What is the history of the Bible?
Who wrote the Bible? When? Where? Why?
How many Prophets of God were there in the Old Testament? (Hint: there were 48 male Prophets.) How many Old Testament Prophets were women? (Hint: There were seven.) What was the history of these people? What was going on in the world when these Prophets wrote their books?
Who translated the various Bibles into European languages and what happened to them after they did? How many original Bible manuscripts exist today? What do they say? How are these ancient manuscripts similar? How do they differ? How were these ancient manuscripts dated? What is the archaeology that illustrates their stories?
Other Bible topics to be discussed:
- In what country was the Garden of Eden located?
- How many Jews were led out of Egypt by Moses? What did they do for 40 years as they wandered in the wilderness? How many of the people who began the Exile make it to the Promised Land? What happened when they finally entered Israel?
- How many wives did Abraham have? How many did the other Prophets have?
- In what countries did the Jewish Prophets live?
- How many laws did Moses give to the Jews? How do these Jewish laws compare to Islamic Shariah law? Or to Catholic Canon law? How do they apply to us today?
- How did the polarized cultural dynamic that existed in Israel 2000 years ago impact Jesus and his followers?
- Which Old Testament Prophet was promised to return from heaven before the Christ will appear? How did Jesus explain how this prophecy was fulfilled?
- What did Jesus say that caused his disciples to permanently abandon him?
- What did Christianity originally teach about resurrection and how is that different from what churches teach today?
- Who did Jesus claim to be? What was his relationship to God? What title did Jesus usually use to refer to himself? What is the Old Testament definition of this title? (Hint: it’s not Son of God.)
- What does the term Son of God mean to a Jew? To a Greek?
- How did the cultures surrounding Israel impact the development of Christian theology?
- What crime did Jesus commit that resulted in his execution? Or did he really ever even commit this crime?
- Do Bible prophecies (and the prophecies of the other religions) foretell the end of the world? Or do they instead foretell that “all things will be made new” at a time when there will be ”one fold and one shepherd”? Are the messianic prophecies of the Bible and the other world’s great religions all foretelling the same event? When, where and how is this all supposed to happen?
Joel Smith, for the past couple of years, has taught the ELM Comparative Religion Conversations class. This “A History of the Bible” class is a slight narrowing of focus and, like his previous classes, is hoped to be more of a conversation than a lecture. Everyone has experiences with religion. Everyone has opinions. In this class you are welcome to tell your story. Disagreeing with the teacher is not only allowed... it is encouraged.