Objective: To encourage in Catholic Christians a greater awareness of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament).

The Hebrew Scriptures, commonly known to Christians as the Old Testament, were the basis for Jesus' religious formation. These books possess great value in themselves as the foundations of Christian faith, providing guidance for our own lives and a better understanding of the Christian Scriptures (New Testament).

A four-week course would include:

Creation: A Work in Progress By Virginia Smith. N0896

This article shows readers how the first creation account in Genesis illuminates the ongoing wonder of God's creation. Smith explains the creation accounts in Genesis, the cosmological worldview of the early Israelites and the impact of contemporary science on our understanding of God's creation.

David: Israel's Poet King By Alfred McBride, O.Praem. N0595

This issue tells the epic story of David, a shepherd who became a king, a brave and crafty military leader who killed Goliath, a poet and musician who is associated with some of the psalms. He was also a sinner who was humble enough to admit his fall and repent. Jesus' lineage is traced to him.

When the Prophets Roared for Justice By Virginia Smith. N0298

Biblical prophets speak for God, and one of the subjects on which they had a great deal to say was social justice...how the People of God are called to treat others. Many Judeo-Christian ethical and moral stances find their origins in prophetic teaching. Practical applications for today may be found within these foundational principles.

'In Praise of Wisdom': The Wisdom Writings in the Bible By Margaret Nutting Ralph. N0398

What is wisdom literature (also known as The Writings)? How was it used in the eastern Mediterranean world? Ralph explores its form, its history and its use in such books as Job, Proverbs, Sirach, Ecclesiastes and Wisdom.

For a six-week course, add:

Abraham: God's Chosen Person By Virginia Smith. N1096

With the patriarch Abraham, the process of God's revelation to humanity begins. God enters human history in a new, profound, immediate way. Why was this one man chosen from all the persons on the face of the earth to begin God's plan for salvation? This issue of Scripture from Scratch explores the story of Abraham as recorded in the Book of Genesis.

Exodus and Exile: Shaping God's People By Virginia Smith. N0295

This article explores the two pivotal Old Testament events that shaped the experience of Israel as God's chosen people. The experience of Exodus created the core of Hebraic ethical and moral law and brought the people of Israel into a new understanding of the nature of their God and their relationship with that God. The Exile marks the anguished end of their autonomy as the defeated Israelites are banished from their land and marched off to faraway Babylon.

For an eight-week course, add:

You'll Never Believe What Happened in the Garden: A Look at Genesis 2 By Dianne Bergant, C.S.A. N1097

The characters and events in the second creation story—Adam formed from the earth's mud, Eve created from Adam's rib, the serpent and temptation, the tree of life, the angel with the fiery sword—are part of our everyday language. This issue of Scripture from Scratch helps us understand the historical and cultural underpinnings of the creation myth and the theological meaning of the story.

The Wow and the Woe of the Psalms By Daniel Durken, O.S.B. N0297

In the Hebrew/Christian tradition, there is one prayer book that stands above all others. This prayer book, authored by the Spirit in conjunction with any number of human writers, has been around for well over 2,000 years: the Book of Psalms. This issue offers some simple clues and cues for understanding, appreciating and using the psalms, the most traditional prayer book of the Church.

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Scripture from Scratch Mini-Courses

Catholic Approach to Scripture
Hebrew Scriptures
Morality and Justice
Nature of God