Каминяр Дмитрий Генаддьевич: другие произведения.

Creatical reading assignment 01

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   Critical reading assignment 01
   Dmitri Kaminiar
   Jan 21, 2012
   Eugene Ulrich "From Literature to Scripture" describes on over twenty pages five easy steps of how oral and fluid tradition became static, written canon and scripture of the Bible (especially Old Testament). The actual essay is in two parts, not counting the introduction and conclusion: the actual description of the abovementioned process and the careful, detailed examination of the books of the Torah/Old Testament, both canon and apocrypha: from Genesis to Ben Sira and Jubilees.
   The thesis and the premise of Eugene Ulrich's essay is that the books of the Scripture had started as (mere) literature, so to speak and then became adapted or edited for religious purposes by both various prophets and their followers, as in case of Amos and Ezra, and by anonymous rabbis who did the actual compilation of the Torah. (Pages 22-23 imply that the Christians, when they adapted the Judaic canon as the Old Testament to the New, they adapted, edited and changed their initial result as well.)
   Furthermore, all of those changes have occurred in response to greater changes in the outside world: the captivity of Babylon, the wars and influence of Persia, Greece, Rome - they all left their mark on the Torah because they changed how the Torah's audience, as well as writers/editors, perceived things. This perception was one of the reasons - according to Eugene Ulrich - why Ben Sira and Jubilees did not become a part of the Torah, even though they were often referred in it.
   The delivery of "From Literature to Scripture" also contains numerous footnotes, some of them quite long, often referring to some external source to reinforce the author's point. In addition, there are numerous references to external sources as well. These references and footnotes reinforce Eugene Ulrich's point and prevent it from becoming just a hearsay sort of work: without these references (as in case of the second paragraph on page 18), "From Literature to Scripture" becomes rather less convincing without them than with them. Thus this style of writing is the essay's both strength and weakness, and is in fact its only memorable literary characteristic.
   Since this essay's thesis is about the initial fluidity of the current Biblical canon and scripture, it talks exactly about what the RLG213 course has been talking since the first lesson. This makes "From Literature to Scripture" a very appropriate read for the students in this course. Eugene Ulrich's essay actually demonstrates one of the potential ways that the literary development of the more secular literature into the clearly religious biblical canon and scripture could have taken place - something that the RLG213 course will be talking about.
   Eugene Ulrich's essay "From Literature to Scripture" is a professionally written work that is very enjoyable to read and easy to follow and understand. However, it is also somewhat limited, and basically is only one man's opinion of the social and literary evolution of the modern Biblical canon and scripture - something that must be kept in mind when this essay is read.
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