OT: Notes on Israel's Feast and Festivals (1)

I got a kick reading about Israel’s feasts and festivals which have broadened some of my understanding towards it. I’ll be doing a series of posts on it based on notes that I scribbled for an exam. There will be a series of four posts on this particular topic, and this one happens to be the first one.

Introduction

Festivals were occasions where Israelites come before God to

–          Express gratitude for successful harvest

–          Remember and celebrate Yahweh’s saving actions on behalf of nation

–          Reflect on status as holy people of Yahweh

The festivals have in them a progressive outlook that is in terms of reflection (historical and theological understanding) and enactment. But the progressive nature of how the festivals and feasts are reflected and enacted does not necessarily mean that they abandon what these festival and feasts meant to the Israelites before.

“These texts and the ritual practice that they envision reflect both historical and theological development. It is important to recognize that such development does not necessarily entail the complete abandonment of earlier dynamics and concerns. Rather, it adds complexity so as to create new context and possibilities for reflection and enactment.”

The festivals had a twofold reflective dimension to them.

–          Early reflection- agricultural concerns

–          Later developed reflection- the festivals relate to specific moments in Israel’s history

It is most probably the ritual enactment that is fixed which carries rich theological reflection to the Israelites.

“The ritual remembrance and celebration of God’s activity and blessing receive theological complexity precisely in the context of ritual enactment and reflection.”

A fixed time/ occasion to commemorate the historical bearing of what God did is combined with a fixed practice to reflect what happened. Embedded in this fixed setting is theological reflection of what this implied.


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