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Jewish Theology and Scripture.docx

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RELI 1710
Zeba Crook

Jewish Theology and Scripture 10/15/2013 Sacred doesn’t always mean heavenly, but can be local and of human origin. Still sacred: taken seriously and devoutly, engaged in a close manner. Actually share scripture—literal or simply narrative. Judaism is a scriptural religion, revolving around texts Words of Meaning What is in the Hebrew Bible? Torah: law, instruction: made up of a variety of narratives and laws Nevi’im: prophets Ketuvim: writings, could mean miscellaneous Torah Five books of Moses Pentateuch Genesis tells the story of how the universe came to be into existence: ex nihilo. All created things are good—different from Mesopotamian and Mediterranean worldview— creation was chaos. Two creation accounts Genesis 1:1—“In the beginning god created the heavens and the earth” Vegetation created on the second day, humans on the sixth day. God= Elohim (plural) Genesis 2:4—“These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created” God gets called something different—lord god/YHWH Elohim Humans are created first, and then vegetation What is God called? Elohim vs. YHWH (Elohim) Documentary hypothesis E (Elohist) J (Jawhist) P (Priestly) D (Deuteronomic Historian) Etiological myths (origins) Genesis opens with biblical myth, then biblical legend (Abraham, Moses), then biblical “history” (Exodus, entry into Canaan, tribes, monarchy, etc.) All of this is mythologized to a certain extent. Biblical myths and mythical characters Adam and Eve; Garden of Eden Cain and Abel Noah—the Flood story Also found almost exactly the same in ancient religious sources (Gilgamesh) Sources for Stories Epic of Gilgamesh Marduk Utnapishtim Tower of Babel Job Torah: the five books of Moses Genesis. Hebrew name: Bereshit Exodus: Egypt Leviticus: priestly purity and other commandments Numbers: from wilderness to Canaan Deuteronomy: more laws, death of Moses Nevi’im : Prophets Former: Joshua, Judges, Samuel (as one book), Kings (as one book) Later: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, The Twelve Hosea, Micah, Malachi (as one book) Prophets speak God’s judgment of Israel’s behaviour The news is always bad—a prophet’s job is to condemn The sin wave! The Jewish perspective: the prophetic indictment—god was punishing the people for doing bad things God’s care and love for Israel—keeps sending people to remind them when they’re behaving unjustly Ketuvim “Writings”, miscellaneous proverbs (advice), psalms, Job, Ruth God isn’t mentioned much in these sections; may not even be religious. Tanakh Torah Nevi’im Ketuvim T + N + K = TaNaK = Tanakh Other important writings A variety of voices; history of interpretation, explanation, engagement. Multiple ways of interpreting the same text Midrash: narratives trying to explain what was going on behind the scenes in certain passages. Halakhah: midrash of legal material Haggadah/Aggadah: midrash about narratives/stories Theological dispute=greater insight Mishnah “oral law” of the Pharisees Rabbi Judah Ha=Nasi, or Judah I c. 200 CE Interpretation of Mishnah—Gemara Jewish communities are set on interpretations of their texts Talmud Mishnah + Palestinian Gemara = Palestinian Talmud/Yerushalmi (completed 450 CE) Really only interesting to scholars of the period Mishnah + Babylonian Gemara = Babylonian Talmud/ Bavli (completed 500 CE) The one Jews refer to Rabbinic Judaism: revelation is over, it’s about interpretation now.. Like the father whose children grow up and he doesn’t have a say in their lives anymore: “my children have defeated me” Jews tend to argue with one another about practice: not about belief or thought. Orthopraxic: how to be Jewish properly Other Important Writings Talmud Commentaries Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitshak (1040-1105 CE) RSHY: Rashi Most famous and respected of the Talmudic commentators Disputation and Dialogue History and trajectories of Jewish writing, an openness to disagreement Theology of Judaism Monotheism -henotheism vs. monotheism Shema: Closest thing in Judaism to a creed—statement of belief about god
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