1. Describe in some detail the significant approach to the study of religion that the following historians of
religion took? YELLO W MEANS NOT imp. Info. RED MEANS SERIOUSATTENTION
F. Max Muller [1893-1900]
• great German scholar, and a comparative linguistic, that learned every other language, to study
other religions, to interpret it from the language
• studied at the universities of Leipzig, Berlin + Paris languages: Greek, Latin, Sanskrit- later pali,
Chinese, Persian + Hebrew
• in 1848 he taught European language and literature at Oxford University
• 1849-1873- translated Rig Veda, 6 volumes
• 1879-1894- edited sacred books of the east – 50 volumes
• Muller is the founding father of the science of religion, Religionswissenschaft, stressing on the
importance of linguistically study of textual sources (materials )from the original language
Mircea Eliade [1907-1986]
• Founded Phenomenological [1940-1945]
• symbolic understanding of the text
• Studied Indian philosophy under S.N Dasgupta
• Brought Together linguistical analysis of texts: anthropological and sociological studies principle
• Founded a new international journal of comparative historical studies called “History of Religion”
Wilfred C. Smith [1916-2000]
• Studied religion from within the culture, made personal thoughts, reinterpreted, so they were
• Published the meaning and end of religion, stressed the end of “ism”
• personal interpretation of scriptural texts- hence, traditions religious studies are about people, and
people change over time, dynamic interpretation of texts and tradition as well as meaning and symbols
2. What are the principle characteristics of ELOHIM, the GOD, in GENESIS [chapter 1] “who created the
Heavens and the Earth”, what is HIS NAME in CHRISTIANITYAND ISLAM?
• Created Earth (cosmos) from, chaos
• Elohim, is a divine being, name is plural and it transcends gender
• He is the 1 cause (spiritual principle), first uncaused cause
• Efficient cause, not material cause, which meant he did not come from existent matter, lie
• God is transcended but God is imminent in his revelations meaning God revealed himself through
the Prophets but remained apart from his
• His name in Christianity is Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in Islam its Allah
3. What is the SYMBOLISM of “the WATERS” that is the subject of GENESIS Chapter 1 , verses 2 & 6
and following and to what earlier mythological CREATION MYTH did BIBLICAL HISTORIANS trace its
2: The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God
was moving over the face of the waters
6: And God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from
• Water is a preexisting matter, along with God and wind
• Is Chaos, which is a monster or as the qualities of coldness, sterility, quiescence, repression, and
restraint, the situation which inhibits creation
• Potter- pot, where clay was made in a pot that of which can be compared to the story of genesis
where water [chaos] was built into a firmament that brought about order to the cosmos
What earlier creation myth JUST ONE MYTH did biblical historians trace is origin?
• De-mythologized-historicized [page 5]
• From Babylonian myth, 2500 BCE
• Tehom: Deep waters, that can be called Chaos
• Tiamat: Wicket dragon
• Relationship: Tiamat the wicked dragon enters a battle with Marduk (God of Wind), Marduk sliced Tiamat and separated her body into the water at the top and below (Heaven and Earth) and this
theoretical myth symbolizes God exposing himself in the beginning and separated the water above
from the water below creating the heaven and the earth.
4. What is the THEORY OF CREATION in the verses in GENESIS Chapter 1 that begin with the words:
“AND GOD SAID” and what does GOD conclude after each aspect of HIS CREATION?
• And God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.
• God first created light from his words, out of nothingness, and he saw that the light was good.
• Second, God created a firmament (Dome) in the midst of the water to separate the waters from the
waters and he called the water above, Heaven and he gather water below which is the dry land and
called it Earth.
• God concludes 1.31 “and God saw everything that he had made and behold, it was good.”
• God is transcendent and immanent
• God creates by his word, out of nothing.
5. What is the THEORY OF TIME that is implied in the words “IN THE BEGINNING” and how do
JEWS, CHRISTIANS, and MUSLIMS understand it, i.e. The Theory of Time in terms of God’s
• The Quote “In the Beginning…” implies that time is a linear factor i.e. There is a beginning and
an end of time. Unlike non Abraham religions who believe in cyclical timeline. There is a creation and
an end to time.
• God created the cosmos,
• God is transcendent but god is immanent in his revelation –to the end of time, through God’s will
according to his revelation in this world to create the good according to God’s revelation #10
• to Moses in the torah
• to Jesus Christ
• to Muhammad in the Qur’an [page 10]
• God creates from substance or nothing
6. In Genesis Chapter 2 Adam and Eve are told by God not to the fruit of Tree in the middle of the
GARDEN OF EDEN and what is the symbolic significance of the CHOICE they made?
• Fruit of what tree: the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
• He must not eat the fruit because he would DIE and also that would become a direct defiance of
• The word to Die does not mean death of Adam but meaning that Adams innocence would be
diminished by bringing about the sin of humanity.
• Further symbolism: Once eaten Adam and Eve become Human and their eyes opened and knew
that they were naked[page 13]
• then banished [page 15] and become fully human – knowledge of Good + Evil [now obtained] and
freedom of will to choose between good and Evil
7. What is the SYMBOLISM of the SERPENT in GENESIS Chapter 3, and how is that symbolism
understood in CHRISTIANITY and ISLAM and how does the symbolism in Christianity, and Islam solve
the problem of the origin of evil?
• Symbol of Serpent: was pre-existent evil, symbol of evil, meaning that it was evil by nature. This
automatically causes an assumption that God must have created Evil since it is to our understanding
that God was the creator of all. However, in Christianity and Islam the serpent symbolizes Iblis
(Satan). But as Christianity and Islamic religion put it, the Fallen Angel (Devil) created Evil. < friend’s
• Christianity: Original sin- all humanity fell in to sin [page 17], therefore Adam has original sin
• All humanity fell in to sin …not only disobedient but transgression – directed against God[page
17], then Christ came, had the resurrection, and humanity rises
• Islam, Jinn – can chose evil or good, Iblis leads the evil ones, jinn, [page 23] symbol- choice for
evil, choice for good. Adam does not have origi