Please bring an exam booklet to the test. No books or notes may be used during the midterm.
Topics for Review
The essay may or may not be limited to the topics below; the following provides a basis for review:
What contributions do modern critical methods make to our understanding of the Hebrew Bible? Be able to identify these methods, their assumptions
, their strengths and weaknesses. How does each explain the many doublets in the Bible? Be able to refer to specific examples of how each method would be used to interpret certain passages of the Bible and make reference to the modern biblical scholars that we have read or read about in this class (Wellhausen, Levenson, Douglas, Alter.)
How are the approaches of ancient interpreters similar to and different from the methods and assumptions of modern biblical scholars? Again, be able to provide specific examples of scholars and of how they would interpret specific biblical texts.
What are the merits and challenges of making a comparison between ancient Near Eastern materials and the Hebrew Bible? How do ancient Near Eastern treaties illumine the biblical notion of covenant? (Consider, for example, Hittite treaties.) How do ancient Near Eastern creation myths illumine biblical depictions of creation? (Consider, for example, Enuma Elish
.) Be able to refer to specific examples of how ancient Near Eastern materials have been compared to the Hebrew Bible and to evaluate their contribution
, if any, to our understanding of the Hebrew Bible.
What can we know about the religious ideas and practices of the ancient Israelites? How did the religion of the ancestors in Genesis differ from the religion practiced by later Israelites? How was Israelite religion similar to that of its neighbors? How was it different? How do different biblical authors portray the Israelite deity? What characteristics did the Israelite deity share with other deities in the ancient Near East? What were the various ways in which the divine-human relationship was conceived in ancient Israel? Be sure to refer to specific texts that you have read in order to support your claims.
What role(s) do women play in the Hebrew Bible? Do their roles differ from those of men? In what sphere(s) do women operate? Be sure you are able to refer to specific biblical characters and narratives in order to support your claims.
In lectures, discussions, and readings, we have encountered several literary themes (favored younger son
, sibling rivalry, exile, trickery, barrenness, initiative to fulfill God’s promises
, to name a few) that recur in the biblical narratives. Choosing one literary motif, discuss several (three or more) specific occurrences of the motif in the Bible. What literary function(s) does the recurring motif serve in the story, and what is its significance for interpreting the biblical passages?
Terms for Identification
Abominations of Leviticus
Ark of the Covenant
Book of the Covenant
Code of Hammurapi
Covenant Formulary/Treaty Form
Creatio ex nihilo
D, E, J, and P sources
Day of Atonement
Feast of Unleavened Bread
Genealogies in P
Historical (or Source) Criticism
Law of talion
Literary Approaches to the Bible (“Bible as Literature”)
Merneptah Stele (or Stela)
Parity treaty/Suzerainty treaty
Song of the Sea/Song of Moses
Table of Nations