Judaism 1/17/2012 6:06:00 AM
The 10 Waves and Ancient Religions
Fact, Theory, and interpretation
The English word religion
Death and the Afterlife
History is the creation of the scholars imagination J.Z. Smith
Judaism: Definition and Classification
o Jewish Traditions
Originally tied in with agriculture and the seasons
70 CE, when temple is destroyed.
o Can be a cultural, ethnic categorization
o Not racial
o One God.
o Monolotry: Asking people to believe in only one god, while
acknowledging that the others exist.
o law according to God. Gods guidance.
o Can be the Hebrew Bible. Specifically the 5 Books of Moses
o Talmud and Midrash
o Some kind of transmition of information. The prophet is the
one who receives the messages.
o Think of these stories as God participating in history o They are different every time, otherwise people wouldnt
listen. Not point for God(s) to repeat themselves.
o Prophets Moses
From academic point of view, there is no evidence that
Mercy. God is always giving second chances. Might be punishments, but
eventually one will get a second chance.
Not referred to as an Old Testament
o Polemics: Showing your side to be right, and the other to be
Pentateuch; Tanakh (Acronym:T N K)
o Where most of the stories are found.
o Also called the 5 Books of Moses
o 1. Torah
Genesis; Exodus; Leviticus; Numbers; Deuteronomy
There is a written and oral Torah. Both important.
o 2. Prophets (Neviim)
o 3. Writings (Ketuvim)
History, Scared History, and Narrative
o Stories that the tradition themselves present.
o Hypotheses about who they were, where, doing what, etc.
o 1. Cosmic: Creation of order out of chaos
In the beginning was the word
Cosmogoic Myth- Creation stories of the universe.
o 2. Adam and Eve
Garden of Eden (Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil)
Eve is convinced to eat from the tree because of a
serpent (who is later identified as satan)
Suggests the idea of a contract. Also called
covenant. Obey and you will be rewarded, disobey
and there will be problems. Their punishment was being banished from
the garden, having to work for a living,
aging, having babies, etc.
Later Intervention (Page 38)
Judaism doesnt believe in Eternal Sin
In Genesis. Starts by saying In the beginning God
created the human
o Commonality of Flood Myth in Mesopotamia- Theme of
Tradition. Its a very common myth in other cultures, so its
not just a Judaism thing.
Pre-historical evidence might suggest that there was a
big flood at some point, but its not really known.
o Idea of God needing to restart the Earth, because he,she,it
cannot fix it.
o God tells Noah about his idea, and to save the animals. Noah
builds an arc.
The World of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs
o Considered the first key patriarch
o His name was originally Abram, but God changed it. Idea of
name change is significant.
o Promised the land of Canaan if he follows Gods guidance. He
asks him to spread the exclusive word, for people to only
worship him as the only God.
God mentions that everyone should be circumcised so
they can be identified.
He is also asked to sacrifice his son. He proves his
loyalty by being willing to sacrifice his son, but it never
ends up happening.
Isaac. The second son. With a woman named
Ishmael- First son, with a mistress type woman.
Becomes the father of the Arabs. Isaac and Ishmael are brothers, which is
interesting in modern times.
o He was really righteous and lives for a long time. Like
hundreds of years.
o Son of Isaac.
o One day he has a dream of what angels do in their daily life.
Then he gets into a little fight with a spirit. And he wins.
Which shows that he is special.
o His name is changed to Israel which means struggle. And
becomes father of the Israelites.
o Achieves some kind of stability in life. Has kids, etc.
o Land is no longer called Canaan, its named after Jacob.
o His brothers dont like him because his dad seems to like him
the most. So they kidnap him, and sell him into slavery in
Egypt. Even as a slave, he is still special. He becomes buddies
with the ruler. Then further proving how special he is, he
invited his family to Egypt with him after a famine devastates
o Moses is the Prince of Egypt. He sees a guard beat up a slave,
so he kills the guard. Then has to take off because he is now
o Egypt as a starting point of exodus
o It was made sure that Moses wasnt considered divine, and
not subject to special treatment.
o 2 Key Experiences
Weird because the bush isnt being burnt. Its just
God tells Moses that he has to go back and save
the slaves because he now has a very personal
relationship with them. Moses refuses at first.
God has hardened the pharaohs heart, so he
knows that the pharaoh will lose against Moses.