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Lecture 3

Lecture 3 - RLGA02

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David Perley

Religion: Lecture 3  According to tradition the first person to build the first temple was Solomon  Judaism as a historian would not say it has a single founder o It’s a hyper-diverse tradition  Being Jewish can be a religious category but it can also be an ethnic category as well  Today the majority of Jews that would identify themselves as Jewish would categorize themselves as secular (not practicing)  The state of Israel in a modern view is primarily a secular process  While the majority of the Jews are secular, the political parties that are in power have been orthodox  religious, traditional  Monotheism infers other categories - Think polytheism, one and many - Can’t come up with the idea of having one God without the idea that there were already many other Gods  Abraham wants an exclusive contract with Abraham but there is no exclusive reference in that story in the Hebrew bible that he wants his exclusive worship because none of the other God’s exist - “I’m a jealous God”  I will be everything you require  The idea that there’s monotheism (only one God and the others are not true) develops in this tradition  There’s story in the Hebrew bible especially in the earliest parts of it that are narratives that are so absolutely influential in Western culture in general but certainly in Christianity, Judaism and Islam - Think of them as stories/narrative/myth because there’s things within these stories that we can’t historically verify - These stories are profound, they’ve shaped people, culture, literary culture -  influence is radical  When the eastern traditions are presented in textbooks we get this very abstract idea based presentation, then when we switch to the textbook for Judaism, Christianity and Islam it’s the linear historical kind of story  God is all powerful, all knowing being watching what happens at certain times, interjects and intervenes - Revelation: at a certain time God’s going to interject to give us a lesson  People who receive God’s messages are prophets  Big picture themes in these stories: God wants us to follow rules and guidelines - Typically in these stories we do for a while then we fail, we get punished, God sets it up again to give us another chance  cycle of success and failure - On going history of success and failures - God is watching us as we succeed and fail  Think historically in terms of the 3 sections, the Hebrew Bible (Pentateuch, tanakh, T N K) is: 1. Torah  We might think of Torah as the 5 books of Moses (pentatuech): i. Genesis ii. Exodus iii. Leviticus iv. Numbers v. Deuteronomy  A way of life = might not mean the actual book itself, might mea God’s will, commandments, wishes for us  Moses as a figure in these stories is done by Exodus, not around after  The Hebrew bible = whole thing 2. Prophets (nevi’im)  In the tradition, why might they call them the 5 books of Moses? i. Moses is given authorship, not that he wrote them but he was the one who received the messages and translates them down to the people ii. Tradition has the idea that some of the things Moses said were written down, but the traditions also has this idea that they are sayings and doings that he’s talked about on an oral level 3. Writings (Ketuvim)  We’ll see in the rabbinical tradition that the oral tradition also eventually get written down  Written wisdom of Moses  Rabbis use the Talmud and the Hebrew bible in terms on interpretation  Early parts of the Hebrew Bible gets collected and codified around 200 BCE  Tanakh = the whole thing that is the Hebrew Bible (Torah, prophets and writings) get codified at about 90 CE  Prophets telling people to do better straighten out  Judges are like prophets, they are high profile people like Abraham and Moses, they still receive messages and give out warnings  Exhortation – a word to make us think about the general style of some of these writings - Warnings/cautions - The temper of climate of the teaching or sermon or story  These books really existed as oral text o 10 commandments and Moses o but the tradition also believes that there was stuff that leaked out orally over the years still absolutely essentials and over the years get written down  the word is a polysemous word = more than one meaning EXAMPLES OF REWARD/PUNISHMENT, EXILE, HOME/HOMELAND/PROMISELAND, FOLLOWING GOD’S COMMANDMENTS ALL CONNECTED TO SUCCESS AND FAILURES  Creation Stories 1) “Cosmic”: Creation of Order out of Chaos - looks at dark stuff sort of like mud and begins making separations (water from earth, light from darkness) - God makes distinctions like land and water = act of creation itself - Idea that by simply thinking or talking about this stuff that it can actually take place  God separated it in his world of ideas and it’s actually created in the world  God utters the world  God’s power through oral articulation - Cosmogonic myth  helps to explain where the world came from - Ex. Shinto 2) Adam and Eve  Garden of Eden (tree of ?) o Later interpretation (p.38)  Eve is made from Adam  All the key figures in this tradition is prominently male  Eve made the decision to eat the apple and suffers  Adam participates in naming God’s creatures  They get in trouble because they eat the fruit of the forbidden tree  Before they get in trouble, they were child like, free, praising the Lord  They disobey God’s limitations (NOT A CONTRACT, just agreement)  The snake (in the text there’s no inference that it is the devil) causes trouble and is also punished: tempts Eve that you should eat the fruit because it’ll make you God like; have the capacity to know from good
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