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1

Abraham

The chief ancestor of Israel through his son Isaac. First called “Abram,” meaning “exalted father.

2

Absalom

The son of David who leads an uprising against his father but who is killed by David’s general Joab.

3

Amos

A prophet from Judea who critiqued social injustice in the northern kingdom of Israel.

4

Apostle to the Gentiles

Paul

5

Baal

A Canaanite fertility god of storm and rain.

6

Balaam

A fortune-teller whom Balak, king of Moab, hired to curse the Israelites,but whom Yahweh caused to pronounce a blessing on Israel instead.

7

Bathsheba

The wife of Uriah, a Hittite soldier whose death David arranged in order to marry her, and the mother of Solomon.

8

CE/BCE

Common Era/Before Common Era

9

Covenant

An agreement, vow, or treaty made between two people or between Godand a person or group of people.

10

Cyrus the Great

The founder of the Persian Empire and conqueror of Babylon (539 BCE)who liberated the Jews from captivity and encouraged their return to Jerusalem.

11

Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)

The annual ceremony when Judah’s High Priest offered animal sacrifices for the people’s collective sins in order to reconcile them to God.

12

Day of Yahweh

A theological concept derived from the ancient Israelite belief that on a future day Yahweh would judge all nations in the earth.

13

Deborah

A woman judge and prophet who, with Barak, helped lead the Israelites to a victory over Canaanite enemies.

14

Deuteronomistic History (DH)

Historical narratives in Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings that emphasize the principles of Deuteronomy.

15

Deutero-Pauline Epistles

Colossians, Ephesians, and II Thessalonians

16

Documentary Hypothesis

A scholarly theory that the Pentateuch is not the work of one author, such as Moses, but the product of many generations of anonymous scribes and editors (J, E, D, P).

17

El, Elohim (pl.)

A Semitic term for a divine being.

18

Elijah

A northern kingdom prophet who challenged the cults of Baal.

19

Etiology

A statement or narrative that explains the origin of something (why things are the way they are).

20

Genealogy

A mini-history of descent, for either an individual or a group, listing a succession of fathers and sons.

21

Hagar

Sarah’s Egyptian slave who bore Abraham’s son Ishmael and whom Yahweh rescued after Sarah jealously expelled her from Abraham’s household

22

Hezekiah

The Judean king who ruled during the Assyrian crisis (c. 715-686 BCE) and is commended in Kings for his religious reforms.

23

Holiness Code

A group of chapters in the second half of Leviticus that emphasizes YHWH’s holiness and outlines specific procedures that Israelites must follow to exemplify holiness in their interactions with each other.

24

Hosea

A prophet whose marriage to a prostitute functioned as a metaphor for God’s relationship with unfaithful Israel.

25

Isaac

The son of Abraham and Sarah.

26

Isaiah of Jerusalem

A southern kingdom prophet active when Assyria destroyed Israel; his writings contain advice to Davidic kings during this period and are found in the first half of the book bearing his name.

27

Ishmael

The son of Abraham and Sarah’s slave Hagar; later, he is regarded as the father of the Arab peoples.

28

Jacob

The younger, wittier twin of Isaac and Rebekah who changed his name to Israel after encountering God. Father of twelve sons, the ancestors of Israel’s twelve tribes.

29

Jericho

One of the world’s oldest cities. It is biblically stated to have been a heavily fortified city during Joshua’s conquest of Canaan.

30

Jeroboam (I)

The first ruler of the ten northern tribes after their secession from the Davidic monarchy.

31

Joshua

Military leader of the Israelites after Moses’ death.

32

Josiah

King of Judah who led a major religious reform that resonated with the principles of Deuteronomy.

33

Judah

The southern kingdom named after one of the tribes that remained loyal to the Davidic dynasty when the ten northern tribes seceded.

34

Justification by Faith

Defined by Paul who stated faith in Christ’s power to save had replaced the Mosaic Law as the means to a right relationship with God.

35

Micah

A Judean prophet who denounced the corruptions of urban life andpredicted Jerusalem’s fall.

36

Mosaic Covenant

An agreement mediated by Moses between Yahweh and the nation of Israel that Israel would keep the laws enumerated in the Torah.

37

Nebuchadnezzar

The most powerful ruler of the Neo-Babylonian Empire who destroyed Jerusalem in 587 BCE and deported many of its leading citizens to Mesopotamia.

38

Passover

A Jewish commemoration of the last night the Israelites were in bondagein Egypt when they were protected from the Angel of Death.

39

Pastoral Epistles

1 and 2 Timothy and Titus; most scholars deny Pauline authorship of these works.

40

Paul’s seven authentic epistles

Romans; 1st and 2nd Corinthians; Galatians; Philippians; 1stThessalonians; Philemon

41

Philistines

A people from the Aegean Sea islands who settled along the southerncoast of Palestine to become the Israelites’ chief rivals during the period of the judges and early monarchy.

42

Q (Quelle) document

A hypothetical document that many scholars believe contained acollection of Jesus’ sayings.

43

Redaction Criticism

A method of analyzing written texts that tries to define the purpose and literary procedures of editors who compile and revise older documents.

44

Samaria

The capital of the northern kingdom that was destroyed by the Assyrians in 721 BCE.

45

Samson

A Nazirite judge of Israel famous for his exceptional strength, love affairwith Delilah, and destruction of the Philistine temple of Dagon.

46

Samuel

The last judge of Israel as well as a prophet and priest who played a majorrole in establishing Israel’s monarchy.

47

Sarah

The wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac.

48

Saul

Israel’s first king, anointed by Samuel to meet the Philistine crisis.

49

Scapegoat

A sacrificial goat upon whose head Israel’s High Priest placed the people’s collective sins on the Day of Atonement, after which the goat was sent into the desert to Azazel.

50

Septuagint (LXX)

A Greek edition of the Hebrew Bible written by several generations of Jewish translators living in Alexandria, Egypt, beginning about 250 BCE.

51

Sermon on the Mount

The first and greatest collection of Jesus’ teachings in Matthew.

52

Servant Songs

A series of poems in Second Isaiah about a suffering servant.

53

Shema

Judaism’s supreme declaration of covenant faith, expressed in Deut 6:4-9, beginning: “Listen, Israel: Yahweh our God is the one Yahweh.”

54

Solomon

The third king of the United Monarchy and son of David and Bathsheba who was famous for his wisdom and for building the temple

55

Suzerain treaty

An agreement in which the suzerain protects a less powerful vassal in exchange for the vassal’s loyalty.

56

Synoptic Gospels

The first three Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—so named becausethey share a large quantity of material in common, allowing their texts tobe viewed together “with one eye.”

57

Tabernacle

The resting place for the Ark of the Covenant until Solomon’s Temple wasbuilt.

58

Two-Source Hypothesis

Theory that authors of Matthew and Luke used Mark and Q (collection of Jesus’ sayings) as sources in writing their gospels.

59

yam suf

Red Sea

60

YHWH/Tetragrammaton

Refers to the divine name in the Hebrew Bible, translated as “Lord,” the personal name of Israel’s God.