Devine revelation and Prophecy are common to all three of these Abrahamic religions
(Judaism, Christianity and Islam).
Views and understanding of these three concepts are a little different.
Divine Revelation in Judaism, Christianity and Islam shares three core assumptions between
all three traditions
1) God exists (There is a God)
2) Messengers existed (There were certain people through whom God spoke)
3) There is a definite and particular message God has for human kind (usually in a book).
The message that God speaks will have divine moral content.
God had different messages in all these religions.
The way God communicates in all these religions is different.
Prophecy: “to speak for”. This idea is also seen in Islam and Christianity. Certain people will
speak for God.
YHWH (Yahweh): “I am who I am”. It is the Jewish name for God. It denotes a God that is
personal, all powerful, and all loving.
1) Moses went up Mount Cyanide and asked god for his name (in Exodus) and he
responds with “tell the people I am who I am”. God transcends human comprehension
4 Hebrew letters. Hebrew was originally written without any vowels, over the years people
became unsure of how to vocalize this. Usually unspoken. Not to be uttered respectfully.
It is not possible to translate to one English phrase. “I am who I will be” “I am who I was” “I am a
Meaning… In God: we humans do not create ourselves. We find ourselves here. We know we
have limitations. We cant do everything. We didn’t put these limits on ourselves. God did.
ALWAYS ONE AHEAD. We cant go back to check who made us.
1) Ethical Monotheism: Monotheism means one God. Jewish conception of God is
“personal, orderly, loving and Moral”. God is NOT: 1) a thing or principle (product of
rational human comprehension) 2) Chaotic. 3) immoral/capricious unlike Greek gods
(does not make irrational demands). 4) a Hostile judge indifferent to human frailty, he is
merciful, attentive. Meaning… in creation: human beings possess glory and splendor. God made them and
deemed them good. Humans are fundamentally positive but we do some bad things at times.
Human being is the representative of God on Earth. The world is not something to escape from.
1) Creation (Nature) is not an illusion, a source of evil, a realm of suffering, etc. There is
something intrinsically good about being here.
Meaning… in human existence: Humans posses glory and splendor but they also have
limitations, frailties and weaknesses.
1) Human being/Image of God: Idea in Judaism and Christianity but not Islam: Humans
are made in the image of God. Self Consciousness, moral capacity, capacity for reason
and the ability to master at their rationality and agriculture domestication. Being created
in the image of God means that humans have a specific purpose here, which is to rule
over and care for this world Animals also make rational choices but not as good as
humans. Jewish thinkers were attune to the fact that humans had special characteristics
compared to other animals.
2) Moral freedom: Human beings are responsible for their actions. They have the ability to
freedom. We always had the ability to act as we chose. To choose freely. To know that
there is a choice. With this freedom comes responsibility for the consequences of ones
3) Sin: to “miss the mark”. Not fulfilling the role you were created for. They are done when
we use moral freedom to do wrong things. Aiming for the wrong things.
Meaning… in History: It is a moral record of human choices and actions. Distinguishing it with
nature. God rewards or punishes depending on whether or not God keeps his laws. History
incorporates the natural cycle however God is seen as transcending the natural cycle.
Distinction between the way things are and they way they ought to be.
1) Nature vs. History: one thing that distinguishes judaism from the pagan rituals going
on in antiquity is that the pagan religions focused on fertility, the harvest etc. Judaism,
however, was centered in the image of God and the moral relationship between God and
his people. The practices of Judaism were concerned with morality. History= story of
human actions with moral judgement.
Meaning… in morality: Humans are social beings. Some form of basic rules need to be in
order about how we interact. The body is our own possession. Some set of rules need to be
followed bout how we bring it about. Rules enlarge our abilities in life. These rules are morality.
1) Ten commandments: Moses received these commandments when he went on top of
the mount Sanai to encounter God. Lays out the basic guidelines for how people ought
to live. First four discuss how humans should relate to God (no images of God, no
taking his name in vain). The next six explain how humans should relate to one another
(no murder etc) or how we ought to relate to each other.
They are as follows:- 1) Don’t worship false gods
2) Don’t make any image of god
3) Don’t take god’s name in vain
4) Honor the Sabbath (last day of the week)
5) Honor your parents
6) Don’t murder
7) Don’t commit adultery
8) Don’t steal
9) Don’t bear false witness
10)Don’t covet—don’t desire what your neighbor has
2) 613 commandments: (rabbinical Judaism: Rabbis interpret the Torah for Jews). Jewish
rabbis, over time, have identified 613 unique rules for Jews to follow based on the ten
commandments. When they went on to read the Torah, it consisted of 37 odd books 5 off
whom were said to be authored by Moses.
Meaning… in Justice: No discrimination. People should not be judged based on social factors.
This should not be done because humans are always more than they show because they are
created by God. The need to maintain equitable relations between humans. Be careful when
1) Moses: the original prophet in Judaism. He is also unique in the sense as he gives the
law. He is the one who goes up Mount Sinai (story from Exodus) & talks with god for 40
days & then comes down the mountain with 2 stone tablets inscribed are the 10
2) Prophetic Guilds: Several hundred years after the death of Moses, groups of people
who were believed to be possessed by the spirit of God, express themselves in rather
strange ways, cut themselves