Old Testament Study Coming Up – BOAP Resources
November 17, 2009 4 Comments
With the OT the topic of study in 2010 in LDS Sunday Schools, I thought I’d mention that there are some resources at boap.org that may be useful to all you teachers and students.
1. There is Jerome’s text of the OT for you Latin readers!
2. Since the Pearl of Great Price gets lumped into the OT for the most part, there is a bit of historical info about how it came about (the PGP). And for the glutton, there is the Joseph Smith commentary of the Book of Abraham. (But the Book of Abraham gets only a slight brush-by in the church manual.)
3. Herodotus. His history of the ancient world is interesting, and if nothing else tells us how people thought of their predecessors. Not to be taken at face-value, but offers a starting point.
4. An English version of the Holy Qur’an. A relatively modern text, it still gives us a useful perspective on how the OT is viewed in much of the modern world. (The earliest Hebrew OT texts we have, aside from the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS), date from near the same period.)
5. The Anti-Nicene Fathers. While these are post NT, they give us some feeling about how early Christians viewed the OT. These are not in great condition. Just have not had time to pretty them up. An annotated version would be wonderful. Anyone up for it?
6. Links to other texts, like the Nag Hammadi Codices some of which are again quite useful for looking at how early Christians may have viewed the OT.
We don’t have any DSS material that I’m aware of but you can access much of it online. Nearly all our OT texts are represented in the DSS, except Esther I believe.
James Charlesworth’s wonderful Old Testament Pseudapigrapha and (some prefer this) R. H. Charles’ similar work might be useful for a bit of spice. Also Pritchards’ Ancient Near Eastern Texts : this is library stuff, though I own my own copies just for fun.
Since I’ve ventured into the world of outside texts, a very useful OT reference is the Anchor Bible Dictionary, available for chump change in my opinion.
Our own Richard Holzapfel, Dana Pike and David Seely have provided
Jehovah and the World of the Old Testament. The link provides a nice review.
My friend Margaret Barker has loads of stuff out on OT influence in Christianity as well as the fabled Josiah coverup. Many think her stuff is tenuous, but there’s a lot I like. I’d recommend starting with The Great Angel, one of her earlier works. I enjoy her wide familiarity with texts I only dream about. And she’s a fun person even if she dumps the Parousia! Roger says hi, if you read this Margaret.
Another very good tool for studying the OT is the New English Translation of the bible. It is a very good translation, quite reliable. Available at no charge as an electronic web-based system, or you may purchase a printed version. Either way you have a tool much superior to the King James Version (KJV), even with the LDS footnoted helps in the LDS KJV. The text preserves everything good about the KJV I think, and subtracts the arcane usage of 16th century English. The basic texts used in the translation are much better than the raw material used for KJV.
Joseph Smith interacted heavily with the OT in most aspects of Mormonism. Adam and other OT figures played a prominent role in Joseph’s cosmology. Consequently, you will find materials in Joseph’s sermons and other communications relating to the OT. Searching the site for names or concepts may be fruitful.