Jun 24, 2010

The formation of the Israelites

To those who were in the Canaanite class, thanks for sending me back to check on my comments about the Iron Age being responsible for cisterns and creating terraces. 

Although a huge number of cisterns were required, along with clearing the wilderness and creating the terraces in the settlement in the hills of Palestine in the time of Joshua (about 1200 BCE), the evidence that iron tools made this possible is thin.   What is certain that there was a huge amount of physical labor involved in the settlement, in creating the irrigation systems and the vineyards etc.  Carol Meyers says "The role of the Israelites as inventors of technology is a moot point.  What stands out is the presumably unprecedented and widespread use of cisterns in the pioneer period [time of Joshua circa 1200 BCE].... The number of implements made of iron in proportion to bronze does not rise significantly in the Iron I period.  Whether iron or bronze tools, the physical effort involved was sustantial."  Discovering Eve, pg 55.   See also the PBS Nova series "The Secrets of the Bible." http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/bible/

Jun 22, 2010

Texts for Canaanites – from Curse to Conquest

Topic Text Notes

Appearance in Text

Gen 9:20-27 Curse of Canaan by Noah - Ham saw father's nakedness = ervah ערה

implies shameful exposure - BdB 788

rainbow right before this in text

Adam & Eve nakedness = arumim - Gen 2:25, 3:7,10 - not ashamed ערמ

Who "they" are
exposed - bare

Gen 10:15-10 List of Canaan's descendents - Jebusites, Amorites, Gergishites, etc

Ex 3:8,17, 34 List of tribes, Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, Jebusites

What is wrong with them?

Lev 18:3,6,7 Do not be like Canaanites - do not uncover ervah - implies act of rape ערה

Lev 18:24-30 do not defile yourselves like them - Canaanites as sexual degenerates.

Lev 20:22-26 do not follow their practices - you shall possess the land

Jun 20, 2010

Summer Tanach Series "We Have Met the Enemy and S/he is Us"


MONDAY, June 21 – Canaanites – from Curse to Conquest

MONDAY, June 21 – Canaanites – from Curse to Conquest
TUESDAY, July 6 – topic tbd
MONDAY, July 19 – topic tbd
MONDAY, August 2 – topic tbd
7:00 pm to 8:30 pm in the Eitz Chayim Community Room
136 Magazine Street, Cambridge
Feel free to bring brown bag dinner and/or wine

Through a close and intertextual reading of selected Biblical texts, we will explore the intersection of gender and politics in the ancient Israelite love/hate relationship with the outsider/other.

Each session will be completely stand-alone. Come to any or all.

Neither prior text study nor knowledge of Hebrew is required. Penina will supply the text choices. Bringing your own tanach (Bible) will be very helpful.

Topics may include
• Moabite women (and Ruth and David) – the permeable boundary between insider and outsider
• The Cushite woman (and Miriam and Moses)
• The Adam and Eve - is Creation in the image of God androgynous? Is YHVH gendered?

Joshua June 6 2010 – Chaps 14 - 15

Sources are in bold (if any) and described at end.
Think about Num 14:44 where people defied YYVH and went to battle and were routed with Ai.
Caleb and Joshua represent those who are willing to fight for their land.  The 10 spies who died of plague showed themselves willing to fight – but not sure about the need to do so, and not trusting in God.

14:1------------- Eleazar the priest  ELEAZAR (Heb. אֶלְעָזָר; "God/El-has-aided"), high priest after *Aaron . Eleazar was Aaron's third son (Ex. 6:23); his older brothers Nadab and *Abihu perished after offering strange fire before the Lord (Lev. 10:1–7; Num. 3:4). During his father's lifetime Eleazar served as the "head chieftain of the Levites" (Num. 3:32) and performed some of the functions of the high priest (ibid. 19:4). After Aaron's death, Eleazar was appointed high priest in his father's place (ibid. 20:28; Deut. 10:6).  "Eleazar." Encyclopaedia Judaica. Ed. Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik. 2nd ed. Vol. 6. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007. 298. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 13 May 2010.
------------------ Moses can invest Joshua, but priest has to seek instructions from Unim.  In Num 34:17: Eleazar is priest, not prophet – he carries on Aaronic tradition while Joshua carries on Mosaic.