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- Agricultural cult
- Cf. "fertility cult."
- A type of narrative literature in which an other-worldly
being (such as an angel) reveals to a human the hidden
truth about the world or history. It assumes the world is
too corrupt for humans to solve the problems they face.
Apocalyptic often employs bizarre images (e.g.
seven-headed beasts), but these images can also be found
in non-apocalyptic materials.
- A Canaanite "fertility
- Storm god in Canaanite religion.
- An adjective denoting a person, social institution or
practice related to the native people of Israels
- The set of writings regarded as authoritative within a
- Careful analysis of a text as a literary work, typically
with less attention to the kinds of technical issues
involved in exegesis (q.v.).
- The account of the process by which sources or stories
were combined to produce a book.
- The societal institution responsible for carrying out
worship, sacrifice and other religious functions.
- The ten commandments (Exodus 20:1-17; Deuteronomy
- Isaiah 40-55.
- One of the editors who shaped Deuteronomy through 2 Kings
into a continuous history and/or helped edit certain
prophetic books (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Amos, Micah,
- The books of Deuteronomy through 2 Kings, which have been
shaped into a continuous history passing judgment on
Israels history by describing the people and their
kings as repeatedly ignoring the book of the
- The practice of predicting the future by such methods as
examining the internal organs of animals or observing the
- The hypothesis that the Pentateuch was constructed out of
four independent and complete documents: J (the
Yahwist), E (the Elohist), P (the
Priestly source), and D (the core of
- A common Hebrew word meaning God.
- Named for someone else; in the case of the patriarchs,
such figures as Jacob are frequently considered to be
fictitious characters to whom the common stories of the
people have been attributed and whose name is derived
from the people themselves (Jacob = Israel).
- A visionary expectation that God will introduce a new era
definitively realizing human and divine ideals.
- The belief that a single deity rules over all peoples,
derived from the conviction that that deity holds all
peoples equally responsible for their acts.
(adj. = exegetical)
- The discipline of inferring the meaning of a passage in
its original setting by studying it in the light of its
historical backgrounds and its linguistic structure.
- Relating to the period of the exile (586-538 B.C.E.).
- A religion based on the notion that the gods will bring
fertility to the earth and its creatures if humans engage
in sexual intercourse as a religious act (cf. sacred prostitute).
- A goddess who embodies the powers of fertility that make
the land, people and animals fertile.
- The final edition of any particular book.
- An assessment of how particular, set literary structures
(e.g. a hymn) function and the type of social setting
where such literary forms would have originated in an
effort better to perceive their intent.
- Second part of the Talmud;
commentary on the Mishnah (q.v.).
- The literary classification to which a text belongs. E.g.
A Tale of Two Cities is a novel; "A
Midsummer Nights Dream" is comedy.
- A comment on a text written by a scribe either in the
margin (but which later found its way into the text) or
in the text itself.
- Hermeneutics (adj.
- Goes beyond exegesis (see above)
by asking what import a text has for people today.
- Study of the Bibles development by the isolation of
the sources embedded within it (see "source criticism"), the
distinct types of materials represented, the redactors
(q.v.) who combined them, etc.
- Interpretation of the Bible as a historical document,
probing to discover the forces that prompted its
authorship and the nature of its composition.
- Jerusalem theology
- The belief in the inviolability of Jerusalem and the
security of the Davidic king.
- Literary criticism
- When not equivalent to "source
criticism," it refers to "close reading" of a text
in some way.
- A handwritten copy of a document.
- A group of scribes
in the middle ages who carefully preserved and annotated
the biblical text.
- A shorthand way of referring to the text commonly used in
biblical scholarship, Leningrad B19A.
- First part of the Talmud; rabbinic
debates over correct behavior in the light of the Torah.
- Nature religion
- See "fertility cult."
- The application to biblical studies of theories of
reading developed in the study of English literature,
such as structuralism, reader response criticism, and
- A speech presented as a message from God.
- The first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus,
Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy).
text (textus receptus)
- The "final form"
of a text generally accepted by religious communities as
their authoritative form of the text. The text of the
Bible that has become accepted as the Bible (cf. Masoretic text).
- An editor who not only organizes material into a book,
but shapes it by inserting comments that give the
material a certain "spin."
- A cultic official with whom adherents to a fertility
religion had sexual intercourse in order to reinforce the
dynamic of fertility embodied in the deities (cf.
- A literate person who copied documents by hand in order
to make more copies available.
- A Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible.
- Biblical scholars specializing in "source
criticism" (see next entry).
- An attempt to disentangle and identify the various
written sources that have been interwoven to create a
literary work. [return to "Flood
- The compilation composed of the Mishnah and the Gemara.
- The first four books of the Bible (cf. Pentateuch).
- The art of evaluating differences in wording between
manuscripts in order to recover the wording most likely
approximating the "original" text of a book.
See the presentation on
- Textual transmission
- The process of passing on the text of the Bible by
scribes making hand written copies.
- See "Received text"
- The the Pentateuch.
- People who passed on the biblical books, sometimes adding
their own supplements to the text.
- The region east of the Jordan river, occupied by the
tribes of Gad, Reuben and part of Manasseh (see map 3 in
the back of the Harper Collins Study Bible).
- Isaiah 56-66.
- The four letters of the Hebrew alphabet that form the
name of Israels God (YHWH). Based on a long
tradition, the tetragrammaton is never pronounced.
Instead, the Hebrew word for "Lord," Adonai, is
read in its place. The merging of the vowels of Adonai
with the consonants YHWH produced the Anglicized
- A text lying before a scribe or a redactor and on the basis of which a
new copy or edition was created.
- A streambed filled with water only during heavy rains.
- Literature that probed lifes mysteries and/or
sought to explain how life could be lived successfully
(e.g. Proverbs, Qohelet, Job).
- B.C.E. "Before the common
era" (= B.C.; cf. C.E.)
ca. around, about (Latin circa)
C.E. "The common era"
(of Christianity and Judaism; = A.D.)
cf. compare (Latin, confer)
e.g. for example (Latin, exempli
f. the verse cited and the
following one (e.g. vv. 12f.)
ff. the verse cited and an
unspecified number of others (e.g. vv. 12ff.)
LXX The Septuagint.
MT Massoretic Text (q.v.)
N.B. note well (Latin, nota
NRSV The New Revised Standard
q.v. = "which see" (Latin, quid
v. verse (e.g. v. 12)
vv. verses (e.g. vv. 12-15)
Dr. Ronald L. Troxel, Dept. of Hebrew and Semitic Studies
Revised: November 12, 1999.
Copyright © 1998 by Ronald L. Troxel.
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