Kathleen responded to my question #2. http://kathleenstheology.wordpress.com/
The question was: Explain the relationship between Creation, the Tabernacle and the Temple, and ritual purity. How does the Babylonian exile relate to this relationship? Consider what “order” means in this context.
The question asks the reader to recall various aspects of different concepts and then to see connections in order to make a general statement about the relationships between all of the different concepts. The question hints that a unifying feature of all of the concepts is something to do with “order.”
Kathleen did a good job of recalling certain details and spotting relationships between them. She noted that the structure of the temple/tabernacle resembles the 7 days of creation, that the order of the temple is called into question by the exile, and that as opposed to the Babylonian version of order the exiled Israelites are saying that their temple and their system of worship is what is proper.
A few other concepts could be brought in to tidy up these relationships and to develop the common theme of order even further. Kathleen recalls the contrast between the tower of Babel (which represents a Ziggurat) and the temple. What can be further developed is that the creation story in Genesis is meant to contrast with the Enuma Elish by asserting that God and not Marduk is the master over the universe and that God’s order is legitimate while Marduk’s is not. Moreover, Kathleen could do a better job relating ritual purity to this concept. Ritual purity represents religious order (as opposed to civil order through the law), and it associated with temple practices. During the Babylonian exile the priestly tradition placed an emphasis on rituals which can be seen as part of this larger reaction to the Babylonian system of things.