OVERVIEW: DIVERSITY IN JUDAISM (PG 35 & 36)
• Judaism’s present day diversity can be understood as the product of
historical circumstances and development.
• trace their spiritual lineage to the biblical figure Abraham.
• small population of Jewish, 1-2% size of Christians and Muslims
populations in the world
• Each of Abrahamic faiths sees itself as continuing and fulfilling the
mission of ancient Israel.
• Is the Jewish heritage a religious heritage? The answer is both yes and
no. Yes, because many people do identify themselves as Jews on the
basis of religious participation. Some Jews have said yes to their
identity as ethnic while answering no to the question of Jewish religion.
North Americans, Europeans, and Israelis identify themselves as Jews
but do not participate in the religious tradition. Religion to them is part
of their culture.
• The claim that the Jews are genetically a race, which was a basis for
21 century persecution, simply cannot be substantiated.
• More than 7 million live in the Americas, and In US and Canada, there
are 3 major groupings: - Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox.
HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF JUDAISM (PG 37)
• Torah contains the history of Israel but it is history written from a
special perspective. It is the history of people as they understand and
follow a God who chooses them as his instrument. The liberal wind of
Judaism accepts modern canons of history and reserves the right to
question aspects of the accuracy and historicity of the biblical texts.
Whereas, the traditional wing, believes every word in the text to be
CREATION OF GENESIS (PG 38) • The first 12 chapters describe the primeval history of the universe.
Chapter 1, god creates heaven and earth. The text says that God
creates different things on each ‘day’ of creation, culminating with the
creation of humanity, male and female, on the sixth day. On the
seventh day, God rests, setting the pattern of a weekly Sabbath. The
text describes the order of time to proceed from evening to morning,
so Jews celebrate the Sabbath starting at sundown Friday night and
ending at sundown on Saturday.
• Chapter 2, begins with God causing a mist to rise from the ground, out
of which vegetation sprouts. He plants Garden of Eden and populates it
with animals and the primal human couple.
THE PRIMAL COUPLE (PG 39)
• In genesis 2, theirs a naive innocence as they stand in nakedness and
• Genesis 3 shows how this peace and harmony can be reversed.
• The Eden story explains that the pain and evil of human life have come
about through human disobedience. Banished from God’s immediate
presence, people must live at a distance from God, though God still
shows loving care even while expelling them. The narrative explains
such varied things as why snakes crawl on the ground and bite human
ankles, why women have pain in childbirth, why people have to work
for a living, why we were clothes, why the sexes are different, why
people are ashamed when naked, why we die, and why men and
women feel sexual attraction to one another. Some of these are
natural, some are cultural and others are ultimate issues of