Make your own free website on

The Postmodern Catholic

Origins and Stories
College Recommendations Guidelines
Sacred Paths
Homeworks and Outline: Sacred Paths
Reading Guide Questions Taoism 211-218
Reading Guide Questions Taoism
Homeworks: and Outline: Introduction to Catholicism
Unit IV Moses Reluctant Hero
Unit III God's Imperfect Instruments
Unit III God's Chosen Ones
The Mass, Vestements, and Sacred Vessels
Unit III The Sacraments
Iona Prep Interfaith Society
Islam Notes

Enter subhead content here

Hebrew Scriptures: Origins and Stories


Discover the purpose and significance of the Bible

Understand the Relationship between Scripture and Tradition


Christian Views on Hebrew Scriptures

Hebrew Scriptures are viewed as the divine Word of God

God is revealed to Christians in a special way through Hebrew Scriptures

Generally, the early Church Fathers taught that Jesus Christ is present but "veiled" in the Old Testament

Tells of a people called to relationship, or covenant, with God

Hebrew Scriptures

Can see a repeating theme of covenant made, covenant broken, covenant restored

The suffering is seen as a purification that leads to salvation

What the Bible Is?

Many things to many people (?)

Is actually a library of books

Read in faith, it is the revealed Word of God

Is a religious book containing religious truths (in contrast to scientific truths)

It is God’s "self-disclosure"

Again, it is interpreted through tradition(?):

The sum of the teachings of the Catholic Church give us long established ways of interpreting the meaning of Scripture

Together with Tradition, Scripture is part of the "deposit of Faith"

Purpose of the Bible?

To offer guidance and insight into one’s self, one’s life and one’s relationship with God

P. 9: the Bible is like….?

Depends on how you read it



Divisions of the Bible

Testament: means agreement or covenant

Old Testament (Old Covenant)

New Testament (New Covenant)

As a whole, they were written between 1900 BCE and 100 CE

Sacred Scripture

For Christians, the Bible is divided into two main parts:

The New Testament; made up of 27 books, and

The Old Testament or, more accurately, the Hebrew Bible; made up of 46 books

The Hebrew Bible (p 11 in text)

Pentateuch (Law, or Torah): Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy: first 5 books of Moses)

Historical Books: Joshua, Judges, Ruth I and II, Samuel I and II

Writings (Wisdom): Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, Sirach

Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Baruch, Ezekiel, Daniel, and the twelve minor prophets

The New Testament

The Gospels: Mark, Mathew, Luke, and John

Acts: narrates the beginnings of the Church

Epistles (Letters) written by the Apostles or their representatives. The Letters of Paul are the largest collection: 1/3 of the New Testament

Book of Revelation: The last book in Christian Scriptures

Stages of the Bible

The Bible is now known to have passed through three stages of development

Oral Stage: The Israelites kept their history alive through repeating stories of their ancestors

Written Stage: Eventually, these stories, or oral traditions, were written down

Edited Stage: Editors would combine different traditions into an interpreted story of God and how (S)He deals with humankind

Most of the stories in the Hebrew Bible were written either during Solomon’s reign or during the Exile

Scripture and Tradition

One cannot be understood without the other

Scripture came out of oral tradition

Tradition continues to interpret the meaning of Scripture. Meaning?

There are established ways to interpret the meaning of Scripture

In the Catholic Church, the Magisterium is the official interpreter of Scripture

How to Read the Bible

Different attitudes of people toward Bible:

Different ways to read message: literal, moral, spiritual meanings

Pages 13-14 in text: 1 Sm. 3:9-11

1 in front of abbreviation refers to a specific book, here 1 Samuel, 2 Cor is?

The 3 before the colon is the chapter

The 9-11 refers to verses 9 to 11

Stages of Writings: Scripture from Tradition

Oral: (1900 BCE-900, even 590 BCE) written Holy Scripture came from oral traditions: stories told from generation to generation

Written: individuals and or groups recorded oral traditions (Examples J, or Yahwist tradition; E, or Eloist tradition; P, or Priestly Traditions), are the main early versions of the Hebrew Bible

Edited: Editors combine and translate traditions into specific interpretations

Three Main Traditions

Yahwist (J Tradition)

-850 BCE

-Influenced by surrounding cultures and their mythic tales: Sumerian in particular

-First 11 chapters of Genesis dominated by J Tradition: it gives Genesis its basic structure

-The name Yahwist comes from the name of God used by the author: means "I am"

Elohist (E Tradition)

-750 BCE

-Much of the same material

-The name Elohist comes from another, plural form for the Hebrew name of God

Priestly (P Tradition)

-a later group of priests edited the different early stories and combined them into a legible whole

Garden of Eden: Crime and Punishment

2nd story of creation

More centered on the creation of humanity

Is a story of crime and punishment

A story of how sin (Original sin) entered the world

Fall of Humanity in the Garden

Represents the onset of sin in the world

Represents humanity’s rejection of God’s love and guidance

There are many ways to interpret this story:

As the greatest of all sins ever committed that contains all other sins, or

As the rebellion of children who did not know any better. Significance?

Perhaps it was part of the plan for humanity

Results of the Fall

Covenant broken

Adam and Eve kicked out of Paradise

Now have to work for Living (Toil)

Serpent crawls on belly, despised by Humanity

Woman gives birth in pain

Woman put under Man’s control (?)

Adam blames Eve, Eve blames the serpent

Sin enters into the world

Again, is an attempt by the ancient Hebrews to give meaning to their world

Journal 2/10

Reflect on a time when you were envious or resentful towards someone. How did it affect you? How did it effect the way you experienced the world around you and the people in your life. How did it effect your relationship to God?

Progression of Sin in Genesis

Once separated from God, people repeatedly sin

Stories of Genesis show a progression of sin in the world

Cain and Abel is a story of how jealousy and pride split apart the first family (alienation)

Noah and the Flood is a story of how sin became so great in the world that God almost erased humanity from the earth

The Tower of Babel is a story of how pride learned to the dividing of all the people’s of the earth

Progression of sin continued

The story of the Flood is generally seen by Christians as a metaphor for baptism and the cleansing from sin

All of these stories follow a similar pattern: people sin, they suffer because of it, and God forgives (Covenant made, Covenant broken, Covenant Renewed)

Other terms:

Genealogies: long list of ancestors with the intent of showing the passage of time and explaining the origins of different people

Ziggurat: a sacred tower used for worship and meant to represent the first mound of creation to appear out of the waters

Parallels to Other Creation Stories

The Enuma Elish, the Sumerian creation myth, shows interesting parallels to the Book of Genesis

Separation of land and water, earth and sky

Tells of a war of the Gods

The creation of Man also shows parallels: fashioned from clay

Marduk, God of gods: a Babylonian God who slew the demon god Tiamat and her children, set the stars in the heaven, and created Man.

Enter supporting content here

D. “The more I am able to affirm others, to say ‘yes” to them in myself, by discovering them in myself and myself in them, the more real I am. I am fully real if my own heart says yes to everyone” Thomas Merton