Importance of History in a Community’s Self-Understanding

Bible as a record of the interaction between the Hebrew people and their God

History, according to the Biblical understanding, provides a learning experience The Divine Covenant and Human Responsibility: It is up to the humans to apprehend and abide by the transcendental order Divine expectation of fundamental moral conduct from everyone: Humans do not excel at governing themselves when left to follow their own conscience? Repeated renewal of the covenant through Noah, Abraham, and Moses: Genesis and Exodus Covenant relationship implies a binding relationship between two groups: Ideals of choice and acceptance Abraham as an example.

Function of Revelation and Prophecy: Instances of communication between the Transcendental power and humans Revelation as an divinely directed event which has a special significance for those who share a particular worldview Tension between the way things are and the way they ought to be: Biblical view of history incorporates a hope for change for the better Exodus: Metaphor of emergence from slavery to a people with a destiny and purpose Questions of Justice: Prophets, Kings, and Social Reform : Emergence of political identity of the Hebrew people and the associated social problems.

Gradual settlement of the freed slaves from Egypt in Canaan:
From a loose tribal confederation ruled by informal chieftains (Shophetim or Judges) : Samson, Shamgar, Ehud, Deborah etc. To a centralized monarchy: Saul, David, Solomon Construction of the Temple: Priestly and Legal authority.

Emergence of Monotheism focused on the worship of Yahweh. Secession of the northern tribes (Israel), centered around Samaria, in 922 B.C.E. and their dispersal in 722 B.C.E. by the Assyrian invasion Southern tribes(Judah), centered around Jerusalem, continued until the Babylonian invasion in 586 B.C.E.

The Prophetic Tradition:

Based upon intensely personal, ecstatic experience of individuals: Voice of social conscience. Worked from both inside as well as outside the social, and political institutions of the community Prophets proclaim for God against all unrighteousness and disloyalty against Yahweh.

3 stages of the Prophetic tradition:

1. Guild Prophets.

2. Pre-Writing Prophets (Nathan’s prophecy to David in Samuels II, ch 12 ) : Prophetic experience underscores God’s demand for justice; against individual acts of corruption?

3. Writing Prophets (Amos, Isaiah etc,): Challenged the corruption implicit in the social order and institutions.