Welcome to MJR's Torah Exegesis course, the first in a series of Bible Exegesis courses we offer. Congratulations on endeavoring to continue your Biblical studies!
Martin Buber, in a 1926 lecture, taught:
"... read the Bible as though it were something entirely unfamiliar, as though it had not been set before you ready-made.... Face the book with a new attitude as something new.... Let whatever may happen occur between yourself and it. You do not know which of its sayings and images will overwhelm and mold you.... But hold yourself open. Do not believe anything a priori; do not disbelieve anything a priori. Read aloud the words written in the book in front of you; hear the word you utter and let it reach you."
Those words still constitute sound advice for the reader and student of Scripture today.
- Try to divorce yourself of any presuppositions that might affect your reading (eisogesis) of the text.
- Read the text out loud (as the ancients did); silent reading is a fairly modern phenomenon which would have been completely foreign to the Biblical audience.
- Listen to the words as you read them.
If you have not done so already, please acquire the two required textbooks for this course:
- Bonchek, Avigdor. Studying the Torah: A Guide to In-Depth Interpretation. Lanham, Md.: Jason Aronson, 1996. ISBN: 978-0-7657-9964-2. .
- Fox, Everett. The Five Books of Moses. The Schocken Bible Volume 1. . New York, N.Y.: Schocken Books, 1995. ISBN 978-0-8052-4061-6.
The tools used in MJR's courses were selected because they hold particular value in communicating the concepts being studied in a given course. Some may not be specifically targeted to a Messianic audience, but may still contain information that would be advantageous to the Messianic talmid/ah. Others may reflect in places terminology that has fallen into disuse, but does not diminish the value of the information conveyed. As with everything that is not the Bible itself, read them with discernment.
We do not expect students to agree with everything presented in any course, whether via lecture, assigned reading, or video presentation. As participants in higher education, students enrolled in MJR's courses and/or programs should be practicing critical thinking and discernment every step of the journey. To that end, your faculty recites this blessing along with each of you:
.בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יהוה אֱלהֵינוּ מֶלֶך–הָעולָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָנוּ בְּמִצְותָיווְצִוָּנוּ לַעֲסק בְּדִבְרֵי-תורָה
Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu la’asok b’divrei Torah.
Blessed are You, O L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to study the words of Torah.
NOTA BENE: While it is the general practice and preference of MJR to use circumlocutions in place of the Covenant Name of our G-d (Hashem, Adonai, Elohim, Elokim, Adoshem, etc.), some course materials (e.g. textbooks, linked websites, journal articles, etc.) may not always do this.
Among the links below is one titled "01" which you will find useful in formatting your papers. It will take you to Purdue's Writing Lab page for the CMOS/Turabian writing style. With this guide, it becomes unnecessary to purchase the actual manual.