Monday, July 16, 2012

This is some of what we covered in the first week. Please let me know what you think.

List and define some of the major sources used to reconstruct 
the history of the Intertestamental Period.  

Some of the major sources used to reconstruct the history of the Intertestamental period include Flavious Josephus, Macabees and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Many of the writings describing the time rose in or around the Hellenistic period.
Flavious Josephus (or Joseph ben Matityahu) was a Hellenistic Jew who recorded history. 
His emphasis lies mostly in the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem 
following the First Jewish-Roman war in the 1st century.
Maccabees focuses in rebellion in Palestine, that resulted in Maccabean rule.
The Dead Sea Scrolls, found between 1946 and 1956 contain non-canonized manuscripts from the 
Second Temple period in Jewish history, sectarian, and commentary manuscripts.

Which of these sources do you consider the most important, and why? 

To me, the Dead Sea Scrolls may be among the most important sources 
of reconstructing the Intertestamental period in history.
These scrolls were found within the modern era, 
and answer a great deal of questions that earlier texts have failed to address.
Also, because of their discovery being fairly recent,
they serve to reinforce a faith that society attempts to squelch.
They highlight some of the sects of Judaism that may have not have been previously mentioned.

Why is the study of these sources important to a proper understanding of the New Testament?  

In order to fully appreciate the life and times that Jesus lived and taught, 
it is important to grasp the cultural and political influences that prevailed in society. 
To me, it gives Jesus' words more depth and clarity, and helps to address why 
He may have been received in the manner that He was. 
In fact, Jesus may have been better received in early Hellenistic times than in Roman times.

How do these sources help us understand NT thought and topics?

"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." 
Santayana could not have been more accurate in his exhortation of humanity 
and the predominance of struggle in our society. 
Following the struggles of the Jews and the early Christians, gives us
a deeper understanding of the message of Jesus, and allows us to have more faith in His promises.
Each time the Jews rebuilt or rose victorious from war, 
it reinforces the promise of eternity, as given to us by Jesus. 

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