Introduction to the Old Testament III

The main objective of this course is to provide a detailed description of the content of the text of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, of the history of the literature and of the isagogics of ancient Israel. This objective will be achieved through the employment of the various books of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible as primary sources and extra-biblical texts as secondary sources. While the course takes a historical and archaeological approach as regards to the accounts and literature of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, much time will be allocated for questions and facts of theological, ethical and sociological nature. The goal is also to facilitate engagement with the methods and/or approaches and furthermore with the results of modern biblical scholarship.

The specific objective of this course is to introduce the student to the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible by means of its historical, literary and religious context. Topics to be tackled include the primeval and patriarchal periods, the exodus, the Sinai covenant, the desert wanderings, the conquest and monarchic traditions, the message of the prophets, the place and relevance of wisdom texts, and the exilic and post-exilic periods. The course homes in on the interpretative enterprise en ensemble, on the authors/editors/redactors/compilers and historical background of the individual books of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and its wider cultural milieu in the ancient Near East. Theological facets of these ancient works are also explored, shifting from the theoretical issues to the more practical matters of daily life and experience. This course does presume medium level competence in terms of the content of the Hungarian text of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible on the part of the student. Therefore, the student with previous knowledge of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible will experience this course to be advantageous but those who lack such an acquaintance will not be at disadvantage.

Competences

Specific competences

By means of this course, the student will acquire a solid working knowledge of the literature, history and religion of ancient Israel. The student will learn to employ the various books of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible as primary sources and extra-biblical texts as secondary sources. While the course takes a historical and archaeological approach as regards to the accounts and literature of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, the student will also learn to interact with questions and facts of theological, ethical and sociological nature. The student will also learn how to engage with the methods and/or approaches and furthermore with the results of modern biblical scholarship. More specifically the student will:
  • acquire exposure to the history and literature of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and also to the recent archaeological developments that intersect with Ancient Israel and Judah;
  • be educated at a basic level in the critical analysis of different literary forms and genres;
  • accumulate significant knowledge with respect to the theories regarding the genesis and development of the Torah;
  • earn basic familiarity with those extra-biblical texts, which illuminate the literary form of the Torah;
  • be acquainted with the most important issues of the historiography of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible.

General competences

By means of this course, the student will be able to utilize the various interpretational and hermeneutical methods and/or approaches presented in other fields of humanities, such as classical literature etc. Through the interaction with the results of the various archaeological data pertaining to the accounts and literature of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, the student will be able to make connections with the current geography and history of the Middle-East. The student’s knowledge and comprehension of current political issues regarding the Middle-East will also be enhanced. The student’s ability to work in a team will also be improved, as his/her oral or writing skills, respect and also development of professional thinking and ethics, usage of computers and the proficiency to solve questions pertaining to the interpretation of ancient texts. The student will also gain some expertise in recognizing and respecting cultural and ethnic diversity present in the relevant ancient texts. The student will be encouraged to be imaginative in terms of his/her theological thinking and future homiletical practice, whereby nurturing a constant openness towards the possibility of new discoveries in this field of study.

Course structure

  1. The Necessity of the Academic Study of the Bible. Introduction to Torah/Pentateuch Criticism and the Components of the Four-Pronged Hypothesis System: The Older Documentary, the Supplementary, the Fragmentary and

    The introductory part of the lecture commences by drawing the attention of the student to the most important and probably challenging aspects of the academic study of the Bible. It is recommended that students should pay attention to the fact that in places it is the divine voice of ancient Scripture that encourages human beings to study the word of God carefully, faithfully and extensively. Whether the study of the Bible is performed for academic and/or other reasons, such as Christian and/or Jewish faith interests, the task should be carried out with seriousness and even objective, rigorous scrutiny. Nonetheless, the study of the Bible should not preclude aspects, which at first sight might appear superfluous for academic study, par excellence the spiritual-kernel of these ancient texts. Equally, the study of the Bible should not exclude aspects, which at first sight might be perceived superfluous for the non-academic, par excellence the scientific-kernel of these ancient texts. Academic and non-academic, science and spirituality should not be examined and practiced in contradiction and contradistinction but in a process characterized by mutual reliance and interaction. Finally, in this particular institutional context it is important to note that one should not be surprized to find the roots of such an approach in somewhat similar practices contemporary with the Protestant Reformation and the Protestant Reformers.

    The main part of the lecture supplies students with an adequate knowledge with respect to the most important introductory aspects of Torah/Pentateuch criticism, such as name and contents, the Torah/Pentateuch as a whole, with particular reference to the narrative. Within the bourn of the latter aspect, the lecture focuses upon the traditional view and early doubts expressed as to its correctness. The lecture also seeks to offer an informative presentation of the four major hypotheses that arose during the course of the past couple of centuries as regards to the genesis, formation, growth and composition of the Torah/Pentateuch, namely the older documentary hypothesis, the fragmentary hypothesis, the supplementary hypothesis and the new documentary hypothesis. The discussion also entails the presentation of the documentary hypothesis as developed by Graf, Vatke and Wellhausen. Additional models for explaining the composition of the Torah/Pentateuch are also furnished.

    Reading:

    • Sproul, R. C.: A Szentírás megismerése
    • Archer, Gleason L.: Az ószövetségi bevezetés vizsgálata, 103-130 (28)
    • Soggin, J. Alberto: Bevezetés az Ószövetségbe, 99-119 (21)
    • Rózsa Huba: Az Ószövetség keletkezése, 53-139 (87)
    • Schmatovich János: Bevezetés az Ószövetségbe. Az ígéretek emlékezete, 68-108 (41) 217-222 (6)
    • LaSor, William Sanford, Hubbard, David Allan, Bush, Frederic William: Old testament Survey. The Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament, 3-12 (10)
    • Harrison, Roland Kenneth: Introduction to the Old Testament, 1-182 (182) 495-541 (47)
    • Eissfeldt, Otto: Einleitung in das Alte Testament, 205-226 (22) 241-248 (8)
    • Zenger, Erich: Einleitung in das Alte Testament, 12-35 (24)
    • Schmidt, Werner H.: Einführung in das Alte Testament, 40-71 (32)
    • Wenham, Gordon J.: Exploring the Old Testament: A Guide to the Pentateuch, 1-7 (7) 159-171 (13)
  2. The Various Critical Methods Employed in Torah/Pentateuch Criticism and the Arguments for the Analysis of the Torah/Pentateuch

    The lecture commences with a treatment, which includes an overview of the building-blocks of source, form, traditio-historical and literary criticism. These critical methods have been extensively used regarding the analysis of the Torah/Pentateuch. Further aspects of the presentation include the following: the traditional ascription of the Torah/Pentateuch to Moses, distinctive vocabulary, the divine names in Genesis/Bereshit, doublets, diversity of ideas, literary phenomena, the J and E sources, the P source, the L source and the problem of Deuteronomy/Devarim. The lecture summarizes the topics tackled with their implications for the history of Israelite religion.

    Reading:

    • Archer, Gleason L.: Az ószövetségi bevezetés vizsgálata, 147-194 (48)
    • Rózsa Huba: Az Ószövetség keletkezése, 74-87 (14)
    • Schmidt, Werner H.: Einführung in das Alte Testament, 40-71 (32)
    • Zenger, Erich: Einleitung in das Alte Testament, 37-65 (29)
    • Eissfeldt, Otto: Einleitung in das Alte Testament, 208-226 (19)
    • LaSor, William Sanford, Hubbard, David Allan, Bush, Frederic William: Old testament Survey. The Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament, 12-13 (2)
    • Wenham, Gordon J.: Exploring the Old Testament: A Guide to the Pentateuch, 171-185 (15)
    • Schmatovich János: Bevezetés az Ószövetségbe. Az ígéretek emlékezete, 222-227 (6)
    • Rózsa Huba: Az Ószövetség keletkezése, 53-59 (7)
  3. The Four Narrative Strands and the Three Law Collections

    The first half of the lecture strives to present in much detail the four separate narrative strands, notably the Torah/Pentateuch sources L, J, E and P. In terms of the Torah/Pentateuch source L the lecture covers such facets of the topic as its antique flavour, its literary form, date and place of origin. Within the presentation of the J, E and P sources similar aspects are tackled as mentioned above, with a specific focus on the interrelationship of the narrative strands L, J, E and P, their combining and amplification.

    The second half of the lecture focuses upon the three collections of laws, namely the Book of the Covenant, the Deuteronomy (D) source of the Torah/Pentateuch and the Holiness Code. The treatment of the Book of the Covenant entails the following aspects: name and contents, component parts, the interpolating of the Book of the Covenant (source B), date of origin and the Book of the Covenant and Sinai. The Torah/Pentateuchal source D also receives a detailed treatment, which covers such aspects as: the relationship of source D to B (that is the Book of the Covenant), the various groups of laws in source D, the original Deuteronomy, the introduction (Deut/Dev 1-11), the Song and the Blessing of Moses (Deut/Dev 32-33), the conclusion (27-34), the D source and the political situation of its time. The Holiness Code is examined in terms of its name, compass and composition and date of origin.The lecture concludes with brief summarizing comments on the formation of the Torah/Pentateuch.

    Reading:

    • Archer, Gleason L.: Az ószövetségi bevezetés vizsgálata, 115-130 (16) 171-194 (24)
    • Soggin, J. Alberto: Bevezetés az Ószövetségbe, 120-181 (62)
    • Schmidt, Werner H.: Einführung in das Alte Testament, 72-135 (64)
    • Zenger, Erich: Einleitung in das Alte Testament, 37-65 (29) 125-141 (17) 142-162 (21) 162-176 (15)
    • Eissfeldt, Otto: Einleitung in das Alte Testament, 258-320 (63)
    • LaSor, William Sanford, Hubbard, David Allan, Bush, Frederic William: Old testament Survey. The Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament, 10-12 (3)
    • Wenham, Gordon J.: Exploring the Old Testament: A Guide to the Pentateuch, 165-171 (7)
    • Rózsa Huba: Az Ószövetség keletkezése, 141-279 (139)
    • Schmatovich János: Bevezetés az Ószövetségbe. Az ígéretek emlékezete, 227-283 (57)
  4. The Slick Move: Going Behind the Documents, Modifications and Alternatives

    The lecture provides a more in-depth presentation of those critical methods of scholarship, which endeavoured to explore what lies behind the well-known literary documents and/or sources of the Torah/Pentateuch, notably form criticism and traditio-historical criticism. Nevertheless, the already proven limitations of traditio-historical criticism are also illustrated. The modifications suggested for and performed on the documentary hypothesis also play a prominent role in the presentation, with separate attention allotted to each source in question, namely LJEDP.

    Alternatives are extensively treated in the second part of the lecture, with specific focus on the adjustments made to the documentary hypothesis, the collapse of the scholarly consensus since 1975 and the trend towards unitary readings. The works of the following scholars are mentioned in detail or in passing, notably Winnett, Wagner, Redford, Van Seters, Rendtorff, Blum, Whybray, Kaufmann, Ska and Alexander.

    Reading:

    • Rózsa Huba: Az Ószövetség keletkezése, 87-129 (43)
    • Zenger, Erich: Einleitung in das Alte Testament, 66-86 (21) 122-124 (3)
    • Wenham, Gordon J.: Exploring the Old Testament: A Guide to the Pentateuch, 171-176 (6)
    • Soggin, J. Alberto: Bevezetés az Ószövetségbe, 99-115 (17)
  5. The Historical Reliability of the Torah/Pentateuch and the Extent and Nature of the Mosaic Authorship and of the Arguments for the Antiquity and/or Lateness of the Torah/Pentateuch

    The lecture seeks to examine the various findings of scholars as regards to the historical reliability of the Torah/Pentateuch. These findings encapsulate for instance the works of such academics as Roland de Vaux but also W. F. Albright and his students G. E. Wright, F. M. Cross, R. E. Brown and D. N. Freedman. Furthermore, the issues surrounding the extent and nature of the Mosaic authorship, alongside the arguments for the antiquity and/or lateness of the Torah/Pentateuch are also examined.

    Reading:

    • Archer, Gleason L.: Az ószövetségi bevezetés vizsgálata, 131-145 (15) 195-212 (18)
    • Schmatovich János: Bevezetés az Ószövetségbe. Az ígéretek emlékezete, 232-233 (2)
    • Schmidt, Werner H.: Einführung in das Alte Testament, 43-44 (2)
    • LaSor, William Sanford, Hubbard, David Allan, Bush, Frederic William: Old testament Survey. The Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament, 8-10 (3)
  6. The Sinai Narrative. Test Case and Future Paradigms. The Themes and the Rhetoric of the Torah

    The first part of the lecture, in continuance with the topic of the previous session, seeks to perform a full-fledged test case exercise with the students attending the class. The test case exercise commences with the identification of the narrative framework of divine speeches in the Hebrew text of Exodus/Shemot 19,3-6 and 20,22 – 24,2 (the Greek Septuagint, the Aramaic Targum and Syriac Peshitta versions of the Exodus passage are also briefly presented and compared). Then Exodus 20,22 is examined as regards to the evidence that it provides concerning the unity of the abovementioned divine speeches buttressing the current location of 20,18-21 after the Decalogue. In topical sequence, what follows is a presentation of the Deuteronomistic redaction, its influence upon the Sinai Narrative and the source analysis of Exodus.

    Succeeding the test case exercise, future paradigms are also displayed, which display is intertwined with such issues as the dating of the composition of the Torah/Pentateuch, relevant issues arising from a short survey of scholarship and the date of final editing.

    The second part of the lecture underscores the importance of thematic studies regarding the Torah/Pentateuch. Studies of this sort were carried out by scholars such as Martin Noth, Gerhard von Rad and David Clines. Besides themes, the rhetoric of the Torah/Pentateuch may also be considered vital for the process of interpretation. Scholars deemed that the rhetoric of the Torah/Pentateuch varied from century to century, par excellence its guarded optimism presumes a twelfth-century setting, its celebration and protest a tenth-century setting, its reassurance to the dispirited a seventh-century setting and its hopeful tone in difficult times a fifth-century setting.

    Reading:

    • Schmatovich János: Bevezetés az Ószövetségbe. Az ígéretek emlékezete, 282-296 (15)
    • Eissfeldt, Otto: Einleitung in das Alte Testament, 182-241 (60)
    • Wenham, Gordon J.: Exploring the Old Testament: A Guide to the Pentateuch, 145-158 (14) 187-195 (9)
    • Rózsa Huba: Az Ószövetség keletkezése, 181-279 (99)
    • Soggin, J. Alberto: Bevezetés az Ószövetségbe, 120-162 (43)
    • Archer, Gleason L.: Az ószövetségi bevezetés vizsgálata, 51-212 (162)
  7. The Book of Genesis/Bereshit. Themes in Genesis/Bereshit: God’s Temple-City, the Royal Lineage, the Blessing of the Nations, the Forfeiture of the Paradise Land, the Loss of the Edenic Environment and the Faith of Abram/Abraham

    The present lecture begins with a treatment of such introductory matters as the authorship, title, date, structure and literary features concerning the final form of Genesis/Bereshit. The current and the following lectures, while concentrating on the exploration of the various sources and building blocks of the Torah/Pentateuch, also centre upon the analysis and literary function of the various themes of the Torah/Pentateuch. These themes often overlap as regards to the sources and various building blocks of the Torah/Pentateuch, by means of which the author(s)/editor(s)/redactor(s)/compiler(s)/writer(s) provide(s) a more holistic picture of the final composition of the Torah/Pentateuch. This aim of the lecture presentations, namely the thematic overview of the Torah/Pentateuch, is undeniably curtailed by the paradigm that neither the separate parts and/or sources should be overlooked for the sake of the whole nor the whole for the sake of the separate parts and/or sources of the Torah/Pentateuch. The lecture explores five important themes in the book of Genesis/Bereshit. The first theme is God’s temple-city in Genesis/Bereshit. The second theme is concerned with the royal lineage in Genesis/Bereshit. The third theme, namely the blessing of the nations, commences with an evaluation of Genesis/Bereshit 4-11, which chapters give an account of repercussions of the tragic events that happened in the garden of Eden. The fourth theme is concerned with the forfeiture of the paradise land and the loss of the Edenic environment, while the fifth theme with the faith of Abraham.

    Reading:

    • Archer, Gleason L.: Az ószövetségi bevezetés vizsgálata, 215-260 (46)
    • Wenham, Gordon J.: Exploring the Old Testament: A Guide to the Pentateuch, 9-56 (48)
    • LaSor, William Sanford, Hubbard, David Allan, Bush, Frederic William: Old testament Survey. The Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament, 15-51 (37)
    • Harrison, Roland Kenneth: Introduction to the Old Testament, 542-565 (24)
    • Soggin, J. Alberto: Bevezetés az Ószövetségbe, 116-119 (4)
  8. Historiography of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. Historical Overview of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible Times I.: Mesopotamia to the Time of the Patriarchs (2900-2000 B.C.), the Patriarchal Period (2000-1600 B.C.) and Egypt to the Time of the Exodus

    The aim of the lecture is to furnish a foretaste of historiography within the realm of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible studies. The historiography of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible is one of the most contentious issues of this field of study. This may be ascribed to the fact that on one hand it is one of the most extensively conferred about topics and on the other hand the least well circumscribed. Oftentimes the results of various historiographical undertakings seem to be discordant with each other because they are produced by scholars with differing personalities and perspectives. Furthermore, one may pose the question whether the phrase “of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible” is to be interpreted as a subjective genitive or an objective genitive? Should the purview of study be the historical consciousness of ancient Israel, apparent in the professedly historiographic texts of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible (subjective genitive) or other more novel trials to produce a history of ancient Israel (objective genitive)? Should the emphasis be on biblical history, that is the history as presented in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible or on Israelite history, that is the history of ancient Israel displayed in modern research?

    Through this lecture the student will learn that one-sided theories tend not to generate balanced and solid results. However, a multifaceted methodological approach has a greater possibility of offering viable solutions for the questions posed earlier. It has been suggested that such an approach may be achieved by refining the canons of the historical-critical method, by restricting the allegations of the social science methods and by rethinking the repercussions of modern literary methods. Regarding these steps as essential for the current and future status of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible historiography, one could submit that any type of historical nihilism will fail to furnish a balanced review of the many details from biblical narratives corroborated by archaeological and ancient near eastern sources.

    The second part of the lecture seeks to present the most up-to-date scholarly results with respect to the genesis of ancient near eastern chronology. Furthermore, four major chronological periods are explored, notably Mesopotamia to the time of the patriarchs (2900-2000 B.C.), the patriarchal period (2000-1600 B.C.) and Egypt to the time of the exodus.

    Reading:

    • Maxwell Miller, J., Hayes, John H.: Az ókori Izrael és Júda története
    • Schmidt, Werner H.: Einführung in das Alte Testament, 7-14 (8) 28-33 (6)
    • Arnold, Bill T., Beyer, Bryan E.: Encountering the Old Testament: A Christian Survey, 44-47 (4)
    • LaSor, William Sanford, Hubbard, David Allan, Bush, Frederic William: Old testament Survey. The Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament, 40-43 (4)
    • Harrison, Roland Kenneth: Introduction to the Old Testament, 83-177 (95)
    • Schmatovich János: Bevezetés az Ószövetségbe. Az ígéretek emlékezete, 109-124 (16)
  9. The Book of Exodus/Shemot Themes in Exodus/Shemot: Revelation of God, the Pesach, the Sinai Covenant and the Holy Tabernacle

    The present lecture begins with a treatment of such issues as the authorship, title, date, structure and literary features regarding the final form of Exodus/Shemot. Further issues to be tackled in outline are: the detailed covenant obligations, the legal material of the Book of the Covenant (21,1-22,20), moral imperatives (22,21-23,9), instructions for the Sabbath and religious festivals (23,10-19), the reciprocal nature of the covenant (23,20-23), the ratification of the covenant and the rebellion in the Israelite camp.
    In Exodus/Shemot, following the divine deliverance from Egypt, the Israelites’ relationship with God is formalized through a special agreement or covenant. This covenant stipulates two sets of obligations, presented in the Decalogue, the principal obligations code and the Book of the Covenant, which contains more specific obligations. The principal and detailed obligations complement each other. Moreover, they also highlight the purpose of the Deuteronomist, namely obedience ensures blessing and disobedience punishment.

    The three themes explored in conjunction with the introductory section concerned with Exodus/Shemot, are the self-revelation of God, the Pesach and the Sinai covenant. The first theme highlights the plot of the early chapters of Exodus/Shemot, which focus upon the relationship that ripens between God and the Israelites, starting from the dramatic encounter with Moses at the burning bush (3,1-4,17) to the glory of the Lord filling the Tabernacle (40,34-38). The self-revelation of God in Exodus/Shemot is achieved not only through words but signs and wonders as well.

    The second theme to be tackled homes in upon the festivity of Pesach/Passover, which may be viewed as being at the heart of God’s rescuing the Israelites. The account and purpose of the Pesach ritual are both tackled in detail.
    The third theme pertaining to the Sinai covenant explores the principal covenant obligations, namely the Decalogue. A critical comparison of the Decalogue text in Exodus/Shemot, respectively Deuteronomy/Devarim is also offered, with a specific focus to the witness of the variants.

    The fourth theme tackles the Holy Tabernacle. The extent of the textual material signals the primary role of the Holy Tabernacle as God’s abode. Issues to be tackled within this theme include: the royal tent, the holy tent, a tent of meeting, the provision of materials and skilled craftsmen.

    Reading:

    • Archer, Gleason L.: Az ószövetségi bevezetés vizsgálata, 261-282 (22)
    • LaSor, William Sanford, Hubbard, David Allan, Bush, Frederic William: Old testament Survey. The Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament, 52-79 (28)
    • Wenham, Gordon J.: Exploring the Old Testament: A Guide to the Pentateuch, 57-80 (24)
    • Harrison, Roland Kenneth: Introduction to the Old Testament, 566-588 (23)
    • Rózsa Huba: Az Ószövetség keletkezése, 171-179 (9)
    • Soggin, J. Alberto: Bevezetés az Ószövetségbe, 163-174 (12)
    • Archer, Gleason L.: Az ószövetségi bevezetés vizsgálata, 261-282 (22)
  10. Historical Overview of Old Testament / Hebrew Bible Times II.: Egypt during the Time of the Exodus and the Wilderness Wanderings on the Sinai Peninsula

    The lecture furnishes a presentation of the historical background of the period of the Israelites’ slavery in Egypt, the exodus and the wilderness wanderings on the Sinai Peninsula. The core of the lecture focuses on the evidence and counter arguments for the exodus, the possible date(s) of the exodus and the assumed route of the exodus.

    Reading:

    • Maxwell Miller, J., Hayes, John H.: Az ókori Izrael és Júda története
    • Schmidt, Werner H.: Einführung in das Alte Testament, 10-14 (5) 28-33 (6)
    • Arnold, Bill T., Beyer, Bryan E.: Encountering the Old Testament: A Christian Survey, 47-48 (2)
    • Schmatovich János: Bevezetés az Ószövetségbe. Az ígéretek emlékezete, 124-131 (8)
  11. The Book of Leviticus/Wayyikra. Themes in Leviticus/Wayyikra: The Phenomenon of Holy, the Sacrificial System and Clean Versus Unclean Victuals

    The lecture embarks upon offering a treatment of such issues as the final form of the book of Leviticus/Wayyikra as the authorship, title, date, structure and literary features and the various aspects of the P source. As part of the treatment of the P source in Leviticus/Wayyikra, a thematic overview is also presented, which encapsulates three themes. The first theme centres upon the phenomenon of holy, which stems from the fact that God is holy. The book of Leviticus/Wayyikra lays stress upon the power of God to sanctify, or make holy, other people or objects. Nonetheless, it also signals the peril posed by the moral and ritual uncleanness associated with human demeanour. Holiness and uncleanness are displayed as mutually exclusive. As a result, for Israel to celebrate a close and meaningful relationship with God, they ought to mirror his holiness in their daily attitude and conduct, on the lines of the divine exhortation, “Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy” (19,2; 11,44-45; 20,26). Within this theme such key-terms and concepts are analysed as holy, clean, unclean, holiness, uncleanness and the relationship between the latter two.
    The second theme to be dissected is the theme of sacrificial system, which begins by tackling the general pattern for animal sacrifices, the five types of sacrifices and the day of atonement. When Moses and the Israelites finish erecting the Holy Tabernacle, it becomes possible for God to abide among the Israelites. In order to live in closeness to the divine, God through Moses institutes a sacrificial system by which Israel can atone for her sins. The sacrifices address the various aspects of human error. The sacrifices presented on the Day of Atonement are the most prominent ones.

    The third theme is preoccupied with the question of clean and unclean. After a summary of regulations, their function is described, together with the blood prohibition and the rationale behind the clean/unclean classification. The regulations accentuate two important theological principles. First, the distinction between clean and unclean underscores the divine calling of Israel to be a holy nation, thus being dissimilar from the other nations of the earth. Second, the clean and unclean animals symbolize Israelites and non-Israelites respectively.

    Reading:

    • Archer, Gleason L.: Az ószövetségi bevezetés vizsgálata, 283-288 (6)
    • LaSor, William Sanford, Hubbard, David Allan, Bush, Frederic William: Old testament Survey. The Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament, 80-98 (19)
    • Wenham, Gordon J.: Exploring the Old Testament: A Guide to the Pentateuch, 81-101 (21)
    • Rózsa Huba: Az Ószövetség keletkezése, 181-226 (46)
    • Soggin, J. Alberto: Bevezetés az Ószövetségbe, 151-162 (12)
    • Archer, Gleason L.: Az ószövetségi bevezetés vizsgálata, 283-296 (14)
  12. The Book of Numbers/Bamidbar. Themes in Numbers/Bamidbar: The Odyssey to the Promised Land and the Odyssey Disruptive Murmurings

    The lecture first of all examines the final form of the book, as it is found in the canon of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, focusing on such aspects as authorship, title, date, structure and literary features. Second of all it endeavours to accentuate briefly two prominent themes in Numbers/Bamidbar.

    The first theme, the odyssey to the Promised Land, treats the following components, specifically the preparations for the odyssey, the role of the Levites and further preparations to enter the land of Canaan. The encounter of the Israelites with God at Sinai is undoubtedly at the core of the Torah/Pentateuch. Nevertheless, Sinai is not the ultimate destination of the Israelites. As a result, the first chapters of Numbers/Bamidbar relate to the preparations before leaving Sinai for the land of Canaan. These preparations imply that the Israelites will be coerced to conquer the land in question and vanquish the nations dwelling in it. The centre of the book is a witness to the fact that the Israelites’ trust seesaws in the face of opposition, thus they are unsuccessful in seizing what God has promised them. In spite of this initial overthrow, the final chapters express that the promise of the land is reaffirmed with the next generation of adults. The promises of God to Abraham will not be foiled by human disobedience.

    The second theme strives to cast light on the roots of the murmurings against God, the challenges against those in authority, religious apostasy and the destination that is the Promised Land. The first and concluding chapters of Numbers/Bamidbar address the issues arising as regard to the preparations that had to be effected by the Israelites prior entering the Promised Land. The middle section of the book offers a diversion from this, with the grumblings of the Israelites constituting a recurring pattern.

    Reading:

    • Archer, Gleason L.: Az ószövetségi bevezetés vizsgálata, 288-296 (9)
    • LaSor, William Sanford, Hubbard, David Allan, Bush, Frederic William: Old testament Survey. The Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament, 99-110 (12)
    • Wenham, Gordon J.: Exploring the Old Testament: A Guide to the Pentateuch, 103-122 (20)
    • Harrison, Roland Kenneth: Introduction to the Old Testament, 614-634 (21)
  13. The Book of Deuteronomy/Devarim. Themes in Deuteronomy/Devarim: Love and Loyalty and the Election of Israel

    The lecture seeks to offer a detailed examination of the final form of the book, which embraces such aspects as authorship, title, date, structure, literary features interpretation, horizons of interpretation, theology and the influence of Deuteronomy/Devarim.

    Two themes also play a prominent role in the analysis of this book. The first theme centres upon the concepts of love and loyalty with specific attention paid to the relationship between Deuteronomy/Devarim and ancient near eastern treaties. The book leads the plot-thread of the Torah/Pentateuch to a momentous and weighty climax. As the Israelites are on the threshold of the Promise Land, Moses delineates God’s agenda for the future, which focuses on the unique covenant relationship between God and Israel. At the heart of this covenant is a mutual love and loyalty towards the other party.

    The second theme investigates the election of Israel. The two facets of this are the relationship of Israel and the nations, respectively election and responsibility. God promised the land of Canaan to the Israelites. This was because the nations of Canaan by their wickedness had relinquished their right to the land. Despite the fact that on one hand God ordered the annihilation of these nations, on the other hand the Israelites were entrusted with God’s purpose for them on that land to be a light to other nations.

    Reading:

    • Archer, Gleason L.: Az ószövetségi bevezetés vizsgálata, 297-310 (14)
    • Wenham, Gordon J.: Exploring the Old Testament: A Guide to the Pentateuch, 123-143 (21)
    • Harrison, Roland Kenneth: Introduction to the Old Testament, 635-662 (28)
    • Rózsa Huba: Az Ószövetség keletkezése, 227-254 (28)
    • Soggin, J. Alberto: Bevezetés az Ószövetségbe, 127-138 (12)
  14. Recapitulation

    By this stage the students should have read the first one-hundred and eighteen pages of J. Maxwell Miller’s and John H. Hayes’ book entitled A History of Ancient Israel and Judah and the following biblically related novel in Hungarian, namely the third and fourth volume of Thomas Mann’s tetralogy Joseph und seine Brüder [Joseph and His Brothers; József és testvérei], namely Joseph in Ägypten [Joseph in Egypt; József Egyiptomban] and Joseph, der Ernährer [Joseph the Provider; József a kenyéradó]. The students are also expected to present their handwritten notes that they have prepared in the process of reading the aforementioned books and the handwritten notes that they have prepared while reading the books of the Torah/Pentateuch in Hungarian. Furthermore, based on the knowledge accumulated from reading the abovementioned novel, the students are expected to present an essay titled: The mature Joseph and his faith in the God of the Fathers. The length of the essay ought not to be over two thousand words, excluding footnotes. The essay may receive thirty points at the most.

    Reading:

    • Maxwell Miller, J., Hayes, John H.: Az ókori Izrael és Júda története
    • Mann, Thomas: József és Testvérei

Total estimated time

Classroom study

  • 2 hours/week (Course: 2 | Seminar: 0 | Practice: 0)
  • 28 hours/semester (Course: 28 | Seminar: 0 | Practice: 0)

Individual study

  • Time for studying course notes and bibliography: 60 hours/semester.
  • Time for further documentation in libraries, electronic platforms, or on the field: 28 hours/semester.
  • Time for preparing essays, papers, or documentation: 8 hours/semester.
  • Time for personal tutoring: 0 hours/semester.
  • Total individual study: 96 hours/semester.
  • Total estimated time: 124 hours/semester.

Examination

Attendance: The course relies significantly upon the material discussed in class. Therefore, attendance is significantly related to one’s success in the course. Reading: The student ought to read all the assigned readings for the class. If a student consistently appears to be unprepared the class participation grade will be adversely affected. The lecturer reserves the right to assign quizzes to those who obnoxiously refuse to prepare for upcoming classes. Cheating, plagiarizing, copying, etc. are not tolerated.

Bibliography

Book

Collection of studies