Friday, September 30, 2011

snapshot of what I am currently spending my waking hours doing...

Hebrew Bible Exegesis:

The book of Joshua, and in particular the battle of Jericho in chapter six, functions as an etiological narrative to explain how Israel gained control of the promised land, with the story of Rahab in chapter two, framed by the greater narrative, as a reminder of the Israelites' identity as a people in covenant with God.  

The story of Rahab, when looked at critically and through the lens of literary criticism, functions on one level as an etiological narrative to explain the incorporation of a Canaanite group into Israel, but it also functions as an extended metaphor to remind Israel of its covenant relationship with God.  

Contained within the narrative are elements of the suzerain treaty form, as well as allusions to a history of God's mercy in sparing certain righteous individuals from widespread destruction, and Rahab is considered righteous because of her reverence for Yahweh and her assisting of Joshua's spies, seen as critical in fulfilling the story of Israel.  

Finally, the most poignant reminder of the covenant is the metaphor functioning as an allusion to the first passover in Egypt.  The crimson cord tied to the window in Joshua 2:18, along with the imperative to Rahab to gather her loved ones into the house and stay there until the invasion is complete, is a direct allusion to the blood put onto the doorposts by the Israelites and the imperative to stay indoors in Egypt during the first passover.  

My current favorite phrase in grad school is "prehending the orienting Gestalt."  Which is  fancy way of saying "understanding the underlying whole" with regards to counseling and pastoral care.

Friday, September 16, 2011

First week of grad school

I started grad school this week, and so far this is what I have learned:

1. Perhaps most importantly, fully caffeinated coffee only affects me marginally.  I drank two cups last night around 8pm and still fell asleep without any problems.  That was after two cups in the morning and two cokes in the afternoon.  Bad habit.

2. Blessedly, I now know enough Greek to know that my tattoo is indeed grammatically and linguistically correct!   Even though I had three people give me the right transliteration, including a native Greek speaker, I was still somewhat afraid that I would be tattooed with misspelled Greek the rest of my life.

3. A neat new party trick that I have learned is the Greek alphabet, and I now have a Greek vocabulary of about 50 words.  Which puts me on par with a Greek toddler, but we can't have it all at once.  At present, I am translating (using a Lexicon) phrases from the Septuagint and New Testament into English and vice versa.  

4. I have enough information to now be able to intelligently discuss the formation of the Torah.  Including the Documentary Hypothesis (JEDP), form criticism, tradition history and redaction criticism, plus their advantages and disadvantages.  Also included is the ability to draw parallels between Ancient Near East (ANE) texts and the Hebrew Bible, including the epic of Gilgamesh, the Babylonian Creation Myth and the epic of Kirta.  If this sounds like a tremendous amount of work for one week, you would be right.

5. On the off chance that caffeine does start to keep me awake, I have discovered two new sleeping aids:
The Anchor Bible Dictionary (all ten volumes, each about 4 inches thick) or The Dictionary of Pastoral Care and Counseling (which weighs about 12 pounds).

One week down, nine weeks to go this quarter.