Activity Outcome
  • Students will be able to conceptualize the differences between oral and written text.
Relevant Course Outcome
  • Students will be able to identify and analyze the textual, historical, and cultural contexts of works of literature.

"Since the majority of the Hebrew people and the early Christians could not read, most of the biblical texts were written primarily to be heard with the ear rather than read with the eye, allowing those few who could read to read aloud for the benefit of the larger group." (OSB, "Reading the Bible," 4)

(Dr. T will read aloud this section to the class - do NOT read along, just listen - take notes on the experience)

The levitical priests, the whole tribe of Levi, are to have no holding of ancestral land in Israel; they are to eat the food-offerings of the Lord as their share. They will have no holding among their follow-countrymen; the Lord is their holding as he promised them. This is to be the customary due of the priests from those of the people who offer sacrifice, whether a bull or a sheep: the shoulder, the cheeks, and the stomach are to be given to the priests. Give them also the firstfruits of your grain and new wine and oil, and the first fleece at the shearing of your flock. For it was they whom the Lord your God chose from all your tribes to attend on the Lord and to minister in the name of the Lord, both they and their sons for all time. (Deuteronomy 18.1-3)

(Each person will read this section aloud to themselves - take notes on the experience)

When a man has two wives, one loved and the other unloved, if they both bear him sons, and the son of the unloved wife is the elder, then, when, the day comes for him to divide his property among his sons, he must not treat the son of the loved wife as his firstborn in preference to his true firstborn, the son of the unloved wife. He must recognize the rights of his firstborn, the son of the unloved wife, and give him a double share of all that he possesses; for he was the firstfruits of his manhood, and the right of the firstborn is his. When a man has a son, who is rebellious and out of control, who does not obey his father and mother, or take heed when they punish him, then his father and mother are to lay hold of him and bring him out to the elders of the town at the town gate, and say, "This son of ours is rebellious and out of control; he will not obey us, he is a wastrel and a drunkard." Then all the men of the town must stone him to death, and you will thereby rid yourselves of this wickedness. All Israel when they hear of it will be afraid. (Deuteronomy 21.15-21)

(Each person will read this section to themselves silently - take notes on the experience)

When a virgin is pledged in marriage to a man, and another man encounters so in the town and lies with her, bring both of them out to the gate of that town and stone them to death: the girl because, although she was in the town, she did not cry for help, and the man because he violated another man's wife: you must rid yourselves of this wickedness. But if it is out in the country that the man encounters and rapes such a girl, then the man alone is to be put to death because he lay with her. Do nothing to the girl; no guilt deserving of death attaches to her: this case is like that of a man who attacks another and murders him: the man came upon her in the country and, though the girl may have cried for help, there was no one to come to her rescue. When a man encounters a virgin who is not yet betrothed and forces her to the lie with him, and they are discovered, then the man who lies with her must give the girl's father fifty pieces of silver, and she will be his wife because he has violated her. He is not free to divorce her all his days. (Deuteronomy 22. 23-29)

10 Activity points: Once done, post some notes as a discussion post on this page discussing the different experiences in reading. What are the similarities/differences? What are the experiences like? Does it change your understanding of or your interaction with the text?