Nov 17 - Religious Laws
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November 2, 2010
Devotion to One God
we are moving onto thematic Judaism
Orthopraxy vs orthodoxy: Ortho = straight, correct
Doxy = doctrine: set of ideas, correct ideology
This is Christianity
Practice is far more important
Hard to define Judaism in terms of doctrine
This is Judaism
The Shema (Deut 6:4-9)
•Central prayer in Judaism
The God of the Hebrew Bible
Polytheism, monolatry, and monotheism
oMonolatry: worship of one God but accepting other Gods as
oJud: it does not deny existence of other God (?)
oMonotheism: universal among the Jews
Philo’s Logos theology
oPhilo of Alexandria
oUse of stoic doctric of logos of biblical theology
oPhilo applied to the biblical text to the Stoic concept of the
Logos, a rational principle that mediates between the
purely spiritual creator and the physical universe
The logos: responsible for day to day interaction with
God maintains self existent spiritual world
Idea of an omnipotent perfect God
oGod: single non materialistic being
oMedieval philosophy: God is one, not composed of multiple
oGod have traits / emotions: If God is one perfect eternal
and unchanging, God cannot have any moods, problem:
anthropomorphic idea of God
oHow do we understand this that God has no
Divine unity in medieval Jewish philosophy
oMedieval theology and philosophy insisted on a more
restrictive understanding of the principle of divine oneness.
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God is completely beyond number, and not composed of
multiple elements. This God is subject to change, and
hence human-like imagery of the traditional text must not
be understood literally.
oMaimonades: We cannot put human attributes to God
because humans are not intelligent enough to describe this
oGod is void of negative characteristics
The God of the Kabbalah
oKabbalah is built on the doctrine of ten sefirot, divine
attributes whose complex interactions constitue the
esoteric meaning of the Bible. It is not always clear
whether they perceived the sefirot as emanation of God or
as parts of divinity itself.
oSefirot: like a pendulum swinging from the other direction
from the thinking of medieval philosophers.
oTension b/w loving God and fearsome God
oStandard of Mercy vs. standard of Justice
oShows that it is hard to talk about God in a rational
oCabalistic thinking; taken covenant of Jew and God in terms
of marriage: God husband and Israel wife
oGod and shakilah(God’s presence) forms a pair
oHow do you deal with God’s oneness?
How do you make sense of it?
Heathens and heretics
oDistinguish Heresy and idolatry
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