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Department
Religion
Course
RLG202Y1
Professor
Adam Green
Semester
Winter

Description
January 16, 13 Hellenistic Judaism - Decisive for the formation of Christianity. - 1) Theme of Diaspora - 2) Way in which Christianity is responsible for the preservation of Hellenistic Judaism - 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 diaspora. - Also Jewish communities in the Persian Empire - The temple and the Torah (translated to Greek) helped in the diaspora - 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 Judaism - 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 allowed. - 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 normally done - 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 – caused resentment - 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 6) Philo - 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 know G-d - 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 9) Josephus - 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 10) Works - 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 11) Teachings - 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 educational ideal - 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 - History - 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
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