RLGA02H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Worship God, Ketuvim, Polysemy

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Published on 9 Feb 2013
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
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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
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
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