‘Moses and the Brazen Serpent’ Sebastien Bourdon (1616-1671)

Course Description

When many of us think of the Bible we recall how it is divided into the Old and New Testaments. We know that the New Testament concerns the life of Jesus Christ and the initial efforts of the early Church to evangelise the nations. And when we think of the Old Testament we usually think of the stories of creation in the first few chapters of Genesis, the Bible’s first book. We may even think of the prophets who foretold the coming of Jesus. Well, this course is designed to guide you through the Bible’s second book: the Book of Exodus.

Toward the end of the Book of Genesis we read of a man named Joseph, the eleventh-born son of Jacob and a descendant of the great Patriarch, Abraham. At this time, through many twists and turns, Joseph finds himself as a prisoner in the land of Egypt. Experiencing dreams which he could not interpret, Egypt’s Pharaoh decided to consult Joseph, a well-renowned dream interpreter. As a result of Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams, Joseph secures the office of Prime Minister of Egypt which ultimately leads his fellow Israelites to receive a place in Egyptian society.

Four-hundred and thirty years after Joseph, the descendants of Joseph and his brothers succumb to worshipping the false gods of Egypt. God must intervene to deliver the people from the Egyptian slavery and their idolatrous ways. For this, God would raise up Moses, arguably Israel’s greatest leader. Moses would lead the people of Israel in what would become the most important event in their history: their Exodus from Egypt. This event would not only establish the twelve tribes of Israel as a nation under Moses at Mount Sinai, but would also be the event that would define them as God’s chosen people.

In this exciting course we will dive deeply into the Book of Exodus to see God’s marvelous works in delivering his people not only from the bondage of the tyrannical Egyptians, but more importantly from their slavery to Egypt’s false gods. The importance of this book cannot be underestimated, for it not only has relevance and importance for understanding the rest of the Old Testament, but also for understanding the New Testament. The prophets of Old spoke of the coming Messiah in terms of Israel’s famous Exodus event. They foretold that when the Messiah comes he would bring about a new and even greater Exodus than the one that took place in Egypt under Moses. So important was Israel’s Exodus that the renowned biblical scholar, Augustine Stock, puts it this way: “…the Bible stands before us as the book of the two Exoduses” (The Way in the Wilderness , 19).

So come and join us for this exciting new course on the Book of Exodus!

Course Objectives

  1. To understand the importance of Israel’s Exodus from Egypt as the most important event in defining Israel as a nation and a people.
  2. To see the importance of the Torah (i.e., the first five books of the bible) as it was Israel’s family constitutional law.
  3. To learn about Israel’s Exodus from Egyptian captivity through the ten plagues of Egypt, as Yahweh’s triumph over Egypt’s false gods.
  4. To discover the meaning of the Passover sacrifice and its relevance not only for Israel, but for Jesus and the New Testament writers.
  5. To be able to see the importance of the Exodus event for future prophetic visions of the coming Messiah.
  6. To grasp the importance of the Exodus for the Christian life, especially for the Church’s liturgical life.

Course Duration

6 Weeks: 12 Hours (i.e., two hours, one night a week).

Recommended Reading

Texts Recommended for Purchase by Course Participants:

Hahn, Scott and Curtis Mitch. The Ignatius Catholic Bible Study: Exodus. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2012.

Hahn, Scott. A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God’s Covenant Love in Scripture. Michigan: Servant Publications, 1998.

Popular Level Reading:

Bourke, Myles M. Old Testament Reading Guide: The Book of Exodus. Collegeville, MI: The Liturgical Press, 1951.

Sailhamer, John H. The Pentateuch as Narrative: A Biblical-Theological Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992.

Wilson, Ian. The Exodus Enigma. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. 1985.

Gavigan, James, et al. (eds.). The Navarre Bible: The Pentateuch. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1999.

Thematic Works for this Course:

Achtemeier, Paul J. Inspiration and Authority: Nature and Function of Christian Scripture. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 1999.

Béchard, Dean P. ed. and trans. The Scripture Documents: An Anthology of Official Catholic Teachings. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2002.

Brueggemann, Walter. An Introduction to the Old Testament: The Canon and Christian Imagination. London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003.

Catholic Church. Catechism of the Catholic Church. Homebush: St Pauls, 1994.

_________. The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church: Address of His Holiness John Paul II and Document of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. Boston: St Paul Books and Media, 1993.

_________. Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, New Revised Edition, vol. 1. Edited by Austin Flannery. New York: Costello Publishing Company, 1996.

Dauphinais, Michael and Matthew Levering. Holy People, Holy Land: A Theological Introduction to the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2005.

Farkasfalvy, Denis. Inspiration and Interpretation: A Theological Introduction to Sacred Scripture. Washington DC. The Catholic University of America Press, 2010.

Geisler, Norman L. and William C. Roach. Defending Inerrancy: Affirming the Accuracy of Scripture for a New Generation. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2011.

Hahn, Scott W. A Pocket Guide to the Bible. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor Division, 2008.

_________. Scripture Matters: Essays on Reading the Bible from the Heart of the Church. Steubenville, Ohio: Emmaus Road, 2003.

Shea, Mark P. Making Senses out of Scripture: Reading the Bible as the First Christians Did. San Diego: Basilica Press, 1999.

Sri, Edward. The Bible Compass: A Catholic’s Guide to Navigating the Scriptures. West Chester, PA: Ascension Press, 2009.

Stravinskas, Peter M.J. The Catholic Church and the Bible. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1996.

Vanhoozer, Kevin J. (ed.) Theological Interpretation of the Old Testament: A Book-by-Book Survey. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2005, 2008.

Scholarly Level Reading:

Alter, Robert. The Five Books of Moses: A Translation with Commentary. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2004.

Bright, John. A History of Israel. London: SCM Press, 1966.

Burns, Rita J. Old Testament Message: A Biblical-Theological Commentary. Vol. 3: Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers with Excursuses on Feasts/Ritual and Typology. Edited by Carroll Stuhlmueller and Martin McNamara. Collegeville, MI: The Liturgical Press, 1983.

Cathcart, Kevin et al. (eds.). Targum Neofiti 1: Exodus. Translated by Martin McNamara. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1994.

Cathcart, Kevin et al. (eds.). The Targum Onqelos to Exodus. Translated by Bernard Grossfild. Wilmington, Delaware: Michael Glazier, Inc., 1988.

Cathcart, Kevin et al. (eds.). Targum Pseudo-Jonathan: Exodus. Translated by Michael Maher. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1994.

Childs, Brevard S. Exodus: A Commentary. London: SCM Press, 1974.

Dozeman, Thomas B. (ed.). Methods for Exodus: Methods in Biblical Interpretation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Hamilton, Victor P., Handbook on the Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005.

Hayes, John H and J. Maxwell Miller (ed.). Israelite and Judean History. London SCM Press, 1977.

Hyatt, J.P. The New Century Bible Commentary: Exodus. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1971.

Lienhard, Joseph T. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001.

McCarthy, Dennis J. Old Testament Covenant: A Survey of Current Options. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1972.

_________. Treaty and Covenant. Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1981.

Ninow, F. Indicators of Typology within the Old Testament: The Exodus Motif. New York: Peter Lang, 2001.

Nicholson, E.W. Exodus and Sinai in History and Tradition. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1973.

Noth, Martin. Exodus: A Commentary. London: SCM Press, 1962.

Propp, William H.C. Exodus 19-40 (The Anchor Bible). New York: Doubleday, 2006.

Sarna, Nahum. Exploring Exodus: The Heritage of Biblical Israel. New York: Random House, 1986.