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Religions Lecture Notes.docx

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David Perley

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Religions Lecture Notes Lecture 1:  The ten waves o Water waves washing sand onto and off shore o Phases of religion and traditions o Demographic of religions, peak=happy, trough=dark times o Fluidity- water is soft but it also kills, they can be soft and fluid but then they can be abrupt o Adaptive- powerful, subtle, takes the shape of whatever it is put into  Key Elements in the Ancient Religions Chapter o Death in the afterlife- key concern in all religions o Deities- multiple deities and spirits in ancient religions; the internal meaning of monotheism and polytheism within religions vary o Theology- the study of God; a lot of religions develop intellectual traditions around scriptures, doctrines, and beliefs around traditions; interpretation of scripture  Religion is not just a set of beliefs, state of faith, or doctrine; for some it’s a doing things according to commandments; more about faith ; a state of faith, the activities and rituals that people do  Morality- tools and guide lines of right and wrong; people can be moral and not religious;  Not exclusively related to religions  Meta-analysis=bigger picture of what you are looking at.  Judaism Definition and Classification o Diversity  Jewish tradition  Something we don’t really talk about are the early ideas of Jewish traditions – agriculture o Transformed onto a new social context after the Abrahamic and Moses myth o Israelite religion-connection to the Temple o Ancient Israelite did go to the temple but not always, many couldn’t access the urban centres, people in society didn’t always agree to the way things were done; not a monolithic – stone slab o After destruction of Temple (second time) rise of rabbinical Judaism – interpretation=fuel of rabbinical Judaism o Orthodox, reform, and conservative Jews o Jewish- they may not be declaring their religion, may be ethnicity; may not be a practicing Jew-secular o Monotheism  To love the one God with all your heart and all your soul  Scholars talk about how in some of the earlier of the Hebrew Bible there’s ambiguity in saying that there is one God and all the others are fake or there is Yahweh and the others are not important  Monology- asking to worship one God but other exist but he’s the best  Torah-the word that refers to different things on different scales o the Hebrew Bible – the five books of Moses o Talmud- subsequent for interpreting the Hebrew bible; Midrash o The laws of God and his commandments o Can be everything accumulated in the Jewish tradition-all of the written and intellectual traditions  Revelation o Exchange of information between and the Prophet- not the author rather the scribe or receptacle of the message o God in all three traditions is the historical God o Quran is structured differently compared to the Christian-Judaism; scriptures are in order-beginning, middle, end;  Exodus story-Moses o Israelites in Egypt o Received the five books of Moses from God  The story of a sequence of revelations given to Prophets over a period of time  Characteristic of the Divine: Mercy o Key thing in Hebrew bible = second chance to redeem ourselves  Why does each revelation is different than the other – each will tell us something specific about the people of the time; insufficiency on the humans part; if God gave us the same message each time it would be redundant Pentateuch o the five books of Moses – Written Torah; oral Torah  Torah one = genesis, exodus, Leviticus, numbers, Deuteronomy  Torah 2 = tanakh- Torah (5 books of Moses) +prophets (Nevi’im) + writings (Ketuvim) – Hebrew Bible  Torah is very flexible like scripture- might not refer to something written; oral transmission; scripture=oral tradition  Ascribed to Moses-Pentateuch-5 books of Moses=written Torah; other traditions and messages he conveyed but they weren’t written and therefore known as Oral Torah  The Hebrew tradition the Bible is not called the Old Testament  Divine intervention  The revelation in Christian tradition is different instead of being the book it may be the arrival of Christ; his body is the event where the divine enters the earthly ground  Revelation in Judaism and Islam are the books as there is no figure of the divine  Christianity starts off as a Jewish sect,  Polemics- controversy, debates, contestations from one religion to another ; showing your side to be right and the other to be wrong; there is polemics between the new and old testament Scared History and Narrative  Scholars-hypotheses about the people; who they were, what they ate, political issues of the time  Beginning of Text (& everything else) o We have multiple version of how the universe and the world were created o 3 of the Gospels tell the same story but slightly different; creation of universe can be told on different scales o God created the world by cosmic- creation of order out of chaos  By making distinctions; light vs. darkness;  Cosmogonic myth o creation of the earthly plane; creation of Adam and Eve; Eve was created from a part of Adam  in the garden of Eden, giving names to all the animals (very important; the name of something is tied to its creation); eating and taking care of everything; singing the praises of the Lord; God tells them not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil; they disobey a serpent or snake tempts them telling they will become like God; exiled from the garden; and sent out into the world to vent for themselves- obedience/disobedience; reward/punishment Lecture 2: Torah:  generally refers to Gods guidance or laws in general  slightly more specific- the scriptures, the commentaries  more specific- Hebrew Bible/5 books of Moses (subsection of Hebrew Bible)  written Torah and Oral  the Hebrew Bible is a part of the Christian Bible Adam and Eve:  disobedience/obedience o contract/covenant was broken o do what I ask and you can do whatever in the garden, disobey me and you will be exiled and forced to labor in order to survive, now mortal, and will have children o it’s not something we’ve all inherited, a later interpretation of the traditions of Islam, Judaism ; people will have their own cycles of reward and punishment  NOAH: o Technical contract/covenant o God observes Noah and decides he’s quiet righteous  World is irrevocably messed up and God decides to wash over it and start over o God tells Noah that he will wipe out the world and promises him that He won’t be this severe again, makes a pack with Noah, he is rewarded builds an arch to prepare for the flood, houses it with species and human beings to restart again  Flood story in Mesopotamia was incorporated in many cultures and traditions o After the world restarts the people are viewed as descendants of Noah  Punishment-exile  Reward-being able to go home, given a home  Patriarchs: father; most traditions are dominated by men  Matriarch: mother Abraham:  Name changed from Abram to Abraham when he realized that there was something special between him and God  God promises him Canaan and long life and prosperity health and land in return of following Gods guidance and to sacrifice his son; lead a righteous life-not worshiping another God; all males sure be circumcised identifying as the signature of the contract o A great example of a demonstration of faith; willing to sacrifice his son  Islamic- Ishmael  Judaism-Isaac  has a son with Hagar (mistress) Ishmael  Sara-his first wife tries to out Ishmael and Hagar in a bad position for Isaac to get his place  In Judaism Isaac is asked to be sacrificed and Abraham talks to Isaac about it and at the end a ram runs out of the bushes and gets sacrificed; because of his obedience Abraham is rewarded with land, health  Ishmael and Isaac are exiled and Ishmael becomes the leader of Arabs  Isaac has a son Jacob- one of the key patriarchs o Has a dream one day outside of Canaan a heavenly ladder with angels and spirits going up and down; views this and encounters one of the beings and they get into a struggle; he overcomes the spirit which means he has a special status; he earns his new name Israel ( which means struggle); through some sort of transforming moment he changes and with him his name changes- his name is also symbolic of the group-Israelites o Achieve some stability; settles in Canaan and has ancestors and the land Canaan becomes Israel o Identity and land are tied together in these stories Joseph:  Favored by his father and his brothers are jealous of him; kidnap him sell him to slavery and shipped to Egypt  He is singled out in Egypt as a special individual and has an amazing ability to have visions and dreams and gets in favored with the political ‘machine’ of Egypt like the Pharaoh  Israel goes through a major famine and he offers his family to come to Egypt although they abandoned him Moses and the Law:  Egypt =staring point of Exodus  Moses is a slave and sees a guard whipping someone and kills him; he flees and his friends are being tortured for his actions and he splits; he has a vision of a burning bush which is burning but not consumed by the fire; bush=some vessel for God to have discussions with Moses; a good symbol of the Divine because it has some sort of immortal Divine status, a miracle; God speaks to him and tells him to go back and free the people; tell the pharaoh to let the people go and that he doesn’t have a choice; Moses refuses at first and says that he cannot convince the people and God tells him he can and Moses goes to free the people tells the pharaoh that Egypt will attacked if he doesn’t allow the people to leave and the pharaoh refuses and Egypt has many plagues and the pharaoh isn’t budging at all; throughout God hardens pharaoh’s heart making him more rebellious against Moses; the last plague is the death of all first sons; God tells Moses to marks the doors of the Hebrew with lambs blood so that when the spirit comes down it won’t kill them and will kill the others; this relates to the day of the Passover, the idea of the spirit passing over the doors of the Hebrews; the pharaoh’s son dies and the Hebrews get a chance to escape; the pharaoh follows them and they come to the Red Sea where the sea parts allowing the Hebrews to pass and washes over the Egyptians; the Hebrews go to the Sinai Peninsula where Moses goes to Mount Sinai and comes down with the Ten Commandments written on a slab with Gods finger or Moses carves it on later  Other messages Moses receives-Oral Torah- tied into the rabbinical tradition  Oral Torah becomes codified and included in the Talmud; the 10 Commandments becomes the official in writing contract/covenant inscribed in stone – permanency  Moses encounters with God and the 10 commandments the reaffirmation of the revelations with Abraham and Noah  First 5- deal with God; other 5-scocial commandments  In the desert they make a tent for worship known as the Tabernacle the houses the slabs of the ten commandments  Each town in Canaan was destroyed 1-4 times  Moses was still subject to the law – making everyone equal and God the Divine  Kings: Saul-David-Solomon o Solomon wrecks the first temple – permanent home for God o Temple: Priestly group runs the temple, in charge of the arch of the covenant, in charge of sacrificial offerings (animals, oil, grains) o First temple destroyed by Babylonian - punishment of disobedience o Judeans in southern kingdom are exiled and sent from Judah to Babylonia as a punishment o No more temple worship or practice but tradition survived by the publication of the oral tradition o In Babylonia the Jews get together and talk about the document and community activities and debate in order to keep the tradition alive o Jews interact with other cultures and get ideas to incorporate in their own tradition o The Babylonians conquer the Assyrians and the Persians conquer the Babylonians o The majority of the Jews stayed in Babylonia while some came back and rebuilt the temple; and they continue to have a major impact; temple was important but wasn’t everything; this led to the dispersal of the Jews and Judaism-Diaspora-Jews have been forever living under these conditions especially in the middle ages certain periods of persecution; Jews and Muslims were booted out of Spain and seek other places which led to more dispersal o Messiah- righteous person who helps us out a heroic figure;  Persians are conquered by the Greeks o Israel is run by the Greeks in 167 BCE; one of Alexander’s generals ran it  Violate the second temple – want to impose their own religious traditions (the Greek generals) he slaughters a pig on the alter  People revolt-one family the Maccabean (hammer) rebelled reclaimed the temple and purified it until the Roman general came and took over in 63 BCE. Lecture 3:  Messiah relates to both Judaism and Christianity, so include both in the answer  Baptism – Christian tradition and why is it important and what other rituals is it connected to  Maccabean revolt- began a Jewish dynasty – Judah the Hammer led the group o Formation of sects with Judaism  Sadducees- priestly classritual  Pharisees- legalists –> creeds, doctrines, ideas  Zealots-they go after something with a lot of passion, intensity; over the top; too enthusiastic religiously; designated tasks to people like what priests should do  Essenes- the dead sea squirrels text connected with the Essenes- quiet protestors, to study pray and worship; metical hermits; o Mostly within Christian history the Pharisees are partly responsible for the arrest and persecution of Jesus - the romans killed Jesus  Messiah: o In Jewish context the Messiah is someone who has a message that involves talking about what we’ve don’t wrong and the ramifications o Develops in the Jewish tradition in tough times o Messenger- more connected to the idea of prophets- receive revelations o Messiah-spiritual/ritual ruler that will come  kingly/political ruler to get rid of injustice  Has a focused role in the Jewish tradition  There are no more kings and the hopes and expectation of the people are that a kingly figure will come and restore order and justice- messiah  Apocalypticism in pop culture sense is the end of the world o Apocalyptic imagery- black and white-good and evil  things are stark in the setting o Radically/drastically o Involves a major possibly cataclysmic event o Talks about a radical change that will happen o Tied into the hopes of the return of a kingly figure o Righteousness into the world-punishment vs. reward CHRISTIANITY  Messiah: anointed one HEBREW: chosen one; dropping oil or some sort of water on them; sprayed or sprinkled with the water; you are the special person; CRISTOSChrist o Cosmic saviour  Jesus; saves us from death and we die because we are all sinners so in turn saves us from sins Destruction of the second Temple 70CE:  The rise of rabbinical Judaism o What is the most essential component of rabbinical Judaism that serves as a: “substitute?” Why is “substitute” put in quotation marks?  RABBINICAL JUDAISM: o Temple Judaism house of God – dwells here  Ten commandments are in the arch of the covenant  Sacrifice (animal and other)/ ritual worship  Market cultural component to the temple  Priests- in-charge of preserving the house of God o Refers to what happens to Judaism after the destruction of the Temple for the second time o Substitution how is the tradition preserved and able to survive:  Rabbis: a legal religious teacher; scholar; experts of the tradition  not Jewish priestsnot in charge of rituals o no ritual sacrifices  not Temple  priestly class disappears  tools scriptures; getting things done on paper; continues the culture of interpretation  Scripture: Hebrew Bible (TANAKH) : Moses receives 2 revelations; one gets written down as a book and the oral Torah in circulation that gets written down The MishnahThe book form of the Oral Torah tradition o Rabbi’s meet Mishnah and Hebrew Bible and debate about it, write more essays on it and eventually the Hebrew bible and the Mishnah and the Gemara become the Talmud o TorahHebrew Bible+ Talmud  Focused on the community of the believer and the text to survive  Community of believers needs at least 10 men gathered to carry out the rituals at the synagogue o Numbers are symbolic of the idea of the community  Traditions survive by publishing/codifying the scripture  Synagogue not a Temple now maybe referred to as a temple; o No real priestly class in Islamic tradition as well as Jewish tradition  Not really a substitution more like a transition o The perfection of the earlier tradition o Tradition is a fluid flexible term o Establish tradition; things in the past  Midrash: o The activity of interpretation o Revelation= Gods words o Interpretations= human words o Quran = revelation; Interpretation= deep literature, Sufi writings  New testament originally written in early form of Greek  Menorah: o Temple is purified by the Maccabean and menorah was a ritualised candle opal used in the Temple and the fuel in it lasted 8 days  Basis for Hanukah ; 8 candles representing the 8 days o Classically the symbol of Judaism; just like the star of David  Hanukhiah has more candle sticks Lecture 4:  Jesus o Mosaic metaphor:  Composite portrait of Jesus  Israel part of Roman empire  A lot of anti-roman sentiment- people protestingleads to dreams and hopes of Messiah figure – cosmic figure to save them  Tradition of apocalyticism- people telling each other that God is mad at us and if we don’t fix it something will happen; a radical moment of conflict that leads to something else after; cataclysm  Hints of it in the Hebrew bible  Many portraits of Jesus – four Gospels present four angles on Jesus (sometimes similar, sometime different)  Short life; most information about him comes from the Gospels; Gospels are sacred history but we can’t classify it as a historical record  Gospels give different perspective on who Jesus was  All four Gospels were canonizedpart of the traditional scripture; standard/authoritative materialimplies that there are other Gospels but weren’t canonized  Why the diversity in the Holy book?  tied into the belief of revelation; we might lose out on something God wants to tell us therefore we integrate all possible revelations.  Early Christians are Jews o The Hebrew Bible – integral part of early tradition and Christianity develops it still stays part of the holy books; new and old testament plus Hebrew bible are part of the holy books o Ten Commandments:  Half rules= how to interact with God; other half is how to interact with other humans; focused on the concept of love  Christians say the their God is a loving God and the one the in the Hebrew Bible is a wrathful God  Christianity shifts from focusing more on rules and laws to focusing more on being righteous, being forgiving, repenting; more on faith, faith in Jesus because anything can happen at any time the world can end.  Christians thought the messiah was going to come and start a new spiritual revolution; a new spiritual state of being for all humans o Eschatology: beliefs about after life; the study of the end times  The dead are resected and judged by God and decision on whether they will go to hell and heaven is made o Love and the Ten Commandments  Paul = founder of Christianity o As tradition develops; it wants to break out of the fact that it’s a part of Judaism o He had authority and communicated with early communities and manages everything o Adamant that he wants to include non-Jews into the tradition; opens the door of the tradition o The gentile may not be circumcised o Rabbinical Judaism substitutes rituals and activities from the ancient context o In Paul’s letters he focuses on a cosmic sense of Christ and says we are all sinners and we see in Paul the idea of inheriting the sin from the original act of Adam and Eve; not part of Jewish tradition but emerges with Paul and therefore Christianity o Ultimate punishment connected to sin is death; reward is home, long life, health, prosperity; o Paul says that God loves you as sinners but as long as you have faith god will give you a everlasting life;
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