About the Reading Scripture Together: Jonah course
The Book of Jonah is an anomaly. It is included as one of the twelve prophets in the Hebrew Bible, but in comparison to the other texts, it is narrative in structure, full of comedy in the forms of satire and irony, and is deeply subversive in its intent. Surprisingly, it is also the story read in synagogue on the afternoon of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar.
Jonah as a character is reluctant and petulant, yet he is unexpectedly the most successful prophet ever, saving the entire city of Nineveh from destruction. His tragic story is full of details that merit closer study for the theological questions it asks and seeks to answer: How are we expected to respond to God’s call? About whom is God concerned? What lengths will God go through to bring salvation? And why do Jews read this story on Yom Kippur?
On this study day, which will be held online, we will be reading closely the four chapters of Jonah along with the story of Noah (as Jonah’s name literally means “dove”), asking questions of the text and ourselves as to its meaning and what we can learn from it, with a few laughs along the way. Ultimately, along with challenges of the story itself, we will explore how we view the world and our mission in it both from Jewish and Christian perspectives.