World Religions- Lecture 2 Notes 06:37
The 10 Waves: (Chapter 1)
The problem with the 10 wave theory is that since it implies that religion evolves, it
in turn implies that the previous religions/traditions are less advanced and
Why waves? Why not stages? Because, metaphorically, waves come and go but they
can always return; they flow in to each other; fluid.
10 waves is just a tool used in our textbook to have a ground zero to develop ideas
about religion on; not necessarily a rock solid theory.
Ancient Religion: (Chapter 2)
Polytheism- means cultures or traditions that have multiple gods/goddesses
involved. E.g. Greek mythology, Hinduism.
Myth- a narrative that tells a religions story (sacred history). Frames a religions
view of the word, organizes people in to groups, origin stories. Myth provides
interpretations of the world/universe that provide meaning for religious people.
Texts/literature- a more stable piece of evidence to determine what was happening
in ancient times.
The idea of textual information are not only written but can also be oral. E.g.
Islam Mohammad receives the message. The oral component in texts is always
there; silent reading is more of a modern tradition.
Death/Afterlife- in ancient traditions these key concepts are different from modern
view. Early Hebrews and Greeks portrayed the afterlife as a dark and grim place.
Caricature- a distortion; when one religion is talking about another religion. Can be
intentional or unintentional distortion.
Judaism: (Chapter 3)
What seems to be generic among religions is that human contact with god seems to
have happened in the past rather that being an eternal thing. God is aware of all
the events happening.
What is the East and West? Europeans used themselves as the reference point.
Why is Islam considered a western tradition? Historically, its connected to the
biblical traditions of Judaism and Christianity.
In Judaism, we have an idea of a sequence of revelations that are given to profits
over time. Also, the idea needs to be expressed in different ways to get the message
across over time. God is not redundant is Judaism , Islam and Christianity. There
are successive waves of revelation because over time humans may have lost the
lesson from these revelations and it needs to be reintroduced as a reminder.
In Judaism, there is no one founder of the religion, rather there is a sequence.
It can be defined as an ethnic designation; being a Jew that is; does not necessarily
have to imply being a devout Jew, but could mean being identified as a Jew for
having Jewish parents.
Devout Jews answer the call of god and strive to live out the Torah ( the
commandments of God).