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Religious Studies
Stephen Westerholm

RELIG 2HH3 MIDTERM 1 Religious Studies 2HH3 – Sept 6, 2013 - Paul’s importance as a missionary, statesperson, theologian Missionary - Don’t know who brought Christianity to Egypt, Rome etc. but Paul was very influential (brought Christianity to many places) - Wherever he went, he settled and established a community of believers Statesperson - Paul spoke to the non-Jews (Gentiles) – issues on who keeps the Sabbath, who was circumcised, what to eat etc. - God made a covenant with Abraham – those who were in the family of God were to be circumcised  Paul was the most important person in resolving the issue  laws only meant for Jews before times of Christ Theologian - Paul wrote many letters dealing with issues to a particular church (an occasional writer, no systematic theology)  He wrote to a particular church in a particular time for a particular event - Paul wrote out most of New Testament theology (others include Matthews and Hebrews) -Paul influential in history of Christian ethical thought (what is right or not, what to do) - Pneumatology – thinking about the spirit of God (God has given believers his Holy Spirit)  Paul made the Holy Spirit the basis of Christian ethics  Position of humankind outside of salvation  human condition apart from Christ which made the coming of Christ necessary Religious Studies 2HH3 – Sept 10, 2013 -Paul’s letters earliest part of New Testament, and refer frequently to the Scriptures that already existed -OT makes up Scripture for the Jews (Hebrew Bible)  They call it the Tanakh (acronym T N K) o Torah (5 books of Moses, Pentateuch) o Nevi’im (the prophets)  divided into former prophets and latter prophets  Former = Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings (historical books)  Latter = Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel & the 12 minor prophets o Kethuvim (Writings)  Psalm, Proverbs, Job, and the rest of the books (the scrolls) o These are the same books as the content of the Protestant OT o Catholic OT included several other writings that are not included in the Jewish or Protestant sacred scripture (Jewish/Protestant did not include those written originally or preserved in Greek)  “Apocrypha” – writings not accepted as canon o Order of Jewish scripture is different than Protestant, but content is the same  Septuagint – Jewish Bible translated into Greek o Jewish Bible almost written entirely in Hebrew (except for some in Aramaic) o Paul’s letters all written in Greek, and refers to the Septuagint, not the original Hebrew Jewish Bible -Canon of Scripture  authoritative list of books included in the sacred writings  Scripture considered authoritative & sacred  Not sure if early Christians had a canon on scriptures (they had scriptures, but not a precise canon)  They believed Paul’s letters, Matthew, Mark etc. were sacred writings, but not sure of Revelations etc.  Same with the Hebrew Scriptures in the days of Paul (they knew Psalms, Proverbs, Torah was sacred, but not sure about Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes etc.) - BC (before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini – “after the year of our Lord”)) became BCE (before Common Era) and CE (Common Era)  terminology different, but the dates are the same -Torah center of Jewish OT (laws)  prophets just remind the people to follow the laws -Prophets center of Christian OT  how it looks forward to and prophesizes about Christ -To other people, Proverbs seem the most important (where a lot of people start reading) -“Beyond my horizons”  outside of the area that you can see/ intellectually understand  Content that is effectively communicated must be within the intellectual horizons of both the speaker and listener  Our horizons are not necessarily fixed for life  can expand through learning  In the Bible, things that are said are often beyond our horizons and we tend to dismiss them  try to expand horizons to understand things from a culture or society that is different from our own  Horizons of the book of Proverbs overlap with our own much more closely than any other book in the Bible o We can relate easier Proverbs -Focus of Proverbs on successful living here on earth (NT talks a lot about the afterlife, but Proverbs does not)  “Doing well” = having a full barn, not going hungry, health, happiness, success at work (this is Proverb’s horizon) -Authority of Prophets  “thus says the Lord” -Authority of Proverbs  “my son” (intergenerational wisdom from parents to child) -A lot of the OT has Israel at their focus  relational of this particular nation and God -Proverbs’ vision is universal  no mention of Israel -Observation/advice in Proverbs seems, even to a modern, as simple common sense -Moral advice is largely down to earth and manageable, rather than vigorous (Proverbs vs. Sermon on the Mount)  Think the sermon on the mount’s advice is impossible to accomplish  Ex. listen to the advice of others, don’t gossip, don’t drink too much wine -Very little emphasis on religious duties, rather, concerns advice related to other human beings -Wisdom Literature – modern category of the OT  Includes Proverbs, Jobs & Ecclesiastes  Similar literature in other cultures in the Middle East  proverbs to convey important information, common themes (sexual morality, how to get along in society)  Ascribed/attributed to Solomon (wise)  patron saint of wisdom literature in Israel  Contains wise behaviour not only for the child& parents, but also in the presence of the King (for those trained in service in the royal court) How Proverbs differs from the way Moderns Think -Proverbs divides everyone into 1 of 2 categories  wise or foolish & righteous or wicked -Righteous & wise in Proverbs are told over and over again that they will do well in this world, whereas the wicked & foolish will face trouble in this world  Big difference in how people think these days  The righteous & wise is the one who seeks wisdom and patterns their behaviour according to wisdom  The wicked & foolish are those who ignore the call of wisdom  do what is right in their own eyes (don’t care about what is really righteous or wise)  The righteous or wise don’t always do what’s right (they must be open to rebuke, and accept it to try to put things right) o They are oriented towards wisdom, even if they don’t always succeed -Take God into account to live a life of righteousness and wisdom  Human lives are in God’s hands, it is wise to take God into account (fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom) -Proverbs 3:19 – The Lord by wisdom founded the Earth  All creation is permeated by God’s divine wisdom  there is purpose, order, goodness in every part of creation  Creation not just a morally neutral stage where people live, but it has moral order -If you seek the course of wisdom and seek what’s right, you will do well in a world created and run by divine wisdom  “in tune with the universe” -Animals instinctively follow the course of wisdom  they do what’s right, in accordance to natural order  Humans have a moral choice between doing what’s right or wrong, we are different  We think people decide for themselves what is right or wrong o In Proverbs, it is already decided what is right or wrong and people decide whether or not to do it How Moral Order Takes Effect: 1) Proverbs speaks of God as the overseer of the moral order 2) The natural order of things will just take over going against how things were created  Your sin will come back and find you  Language of the law codes of Israel  if you break the law, your sin will be upon your own head -Proverbs good place to start  its horizons overlap with our own Religious Studies 2HH3 – Sept 13, 2013 “If it were done when ‘tis done, then ’twere well It were done quickly” – Shakespeare -Saying that what you do will come back to bite you -What is the same between Macbeth and Proverbs? -Proverbs 1: 29-32  what you do wrong, God will judge it, but the wrong you do is itself a distortion of the moral order in which people live, and it will come back to haunt you  Wisdom personified as a woman  In modern beings, perspective that whether or not you get caught depends on human behaviour (cop pulls you over for speeding and may or may not get a ticket)  not thinking that your wrongdoing goes against order of nature  Laws of nature  a moral order that we ought to live according to o Honesty, faithfulness etc. used to be seen as something in the nature of things  now, it is seen as something that human beings come up with o Human beings have a choice  not WHAT is right or wrong, but are we going to DO what is right/wrong -Proverbs 16:8  you are better off doing the right thing and not prospering, then doing wrong and prospering  Proverbs 16:19, Proverbs 19:22 etc.  Seems contrary to other texts in Proverbs (if you are righteousness, you will do better than the wicked) o You are better off being righteousness and conforming to the laws of nature, than doing wrong and prospering for a short time -How does Job qualify what is said in Proverbs?  Job starts off re-affirming what is said in Proverbs  he was righteous and blessed  But then everything is taken away from him  called into question that if you do right, you will be blessed  In NT, the basic expectation that you will suffer for Christ and not do well in this world  same underlying vision that we live in a moral order and ought to conform to it, but also different from Proverb’s thinking History of Israel Story of Creation (Genesis 1-11) -OT begins with creation, human sin, multiplication of human sin and its consequence -Gen 1 – the goodness of creation, -Some think that the universe that we live in is itself divine  very different from Jewish perspective  Creation is the handiwork of God  can see God’s footprints in creation, but is not to be mistaken/worshiped as the creator itself -Gen 3 – human beings introduced evil into creation by not accepting their proper place in the good creation  They are given abilities and powers, but are ultimately subordinate to God  given a single command  The universe/creation we live in is not evil, but is fallen  evil means bad from the start, fallen means it’s good, but something has happened o Humans introduced a disturbance that is against the natural order o Paul talks about how creation has suffered because of human disturbance (ex. thorns in the soil) o Isaiah 11  the day is coming when God will put things right in the universe again (not just justice among human beings, but order & peace in the natural order as well) -In the nature of things, if God has created the world and God is good/all-powerful, then the world God created is good  What is the explanation for the existence of evil in the world?  sinfulness can be explained, but cannot be final  God will see to it in the end, that goodness will triumph (basic to both Jewish and Christian thinking) -In the Prophets, main message if that you’ve done wrong and judgement will come  But there is always a message of hope in the end  God is good and started something, so goodness will triumph in the end, even though there’s suffering now -In Gen 3, Paul takes for granted 2 divine institutions that God introduced (not something that man came up with)  1) Marriage o Paul sometimes says that marriage is second best to celibacy not saying that sexuality & the human body is evil  2) Civil Government o Paul says that if a human is killed by another, then the government will step in and provide punishment o Jews do not read Gen 3 in the same way  they see one instance where human tendency prevails over good tendency (ex. Adam & Eve’s sin was a human tendency that prevailed over good tendency, but doesn’t affect future generations) Patriarchal Period (Genesis 12 – 50) -Starts specifically with story of Israel  Abraham given divine promise that God is going to be their God, they will possess the land in which they live, be a great nation, be a blessing to all  Abraham enters a covenant with God  Covenant – an arrangement intended to establish a permanent relationship between 2 parties based on the solemn undertaking of obligations by one or both parties o Arrangement vs. agreement  a covenant can be imposed on one party by another  Ex. when one country overtakes another, a covenant is arranged by the stronger king; it is not agreed on by the other party, but still put into place  “Solemn undertake”  they will swear an oath o Abraham’s covenant seems one-sided with God (God promises a great nation to Abraham and his seed)  a unilateral covenant  Lots of tension: Sarah was old, then God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac  Given the land they are living  but they were never given that land in Genesis (they were aliens/strangers in the land that God promised that they will possess) Divine Deliverance from Egypt - Exodus -One of Abraham’s decedents becomes a ruler in Egypt  their situation worsens where the Israelites are slaves  They are miraculously delivered  Israel’s redemption from Egypt prototypical of future deliverances that God’s people anticipates o Paul takes over language of redemption of what God has done through Jesus  They leave Egypt and are given God’s laws at Mt. Sinai (10 commandments – moral laws & other laws about Israel’s religious worship) o Building temples, sacrifices, civil laws & affairs, purity laws, what they can/cannot eat o The Torah  summary of laws that God gave to Israel (just, righteous laws)  What makes a law “just” or “righteous”?  laws that follow the sense of moral order (not just because God was the one who commanded it)  Human laws are righteous if they conform to the laws of nature  The Mosaic law is a perfect articulation of what is good/righteous according to the moral order -Israel failed to follow the laws in the wilderness  so the wilderness generation was not allowed to enter the Promised Land  Prototypical generation of what NOT to do Entrance into Promised Land -Moses himself was not allowed to enter. Joshua led them in -No kings yet, but different judges were raised up as the people experienced war and conflict with other nations Period of United Monarchy -All Israelite tribes are united under a single king (3 kings: Saul, David, Solomon) -2 Samuel 7  David in Israel and made Jerusalem his capital. He wants to build a temple for God. Nathan tells him to go for it because God is with him, except that Nathan receives a message from God that night  The Lord will build for him a house instead, not the other way around  A play on words  God is saying that David’s son will build a temple for him instead and God will love him. David’s throne will be established in Jerusalem forever  The Israelites were later in exile in Babylon and David’s kingdom was cut short  expectation that David’s descendent would rule forever though, since God has promised o Hope that someday, one of David’s descendant would raise up to the throne = Messianic hope for the Jews o Big basis for Paul’s ministry Religious Studies 2HH3 – Sept 17, 2013 -Israelites entered into a covenant with God as a nation  they were to follow laws given by God  Covenant given with a sanction  good things would come if they obeyed, bad things would come if they disobeyed  Sinaitic Covenant  laws given at Mt. Sinai -Jewish tradition, covenant given at Mt. Sinai is a renewal of the covenant made with Abraham, not a distinct covenant -Paul speaks of the covenant made with Abraham continues today  those who believe in Jesus are the ones who receive the benefits from Abraham’s covenant  Covenant at Mt. Sinai is only temporary until Jesus comes  Distinguishes clearly between the covenant made with Abraham and the covenant at Mt. Sinai Sinaitic Covenant: -Deuteronomy 28-29  summary of blessings and curses if they obey or disobey the laws -Deuteronomy 11:26-28, 30:15-20  blessings & curses, life & death Period of Exile -Israel split into 2 kingdoms  northern & southern kingdom  Northern kingdom = Israel; Southern kingdom = Judah  Capital of Northern kingdom = Samaria; Capital of Southern kingdom = Jerusalem  Northern kingdom went through different dynasties ; Descendants of David reigned over southern kingdom until its destruction  Northern kingdom lasted until 722-721 BCE when it fell to the Assyrian Empire; Southern kingdom eventually fell to the Babylonians in 587-586 BC  Northern kingdom ceased to exist  their people were dispersed; Southern kingdom’s citizens were exiled and deported, and remained in exile until 539-538 BC until the Babylonians fell to the Persians o Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to their homelands if they wished o 521-520 – 515BCE: the Jews rebuilt their temple when they were captured  first temple period (when Solomon first built the temple) ; second temple period (when it was rebuilt) 515BCE – 70CE -Assyrians + Babylonians  Mesopotamia  Many smaller nations were overtaken by the Assyrians and Babylonians and disappeared  Survival of Jewish people  not assimilated as other people (they were able to return to their land and reconstitute their faith)  Survival due to prophets announcing in advance that the nation of Israel would eventually fall because of their unfaithfulness to God  God is judging them because of their sin, not because the Assyrian/Babylonian gods are more powerful than God o Therefore, they must be more faithful o In second temple Judaism, there was a more consistent, deliberate effort to be faithful to the laws of the Torah (to distinguish themselves from other nations) -Pre-exilic Period, Exilic Period, Post-exilic Period  Their unfaithfulness brought on the exile  more serious attempt to follow the laws in post-exilic period (led by Ezra)  Not to repeat what brought on the exile again -Persian Empire lasted 539-333BCE and fell to Alexander the Great (Greek)  Greek period (333 – 63 BC) and Roman rule (63BC – 324 AD) -4 of Alexander the Great’s general ruled the empires that were split up  Ptolemies & his descendants ruled in Egypt  Palestine was under his empire  Seleucids took control and their major empire was in Syria (north) o Antiochus IV  one of Seleucids’ king who outlawed the practice of Judaism  Forbid circumcision, forced Jews to eat meat, destroyed Torah, took over the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem and dedicated it to the worship of his pagan gods (Zeus)  Provoked rebellion in Jews  eventually led to the re-taking of the temple in Jerusalem and it’s rededication  Maccabees (Hasmoneon) led the charge to retake and rededicate the temple = Hanukkah – 163 BCE (yearly rededication of temple to the Lord) -After temple rededicated to the law and Judah was ruled by the Hasmoneon family, there was a century of independence until the Romans took over Judah -God’s promise interrupted when Jerusalem fell, but since it’s a divine promise, there will be a day when David’s descendent comes back to the throne and rules in peace  Prophesized (Jeremiah) that David’s descendants were so evil & unfaithful that their kingdom would fall and they would be exiled, but God in the future would raise up a righteous branch of David that would reign  God would “fix” the world someday  the disruption is not permanent o Different scenarios how this would take place. Only inherent that God WILL put things right o Popular conviction that God will put things right through his Messiah  deliver from enemies, rule, and establish a reign of peace  Jews were looking forward to 2 Messiahs  a priestly Messiah and a kingly Messiah  Others think that there is only one Messiah Kingdom of God -Major theme of Jesus’ proclamation = Kingdom of God (can be looked at in 3 ways)  1) Kingdom of God means reign of God  eternal, universal, present (always here) o Psalm 103:19 (kingdom is universal), 145: 13 (kingdom is eternal)  2) Kingdom of God is a day in the future when everyone acknowledges his rule (future) o Daniel 2,7 (kingdom is to come in the future – not here now)  God is always in control, but not everybody acknowledges God’s rule; not everybody does his will o The day is coming when everyone recognizes and submits to the rule of God  3) Kingdom of God is at hand  it is imminent, it is almost here, the future is now (comes with Jesus, but full- coming in the future) o Matthew 12:28 – The kingdom is now here o Mix of the first 2 views -Recognize that Jesus spoke of the coming of the kingdom as a process, not a one-step deal  Kingdom began with Jesus’ messages and coming, but will not finish until Jesus comes back  Kingdom like a mustard seed  it is tiny when it is planted, but its full-coming is reserved for the future -How did the kingdom come with Jesus?  His teachings gave the conditions for entering the kingdom  Jesus also did wondrous deeds, not just acts of compassion, but signs of presence and power of God’s kingdom o When God’s kingdom comes, all evil things (blindness, lameness, sickness) will all go away  see anticipation of kingdom’s final coming o Presence of kingdom made known -Jesus died, and was resurrected  tied with message of the kingdom  Christ must die to atone for sins before people can enter the kingdom  but he must be resurrected in order to reign  When Christ resurrected, he was exalted to God’s right hand  all authority and power given, and Christ began to reign at that moment -Beliefs/practices that distinguish early Christians from other Jews  Believed that Messiah has come, while other Jews are still waiting for their Messiah  Early Christians believed that Christ’s spirit was poured out on all, while Jews were still waiting  Jesus instituted the Lord’s supper Christians remember Jesus in this way  Christians see that Jesus has replaced what the Passover lamb has done, therefore, they do not do the Passover anymore (this was gradual though, for a time, there was a combination of the two)  Baptism observed at the day of Pentecost  Christians were baptizing people, not just washing to cleanse from sin (as Jews do) o Baptism became a once for all commitment as a sign of repentance o Early Christians baptized “in the name of Jesus” as a sign of acknowledging Jesus  Christians believe that Jesus died and rose again  Holy spirit have come to Christians as a sign of the end times  For the time being, Christians were all still Jews and carried on their observances of Jewish laws  going to the temples, synagogues etc. o Took some time until the followers of Jesus and non-believing Jews started splitting Religious Studies 2HH3 – Sept 20, 2013 Survey of Acts -Luke – author of Acts?  Books of Acts AND Luke are anonymous  author does not identify themselves  But books are written in such a way that recipients know who the author is = “anonymous”  Mention to whom one is writing to  Theophilus? o Practice of dedicating a work to someone who one then hoped would tak
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