Ancient Israelite Religion
Writing Assignment: Ancient Israelite Religion
Due Monday, April 27 at 2pm
In this paper you will investigate how ancient Israelites practiced their religion. The paper has three parts.
Part I: First, think back to before you started this course. How would you have described ancient Israelite religion and how did you come to think of it in this way? (approx. one-half page)
Part II: Choose 5 terms from the list below of cultic places, equipment and activities. Using your Bible, investigate how these terms were used in the practice of ancient Israelite religion. Find a concordance (either on-line or in the library) and use it to locate the verses in which these terms appear in the Bible. Describe the context in which these terms appear. How are the items used or how are the activities practiced? By whom? When? Where? Why?
Focus your study on the Deuteronomic History (Joshua through II Kings) and the Prophetic Books.
Part III: Finally, using what you have learned about ancient Israelite religion put yourself into the shoes of an ancient Israelite. Describe your religious practices. At what time and in what part of the country do you live? Are you a Yahwist (only Yahweh and only in Jerusalem) or do you follow alternative but more common practices? What types of activities do you partake in that are religious in nature? How do you worship your god and where? (approx. 1-1 ½ pages)
Additional questions to think about: Was the Temple in Jerusalem the only such temple in Israel and was it really the focus of daily religious life for most Israelites?
What I am looking for in this paper is your ability to read and analyze the biblical text and assimilate the material into a creative synthesis.
High place or Bamah (sing.)/Bamot (pl.)
Standing Stones or Pillar or Massebah (sing.)/ Massebot (pl.)
Sacred pole or Asherah
Ephod and Idol
Prayers and vows
General Instructions: For this project, you are to use your Bible (NRSV) and a Concordance. You may also consult your textbook, class notes and any additional readings assigned in class.
NO OTHER READINGS SHOULD BE NECESSARY TO COMPLETE THIS ASSIGNMENT. If you feel the need to use any additional materials, YOU MUST HAVE THEM APPROVED BY ME AT LEAST 1 WEEK BEFORE THE PAPER’S DUE DATE.
Your paper should be 5 pages, typed, double space, in 11-12 pt. readable font (e.g. Times New Roman), with 1 inch margins. All papers should be proof read, including double checked for spelling and grammatical errors.
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