And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. Isaiah 8:17

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Easter Ideas

One of my seminary students from years ago has a lovely blog which is featuring Easter ideas from many of her friends all this month. Go on over to Jocelyn's blog and have a look. One post has a coloring book based on the Proclamation to the World on the Family. You might want to print it out for your children or grandchildren or little friends for Conference this weekend.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Week 8 : Plan of Salvation in the Old Testament

Last week we looked at the imagery of Adam and Eve walking eastward through the "temple," turning (or repenting) at the altar of sacrifice and then returning back into the holy place and holy of holies. This can be seen as a circular path, returning to one's beginning place. "Circular" is very Eastern or Hebraic.

If you draw that out in a linear (or Western) way, you end up with a straight path:
Let's label each of the rooms in the temple.
Next, we'll add which part of our lives each room now represents.
Then we add labels for which of the kingdoms or degrees of glory (see D&C 76) these rooms represent.
And, finally, change the upper labels to show how each of our lives follow the pattern or plan of salvation.

I hope that you can see that the pattern is CHIASTIC : [A B C D C' B' A']. The whole plan of salvation is a beautiful Hebrew chiastic poem, with the central focus on the most important event, the atonement of Jesus Christ, which makes repentance possible.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Week 7 : Moving Eastward in Genesis 2-4

Robert Norman has an excellent blog post showing the Old Testament Tabernacle / Temple, its furnishings and some things they symbolize. It is an excellent follow-up to our discussion of moving EASTWARD in Genesis 2-4.

Another illustration of this same idea from a chapter in "Temples of the Ancient World" (FARMS) by Donald W Parry is available here.

Plan of Salvation

Elder Packer challenged all Seminary and Institute classes to study the Plan of Salvation EVERY YEAR. Here's the outline Elder Packer gave us.

Premortal Existence
Spiritual Creation
War in Heaven
Physical Creation
First Principles & Ordinances of the Gospel
Faith in the Lord
Gift of the Holy Ghost
Enduring to the End
The Atonement
Life Beyond the Grave
Spirit World

I suggest that you find scriptures to support each concept USING ONLY THE OLD TESTAMENT. Good luck!

"A scripture is not limited to what it meant when it was written... it may lead to current revelation on whatever else the Lord wishes to communicate to us." (Elder Dallin H. Oaks)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Genesis 1 : Hebrew Poetry

In class we went through the 6 days of creation and found significant ORDER in them.
This (the commentary posted below) is typical of how this idea is presented in Jewish publications.

The JPS (Jewish Publication Society) Torah Commentary : Genesis
The Traditional Hebrew Text with the New JPS Translation
Commentary by Nahum M. Sarna

(Page 4) Notes on Creation : Be-re'shit [the Hebrew name for the book of Genesis] (1:1-2:3)

Then there is the literary structure, which presents the creative process with bilateral symmetry. The systematic progression from chaos to cosmos unfolds in an orderly and harmonious manner through a series of six successive and equal units of time. The series is divided into two parallel groups, each of which comprises four creative acts performed in three days. The third day in each group is distinguished by two productions. In each group the movement is from heaven to terrestrial water to dry land. Moreover, the arrangement is such that each creation in the first group furnishes the resource that is to be utilized by the corresponding creature in the second group. The chart below illustrates the schematization.
The principle of order, deliberation, and direction is further inculcated by means of the progression from inorganic matter to the lowest forms of organic life to four categories of living creatures: fish and fowl, reptiles, the higher animals, and finally humankind. In addition, the entire narrative adheres to a uniform literary pattern. Each of the literary units begins with a declaration formula, "God said," followed by a command, a statement recording its fulfillment, a notice of divine approbation, and a closing formula, 'There was evening and there was morning," with the accompanying numbered day.
Finally, the Narrator employs the device of number symbolism, the heptad, to emphasize the basic idea of design, completion, and perfection. The opening proclamation contains seven words; the description of primal chaos is set forth in twice seven words; the narrative's seven literary units feature seven times the formula for the effectuation of the divine will and the statement of divine approval; and the six days of creation culminate in the climactic seventh.
This seven-day typology is widely attested in the ancient world. As early as the twenty-second century B.C.E., King Gudea of Lagash, in southern Mesopotamia, dedicated a temple with a seven-day feast. The literatures of Mesopotamia and Ugarit are replete with examples of seven-day units of time. Most common is a state of affairs that lasts for six days with a climactic change taking place on the seventh. While the Creation narrative conforms to this literary convention, it is unique in that a different action occurs each day, with no activity at all on the seventh.

Group I The Resource Group II The Utilizer
Day Creative Act Day Creative Act
1 Light 4 The luminaries
2 Sky, leaving terrestrial waters 5 Fish and fowl
3 Dry land 6 Land creatures
Vegetation Humankind
(Lowest form of organic life) (Highest form of organic life)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"The Ballad of the Goodly Fere" by Ezra Pound

As promised to the South Jordan class, here is the poem: I love the imagery and language. Note the use of 'tree' for 'cross' in several stanzas. We connected this with Genesis 1, Day 3 : Trees.

Ballad of the Goodly Fere
by Ezra Pound

Ha' we lost the goodliest fere o' all
For the priests and the gallows tree?
Aye lover he was of brawny men,
O' ships and the open sea.

When they came wi' a host to take Our Man
His smile was good to see,
"First let these go!" quo' our Goodly Fere,
"Or I'll see ye damned," says he.

Aye he sent us out through the crossed high spears
And the scorn of his laugh rang free,
"Why took ye not me when I walked about
Alone in the town?" says he.

Oh we drank his "Hale" in the good red wine
When we last made company,
No capon priest was the Goodly Fere
But a man o' men was he.

I ha' seen him drive a hundred men
Wi' a bundle o' cords swung free,
That they took the high and holy house
For their pawn and treasury.

They'll no' get him a' in a book I think
Though they write it cunningly;
No mouse of the scrolls was the Goodly Fere
But aye loved the open sea.

If they think they ha' snared our Goodly Fere
They are fools to the last degree.
"I'll go to the feast," quo' our Goodly Fere,
"Though I go to the gallows tree."

"Ye ha' seen me heal the lame and blind,
And wake the dead," says he,
"Ye shall see one thing to master all:
'Tis how a brave man dies on the tree."

A son of God was the Goodly Fere
That bade us his brothers be.
I ha' seen him cow a thousand men.
I have seen him upon the tree.

He cried no cry when they drave the nails
And the blood gushed hot and free,
The hounds of the crimson sky gave tongue
But never a cry cried he.

I ha' seen him cow a thousand men
On the hills o' Galilee,
They whined as he walked out calm between,
Wi' his eyes like the grey o' the sea,

Like the sea that brooks no voyaging
With the winds unleashed and free,
Like the sea that he cowed at Genseret
Wi' twey words spoke' suddently.

A master of men was the Goodly Fere,
A mate of the wind and sea,
If they think they ha' slain our Goodly Fere
They are fools eternally.

I ha' seen him eat o' the honey-comb
Sin' they nailed him to the tree.