Religious Studies 1B06
Discerning and Obeying the Will of the ONE God
The Abrahamic Traditions
God, Torah/Covenant, Israel (Judaism).
God, Lord, Church (Christianity).
God, Qur’an, Umma (Islam).
All three traditions teach that the God of Abraham revealed his will concerning
Omnipotent – has ultimate power and is able to do anything.
Omniscient – all knowing
Omnipresent – God is everywhere
Omnibenevolent – God is merciful
Theodicy a problem for all three traditions – how can a God is all knowing allow
Theocracy a subtext to all three traditions – the rule of God; rule in the name of
Abraham in History.
Judaism, Islam and Christianity traditionally taught that Abraham was a real person who
lived in the second millennium BCE – but there is no evidence of that.
No evidence outside of scripture for the existence of Abraham. Evidence for ideas about
the divine that challenged a polytheistic view. Many people will take on the role of being
the speaker on behalf of God – God speaks through them.
Monotheism arose in the ANE and became identified with the Israelites and their
successors: Jews, Christians, Muslims.
Abraham embodies this innovation in religious understanding.
Genesis 17:1-7 is the first book of the Bible.
People and Dates -Timeline
Hammurabi: 1800 BCE
Moses: 1200 BCE
David and Solomon: 1000 BCE – David choses Jerusalem as the capital; he is
King and God tells him that his rule will be eternal. Solomon builds the temple of
Jerusalem – the covenant agreement requires sacrifice only in this temple. The temple
was destroyed twice by the Babylonians, then the Romans in 70 CE.
Cyrus: 500 BCE – He was Persian – Persians defeated the Babylonians – in the
Bible he is a great person. Cyrus allows the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the
temple for the first time. Anointed man of God.
Antiochus IV Epiphanes: 200 BCE – responsible for the first wide spread of
destruction of Jews, just because they were Jews. Antiochus wanted a unified culture, but
he felt that the Jewish culture did not fit with his idea of unified culture. Antiochus did
not believe that the act of circumcision of baby boys was ok – not eating pork was not
right. So he defiled their temples and had many Jews killed. Jesus: 30 CE – he was male. Important figure.
Vespasian: 70 CE – Responsible/in charge of Rome when the Jerusalem temple
was destroyed for the second time – drove out the Jews.
Constantine: 300 CE – Christian; made Christianity a legitimate practice in the
Roman world. Christianity emerges out of the Roman Empire – Constantine is given the