January 16, 13
- Decisive for the formation of Christianity.
- 1) Theme of Diaspora
- 2) Way in which Christianity is responsible for the preservation of
- 3) Forms it took
- 4) Demography, politics, Culture
- 5) Distinctive beliefs (The Septuagint)
- 6) Philo
- 7) Major works
- 8) Original teachings
- 9) Josephus
- 10) Works
- 11) Teachings
1) Theme of Diaspora
- Late second temple period
- A lot of Jews living in the regions around Israel
- All of the major cities around the Mediterranean had Jewish
communities in them.
- People who emigrate from one culture to another will retain it for at
least 2/3 generations
- But the Jews were there for several centuries surviving in the
- Also Jewish communities in the Persian Empire
- The temple and the Torah (translated to Greek) helped in the
- Concept of pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
- The Rabbinic group only saw the worth in Hebrew scripture
3) Forms it took
- 1) Hellenistic Judaism in the Greek language
- 2) A book-centered religion
- 3) Essential that education had become a part of Judaism so that
there was a high level of education. – Proselytism – converting to
- 4) Literary creativity
- 5) Synagogue – another crucial [art of the survival (meeting and
educational center and a place of prayer).
5) Distinctive beliefs (The Septuagint)
- Septuagint – meaning seventy - A Greek king wanted to know what Judaism is about – the Hebrew
bible was to be translated to Greek (Pliny).
- All the 72 scholars produced the exact same translation.
- Well distributed around he ancient world.
- A ban was produced on the Torah but the Greek translation was
- It was the vehicle to educating people on what Judaism was.
4) Demography, Politics, Culture
- Demography – Statistical study of human populations
- May have been close to 6-8 millions Jews in the Greek world
- 1 million in Alexandria
- Judaism was an officially tolerated religion in the Roman Empire.
- 1) The Jews were exempt from worshipping the Emperor as god.
- ^worshipping man and images
- 2) Allowed to follow their own laws
- 3) Allowed to send contributions to the Temple in Jerusalem – not
- They were agriculturalists (farmers, breeders, etc…)
- Artisans, craftsmen, and in the military
- Civil service, tax-gatherers
- They were not merchants, money lenders, etc…
- In Josephus he apologizes that they are not good in business.
- In Alexandria the Jews were criticized for being too rich and in
Rome they were for being too poor. – beginnings of anti-Semitism
- 1) Differentness of the Jews (laws, beliefs, and social separateness).
- 2) In some cities Jewish success leads to envy.
- 3) The mob in these cities resented the peculiar ways in the city.
- 4) A lot of Roman aristocrats (children) were attracted to Judaism –
- 5) They were defamed for their religious belief – accused as
atheists (didn't believe in the gods and they had no picture)
- 6) They were resented for the privileges they had, that others didn't.
- 7) Resented for their views for the Pagan gods. – In so far as they
were judging the others and their religion.
- A great irony though – at the same time as this anti-Semitism was
emerging, there were many people attracted to Judaism.
- People called “Fearers of G-d” – half converted to Judaism –
attracted to Jewish customs without going all in.
- Took Shabbat as a rest day
- Lit candles on Shabbat
- Animal sacrifice
- Nero’s wife was attracted to Judaism
- - Fundamental Beliefs
- Wasn't that different from Judean Judaism (Hellenistic Judaism)
- 1) The belief in Monotheism (one, imageless G-d)
- 2) The belief in Torah/Scripture – the core of the tradition
- 3) Unity of the Jewish people (may have lived in the diaspora they
were the same people).
- Cultural differences
- 25 BCE – 50 CE
- Philo Judeas – Philo the Jew
- Born, lived, and died in Alexandria
- 40 CE went to Rome and appeal to Caligula to resend a law he sent
out – that they had to pray to the Emperor.
- Caligula died before the law could impose and Claudius who came
after shut down the law.
- A member of one of the leading families in Alexandria
- Many different views on Philo
- He apparently was an eclectic
- Plays a historical role in the Church
7) Major works
- 1) Expositions of the law – tries to interpret the bible to anyone
- Close proximity of Greek and Jewish thought
- 2) Allegorical interpretations scripture – credited with inventing
allegory as we know it.
- 3) Questions and answers of the bible
- 4) Apologetic works – tries to defend Judaism and Jews 1)
Hypothetica (Defending Moses), 2) The charges against Jews saying
they’re trying to separate themselves from the people.
- 5) Prolific and versatile writer – Pure Philosophic treatises. – On
Providence and others…
- 6) Purely historical works – In Flakis – Has a list of the misdeeds
against the Jews – he was then taken away from the Romans – this
is proof of G-d watching over the Jews. Also his letter to Caligula
and another work on the sects of Judaism.
8) Original teachings
- What made him so important to the Church?
- Doctrine of the Logos
- The beginning of John says how Jesus is the Logos
- To Philo – Logos – how G-d manifests itself in the world
- Logos – word or language - He is saying that reason and knowledge is the way we come to
- The fact that the world is intelligible, and that we can comprehend
it proves that G-d made this world for us (humans).
- Doctrine allegory – the Bible is a book written on several levels
- There is something going on within the surface.
- Equation of Moses with Plato – he said he was a great philosopher
- They were both involved in the same activity
- Doctrine of sober inebriation – Sober drunkenness – in searching
for G-d we can reach an ecstatic state which we don't need drugs to
get to – a peak of human awareness.
- Argument that the soul is good and the body is bad.
- He defines the Jews with an etymology – what it means to be
Hebrew – He who sees G-d – anyone who follows the right set, then
they are part of Judaism
- His teaching of providence. – rational doctrine anyone can accept
- Was not a Hellenistic Jew originally
- 37 CE – 137CE
- Once in his youth he visited Rome – it was seeing Rome that
sparked his interest of the revolt.
- He appeared to Vespasian that he will be the next emperor of Rome.
- Put Josephus into prison
- 75 – 79 – wrote the Jewish War
- re-wrote the Jewish story
- 3 basic purposes/tasks
- 1) Wanted to persuade the Jews not to blame the Romans in Israel
– it was with the bad leadership of the Jews
- 2) Wanted to persuade Rome to not blame Judaism for the revolt. It
was a separate sect
- 3) Tried to glorify Judaism in antiquity
- Described Judaism as a theocracy – where sovereignty rests in G-d
not a human.
- 4) Wrote an autobiography
- 1) Notion that the Jews are defined not in terms of faith or religion
but in terms of their constitution
- 2) The concept of Theocracy – sovereignty is solely in G-d.
- 3) Moses was unique because he paid attention to the emphatic
description of G-d. - 4) The Jewish conception is more universalist and Greek =
particular – the G-d conception is pure and also associated with
everyone – All of these fearers of G-d as proof
- 5) He finds a uniqueness of Judaism that it takes care of the moral
training of youth – not only the elite but all people – universal
- 6) Stresses that something about the law makes it voluntary –
teaches sacrifice and dedication.
- 7) The ethics of the Torah stress certain values which are at benefit
to human beings – stress on family, work, mutual trust, sobriety,
helping the needy, educating children, revering ancestors, honoring
parents. – world virtues which the Greeks could learn.
- The Jewish conception of Beauty is piety
- The Jewish conception of Harmony is life with other people
- The Jewish conception of courage – fight to preserve the laws.
- No stress on salvation – collective discipline
- No stress on messianism
- Universalist stress
January 23, 13
- 323 – 505 – Medieval Judaism
- Rabbinic Movement (Rabbinic Judndsm) – The idea of the Rabbi. –
With the destruction of the 2 Temple.
- How does this movement emerge from the Judaism before this?
- Transition from Pharisees to Rabbis
- 1) Pharisees as a movement was l