religion stuff.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
David Perley

Themes 1. Language: oral and written texts; revelation, interpretation, and codification; "divine" language and its perceived difference from 'human' uses of language; language and creation; the power of words, etc. 2. Social roles of importance; distinctions between social roles (rabbi, mullah, priest, Pope, Bishop, monk, caliphs, imams) versus 'sacred' roles (prophets, messiahs, Shi'a Imams); connections between social roles and religious authority; ALSO: find examples that belBOTHicategories – how are these roles different from purely social or purely sacred roles? 3. identity formation and the concept of 'tradition' – reflect on the idea that 'every religion has a mother' - i.e., every religion both participates in the identity of other traditions while also being a different 'person'. Try to think of the best examples of religious traditions in our course that best express the idea of tradition as both a connection to and departure from previous traditions. 4. – 1."Human Nature" 2. "Nature" or "Natural World" 3. "Divine World" "spiritual reality" How do each of the religions that we’ve reviewed articulate the relations between these three abstract ideas? Judaism 1. Language  Oral  mishnah, which is part of the Talmud o God orally gave Moses the law, which Moses then gave to the Israelites orally (later written down) o Talmud = Mishnah + Pentateuch + Gemarah  Written  written Torah particularly the Pentateuch as given by Moses o  Revelations  given through prophets o Sign of mercy from a supposed wrathful God in the eyes of later Christians o Give instruction on how to follow Him o Successive after successive revelation in the Hebrew Bible i.e. from patriarchs such as Abraham, to prophets such as Moses, to Kings such as David  Successive after successive revelation because of the failure of human beings to keep the covenant  Interpretation o Midrash: the activity of continuous interpretation in the Talmud i.e. Exegesis. Shows the organic nature of the Talmud in its continuous state. Interpretation done initially by Pharisees, then rabbis. Midrash commentaries are line-by-line commentaries of the Talmud  Codification o After destruction of the 2 temple (70 CE), there was a need to codify scripture to ensure its survival. This required a shift from temple based religion (where the temple was the focus) to community and text based codification  Divine language o Hebrew Bible was predominantely written in Hebrew, with parts of it in Aramaic o Gives Jews a sense of ownership over the Word of God 2. Social Roles of Importance  Distinction b/n social roles and sacred roles o Messiah  Key figure in Judaism  Coming ruler who will liberate and protect the Jews  Punish evildoers and establish a kingdom of righteousness  Not a cosmic saviour but rather more political and worldly  Interesting thing is that Messiah is constructed to play both a sacred and social role in Judaism o Sacred vs Social Roles  Prophets: significant figures such as Moses and Aaron,  Priests (or Sadducees): God directed Moses that men from the tribe of Levi (one of the 12 tribes of Israel) are to play the sacred role of priest. They were to direct ritual and be the mediator b/n God and man in Judaism  (Pharisees?) and Rabbiis: became particularly prominent after nd destruction of the 2 temple. They were legalists in charge of doctrine 3. Identity Formation and concept of tradition  Identity formation in creation story and fall of man o However, in opposition to Christianity, that sin is not so great as to cast a permanent cloud over human nature and requires no further atonement (so idea of cosmic Messiah thrown out  Identity formation in Abrahams story o Abraham and Isaac  As opposed to Abraham and Ishmael  Covenant o To the patriarchs and moses  Temple o Past tradition was built around temple activities  History: exiles o Exile and destruction of their temples led to shifts in identity  Led to two different versions of the Talmud  Led to rabbinical Judaism: preserved pre-Roman Judaism in bits  Switch to synagogue  No more animal sacrifice  Separation of Jews/Gentiles 4. Human Nature, Natural World, and Divine World  Human Nature o Human beings as created by Yahweh, but fall into sin  However, in opposition to Christianity, that sin is not so great as to cast a permanent cloud over human nature and requires no further atonement (so idea of cosmic Messiah thrown out) o Pain and evil a consequence of evil o Human beings needing successive after successive revelation because we would mess up  Natural World o Created by Yahweh in 7 days th  Sabbath the 7 day and day of rest  Divine World o Interact with spiritual realm through prophets and priests in earlier times o God interacts with us through his covenant: reward and punishment dynamic o Messiah o Temple with tabernacle o Sabbath day o Prayer Christianity 1. Language  Oral tradition o Christianity does not per se have its own oral tradition, but because it backreads into Judaism, one could assert that the mishnah is also part of Christian religion o Jesus Christ did not himself write anybooks, but his tea
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