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Friday, October 23, 12-1
Last Friday our group discussed Chapter 11 of The Bible Unearthed, which deals with the ”Great Reformation” of Judah during King Josiah’s reign. By now, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that we went off on a few tangents during our discussion. Here are some of the things we talked about:
- Josiah’s reign represented an ideal toward which Israel was heading; his efforts at religious reform (destruction of idols, deposing idolatrous priests, eliminating child sacrifice, i.e. overturning the sins of the past) offered the Jewish people their greatest hope for national redemption
- During the reign of King Josiah, there began the production of the Hebrew Bible, a literary expression of national identity and a moral code in Deuteronomy that emphasized social justice.
- The group spent some time discussing whether all civilizations required core documents/texts (written or oral), national epics or myths that we tell ourselves to establish some sense of moral authority.
- We also discussed how, overall, the Bible offered what our authors call a ”profoundly optimistic history” that invites its readers to become part of its happy ending.
- We discussed whether the text that was ”discovered” while purifying the Temple was in fact ”discovered” or was it created/composed during Josiah’s reign.
- We concluded by pondering the fact that all the good work that King Josiah seemed to have done crumbled during three generations of the kings who succeeded him, ultimately leading to the destruction of the Temple and the Babylonian Exile.
When we gather on October 23, our group will conclude its discussion of the The Bible Unearthed by looking at its final chapter ”Exile and Return” and the Epilogue, ”The Future of Biblical Israel” (pp. 296-318).
Our informal discussion group is held online every Friday from 12-1. All are welcome to join us, regardless of their level of expertise or attendance at previous noon study group discussions. If you have questions, or would like the Zoom link, please contact Jay Jacoby at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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