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Relg 203 - Week 7 Lecture Notes

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Religious Studies
RELG 203
Sean Ross

RELG 203 Bible and Western Culture Mr. Sean Ross Week 7, Class 1: Solomon Solomon is the last king of Israel • Story is about diplomacy, building projects. • For once, fighting is not at the focus of the text. • Solomon has a relatively peaceful reign. • Concentrates on building up Jerusalem • Diplomatic relations with other countries • Substantial expansion of the borders of Israel towards the North The period of Solomon’s reign covers 4 major themes: • Wisdom • Wealth • Temple • Apostasy Solomon is best known for his legendary wisdom • In spite of his later failings, he's a symbol of the wise and just ruler o A potent symbol in renaissance/early modern Europe • In a dream, Solomon wishes for wisdom o God is so impressed that he grants Solomon wisdom AND wealth! • Has an almost inborn knowledge of the natural world. • Considered to be the author of the several texts: o Proverbs o Ecclesiastes o Song of Songs o Wisdom of Solomon Israel's repository of learning, philosophy is attributed to Solomon. Story of Solomon's interaction with the queen of Sheba: • Queen of a great African Nation o She is however portrayed as white in European art. • The royal dynasty of Ethiopia traced its origin to a union between Solomon and The Queen of Sheba (aka the Empress of Aksum) o The dynasty was called the House of Solomon. o Haile Selassie claimed direct descent from Solomon ▪ Contributed to Selassie's treatment as a messianic figure by certain religious movements such as Rastafarianism. The true cross cycle illustrates "The Golden Legends" • True cross legend illustrates how Hebrew stories are linked to the New Testament / Gospel of Christ. • Gives a history of saints and of the “True Cross” (Jesus' cross) • Popular stories, accepted as truth. ▪ However, they but non-canonical • Adam is seen as bad, Christ is good. • Panels Show: ▪ Adam’s Death. ▪ An angel tells Seth (Adam’s last son) to go to the Garden of Eden, get several seeds, and put in them in Adams mouth before he is buried. ▪ The seeds grow into a tree whose wood used to make Christ’s cross. ▪ Cross is a revisiting of the tree from which Adam ate the Fruit. • Solomon uses wood from this the tree to make bridge to his palace • Sheba reveres the wood and tells Solomon that one day a savior will hang from a cross made from wood from the bridge. • On that day, the covenant will end ▪ Solomon is scared, throws wood from the bridge down a well ▪ The wood is latter found. The prophesy comes true. • A role reversal: ▪ Solomon lacks knowledge & the Queen has wisdom • The Queen of Sheba has a mystical knowledge, she teaches Solomon. • Solomon is a symbol of the irrelevant, of what will soon be replaced. Solomon on the throne of Judgement • A common representation • Solomon is shown on a throne, two lions cover the armrests ▪ This throne becomes symbol of judgement ▪ Solomon is a symbol of justice • A throne with lion armrests is also a common way of representing Christ on judgement day Venice: • Solomon is used as a symbol for justice. • They are stating that their political system is the ideal one. • In one statue, Justice is shown sitting on Solomon's Throne. • A Statue of Venice herself also sits on Solomon's throne Union of Scotland & England: • King James is Compared to Solomon • However, instead of dividing, King James joins two nations together ▪ (Solomon rules to divide a child in half to see who his real mother is) Solomon and mystic knowledge • Solomon’s knowledge was passed down from master to student through magic & occult learning • The Lesser Key of Solomon is a Spell Grimoire Monarchy: • Recall ambivalence about whether or not Israel should have a king • Solomon takes advantage of Israel & her resources • Provides a basis for the split between the kingdoms ▪ The people are worn out from the king exploiting resources • The Sultan of Turkey was compared to Solomon as he was spending money whil e his people were starving and rebelling. Solomon builds a temple • King David wanted to build a temple for God, but God sent Nathan and forbade the building of the temple: ▪ David's hands are too bloody to build a holy temple ▪ God had a tent for all these years, why would he need a temple? • Tabernacle: A tent-like temple, god's home. • Ambivalence concerning kinship: • “I'm not like other gods, I don't need a temple” ▪ However, the temple becomes one of primary symbols of the Hebrew Bible • All temples have similar layouts • A valuable political tool After building a house for God, Solomon builds a house for himself • The city was built on a hill: ▪ Temple: God’s House ▪ Palace: Solomon’s House ▪ Homes of the people. • Palace of the king reflect god's palace. ▪ King was a middleman between God and the people. • The one temple allowed for centralization of religious authority. ▪ All other temples are seen as bad. • When the kingdom splits, other temples are built. • This is wrong from the perspective of the Hebrew bible. • Take Away: The temple remains a potent symbol. Solomon had many wives • Allowed for many political unions. • But what about God’s xenophobic message? ▪ Solomon’s wives cause him to lose God’s favor. ▪ He will remain king out of God’s love for David ▪ However, his descendants will lose his power: • Refers to splitting of kingdom into two parts. Week 7, Class 2: Bad Kings The Split between Israel and Judah: • Northern Kingdom – Israel ▪ Capitol – Samaria ▪ Sometimes called Ephraim • Southern Kingdom – Judah ▪ Capitol – Jerusalem After Solomon dies, he is replaced by his son. • Jeroboam leads the 10 Northern tribes into rebellion • There's a SPLIT between the tribes:
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