Hebrew Legacy

When answering the questions you will score better if you can compare and contrast or explain your answers.  Many of the questions have multiple parts.  Be sure you have answered all parts.  First, select the questions you want to answer.  Second, paste them into a word document.  Write a separate paragraph for each part of the question.  Each question is worth 50 points.  The whole test is worth 200 points.  There are eight questions to choose from, just answer 4.

Please proofread your answers carefully for grammatical and spelling errors.

1. [Answer both parts (a) and (b) if you choose this question]: (a) What are the main similarities and differences between God and humans, according to the Hebrew scriptures? (b) What are the main similarities and differences between the gods and humans, according to the Iliad?

2. What is the origin of evil and human suffering, according to the explanations given by each of the following: the Hebrew scriptures, the sayings of the Buddha, and Hesiod in Works and Days?

3.  What is the covenant?  How is it unique among the nations of Abraham’s day? The Old Testament is a Covenant book.  Which Covenant is the main covenant and why?

4. Suppose that the Buddha had wandered into the eastern Mediterranean after his enlightenment and started preaching there. Which group would have found him and his ideas and practices more acceptable — Hebrew prophets such as Elijah and Isaiah, or archaic Greeks such as Homer and Hesiod? Why? Why would the other group not have found him as acceptable?

5.  What is the role of a prophet in the Hebrew tradition?  What root words are used for prophet and what do they imply?  How is a prophet of the Ancient Near Eastern cultures different from the Hebrew prophets?  What was the prophet’s reward?

6. Discuss how Job and the author of Ecclesiastes (Solomon, Koheleth, the Preacher) would respond to the statements in Psalm 37:25, “I have been young and am now old, but I have never seen a righteous man abandoned, or his children seeking bread” and Psalm 91:9, “Because you took the LORD – my refuge, the Most High – as your haven, no harm will befall you, no disease touch your tent.”

7. “You did wrong. Now you will have to pay the penalty for your wrong-doing.” These foreboding words, conveying a judgment of error, guilt, or sin, would have been understood or interpreted quite differently by a Hebrew of the time of the prophet Isaiah, a Greek of the time of the bard Homer, or by an Indian of the time of the Buddha. In each case, who or what would have rendered the judgment? In each case, what standards would have been used in arriving at the judgment? In each case, what sort of punishment would have been forthcoming because of the wrong-doing?

8. Heraclitus and Parmenides presented strongly contrasting theories of “the nature of things.” Explain fully the scientific thought of both men. Which one of them seems more nearly correct?

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