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Teacher Resource Bank
GCE Religious Studies
Unit 3D: Old Testament
Explanation of Terms
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Teacher Resource Bank / GCE Religious Studies / Explanation of Terms Unit 3D: Old Testament / / Version 1.0
Books which are accepted as canonical by the Catholic and Orthodox
Church but which are disputed within some other churches.
Sacred book of Christians containing both the Old and New Testaments
(Christianity). For Jews, Bible is Torah, Nevi’im and Ketubim (Tanakh),
which Christians call the Old Testament.
① Someone who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
② Something relating to the faith of Christians, e.g. the Old Testament.
1 The universe, as created by God.
2 The act, or event, in which God is said to have created the universe.
critical theories
These consist of different theories about the nature and structure of the
writings that make up the Jewish Scriptures / Christian Old Testament.
Some of these theories are: Source Criticism, Form Criticism,
Redaction Criticism and Reader Response theories.
The dispersion (literally ‘spreading out’) of the Jewish people from their
homeland and around the world, beginning with the Babylonian exile in
586 BCE, and particularly after the expulsion by the Romans in 135 BCE.
A wisdom book found in the Apocrypha. Its author was Jesus ben Sira, and
it was written in Jerusalem, probably in the early 2nd century BCE. It is also
known as Sirach.
Being forced to leave one’s homeland and live elsewhere, as the Jews
suffered in Babylon (586-538 BCE).
1 The escape of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.
2 The second book of the Torah / Old Testament in which Moses leads the
Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and receives the Ten Commandments
from God.
Fall, the
The term used for the rebellion of Adam and Eve against God (related in
Genesis 3) that many Christians believe has resulted in all humanity having
an innate tendency to sin. As a result of the Fall, the world is no longer the
paradise described in Genesis 2.
The first book of the Torah (Judaism) and of the Old Testament
God (nature of)
Both Jews and Christians have ideas about what God might be like, e.g. the
Creator and Sustainer of the universe.
This term refers to events that happened in the past, some of which may be
verified by archaeology and documentation.
Copyright © 2008 AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved.
Teacher Resource Bank / GCE Religious Studies / Explanation of Terms Unit 3D: Old Testament / / Version 1.0
human condition
What it means to be a human being, e.g. finite and vulnerable, but with the
potential for achieving great things.
① The pre-exilic prophet whose oracles are preserved in the book bearing
his name.
② The name given to the Old Testament book of 66 chapters. Much of
chapters 1-39 belong to the pre-exilic period. Chapters 40-55 arguably
contain the oracles of an unknown prophet who lived during the exilic
period in Babylon. He is usually referred to as Second or Deutero
Isaiah. Most of chapters 56-66 are thought to belong to the post-exilic
Something relating to the faith of the Jews. The Jewish Bible consists of
the Law, the Prophets and the Writings.
Law (of Moses)
It contains the rules regulating the relationship of Israel as a whole and of
individual Israelites with God and with each other. The most important of
these is the Decalogue (the Ten Commandments) that was central to the
Mosaic covenant. The Law is to be found in the Pentateuch (the first five
books of the Jewish Bible / Christian Old Testament) and includes
regulations governing both social and cultic practice. It also includes
narratives, some of which may be classified as myths and legends. It is
often referred to as the Torah.
Old Testament
The books of the Bible, written almost entirely in Hebrew, relating to ancient
Oracles believed to be inspired by God and spoken by prophets, who had
been chosen by him to proclaim his will to the people of their day.
The lyrical prayers to God, many of which are ascribed to David.
reader response
This covers a number of different theories, all of which claim that the reader
contributes to the meaning of the text through his / her careful reading and
personal response to it. An extreme form claims that without the reader
supplying the meaning, the text is simply a collection of words.
Revised Standard
An English translation of the Bible published in the mid-20th century.
The whole community of people within, for instance, a country. The term
will often apply not just to the collectivity of people but to some aspects of
their way of life.
The study of religious doctrines.
Wisdom (literature)
The books of the Old Testament that consider piety and sanctity according
to the divine revelation and show further how human beings should conduct
themselves (Judaism and Christianity).
Copyright © 2008 AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved.