June 20, 2008


Innards courtesy of wikipedia.

The book of Jonah is a nugget of a short story within the Hebrew Bible or Christian Old Testament. But before diving into that whale of a tale, a little biblical anatomy may be in order.

The Hebrew Bible/Christian Old Testament share the same books in the case of Protestants, although the order is a little different. Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians include other books.

Probably just because I'm used to it, the way the Protestant Old Testament is organized makes sense to me. It can be divided into the Torah, historical writings, wisdom books, and prophets.

The Torah or Pentateuch is the name commonly given to the first five books. They deal with the creation, the story of the family of Abraham, slavery in Egypt, the Exodus, the covenant on Sinai, wanderings in the desert, and various laws.

The historical writings come next, starting with Joshua and ending with Esther. Note: these represent the historical stories told by and about the Hebrew people from the time of Moses' death to the resettlement of Judah after the Babylonian exile. It's theological rather than "objective" history (whether any kind of history can be objective is another subject) and some versions disagree with each other.

Then comes an interesting collection of songs, stories and wisdom writings that include Job, the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes (which totally rocks), and the Song of Solomon, an earthy love poem that people have tried to twist into a spiritual allegory for centuries.

The rest of the books, 17 in all, are the writings of and about the Hebrew prophets and it's here we'll find our fishing buddy Jonah.

The terms prophet, prophetic, and prophecy are pretty spattered in modern discourse and need a little cleaning off. More on that tomorrow.

STILL GONE. El Cabrero should be in Mexico by the time you read this. The link/current event feature will resume around June 30.


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