Theology at Saint Thomas – Seven Stories

Theology Class, November 18 at 10 am

On November 18, at 10 am, our Theology Classes will continue. The classes are entitled “Seven Stories of Scripture,” and in them we will tour seven great themes and motifs that run through the Bible that culminate in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Our most recent class featured an introduction to some of the main “characters” in our story: the Israelites and the Hebrews. We explored the possibility (considering relatively recent archaeological finds) that the Hebrews originated as part of a socio-economic class of outcasts in the Ancient Middle East called “Hapiru,” and that the descendants of Abraham and Jacob may have been members of this group.

Because of the usual conflation of “Hebrews” and “Israelites” the distinction may have been lost. But, it remains fascinating to consider the possibility that God’s act of liberation was to draw out one group from this class of dispossessed people and to reveal to them God’s identity and purpose.

Some of you have asked where you can buy the curriculum upon which these presentations are based: “Seven Stories” by Anthony W. Bartlett. Please contact Jean Savage in our Bookstore if you would like to purchase a copy.

If you do purchase the book, please note: although we will be following the themes and structure of Mr. Bartlett’s fine course, our particular class may depart substantially from the material, as we discuss the topic.

As a rule, our primary reference text will be the Authorized Version of the Bible, which will be available at every class.

For further reading from a variety of perspectives on this sometimes controversial postulation, I’ve included some links:

Hapiru

An Article about the Hapiru vis a vis the Hebrews.

The Amarna Letters

and

Two In-Depth Articles here and here that explore this thesis from differing perspectives.

I look forward to continuing our dialogue together. Thank you for welcoming me into our lively discussion this past Sunday.

If you have any questions or more material that I could read about our topics, please feel free to contact me at mmoretz@saintthomaschurch.org.

Grace and peace to you,

Matthew Moretz+
Associate Rector

Our next lesson on November 18 will be “The Exodus.” In this class, we will explore how God’s first act within recognizable public history is to set free an oppressed group of people. This is a semiotic shift in the consciousness of humanity to have God form a people from the poor and the dispossessed, rather than from the rich and powerful (historically presumed to be favored by the “gods.”)

Class Outline

Each cycle is made up of three sections, the first two lessons focus on the Old Testament scriptures, the final lesson on Jesus Christ and the Gospels. The cycle always looks to how Jesus interpreted and drew from His scriptures and traditions to create and complete His Mission.

Story 1: Oppression to Justice
Lesson 1: The Hapiru (The Hebrews)
Lesson 2: Exodus THIS SUNDAY
Lesson 3: The Sermon on the Mount.

Story 2: Violence to Forgiveness
Lesson 1: Prehistories
Lesson 2: Patriarchs
Lesson 3: Prodigal Son

Story 3: The Land and its Loss
Lesson 1: Deuteronomic Worldview
Lesson 2: Response to the Loss of the Land
Lesson 3: The Land and Jesus

Story 4: Wrath to Compassion
Lesson 1: Suffering Servant
Lesson 2: Compassion in Isaiah
Lesson 3: The Cup of Wrath.

Story 5: Victim to Vindication
Lesson 1: Job
Lesson 2: The go’el
Lesson 3: Jesus and Jonah

Story 6: The Temple and its Deconstruction
Lesson 1: Temple Theology
Lesson 2: Prophetic Critique of the Temple
Lesson 3: Jesus and Temple Deconstruction

Story 7: History to its end
Lesson 1: Wisdom
Lesson 2: Son of Man
Lesson 3: New Paradigm