RS 110 - MODULE 3.docx

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Published on 28 Jan 2014
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RS 110 Module 03
Medieval Judaism
500 and Later, center of Jewish life shifted to Babylonia (today Iran)
Yeshiva
oSchools of talmudic learning
oInterpretation of Talmud
oThere is never really an end to the interpretation of Torah
There is always more understanding/meaning that can occur
Current context is important
oGoan/Geonim were the professors
People who kept learning and culture alive
Reminded Jewish people of their roots in Torah
Encounters with Christianity and Islam
oFirst time the 3 religions entered into a 'dialogue'
oThose who were learned within the religious took notice of philosophies of
others
Question of intellect
oWhen scripture is based on divine origin and revelation, what is the role of
reason and intellect?
Do you believe blindly?
Do you believe against reason?
Can you marry reason and faith?
oThese questions existed in all 3 religious in the 8th century
The Karites - 800 - 900
Followers of Anan ben David
Interpreted Torah very literally
Accepted only written Torah as divinely authoritative
oAny human/oral interpretation was rejected
It did not have the same authority
Same position as Sauddecees
Mother tongue was Arabic
oEarly scriptures were Aramaic or Hebrew
oTranslation had to occur
oWe have Jewish groups who are linguistically separate from one another
Reason was more important than in rabbinic interpretation
Use of ones own intellect is important in understanding religious matters
Three Important Rabbis
Saadia ben Joseph (882 - 942)
oMother tongue was Arabic
oFrom Babylon
oTranslated Hebrew bible in Arabic
oJews living in Babylon now had access
oHope that muslims would read the Torah
There is no inherent contradiction between Revelation and Intellect
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Revelation is a gift that complements reason
Reason makes revelation intelligible
No inherent conflict; allegorical interpretations are possible
Wrote The Book of Beliefs and Opinions
Only Judiasm is divinely inspired truth
Defended oral tradition as legitimate
Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitzhak (1040 - 1105)
Often referred to as Rashi
Most significant commentator on the Talmud
Lived north of Paris
oTalmuic learning has moved from Babylonia to Europe
Translated Hebrew works into French
Judah Halevi (1075 - 1141)
Lived in Spain
Talmud scholar
Neo-Platonic philosopher
Poet
Wrote The Kuzari
oPeople living near Caspian Sea
oSearching for the 'true religion'
oExamined the 'big 3', chose Judaism
oChristianity and Islam were 'stages' in spiritual growth
oJudaism represented divine revelation that was authentic in final forms
oProof: given history of Jewish people, survival against all odds,
oGod's support must be authentic
"The Eternity of Israel"
The 13 Principles of the Jewish Faith
Maimonides (1135 - 1204)
Moses ben Maimon
Rambam
Most important Jewish philosopher
Born in Spain, ended up in Egypt
Espoused Aristotelian philosophical framework
oRenaissance around this time
oIslamic philosophers
oThomas Aquinas (Christian philosopher)
oLater in Europe plato gained upper hand
Rejected Aristotelian notion of eternity of creation
God can never be not active - it's impossible
God is an active cause
If God was not active, the world did not exist
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Document Summary

500 and later, center of jewish life shifted to babylonia (today iran) Yeshiva: schools of talmudic learning, interpretation of talmud, there is never really an end to the interpretation of torah. There is always more understanding/meaning that can occur. Current context is important: goan/geonim were the professors. People who kept learning and culture alive. Reminded jewish people of their roots in torah. Encounters with christianity and islam: first time the 3 religions entered into a "dialogue, those who were learned within the religious took notice of philosophies of others. Can you marry reason and faith: these questions existed in all 3 religious in the 8th century. Accepted only written torah as divinely authoritative: any human/oral interpretation was rejected. Mother tongue was arabic: early scriptures were aramaic or hebrew, translation had to occur, we have jewish groups who are linguistically separate from one another. Reason was more important than in rabbinic interpretation.

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