Religion & Philosophy at Lyon College

Old Testament Survey

Study Guide for the Final Exam


Be sure to review the study guides included in the Bandstra CD for additional study questions and review the glossaries in Educator.

1. What books make up the "former prophets"? What are the overall similarities and differences between Joshua and Judges? What three theories does the textbook discuss about how the tribes of Israel took possession of Canaan? Be able to discuss the basic arguments of each theory, and explain which one you agree with and why.

2. What parallels are there between the story of Joshua, Moses, and Jacob? What may be the significance of these parallels in the story of Joshua? How might a feminist interpret the story of Rahab? Do you agree?  Why or why not?

3. What is the general structure and theme of the stories of the Judges? 

4. Discuss the humor and significance of Judges 3:12-30.

5. What motif do we find in Judges 4? How might a feminist interpret the story of Deborah?

6. Be prepared to discuss the story of Samuel's birth (I Sam. 1-2:11)? How might a feminist interpret Hannah's situation? What is the humor and the significance of I Sam. 3:1-18?

7. What Hebrew word does the word "prophet" come from? What does it mean? What is the main function of a prophet? Why is Samuel seen as both judge and prophet?

8. Why might the ark be considered a protagonist in I Sam 4-6? What seems to be the purpose of this story?

9. What is the ambivalence in I Sam. 8? What seems to be the source of this ambivalence? What possible reasons might account for Yahweh's rejection of Saul and eventual favoring of David? What motif is found in I Sam. 16:6-12?

10. . Be prepared to discuss a patriarchal vs. a feminist reading of the story of Bathsheba.  What is your reasoned opinion of each view?

11. According to the text and lectures what were Solomon's major strengths and problems? Why did the kingdom split in two? What were the two new kingdoms?

12. Be able to define or clearly identify the following (see Bandstra):

Solomon's Temple Nebuchadnezzar Gomer
Rehoboam Jehoiachin Hosea
Jeroboam Zedekiah Jezreel
Ahab Amos Lo-ammi
Elijah hesed Lo-ruhamah
Elisha Day of Yahweh shaman
Shalmaneser V Edom navi (or nabi)
  Book of the Twelve Prophets  

13. In what ways do the OT prophets resemble shamans (relate to ecstatic and charismatic experience)? What are cultic prophets and royal prophets?

14. What does it mean to say the prophets were Covenant advocates? What particular version of idolatry was a problem during the time of the prophets? In what sense did the OT prophets "predict" the future?

15. What is the difference between the major and minor prophets?

16. Where is Amos from and where did he preach? What is the central theme in Amos? What does archeology tell us about the cities in Israel during Amos' time as compared to David's time? According to Amos what is God's view of ritual and sacrifice? Why does God have this view? Why is justice associated with the gate of a city? What is the significance of Amos 9:7 in light of the difference between henotheism and monotheism?

17. Which kingdom is Hosea from? How does Hosea first "deliver" his message from YHWH? Why does Hosea compare God and Israel to a husband and wife? What sort of husband is God? What sort of wife is Israel? What is the significance of the names and changes of names of Hosea's and Gomer's children? What is Laffey's view of Hosea's marriage to Gomer and the naming of their children? What is the general "structure" of Hosea? What image for God appears in chapter 11? According to Hosea, why does God punish Israel so harshly? For Hosea (and other prophets) when was Israel closest to YHWH?

18. Be prepared to compare and contrast the themes and motifs of Amos and Hosea.

19.  What are the kethuvim or Writings? What sorts of literature do they contain?

20. What is a psalm? What do we know about authorship of the psalms? Who are some of the possible authors of the psalms? (Be able to give examples.) 

21. What types of psalms are there? Be able to identify an example of a lament (complaint), a hymn of praise, a hymn of thanksgiving, and a wisdom (Torah) psalm. Which type makes up about 1/3 of the book of Psalms?  Do you think there is any theological significance to this?

22. Why do scholars think the Book of Psalms has traditionally been divided into five books? Where are the divisions and how does each division end?

23. What does it mean to say that Psalm 119 is an acrostic?

24. Be able to define or identify the following terms: tehillim, psalmos, mizmor, selah, couplet, stanza, superscription, synonymous parallelism, ascending (or stairstep) parallelism, antithetic parallelism, doxology.

25. What is the relationship between Psalm 14 and Psalm 53, and between Psalm 40:13-17 and Psalm 70?

26. What are the Five Megilloth? When were they read? What is the relationship of Song of Songs to the Five Megilloth? Which festival was each of this books read at?   What is the problem of saying that Solomon is the author of the Song of Songs? What type of poetry is found in the Song of Songs? What are four theories about the original purpose of the Song of Songs? Explain. What sorts of interpretations about the purpose of Song of Songs have been given? What is your understanding of the purpose of the Song of Songs?

27.  What is Wisdom literature? What group of people was it associated with? Which of the Kethuvim are considered Wisdom literature? What is a key theme of conventional wisdom? Be able to define or identify the following terms and names: chockmah, sophia.  Which book of the Kethuvim represents conventional wisdom?  What are its major themes?

28. What do scholars think about the date(s) of Job's authorship? Explain what it means to say that Job has an "envelope" or "sandwich" structure. What is the evidence for this structure?

29. What is the central question in the book of Job? What is disinterested piety?  Do you think disinterested piety is possible?

30. What sort of character is the Satan in Job? What does the name "Satan" mean?

31.  What is theodicy? How do Job's friends deal with the problem of theodicy? What is the traditional wisdom view of the relationship between moral evil and physical evil? What is the Book of Job's view of the relationship between moral evil and physical evil? Be prepared to discuss passages covered in class.

32. What seems to be the significance of the character Elihu (relate this to his name)? What new insight does Elihu bring to the discussion?

33. How might YHWH's response to Job from the whirlwind be interpreted? What is the problem with the traditional interpretation that God is beyond our understanding?  What is your reasoned view of the meaning of YHWH's speech?

34. On the final exam, you may see some of the questions from previous exams.  Also, be prepared to discuss one of the following questions:
bullet(1) Discuss the role of women in Old Testament literature. How do they reflect and transcend patriarchal cultural expectations? Give examples.
bullet(2) What overarching themes do you see through the Torah, Nevim and Kethuvim? Explain and give examples and/or references that support your view.

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