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Lecture 9

CLA160H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Septuagint, Ancient Greek Philosophy, Human Power


Department
Classics
Course Code
CLA160H1
Professor
J.Ramsay
Lecture
9

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CLA310 - Religion in the Roman World
Wednesday Nov 14, 2012
Lecture 9 - Judaism in Rome
Questions
What are the main characteristics of ancient Jewish religious practices?
Not entirely uniform - some groups will disagree with one another
How did Jewish religion differ from polytheistic religious practices in the Roman Empire?
What was the relationship between Jews and the Roman Empire?
Passes under the control of Roman Empire
How does this affect their religion?
Why would Judaism be perceived as superstitio?
What is the problem with the term ‘Jew’?
Modern scholarship calls them ‘Judean’s' - making an emphasis to link these people who
are ethnically and socially similar with the land
She (the lecturer) will just call them Jews, or Hebrews
Key Events in Jewish History
God’s covenant with Abraham (2nd millennium BC?)
Oral history from Torah - came together much later when in exile under a foreign power
Abraham had agreement with a single god who defined himself as One God
This agreement was that this elderly man would have a son, and through this son, many
children
Abraham and his wife (who was also old) had no children
He has a son with his wife and it is miraculous
Human power is weaker than divine power
Moses leads Exodus from Egypt (1600-1300 BC?)
Oral, later written
Famine and so they had to go to Egypt
They flourished there, Egyptians scared by their power and enslaved them
Had to kill first born sons
Moses saved and adopted by the daughter of the Pharaoh and becomes an important mem-
ber of Egyptian community
He later leads his people out of Egypt
He is the mouth of God - God speaks to him, and through him
God sends plagues and eventually the pharaoh lets them go (Let my people go!)
Founding of Israel, ruled by judges, then kings (1350-586 BC)
A lot of archaeological evidence (finally)
Moses leads his people out of Egypt
Canaan, in the bible
The Israelites do not listen tot he commands of God and rebel, and thus punished - those
who were born in Egypt will not make it to Canaan
Take over Canaan by force
Biblical narrative - the people of Canaan had sinned and should’ve known better
Judge can have military connotation
Eventually the Israelits keep slipping back into the worship of other deities

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CLA310 - Religion in the Roman World
Wednesday Nov 14, 2012
Lecture 9 - Judaism in Rome
But the descendants need to only worship one god in order to be a great nation, otherwise
they leave themselves open to being conquered
The time of the judges comes to end, the jews lose Arc of the Covenant which forms a cen-
tre of Jewish worship
It is later recovered
God says to them that because you’ve being disobedient you’re going to have a king; they
may not always lead you into victory and treat you well, and it wasn’t my original plan but
you obviously need one
Kings initially very powerful
Under third king Solomon a great temple is built where the Arc is kept
Jews recognize that the majority of their kings didn’t do the best job, and their willingness
to admit this is very un-roman
Divided kingdom: Israel in North, Judah in South
After Solomon
Divided into 12 tribes of people, and they go one way or the other
They wind up disagreeing on where they should practice religion
Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, but north in Israel don’t have the same access, causing
their religion to be a bit different
Assyrians conquer Israel (721 BC), Babylonians conquer Assyria, then Judah (586 BC)
The jews are killed and scattered
Babylon becomes main power in that part of the world
Jewish nobles taken into captivity in Babylon
Babylonians destroy their temple
In that period of exile the sacred text was brought together
Persians conquer Babylon (538 BC); Alexander the Great conquers persia, Seleucids rule Judea
Allowed to rebuild their temple
Pompey conquers Mithridates VI of Pontus (63 BC), Judea under Roman rule (governed by
kings loyal to Rome)
Romans install kings of some sot of Jewish descent to rule but also have close relationship
with Roman gov’t
Jews don’t believe that being conquered diminishes their god, but that they are punished
Romans ask them to put statutes of the Roman gods in their temples
This obviously doesn’t sit very well
Romans finally allow them their practices, so long as they pay taxes and don’t revolt
1st Jewish Revolt (66-73 AD), Kitos Revolt (115-7 AD), Bar Kochba Revolt (132-5 AD)
66 AD - revolt that leads to the destruction of the temple
115 AD - minor
132 AD - winds up with the destruction of Judea as a province (it is renamed, along with
Jerusalem). We can trace the end of a distinct nation to this point
Religious Performance in Judaism
Temple is the only place where they worship their god
Jewish temple very different from Graeco-Roman temple
Very segregated
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