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RS110 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Solomon Schechter, Immanuel Kant, Oil Lamp

Religious Studies
Course Code
Peter Frick
Study Guide

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Religion is an institution consisting of culturally patterned
The Divided Kingdom
-Nomern Kingdom: under King Rehoboam, 926, 10 tribes
-Southern Kingdom:
The messiah comes to the throne of David
Hebrew word Messiah meaning Annointed One was translated into Greek as Xpioros, the root
for the English word “Christ”
Psalm 137: belongs under the historical writings
Hellenistic Judaism (main Jewish understanding from Josephus)
Alexander the Great (331)
Septuagint (LXX)
The Maccabees
-Ptolemies, Seleucids
-Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-163 BCE)
-Hasmoneans (165-64 BCE)
Philo of Alexandria (ca. 20 BCE – 50 CE)
Josephus said the Pharisees had the most accurate interpretation of the Torah, the most influential
among the common people, the majority of the Jews followed them in their understanding of the
Torah, they believe that the soul in imperishable, their was a such thing as fate as well as the
providence of God. They believe that the body would experience some sort of resurrection (ie.
After life, punishment of the immoral). The key element is that they were the most careful
interpreters of the Torah. The core of the Torah is the first five books of the Tenach. Often
referred as the Sinai or the Mosaic Torah, the 10 Commandments. They interpreted the way of
life/Torah by Oral Traditions. Because of the Pharisees, the Torah was now the written and oral
Torah. “You shall keep the Sabbath holy.” But what is work? Written Torah had divine authority.
Oral has same validity as written.
They did not believe in the resurrection or divine providence. They emphasized free will. They
rejected the Pharisees beliefs that the Oral Torah had divine authority.
They were a monastic group. Described in the Qumran documents. They emphasized ritual
purity. The teacher of righteousness = forunner of the messiah. They lived a life separate from
the Pharisees and Sadducees (the main Jewish groups) Why? The claim to legitimacy. Because
they believed the main group wasn’t “good enough” to what was required by the Torah. They
also believed that when the Messiah would return, they would be the ruling class.

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They were violently opposed to Rome, like revolutionaries. Romans had taken over, so they said
they were politically opposed to them. They were freedom fighters.
Masada, Destruction of Temple 70 CE
There was a fortress on the Masada that the Zealots made for themselves. There is a ramp on the
cave in order to kill the Zealots who lived there. Zealots decided to commit suicide, which was
against the Torah, but instead of being crucially killed by the Romans. There were a couple
people alive (women and children). The romans in the year 70 also destroyed the second temple.
First time in 586 by the Babylonians and then the Israelites were led to captivity. The second
time as well, they were in a crisis.
Jewish Festivals
Rosh Hashanah (new year) began with the fall harvest
Occurs on the first and second days of the seventh month of Tishri. In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah
means, head of the year. The name is not used in the Bible, but Jews believe that it goes back to
Leviticus 23. The harvest and new life. The shofar (a ram’s horn) is blown somewhat like a
trumpet as a call to repentance. That sounded the beginning of the festivals.
Yom Kippur (day of Atonement) is the most sacred holiday of the Jewish year and is based on
Leviticus 23. It is the most important day of the year in the Jewish calendar. It atones only for
sins between human beings and God, not for interpersonal sins. Many Jews wear white on the
holiday as a symbol of purity and a reminder that our sins shall be made as white as snow. Before
you celebrate the day, you become self-respective, fast, meditate.
Sukkoth (feast of Booth, Tabernacles) begins on the 15th day of Tishri, five days following Yom
Kippur. It marks a drastic transition from one of the most sacred holidays to one of the most
joyous ones. Religiously, Sukkot commemorates the 40-year period during which the children of
Israel were wandering in the dessert and lived in booth as temporary shelters. In memory of this,
families make booths.
Passover/Pesach is 50 days after Sukkot. This is the second most important religious holiday.
Commemorates Exodus from Egypt when the angel passed over the houses of the Jews but was
slaying the firstborn of Egypt. When the Israelites were commanded to smear blood on the
doorframes of their houses to protect their houses from the Angel of Destruction to spare their
first born child. Symbolic removal of chametz (leaven)as Jews leaving Egypt were in a hurry,
and did not have time to let their bread rise. Symbolic: it removes puffiness (arrogance, pride)
from our souls. Seder meal (liturgy)
Purim is one of the most joyous holidays in the Jewish calendar. It commemorates a time when
the Jewish people living in Babylon were saved from extermination. The story of Purim is told in
the book of Esther. (Esther, Mordecai (her uncle). Esther went to the king and told him of the
plan of Haman, and thus Haman was put to death) The word Purim means lots and refers to the
lottery that Haman used to choose the date for the massacre (exterminating the Jews). Pinata.
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