REL 113: Old Testament Faith and History. Exodus. RJDKnauth
Exodus event as defining moment of Israelite history,
giving identity to nation.
Liberation >> Sinai Covenant. An ANE theme pattern of victory >> kingship.
Is God able and willing to fulfill the Promise? Various barriers. Fulfillment even in exile…
Revealing the Character of YHWH through action, argument and law:
Powerful, Merciful, Long-suffering. Personally Caring. Righteous.
Remembering through ritual: the Passover, Covenant Renewal ceremonies, etc. (Form Crit.)
Overview of the content of the book of Exodus:
Story of Exodus event: oppression, cry, deliverer, plagues, Passover, sea.
Wilderness wandering, complaining, rebellion. God can provide.
Covenant at Sinai: description, 10 Words, Covenant Code (oldest law: cf Hammurabi).
Instructions for building Ark, Tabernacle, Altar, etc.; priestly garments, consecration.
Golden Calf- jeopardizing God’s continuing presence. Moses’ argument, God’s glory.
New Tablets, more instructions, building the tabernacle, altar, ark, etc.
Historical Background of the Exodus: Egyptian New Kingdom, Rameses II (19th Dynasty).
Debate re date. Hyksos conn. w/ Joseph. Expulsion in 1550. “New Pharaoh arose.”
Cities named as “Pithom, Rameses.” Building projects (moved capital).
Merneptah “Israel” stella (1207) provides date before which Exodus must already have happened.
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Would not expect historical record. “Hapiru.”
Sources again: differing images of the crossing of the ‘Reed Sea’? ANE imagery.
J: Naturalistic- wind uncovers shallow muddy area, chariot wheels stuck in mud, turn back.
P: Miraculous splitting of sea, water returns and covers over the Egyptians.
Poem: Storm at sea throws Egyptians into water (off boats?) and they sink to the bottom.
Theological message of the wilderness complaining stories from exilic perspective:
God is ABLE to provide (able to fill role of other ANE deities in providing food, water, etc.)
God is WILLING to fulfill promise despite continual rebellion and sin – comforting in exile.
Note repetitions in the book of Numbers. Sinai Revelation at chiastic center?
Sinai theophany – ANE storm-god imagery? Volcanic mountain? Contradictions?
Comparisons w/ ANE law. “Apodictic” vs. “Casuistic” (case law). ANE Treaty format.
Law as demonstrating something of the just character of the law-giver – a theological message.
Tabernacle instructions. Orderly, meditative. Note repetitions.
Fictitious retro- of Solomonic temple? Friedman says no – tabernacle real, set up inside temple!
Theological implications of tent vs. temple. El vs. Baal. Presence of YHWH. Temple improper?
The Character of Moses as legendary charismatic leader,
Developing the righteous character of Moses – transforming an old Sargon legend? Murderer?
Women’s roles in the Moses story: Midwives, Mother, Sister, Adopted Mother, Wife.
Patterns of Charismatic Leadership: compare with judges, David, etc. Importance of humility.
Moses “standing in the gap” – trapped as the go-between for God and People.
The righteousness of arguing with God – demonstrating God’s character.
Moses’ father-in-law and the “Midianite Hypothesis” (vs. Akhenaten hypothesis) re monotheism.
The Source Hypothesis – Moses vs. Aaron (E vs. P) – warring priestly houses? Sibling rivalry?
Discussion on the Plagues, the Red Sea, and the Golden
Calf. Consider sources and
Who would have written this? When? Why? Who benefits? Justice? Iconography?
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