Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The History and Theology of the Exile: Day 1

Of all the modules that I had planned to take, this has been almost an elusive one. To cut the story short, there were at least three close calls that prevented me from attending it. Finally by God's grace, here I am, though I must say, it's going to be a toughie.

We covered the general history of the Jewish exile today, which consists of two, i.e. (1) the exile of the Northern Kingdom in 722BC by the Assyrians and (2) the exile of the Southern Kingdom in 597/6BC by the Babylonians. We were given a rough sweep of the "history" of Israel and Judah, the north and south respectively, the Assyrians and the Babylonians, and several more neighbouring nations, all in their own conquests of expansion and survival.

The word "history" is an interesting 0ne that does warrant quite a bit of discussion. We were told that the topic of historiography is a hot one right now. Just how objective a historical account is, is a good question. Reb talked about the bible being biased of its historical account. I was not too comfortable about that statement, that the bible is biased. I felt this way because the word "bias" does have a derogatory nuance to it. But I suppose as long as it is meant that the bible relates history in favour of God's perspective, then I should be fine with it. We do need to be mindful when we read history because it can never be presented objectively. Every person writing history writes it in their context, favour and interest. It helps to have a wide panorama of the period of history in question to gain a fair view of what might have happened.

But how does that relate to the exegetical background study of a passage? Is it the same? If the Old Testament is seen to be biased in its historical account, wouldn't the letters of Paul be biased as well, or the Gospel acounts?



  1. I think the Gospels and Paul's letters are "biased" too - at least for the gospels, they are "biased" according to the perspectives of the respective evangelists - hence 4 gospels. Even the collection of materials are "biased" too, eg Luke 1;1-4; John 20:30-31. For Paul's letters, they are "biased" according to the understanding of his gospel...

    sorry...very confusing...haha

  2. No, no, I agree with you. I think it is the word "bias" that kinda threw me off balance. That word in our current context and I suppose in my line of work is mostly derogatory, and therefore it disturbed me to label the bible as biased.

    Or maybe I am just being too finicky about it :)

  3. I find that theological studies, would best be interpreted with intellectual more than devotional point of view; otherwise we have dissonance

  4. I will talk to you personally on this ... serious stuff ... seriously ...