I'm writing a paper that's due tomorrow for my Ancient Near Eastern Studies class. Now, I enjoy writing - for my blog. Creative writing is fun, especially because I do it when I feel like it and I don't do it when I don't feel like it. On the other hand, I do not enjoy writing papers. They stress me out. I never feel like I have anything to say. I do not feel original. I cannot collect my thoughts. I often discover my thesis is pointless (or that I don't have one) and have to start over. I usually procrastinate them until the last minute. All these combine to give me a negative, sinking feeling whenever I discover I have to write a paper. (Miraculously, I didn't have to write a single one last semester! Heaven on earth. But of course I didn't become a better writer because of it.)
Anyway, here's the paragraph that I'm proudest of at the moment - if only the entire paper were like it! (I even read it aloud to Heather. I think she thinks I'm a little weird but I know she loves me in spite of it. :)
The temple was central to Israelite culture as well. The Lord gave very specific instructions to Moses as to how the tabernacle should be constructed and the ordinances and procedures conducted therein. Later Solomon built a magnificent, expensive temple; Israelite culture basically revolved around this house of the Lord. Men were commanded to go to Jerusalem to the temple for the major feasts at least three times a year, if possible. Under the Law of Moses there were also three types of sacrifices which were offered in the temple: sin offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings. Israelite culture revolved around the temple and the temple in turn elevated Israelite culture. According to class lecture, the building of the temple in Jerusalem elevated Israelite society to the level of Egypt and other temple-building societies. Simply put, the temple was an integral part of life. With this backdrop, it is no wonder that the Jews were devastated when the temple was plundered by Nebuchadnezzar II, ecstatic when Cyrus sent them back and encouraged them to rebuild the temple, and enraged when Antiochus IV later replaced the temple with a gymnasium in 167 BC.