Midterm Study Guide

On Friday, one week from today, we’ll have our midterm examination.  Everything we’ve covered in the class thus far is fair game, including what we’ve read and what we’ve discussed in class.  Remember, that to whom much is given, even more is expected in return.

Basics:  the exam will have four sections–multiple choice, short answer/identification (with analysis), quotation identification, and brief essays.

Terms to know
J, E, P, D, R, and H (also know what these stand for and how they fit together.)
Documentary Hypothesis
Julius Wellhausen
Mary Douglas
Imago Dei
Jacob Cycle
Obstacle story
Patriarchal History
Covenant Collection
etiological tale
Atonement and Yom Kippur
Eric Auerbach
Mary Douglas and pollution
casuistic law
apodictic law
Lot Complex
Blood sacrifice in Leviticus
Deuteronomistic History
theological triangle of OT

Potential Essay Questions

1. Many people are shocked to realize that there’s actually two different accounts of the world’s creation in Genesis. Although there are similarities between the two accounts, there are also significant differences, such as the style, order that humans were created, etc. In an essay response, explain the reasons why Genesis includes two different creation accounts. Your essay must include a detailed discussion of the accounts themselves, and it should distinguish between each creation account in terms of respective literary style, theological worldview, etc.

2. In one of the most sublime moments in the entire Torah, Moses argues with God concerning his charge to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. Moses asks God, “When I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them? God replies to Moses, ‘Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh.’” In an essay response, explain the meaning and significance of God’s response to Moses. Then, using at least two additional passages, demonstrate how this exchange sets the stage for a complex relationship between God and Moses, one that continues for the rest of the Torah

Quotation Identification

For your exam, you will be asked to identify quotations from the Torah and provide reasons as to how we are able to identify the source. Here are a couple examples:

“And God said, ‘Let the earth spout vegetation: seed-bearing plants, fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.’ And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: seed-bearint plants of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that this was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.”

“Take care not to sacrifice your burnt offerings in any place you like, but only in the place that the LORD will choose in one of your tribal territories. There you shall sacrifice your burnt offerings and there you shall observe all that I enjoin upon you.”

For questions like this, you’ll be required to identify the biblical source from which the quotation is taken, and you’ll be required to provide a rationale. How do we know?  So, feel free to try your hand at these and leave answers on the blog.  After a few guesses, I’ll chime in.  Feel free to post any other questions as well.


About Andrew Battista

Andrew Battista is Librarian for Geospatial Information Systems at New York University
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