Study Guide Essay

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Religion 111

Chapter 6 Questions

1. Choose a small section of the narrative of the plaques in Exodus 7-12, and identify the parts of the passage that you would attribute to J, E, and P. What characteristic phrases and themes of each source occur in the passage? The passage that best illustrates the account of the plagues in Egypt in Exodus 7. The J account tells of the hardening of Pharaoh's heart, of Yahweh's threat to befoul the waters of the Nile and kill the fish, and of the execution of this threat (Exod. 7:14-15a, 16-17a, 18, 21a, 23-25). The E writer added the rod of the wonder-worker and Moses' threat to strike the water and turn the Nile to blood - a threat which he fulfills (Exod. 7:15, 17b, 20b). The P author added
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The dates mentioned above would give a date for the exodus in the 15th or 16th century BCE, depending on whether one Kings 6:1 is followed or the other periods mentioned are added up. This lack of correlation has led some scholars to be skeptical that anything like the Exodus ever occurred. The view is that the biblical traditions, although containing anachronisms and signs of later editing, so preserve authentic historical memory.

6. How did the biblical writers make use of ancient Near Eastern mythology in their accounts of the Exodus? The writers of the Old Testament, however, borrowed motifs and allusions from the myths of Mesopotamia and Canaan as means of describing the significance of God's acts in the world. They never borrowed the mythological materials unchanged, but always transformed them into ways of describing the actions of the one God of the world.

Chapter 7

1. What is the vocabulary connected with the concept of covenant in the Bible? The treaty analogue sheds light on some biblical phraseology used in covenant contexts. The relationship of the suzerain to the vassal is often expressed as a father – son relationship. The references to Israel as Yahweh’s son is illuminated by this characteristic idiom: The father – son metaphor informs another idiom: In treaties and diplomatic correspondence, the relationship between the two parties is one of “love.”


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