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C O U R S E 
The Bible's Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future
Dr. Jacob L. Wright, Emory University
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
The Biblical Project
Notes taken on February 24, 2016 by Edward Tanguay
the early communities in Egypt and Babylon and in Judah itself present major problems
they are not that literate of the laws of Moses
they don't know Israel's history very well
in Elephantine, we see that they don't even use the name Israel
Nehemia tries to get the community behind a building project in Judah
the community seems to be interested in other things
not supporting a collective building project
especially one that is so important to the community in Jerusalem
the Biblical authors' response to this situation was not something radically new
drawing on something from the past
picking up on older histories
carrying on the traditions of connecting disparate communities
through their representative individuals
they are all connected in some way, so that the community can say, we are not different from this other group
once Judah has been destroyed, we don't go back to being from our own separate towns
they belong to a larger group, a larger nation, a larger family
they are going to pick up the work which that had originated during the time when Judah and Israel were kingdoms
draw this out and make it more elaborate and robust
as a way of story telling that will hold a community together
in creating these stories, they did not need to separate themselves and go their separate ways
history of Israel and Judah
1209 BCE: first record of the name Israel occurs in the Merneptah stele, erected for Egyptian Pharaoh Merneptah
930 BCE: the kingdom split into a southern Kingdom of Judah and a northern Kingdom of Israel
800 BCE: came into increasing conflict with the expanding neo-Assyrian empire
722 BCE: Tiglath-Pileser III it first split Israel's territory into several smaller units and then destroyed its capital, Samaria
722 BCE: Israelite revolt was crushed after the siege and capture of Samaria by the Assyrian king Sargon II, Sargon's son, Sennacherib, tried and failed to conquer Judah
586 BCE: King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon conquered Judah, destroyed Solomon's Temple and exiled the Jews to Babylon
538 BCE: Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered Babylon and took over its empire, issued a proclamation granting subjugated nations (including the people of Judah) religious freedom