By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Class Discussion Fall 2011

English: The Giving of Quail, as in Exodus 16,...
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I am currently teaching an Introduction to Scripture course this fall; and, periodically, we stumble upon some insights in the course of class discussion that are worth sharing.

1.) Each class begins with a prayer by one of the students. The prayer is assigned in anticipation to a particular student for each class meeting. The prayer consists of two Scripture readings (one from the assigned reading for that particular class meeting and one from another related biblical passage that the student chooses on his own). After the prayer, the student gives his or her own interpretation, which I refer to as the pesher or midrash.

One student read John 6, the famous Bread of Life discourse, and also the matching reading from Exodus 16 concerning manna and quail given to the Israelites in the wilderness.

In his midrash, the student noted that in the New Testament passage of John 6 concerning the Eucharist, Jesus combines the idea of bread and flesh by declaring that he is the Bread of Life and by declaring that this bread is his flesh-- ideas that are foreshadowed separately in the Old Testament account of the manna (bread) and quail (flesh). The Eucharist fulfills and combines the types of bread and flesh that are separate in the book of Exodus. I, for one, had never considered this insight before that night.

2.) Another insight came in reading and discussing this passage at Galatians 3:28 (ESV; emphasis added):

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

One student asked about the meaning of there being "no male or female." One thing that came to mind to me was that circumcision as a sign of the covenant (which Paul is vociferously rejecting as a necessity for Christians in Galatians) was not for women in Jewish culture but for men only. But, now, in the New Covenant, Baptism is open to all, both men and women. I do not claim that point exhausts the entire meaning of this particular phrase, but it is an interesting aspect that I had not previously considered.

So, yes, teaching is a great privilege; and, often, the teacher himself is being happily instructed by student comments and by student questions which force him to come up with an answer on the spot.
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