Ancient Advocates for Change

Grades: 
9, 10, 11, 12

Learners will analyze classical literature of the ancient Hebrew prophets identifying societal injustices. They will speculate on how the common good could have been improved if people had heeded the words of the prophets.

Lesson Rating 
0
Duration 
PrintOne Forty-Five Minute Class Period
Objectives 

Learners will:

  • describe how the messages of ancient Hebrew prophets were received.
  • define the messages of the prophets Amos and Jeremiah.
  • analyze how the common good could have been [can be] improved if people listened [listen] to the messages of the prophets.
Materials 
  • Video, Jeremiah (see Bibliographical References)
  • Background Notes on Classical Hebrew Prophets: Attachment One
  • Excerpts from Attachment Two: Amos and Jeremiah
Bibliography 

BibleGateway homepage, https://www.biblegateway.com/

Jeremiah. Directed by Harry Winer. 110 minutes. MM Trimark Video, 1998. 

The Catholic Youth Bible. Winona: Saint Mary’s Press, 2000. 

Instructions

Print
  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask the learners to brainstorm about the term "prophet". How are prophets viewed by those who hear their message? How are they rewarded for bringing their message? Discuss if there are times when prophets are not accepted and/or believed.

  2. From the video, Jeremiah, view the scene which shows Jeremiah speaking out against his fellow citizens’ lack of concern for the needy of the nation. How is his prophetic message accepted by those who hear him? How is he treated by the people? Are his words accepted and believed?

    • Assign this essay as homework: In a short essay of two paragraphs, have the learners reflect on how the common good would be affected if the people listened to the words of the prophets. How would society change for the better? They should give examples of how the lives of the poor would be different.
  3. Using Background Notes on Classical Hebrew Prophets (Handout One), give a mini-lecture which provides some background on classical prophets from ancient Hebrew literature.

  4. Have learners read aloud and analyze the following literary selections from Old Testament passages (see Excerpts from Amos and Jeremiah, Handout Two):

    • Amos 2:7, 4:1, 5:10-15, 24
    • Jeremiah 5:1-5, 26-29, 7:1-7
  5. What behavior are the prophets describing? What changes are they encouraging?

  6. Are there present-day prophets who are trying to get a message across to the people? How would society be changed if their message was heeded?

  7. Assign this essay as homework: In a short essay of two paragraphs, have the learners reflect on how the common good would be affected if the people listened to the words of the prophets. How would society change for the better? They should give examples of how the lives of the poor would be different.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Discuss and give examples of why some humans will sacrifice for the benefit of unknown others.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Give examples from history of how intolerance of ideas, religion, and minorities contributed to social disintegration.