The exile was Israel’s defining moment, although frustratingly, we have very little information about the details of the exile itself, both in literature a

The exile was Israel’s defining moment, although frustratingly, we have very little information about the details of the exile itself, both in literature and in material remains.  Basing themselves on the scanty but precious literature that was produced during this period and subsequent post-exilic period, as well as precious few other non-biblical details, it is the change in the people themselves that exhibit what the exile must have represented.  A people with regional identity and religion who could have easily vanished because of the conquest and exile, and assimilation, instead emerged as a people with an identity, universal religion, morality, and way of life that has endured to this day, the Jews.  From its origins in the ancient Israelite religion, Judaism as we know it would truly emerge in the periods following the exile.  For our discussions this week, we will explore the meaning of exile for Jews and for other communities and how people can turn the trauma of exile into a catalyst for transformation.  

This week’s discussions expound on Judah’s traumatic experience of exile and its aftermath.  When answering these discussion questions, integrate what you have learned from the textbook and other resources on the Babylonian Exile and on the exilic experience.  For this discussion, choose and answer three of the six categories of related questions below and respond to them in light of this week’s readings.     

  1. Describe ‘exile’ and the exilic experience.  What are some of its major characteristics?
  2. Where do we most see the exilic experience today? What do exiles strive for?  What do they fear? What are forms of exile that a person or community can face?
  3. What kind of literary, artistic, and religious expression may be typical of exiles? What type of communities emerge(d) among exiles?  What role do traditions and customs, memory, art, religion, etc., play within exilic communities?
  4. What is restoration/reconstruction after a calamity?  What does it involve? What kinds of issues can returning exiles experience upon their return?
  5. How can communities in a diaspora preserve their identity when they no longer envision themselves returning? How do we see this exhibited in Jewish communities? What lessons can Christian communities learn about their forms of exilic experiences?
  6. How do ‘exile,’ ‘return,’ and ‘diaspora’ (from both the literal or broader meanings of exile, return, and diaspora) translate within ministerial settings?

Submission Instructions:

  • Your initial post should be at least 250-300 words for each discussion post, formatted and cited in the current APA style.
  • Provide support for your work from at least two academic sources less than five years old.

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