exegetical assignments that will focus on various aspects of interpreting a passage from the Old Testament. The passage you will all be working on is Gen. 1.1-2.3.4. The intent of the assignments is to help you learn the basic steps to interpreting a passage from the Old Testament. Please feel free to ask in class any questions you might have about the assignment and its content. One important requirement of this paper is that you tell me what YOU think—I WANT YOUR CONCLUSIONS!!! Write in a prose format, using headings, subheadings, paragraphs, etc. You are free to use commentaries, journal articles, etc. to substantiate your conclusions, but you will need to explain how those sources provide a good basis for your conclusions.
I will provide a rubric for each of the papers. The rubrics will 1) provide the basic content and expectations for each paper, and 2) an evaluation of how well you express YOUR conclusions in each section of the assignment.
• The Third Paper: “From text to theology”—This paper guides you toward discovering the theological message of your passage based on how that theology grows out of the historical, literary, and canonical and contexts of your passage.
◦ By literary context I mean several things: in what type of literature is your passage situated—narrative, poetry, law; what literary devices does the author use—parallelism, repetition of vowel or consonant sounds, chiasm, irony, etc.; how is the passage structured and how does this structure let us know on what the author is placing the emphasis.
◦ By historical context I mean the history as it is retold within the passage. Is it part of the general history of Israel? Does your passage continue a story or does it take the reader back to the past, or perhaps to a future situation? What are the external historical issues—does it mention people, places, or things that, while perhaps well-known in the ancient world, require explanation in the modern context? Are there serious questions or gaps in our knowledge about the people, places, or things that are mentioned in the text? Are there questions about the historicity of the passage? This part also includes any social or cultural actions or ways of thinking that are prominent in the text but for which there is no apparent explanation. Think of the trading of the sandal in the story of Ruth and trying to explain what custom lies behind it,
◦ By canonical context I mean the relationship the passage has with the larger canon of the Old Testament. Is this particular passage mentioned explicitly or alluded to elsewhere in the OT or even the NT? How is the passage understood in those places? Does it seem to correspond to the context of your passage, or have the later authors interpreted the events in some other way?
◦ By theological message I mean the theological emphasis your passage seeks to communicate. You may need to look at the surrounding passages to determine this. Are there any words, clauses, or actions that have theological significance not only within your passage but also in the book and even the OT itself. This may be linked closely with the preceding context, the biblical context, because it is often the case that the theological emphasis of your passage as originally written is used with a somewhat different theological focus in later passages.
Each student required to do the analysis on Gen. 1.1-2.3.4