Crunch Time!

I’ll be leaving for New York City today, since I’ll be taking my Hebrew Bible comprehensive examination tomorrow. I’m hoping that my books and notes will fit into my backpack!

Yesterday, I took a particular approach to studying: I researched questions that came to my mind. Who wrote the Covenant Code, according to scholars? (Answer: the Elohist, yet others date it to eighth century Judah.) Why did Gerhard Von Rad believe that the Sinai covenant was a theme commemorated on Sukkoth? (Answer: I don’t know, but he maintains that it was celebrated at Shechem, since the covenant ceremony in Joshua 24 at Shechem looks like the covenant made at Sinai.) Did E. Knauf really think that Hebrew was an artificial language invented in the post-exilic period? (Answer: Lemche says that, according to Knauf, Hebrew was no longer a living language in the post-exilic period, and so the Hebrew of the Hebrew Bible was constructed to serve as a literary language.) What, according to Brian Peckham, was Isaiah’s problem with J’s notion of covenant? (Answer: Isaiah disliked J’s notion that worship was all that mattered, and Isaiah also rebuked Hezekiah for trusting in Egypt rather than God, prompting the Deuteronomist to defend Hezekiah as a man of faith—after, in his eyes, God’s approval of Hezekiah was made manifest by the defeat of Sennacherib.) And what was that pre-exilic artifact in which the God YHWH was invisible? (Answer: A tenth century terra cota from Taanach, a Northern Israelite city.)

Whether or not these answers are totally adequate, I do not know, but at least they’re in my mind so that I can use them on the exam, if necessary. Google books was really helpful yesterday, as was the Anchor Bible Dictionary.

In terms of how I will study today, first of all, I printed out all of my blog-posts that I wrote to prepare for this exam, and so I will consult some of them, whenever I feel a need to solidify my knowledge on a particular book. I also have the notes that I took on the books that I read. Second, I’m taking the book, Sources of the Pentateuch, which contains how Martin Noth divided up the Pentateuch into J, E, P, and later redactors. I want to get an idea of what in the Pentateuch belonged to whom, according to a prominent version of the Documentary Hypothesis. Even though the standard Documentary Hypothesis is not the only game in town, it’s still helpful for me to know it when I’m taking an exam in Hebrew Bible. And, third, I’m taking a few books on the Psalms, so that I can read about certain Psalms that may be on the test.

This is a nerve-wracking experience. Sometimes, I feel confident. Other times, I feel like I know nothing! But I hope to walk into that exam knowing enough to pass!

After I take my Hebrew Bible exam, I’ll be studying for my exam in rabbinics, and so I may blog about that topic as I study. That test will be a week and a half after my Hebrew Bible one! Even after I finish the rabbinics exam, however, I will still read books on the Hebrew Bible and rabbinics and blog about them—until I learned whether I passed or not! And, even then, I may still blog about those kinds of books, for I’m hoping to start writing book reviews for publication, so that I can get some publication experience on my CV.

I won’t be publishing comments until tomorrow evening, which is when I’ll be back from New York City. Talk with you later!

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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