Tuesday, July 14, 2009

First class on OT introduction

We had the class this morning with Maggie Low as our lecturer. The class started with each students' self-introduction. Then we are handed the course description and outline.

One of our assignment is to write a research paper on one of these four topics:

- Genesis: Primeval History. 6 Days of Creation: Literal or Figurative?

- Genesis: Primeval History, Pentateuchal Themes. The Flood: Plagiarism or Polemic?

- Joshua. The Origins of Israel: Invasion, Infiltration, or Insurrection?

- Judges. The Ethical Problem of the Holy War.

I wish I can write on all and submit all. But we are required only to write one. And I chose the third one. I've done some reading a while ago, surveyed across the different voices on this issue. Of course, given that my interest is in science and religion, naturally I should be doing the one on 6 days of creation. But too many students registered that already. And Maggie wants the class to spread evenly through the 4 topics.

May be I'll just write one paper on that and ask Maggie for critique.

And guess what? I already had disagreement with my lecturer in the first class. It's on the Hebrew canon. To her, the Hebrew canon was "more or less fixed by 2nd century BCE".

I think it's not, though most books are considered as sacred, but to say that there was already a canon list by 2nd century BCE is affirming too much.

First, the Jews around the period between 2nd century BCE to late 1st century CE were fragmented into different religious communities (eg. Essenes, Sadducees, etc) that have different list of sacred books.

Second, there are evidents that some Rabbis who were quoting from sources which are not in the modern Hebrew canon list as scripture (eg. b. Hagigah 13a, y. Hagigah 77c, b. Yebamot 63b, etc allude to the book of Sirach as sacred).

A thorough treatment on this subject can be found in L.M.McDonald, The Biblical Canon, chapter 5, p.114-149.


M SIBAT said...

Alice in the Wonderland ... Alice in the Wonderland ... here we go again. LOL! All the best, though. Sounds interesting and on DAY 1 they already give you assignments? Scary ...

Sze Zeng said...

Yes, it's a wonderland... but ya, a lot of assignments. But then I would love to spend time writing every topics.. Too bad don't have enough time.

Israel Lee said...

very interesting topics, no wonder you want to write them all.

pearlie said...

I wish I can write on all and submit all
LOL ... sounds like you!

I already had disagreement with my lecturer in the first class
and ... sounds like you :P

So what happens in Singapore when you don't agree with the lecturer?

BTW, check out my blog (today's post, up in awhile if it is not).

Perng Shyang said...

Disagreement with lecturer, ha, this is normal! Keep it up, more disagreements, more funs!

Alex Tang said...

iron sharpens iron. That's why you are in a theological seminary

Kar Yong said...

Disagreement is healthy! I always welcome disagreement. But just be careful and reminded - your are in Singapore, not Seremban :-)

reasonable said...

There are good grounds to say that it is not true that the Hebrew Scripture is more or less canonised 200 years before Christ. People should not confused the existence of scriptural text with the existence of a canon. Canon has its own special meaning.