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Bible_as_Literature_Lecture_5_Psalms_to_Ruth - Bible as...

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Bible as Literature Lecture 5 Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Job, Ezdra, Nehemiah, and Ruth Recalling this section of the Tanak as the Kethuvim, the diverse themes and structures of a wide range of literary genres and styles complete the Hebrew Bible. The majority of materials come from the post-exilic period, when Israel was confronting new challenges in reestablishing their presence under foreign domination (the Persians). Psalms is devotional poetry that includes some material from the first monarchy, and variously exalts God on one end of the spectrum, while bitterly complaining about the unfulfilled promises made to Abraham and the other. The many religious poems address the larger idea of covenant in terms of the harsh realities confronting the fractured nation of Israel. The Psalmists have in their collective view the community over the individual, stressing its obligations to organized worship, in the form of liturgy—a concept of various ceremonies performed in the context of public worship. Similar in ways to the necessity of liturgy in the time of Moses, the objective is to restore a sense of order in a time of fracture and despair. These liturgical concerns are most prevalent in Chronicles, much like Leviticus’s focus on the laws. Five additional books known as Megillot, or Festival Scrolls offer a collection of different types such as a pastoral love story (Ruth), Ecclesiastes brooding narrative, a passionate complaint against Yahweh’s abandonment of his chosen people (Lamentations), and the celebrated erotic poem of Song of Songs. These scrolls are read aloud at specific holidays and function as liturgical supplements, each with its own theme. Ezra and Nehemiah are historical narratives that reinforce the importance of maintaining unity of purpose for the post-exilic community under foreign domination.
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