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University of Toronto St. George
Adam Green

February 6, 13 - Rabbanites Judaism v. Karaite Judaism - 1) One could suggest that orthodoxies need heterodoxies (need opposition). - Judaism has defined itself as an orthodoxy. - 2) History shows many religions how they might learn and adapt to things – orthodoxies are not so in tune with learning from history - 3) General Rule – Traditions depend on geniuses (prophets) to revive traditions. (Max Weber – “Virtuosos”) - 5 Stages: - 1) Origins of the movement - Founder – Anan Ben David - 2) Benjamin Nahawendi - 3) Daniel – al-Kamisi - 4) Reasons for the decline of Karaism and Saadia - 5) Why did Karaism arise in the first place? - - Probably the greatest protest movement to arise in Judaism. - Threatened the future of Judaism - There was a time where more Jews were Karaites than Rabbanites. - Attracted great minds - Why it started: - 1) Anan ben David - 2) Sparked by social and economic causes (Babylonian Jewish Community [Iraq]). - 3) Simple, pure, theological disputes - Anan ben David – was in the line to become the exilarc – king of the Jews in exile (traced back to David). – Tremendous authority. – for some reason he was passed over – given to his younger brother instead of him. - ^This is because he was found to have a blemish (not physical). - He had spent a lot of time in Persia – hot bed of all kinds of radicalism. - Abu Isa – from Persia his disciple – Ugedan – they claimed to be the fore-runner of the messiah – they said they were planning the way – spiritual and military leaders – Jewish/Persian army to take back Israel – thwarted by the Caliph but this happened twice. - Tries to organize a counter exilarc - He is denounced by the Jewish government – sent to prison - He meets an Islamic radical (Abu Hanifa) – He becomes an advisor to Anan – if you want to succeed don't claim to be the exilarc but a sect in Judaism. - Leaves jail and makes his sect – Originally called Ananites - Karaites only believe in the original Bible (not the Talmud). - They reject Talmud and Rabbinic authority. - Introduced all kinds of other innovations which were not regarded with sympathy from all Jews – he decided to see Muhammad as a prophet (not for Judaism but in general) - The calendar – he insisted to go direct observation by the moon not new innovations to the calendar. - He brought in an aesthetic lifestyle. - Wrote his own book. – Book of the Commandments - Introduced – Search thoroughly in the scriptures and do not rely on my opinion (very similar to Protestantism) – Sola Scriptura (ultimately you need an interpreter authority) (He himself didn't follow it too well in writing his book). - Capitalized from things against the Geonim and yeshivot. - The leadership is a type to charismatic leadership with romantic background - Karaism - Rabbinic – authority who have been properly trained - 1) Emphasizes the priesthood – Rabbanites took things from the priesthood and adapted – they went back - 2) He changed the methods of circumcision (slightly) - 3) He turned the tithe into a basic tax – to maintain his community. - 4) Forbade all eating of meat (minus a few exceptions – only the deer and in terms of fowl – the pigeon) – goes with a subtheme of this movement – emphasis that the Jews were in exile – language of the prophets – the Rabbanites are at ease in exile – He says that they should be unhappy in exile until their return to Israel. - Meat eating was a type of penance for his community - 5) He changed the dietary laws – you can eat meat with butter – it isn’t a dairy product - 6) Passed a rule – Cannot leave your home on the Sabbath – you are technically traveling. – Also you cannot have a Shabbat goy. - 7) Restricted the laws of marriage – laws of propinquity – who you can marry and who you cannot. - 8) Banned going to doctors. - 9) Added a 70 day period - Day time fast and night time feasting - 10) Calendar back to the moon and not scientific - He was a rigorous - not for loosening up - Usually the protests are to make the laws easier but this was the opposite. - 715 – 795 (CE) - - 2) Nahawendi - He is in Persia - He consolidated and produced the name of Karaites – made into a larger movement - Not only search thoroughly in the scriptures – Also don't only rely on my opinion – more ritualistic than before - Anan starts compiling a law code - not laws but suggestions that people would ant to do – Nahawendi introduced new interpretations – a lot of rigor to the text. - People in debt can be sold into slavery to repay their debt.- brought back because it was the original Torah. - Closer to fundamentalism - You rely entirely on the scripture itself. - He allows Karaites to leave their homes during the Sabbath to pray. - He becomes a distinguished theologian. - Rabbanites - they disregarded theology - Karaites saw the value in theology. - Movement in Islam called the Kalam - Islamic theology – 2 basic schools – Asharites (orthodoxy of Islam) and the Mutazilites (reason and rationality) – Proving the justice of G-d. - Use of anthropomorphism. – When you depict G-d in human terms. - G-d created an angel to help create the world - the angel took care of creating. - Mt. Sinai – an angel was the one who spoke to the people. – G-d speaking means he has vocal chords. - Nahawendi helps spread it abroad – establishes itself in Egypt, North Africa, a beach head in Spain, Iraq, Iran, and Israel (Palestine). - Very close with Islam - th th - 3) al-Kamisi – lives in 9 and 10 C – died 946CE - In Iran (Persia) – goes further than both others in expressing the centrality of Israel for Jews – Jews should pick up and leave and pray for their sins so G-d will forgive them. Quazi-Zionism – They become the first number of Jews to go back to Israel – Imitated by Rabbanites - For people who haven’t gone back – they make a new movement – The Mourners of Zion. – Take on themselves extra aesthetic traditions to mourn – midnight vigils – banned meat, wine, and any luxury items from their lives – pray for the restoration of the Temple in Jerusalem. - al-Kamisi decided that the battle against the Rabbanites should still go on. - Wrote books on Karaite history. - He was more rigorous for laws – marriage laws – patterns which were really laws – brought the movement to its pique power in the 900’s – What explains the exile? – part is punishment for sins but also the function of the Jews t help spread the knowledge of the Torah to the world. - The dark side of exile – The destruction of the Temple was not just a crisis and catastrophe for G-d himself – a cosmic destructive force. - Gnostics. - The burdens on the Jews – help heal the world. - He went back to not letting people go to synagogue – you cannot have real worship of G-d on polluted soil. - Part of this mourning movement – reversal of a modern trend – Karaites tended to be a poorer group and the Rabbanites a richer group. - The Karaites – this is proof of our virtue – more pious and devoted than them – more committed to godliness. - In Egypt – they became the more wealthy community and the Rabbanites were not. - - 4) Why did the movement start to decline after Kamisi and who is Saadia? - Factors of the decline: - 1) Religious polemics (Saadia) - 2) The aesthetic lifestyle - 3) They never developed proper unifying sources and authorities – only relied on charismatic leaders – Only ok up to a certain point if you can’t count on producing those leaders. – needed structure - 4) Relied on messianic fervor. – they didn't have much else. - 5) The shift in Jewish life – Rise of Western Christian world – As Christian religious spread they became less popular. - 6) The general rise of Christian Europe - 7) A lot of the anger to the religious academies – started to decline – Maimonides causes an eclipse over the Babylonian world – He didn't like the academies – changed the dynamic of Judaism. - - 882 - 942 - Saadia ben Joseph – Saadia Gaon - First non-Babylonian to become the head of the academies. - he was from Egypt – Went to the academy in Sura – Helped by the exilarc David ben Zakkai - Saadia became famous for a battle he waged against the Palestinian scholars - they wanted to show that they were the center of Judaism – the calendar to be the direct observation of the moon in Israel. - He wrote the Book of Seasons - He was a Polymath - he knows everything and talented in all aspect of Jewish learning. - Maimonides - if not for the master Saadia Gaon - Torah would be lost in Israel. - Cultivated the study of the Talmud – made out the principle of how to properly derive laws from the Talmud - First one to set the final stages of prayer for Jews - He also wrote liturgical compositions. - Wrote a rhyming dictionary for poets. - He wrote a book about Hebrew Grammar. - (The Karaites were very critical about their use of Hebrew – they focused on Aramaic) - Must know the scripture as well as they know the Torah - He translated the Bible into Arabic. - He wrote a book against an Afghani Jew – tried to criticized the Jewish tradition – he refuted all his charges. - Saadia showed all of Anan’s mistakes and gave the Rabbanites points of defense against Karaites. - Wrote a book of beliefs and opinions - Writes a commentary on the Jewish mysticism – importance of the Hebrew language and alphabet – G-d made the world through the letter of the Hebrew alphabet. - Saadia makes it into a rationalistic theology of the above. - No difference between reason and revelation - Why did G-d need revelation? - Not all human beings will know the truth of science - Science develops in many stages – scripture just lets them know - Scripture gives them the answers they require - R
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