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Introduction to the Old Testament and Pentateuch - Essay Example

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(1) Outline the contents of the three sections into which the book of Genesis is divided. The book of Genesis which is both the first book in the Old Testament of the Bible and the first book of the Pentateuch consists of three sections through which are chronicled God’s creation of the world and God’s chosen patriarchs and matriarchs who were tasked with the divine mission of executing his purpose on Earth for mankind at the time…
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Introduction to the Old Testament and Pentateuch
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Introduction to the Old Testament and Pentateuch

This section significantly covered the origin and fall of man beginning in the time of Adam and Eve then Noah and the Great Flood up to the tower of Babel – the moment the Lord confused the language of the whole world. Section II (Genesis 12 – 36) conveys the narrative of the patriarchs and matriarchs from Abraham and Sarah to Isaac and Rebecca then later descendants in Jacob who married Leah and Rachel. In this section, God’s covenant with Abraham is made known – the Covenant of Circumcision, where God spoke to Abraham and told him that he would become the father of many nations. The destruction of the sinful cities Sodom and Gomorrah by two of God’s angels as well as how Jacob obtained the name Israel are accounted for herein. Section III (Genesis 37, 39 - 50) initiates with the story of Joseph and his dreams and the moment his brothers sold him to the Ishmaelites from whom Potiphar bought him in Egypt. This narrative further includes Joseph’s journey in Egypt, his prosperity through the Pharaoh whose dreams he satisfactorily interpreted, and the time when he revealed himself to his brothers. The section also comprised rich details considering how Joseph took charge of the famine in both Egypt and Canaan and ends with the blessings and death of Jacob. (2) The Four Sources of the Pentateuch The Pentateuch was written over about five centuries from the 11th to the 6th century B.C. and then collected and edited during the Exile by the scholars who, in the last two centuries, performed thorough analytical study of the first five books especially of the alternate uses of the sacred name of YHWH with the generic noun for divinity, elohim. As collector and editor of the Pentateuch at the time of the Exile, they carefully joined four sources into the Pentateuch. These are the so-called Yahwist, Elohist, Priestly, and Deuteronomist sources and are usually abbreviated as J, E P, and D. Each source is distinct in its own theological viewpoint and literary style to the books of the Pentateuch which may be observed upon critical reading. The Yahwist Source: The Yahwist source prefers to use the sacred tetragrammaton [the four Hebrew consonants = YHWH], which was pronounced as “Yahweh,” God’s personal name revealed to Moses at the Burning Bush. In literary style, the Yahwist is concrete and imaginative, using anthropomorphism [“in human form”] in its theological description of YHWH’s activities. The Yahwist was a collector of the old legendary stories of the mythic ancestors. The Yahwist writes from the point of view of the south during the time of the Divided Monarchy. The Elohist Source: In contrast to the Yahwist source, the Elohist source prefers to use the generic common noun for God, elohim. The Elohist is sober and moralistic. The Elohist writes from the point of view of the northern kingdom during the time of the Divided Monarchy. The Priestly Source: The Priestly source concentrates on genealogies and on the traditions of the Israelite priests. The Priestly author at the end of the Babylonian Exile may have done the compiling and editing of the Pentateuch. The Deuteronomist Source: The Deuteronomist source, written at the end of the monarchy, is characterized by its ... Read More
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