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Lecture 9

Introduction to Judaism - Lecture 9

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Religion & Culture
Holly Pearse

RE204 – Lecture 9  into the middle ages o marked by  rabbinic Judaism  diaspora; persecution, isolation and expulsions  advent of anti-Semitism  1492 - Jewish blood, Jewish race o people suspicious of Jewish converts  converts to Christianity still under suspicion due to blood  continued religious and theological productivity  rabbinic responsa / books  advent of printing press changes the Talmud o judaism coexisted alongside its two main colleague faiths (Abrahamic religions) Christianity and Islam  coexistence shaped it  The Diaspora (6-16th centuries) o diaspora - 70-135 CE period between fall of temple and Bar Kokhba revolt o started with exiles and continued after roman wars, with Jews expanding into Africa, Europe and Asia  populations in other countries were there long enough to set up their own culture o both voluntary and involuntary and persecution dispersion and movement kept population largely fluid  Jewish communities remained variably connected o expulsion  marked by series of major expulsions  1492 - expulsion from Spain  catastrophe similar to 70 CE o Jews from Spain traveled everywhere and changed cultures they interacted with  1290 - England o disappear from record for 400 years after  causes mixture of traditions of Jews where they settle  more mingling between local traditions  1492 - Columbus sailed to the new world  many Jews started going towards the New World  The Age of cogency o the age of definition - prior to this, creation of Talmud o rabbinic Judaism rises  solidification of rabbinic judaism  solidified in time of turmoil  seemed uniquely able to handle diaspora - portable, universal, open to adaption and absorption  Talmud allowed people to have something to study o is a discussion, polysmy - multi-locality, many opinions 1 RE204 – Lecture 9  adaptation written into rabbinic judaism  triumph of rabbinic Judaism  most compatible with Christianity and foreign ruler-ship  Talmud looked like religion to Christians o understandable - theology  emphasis on education and preservation of Hebrew o without Hebrew, connection in diaspora would not work o Hebrew allowed judaism to take/maintain a certain form  helped by rabbis taking leadership (politics) o common judaism of Middle Ages  central pillars of ancient judaism  centrality of torah, temple, monotheistic god, elected people  many elements of popular rabbinic Judaism  absorbed aspects of other cultures that strengthened it o history, philosophy, mysticism  halakhah  leadership of local authorities (rabbis)  use of rabbinic legal codes  reliance on rabbis  rabbis started replacing priests o legal experts o more men of the people o not someone of a different class, but mostly people of the community o accessibility of rabbis - teachers, not saints  halachic way of life, people absorbed rabbinic way of life  autonomy of Jewish communities o ghettos - early understanding, used to protect, not segregate  rabbis became local leaders  not a replacement, but layering and building on "old" traditions  Myth of Normative Judaism o assumed norm of mainstream judaism, which takes on guise of "real" judaism, to which all other judaism are compared/contrasted as "abnormal"  problems with normative fallacy  allure of the normative o obscures idea that rabbinic judaism is a movement, oversimplifies  is complex, but normative fallacy strips it of its complexity  Ashkenazi & Sephardim o Ashkenazi - German Jews, now largely referring to Jews of European ethnic rites and traditions  rabbinic judaism with European flavour o Se
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