Friday, August 2, 2013

History of the Chosen People

The next large body of biblical writings are the historical books. These are, with variations according to the collection: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Tobit, Judith, Esther, 1-4  Maccabees.

These books of the Bible tell the ancient history of the Chosen People, the Jews, as collected by scribes and editors through the second century BCE.1

You may ask what any of this has to do with thee and me. To the Jewish faith it enshrines key elements in the history of the collective relationship of Jews with God. To modern Gentile Christians it provides historical context to what the Galilean carpenter was talking about; he wasn't talking about our modern culture, he was talking about the received faith story of his hearers and his people.

Biblical faith stands out in that it is mostly a story with implications. In the next few posts, I'll try to summarize it, to provide an overview that you are invited to explore on your own.

1. BCE (before the common era) and CE (common era) are the modern and tolerant form of BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini, or year of the Lord), that is least offensive to any religion. Oddly enough, modern biblical studies tend to place the actual birth of Jesus of Nazareth in the summer of the year 6 before our era, which makes BCE a more reasonable nomenclature.

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