  14. Describe the book of Esther in terms of its religious importance. Be able to say something about the debates surrounding the genre of the book. Be able to note a few basic points about both Song of Solomon and the book of Ruth in terms of their significance in Jewish thought.
  15. What are the characteristics of apocalyptic literature and the apocalyptic mindset? How does the book of Daniel reflect these characteristics?
  16. Describe the reception of the Apocryphal (Deuterocanonical) books of the Old Testament within Christianity.
  17. Describe the events surrounding the Maccabean Revolt. What was the political situation of the Jews at the time, and how did Judah Maccabee change things?

Format of the Exam

Part I. Forty multiple-choice questions worth 5 points each, based on the key terms listed above and assigned Scripture readings (200 points).

Part II. One essay question (100 points). You will have a choice between three of the following questions:

  1. Trace the history of the exodus and wilderness wanderings as narrated in Exodus–Numbers. What are the key events in this story? Who are the important characters? Most important, what seems to be the message (or messages) of this narrative for later generations of Israelites?
  2. Discuss feminist perspectives on the interpretation of the Bible. Specifically, what strategies have feminists used in addressing biblical stories that have been used to subjugate women? Use biblical examples of your choosing to illustrate how these strategies might be employed.
  3. Trace the career of King David from his first appearance in 1 Samuel until the end of his reign. What were the high and low points of David’s life? How is David remembered in both Judaism and Christianity?
  4. Summarize the ministry and message of either Isaiah of Jerusalem (First Isaiah) or Jeremiah, giving attention to questions of the prophet’s biographical background, the historical situation in which he ministered, and the major themes of his message.
  5. Choose one of the Wisdom books discussed in class (Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, or Sirach) and provide a brief introduction. Address such issues as: When was this book written? What is its overall message, both for the original audience and today?
  6. Discuss the value of the Apocryphal (Deuterocanonical) books of the Old Testament for understanding Jewish and Christian thought. How do these books shed light on the Second Temple period? Should these books be included in the Bible? Why or why not?

Please bring your own paper on which to write your essay.



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