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Four Writers of the Pentateuch

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Need a catchy way of introducing the concept of different writers or traditions in the Pentateuch? This "egg-cellent" activity will grab your students' attention and imagination!

This is a good activity for getting students thinking about the importance of context when reading scripture. I use it as a starting point to address the four writers of the Torah (Jahwist, Elohist, Deuteronomist, Priestly), but it would serve as a great activity for beginning to examine the different perspectives of the gospel writers as well.

I start by showing the class an egg. I divide the class into groups of four or five. Each group has a role in the drama that is about to take place. I assign the following roles at random: one group represents the chicken that just laid the egg, another group represents hungry people. There is a group of egg-haters, a group representing the farmer who sells his eggs to make a living, and a group of journalists. I then spread plastic on the floor and toss the egg in the air a few times, catching it, to add to the suspense. In a class full of boys, you can imagine the excitement. I then, with purpose, throw the egg on the floor. The groups then have five minutes to write a story, from their perspective, of what they just witnessed. After time is up, I have each group share their story. We talk about the different versions of the story and why they exist.

Acknowledgments

Published December 28, 1999.