Recommended Methodology for Learning Experiences:
As a way to assist you in getting the most out of the learning experiences below, I suggest you do the following:
1) Read the required textbook reading first. Make a sincere effort at understanding the material in AOT especially – with particular attention to material that relates to the questions.
2) Read through the questions in the assignment.
3) Check my website (under the appropriate class title) for any hints in regard to the questions. "Hints" refers to the notations I sometimes include that, in a sentence or two, give you the gist of the article and or the point of the question(s) I have asked you to read in conjunction with the required texts. If you do not have internet access, let me know right away so I can provide a hard copy of any hints.
4)Read any articles and complete the assignment.
NOTE: Though the assignments below are listed in sequential order, some do NOT have to be done in sequential order. The so-labeled "floating" assignments are assignments what will take THE DURATION OF THE CLASS to complete, since they call for a thematic study through a wisdom book.
Assignment 1 – Wisdom Literature: General Considerations
Read Kidner's general comments on the nature of Wisdom Literature and Longman's introductory comments on Hebrew poetry and different types of psalms. Consult your study Bible's introductions to Psalms and Proverbs for any additional information. In 6-10 pages, answer the following:
1) What exactly is meant by the term "wisdom literature"?
2) What thematic and/or theological features characterize wisdom literature (i.e., on what things does it focus)?
3) In your own words, explain the concept of parallelism in Hebrew poetry.List and explain the types of parallelism discussed by either Longman or your study Bible.
4) In your own words, list and explain the various types of Psalms and their purpose.
Assignment 2 - The Psalms: Some Academic Questions:
This is a "floating" assignment.
Read through the material in Longman's book (and in your study Bible) and the article below and answer the following questions in 6-10 pages:
Elmer Smick, "Mythopoetic Language in the Psalms," Westminster Theological Journal 44:1 (Spring 1982):88-98
1) What are the superscriptions / titles of the Psalms for? What do the various terms mean (make keep a running list)?Are they inspired or added later?
2) How was the book of Psalms put together? Explain this process in light of biblical inspiration.
3) Who are Rahab and Leviathan (in Psalms, but also in other Wisdom Literature)?What is the psalmist doing when he uses this kind of imagery? Explain the psalmist's use of these motifs from foreign sources in light of inspiration.
Assignment 3 – The Psalms: Your own Study
This is a "floating: assignment.
During the course of the class, I expect you to read through most (if not all) of the Psalms. Pick ten psalms for journaling (you will turn in your journal [or photocopy it]; it MAY be hand-written).For each Psalm, tell me what type of Psalm you think it is, what you think it's about, what it says about God (actions and characteristics or attributes), and what poetical features in it help you to determine its meaning. I would also like you to record any personal reflections the psalm stimulates in you.
Pick one of the types of Psalms (e.g., a Lament) and WRITE YOUR OWN PSALM of at least ten verses in length. For instance, if you choose the Lament type, write your psalm so that it addresses the kinds of things found in lament psalms. Use at least THREE parallelisms of your own construction (at least two different kinds of parallelism as well).
Assignment 4 – Proverbs: General Considerations
Read through Kidner's material for any discussion of Proverbs. In 4-7 pages, answer the following questions:
1) What is a proverb?
2) What is the difference between a proverb and a prophecy? Use Proverbs 22:6 to explain how this difference is important to the correct interpretation of this proverb.
3) Who or what is "Lady Wisdom"?
4) In your own words, what is "wisdom" according to the book of Proverbs? What is foolishness?
Assignment 5 – Proverbs and YOU
This is a "floating" assignment.
Select TWO issues or behaviors addressed in the book of Proverbs (e.g., laziness and handling money) and work on applying them to your life throughout the course of the class. As you read through Proverbs, record the verses that pertain to these issues or behaviors and what you did specifically and practically to make them relevant to your life. Record your improvement, your struggles, and even your failures. In other words, choose areas of your life you feel could be improved and work on them through the course of the class. Hand in what you have written (this may again be hand-written, journal style) toward the end of the course.
Assignment 6 – Ecclesiastes
Read through Kidner's material for any discussion of Ecclesiastes. In 4-7 pages, answer the following questions:
1) What is "vanity" (what does this term mean in Ecclesiastes)?
2) What does the phrase "under the sun" mean?
3) Is Ecclesiastes pessimistic or optimistic (i.e., does the author gripe about the futility of life in view of its struggles and inevitable end, or does he mean to say 'enjoy life while you can' despite your circumstances and death's inevitability?).Give me specific reasons / passages to make your point.
Assignment 7 – Job
Read through Kidner's treatment of Job and its contents, as well as Carson's entire book (concentrate on the portions relevant to Job and wisdom literature). Consult any commentary in your study Bible that will be helpful for answering the questions. In 6-10 pages, answer the following (Kidner and Carson may not agree; I am more interested in your own conclusions):
1) Why (with special – but not exclusive - attention to Wisdom Literature) does God permit evil and human suffering? Be as specific as you can, using Scripture.
2) Summarize the response to Job's questions (as to why all this happened to him) given by God at the end of the book. Was Job guilty of anything? Why did God do this? Was Job's reaction a godly one?
Assignment 8 – The Song of Songs
Read through the introduction to the Song of Songs in your study Bible, and then read Nelson's book in its entirety. In 6-10 pages, answer the following:
1) Why is the book sometimes called the "Song of Solomon"?
2) Is there any evidence (in the text) for Solomon's authorship?
3) Are the characters in the Song married? Why or why not? Can this be determined? How can one reach this conclusion?
4) How has the content of the Song been interpreted by commentators (summarize the different views)? Do you think the "Christ and his Church" view is plausible? Why or why not?
5) If you are married, what are some practical elements of wisdom you can glean and apply from this book? If you are single, what are some practical elements of wisdom you can glean and apply from this book?