Lesson One Points to Ponder

Are there reasons to privilege either the academic, historical meanings of the Bible as suggested by biblical scholars or traditional readings of Scripture as mediated through religious communities?

Why is Judaism often considered to be more than a religion? Can a secular government coexist with a Jewish or Christian theology? Does living and participating in the world tempt believers into apostasy?

Jeremiah seemed to link powerlessness and goodness as the Israelites continually fell into sinful ways during times of prosperity, needing hardship to return to God. Is that true of all humans?

What role did synagogues play in advancing Christianity? What role did the widespread dispersion of Jews in the Hellenistic-Roman world play in the early spread of Christianity?

How did the apocalyptic vision of Jews and early Christians differ? How were they alike? How does the practice of a religious tradition – Judaism – affect Christian worship and beliefs?

What different view of the Scriptures results from changing one’s perspective on them from poor biographies to good witnesses and interpretations?