Judaism - The Biblical Period, Rabbinic Judaism

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31 Jan 2011
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World Religions
Judaism: The Biblical Period, Rabbinic Judaism
Reading: Ch. 2 “The Jewish Tradition,” pp. 61-101
Ethic religion:
Identifies a nation of people or an ethnic group
Religious identity primarily passed on through blood type
People of particular ethnic traditions wear certain identifying marks of their
tradition, symbolizing their membership to that community, e.g. Jews
circumcision, Hindus – sacred thread
Missionary religion:
Premised on a set of beliefs
Traditions are not absolute, e.g. all throughout history, allow non-Jews to enter
into the Jewish community and to covert into the faith
Judaism primarily ethnic tradition, where Jews see themselves as descendants
from the same set of fore parents
Seen itself as cohesive type of people tied together by common mythic ancestry
Shared belief that their ultimate destinies are intertwined
Mesopotamian
Deities typically understood as having particular gender
In cosmogonic myths (stor ies about origins of universe) were typically
represented from resulted from
Origin of universe typically represented from having resulted from the sexual
union of different divinities
Venerated various fertility goddesses and worshipped in order to reach fertility of
earth and humanity
Concerned with moving away from amoral, anthropomor phic representation of
deity, understanding of God, e.g. human jealous, conf licts
Concerned with retrieving an idea of God, not immersed in murky human way of
life
Early doctrines revolutionary:
Monotheism: changed overtime, not so well defined as it came to be later
Early monotheism: Commitment to worship only one God (deity)
Early Hebrews insisted that this God was beyond sexuality and gender (neither
male or female), superseded all human notions of sexuality
God self-sufficient beyond sexua lity
Understood God as morally disposed being (deity)
God is good and concerned with welfare of universe
God’s relationship with nature was of creature and creative
Nature is no longer seen as being divinized
God is author of nature
Nature was seen nature was understood as being various divinities acting
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