You may use as much time as you wish to complete the exam, although it shouldn’t take more than three hours and although I will be grading as if you took three hours. You may also use your Bibles or other notes. (I know, this means you may look up the answers to the questions in section I. Consider this a gift from your teacher at the cost of more labor for yourselves.) Read the instructions carefully.
Answer sections I, II, and III.
I. Answer all questions. (20 points)
1. Who are Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar?
2. What did Michal, David's wife, complain about to him?
3. What reason does God give to Noah for promising never to destroy the world again?
4. Who is traditionally said to be the author of most of the Psalms?
5. Whom does God tell to marry a harlot?
6. Who says, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
7. What does the word "messiah" mean, literally?
8. Who anoints Saul King over Israel?
9. Who is Moses' brother, and what position does God give him?
10. Who are the Amalekites, and what happens to their king?
11. What do the children of Israel do when Moses is on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments?
12. What great sin does King David commit?
13. How does Jesus finally rebut Satan when Satan "tempts" him in the desert by quoting Biblical passages?
14. Who was Baal?
15. Which two Biblical figures tell their wives to pretend they are their sisters?
16. What are two differences in the two accounts of creation (or the account of creation and the account of the Garden of Eden)?
17. Which Biblical Hebrew becomes ruler of Egypt?
18. Who betrays whom "three times before the cock crows"?
19. What significant difference is there between the opening of Matthew and the opening of John in their accounts of Jesus' appearance on earth? (What is “missing” in John’s account?)
20. Who are the Pharisees?
II. Answer either A or B. Flesh out your answers with examples of incidents from the Bible. Use appropriate events or sayings to demonstrate your point. (Your answer will be judged not only on the point that you make, but on the way this point is illuminated by the events you cite XXXXXXXXXXpoints)
A. The major figures of the Old Testament are believers in God and praised as such. Abandoning the polytheism of the people of their era, they hold to what would seem to be the fundamental idea of Biblical monotheism, that the good, rather than power, is the measure of the world, that the world was created by a God who saw his work and pronounced it “good,” and that to believe in God, therefore, “Justice, justice shalt thou pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20)—that is, you must do the right thing, the ethical thing. Again and again, however, doing the right thing proves not to be such an easy matter. It is not simply that the characters stray (although some of them sometimes do). Rather situations arise where what is right is unclear. Or the right thing in the context of personal action does not seem to match the right thing in the context of communal action. Sometimes it seems to some of these characters that God himself is not doing the right thing. Discuss in relation to such figures as Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David and/or Job (or others).
B. The Pharisees criticize Jesus for not rebuking his disciples for violating the Sabbath. And in a number of places, such as when he speaks about the importance "not of what goes into the mouth of man but of what comes out of it," Jesus seems to call into question many of the laws of the Mosaic code. And yet Jesus says, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled....For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt 5: XXXXXXXXXXHow can this contradiction be explained? What is the nature of the relation of the Christian Bible to the Hebrew Bible as the words of Jesus seem to represent it? You might consider such matters as how the Christian Bible depends upon the Hebrew Bible yet also departs from (or reinterprets) it, what Jesus is criticizing in the behavior of the Pharisees, and why the Pharisees might not understand his criticism, and in general the different senses of "righteousness" in the two testaments that seem to be at play.
III. Answer three of the following. Flesh out your answers with examples of incidents from the Bible. Use appropriate events or sayings to demonstrate your point. (Your answer will be judged not only on the point that you make, but on the way this point is illuminated by the events you cite.) (10 points each= 30 points total)
A. What is the significance of the "covenantal" relationship between God and man in the Hebrew Bible? What does the "scandal" of God binding himself to a legal contract say about such matters as the Hebrew Bible's view of the responsibilities of man and the meaning of belief in God?
B. When his disciples ask him why he speaks in parables, Jesus responds by saying, in effect, so that those who do not already understand will not understand and only those who already understand will understand. How can this seemingly hard-hearted response be explained? What is Jesus saying about the nature of understanding? You might wish to relate this to God's hardening Pharaoh's heart to not free the children of Israel from slavery. Though you also might not.
C. Jacob and David are problematical Biblical heroes. They seem to do some pretty unethical things. Yet they are regarded as men of faith, and God blesses them. Why is it that they are regarded so well in the Bible? Why are they blessed despite their failings? You may wish to compare them to Biblical figures who do not receive God's blessing or from who God takes his blessing away.
D. The language of the prophets is often difficult to understand. Their metaphors are often unclear. Their grammar is uncertain. They seem to waver between denouncing the children of Israel and offering them comfort. What is the meaning of this tension, and what seems, accordingly, to be the function of prophecy?
E. God tells Cain "why art thou wroth. If thou wilt do good, then it will be accepted. And if thou wilt not, then sin lies crouching at the door, and for you will be his desire, and you shall rule over him." What view of ethics is expressed in this statement? How is it related to God's promise to Noah never to destroy the world again? What does God's expectation of man seem to be?