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University of Toronto Scarborough
David Perley

RLGA02 Final Exam Study Guide TERMS Judaism: Bar Mitzvah ‗Son of the commandments‘; the title given to a thirteen-year-old boy when he is initiated into adult ritual responsibilities; some branches of Judaism also celebrate a Bat Mitzvah for girls Gemarah The body of Aramaic commentary attached to the Hebrew text of the Mishnah, which together with it makes up the Talmud (both the ]erusalem Talmud and the Babylonian Talmud) Minyan The quorum of ten required for prayer service in the synagogue Seder ‗Order‘; the term used for the ritual Passover supper celebrated in the home; the six divisions of the Mishnah are also called orders or seders Septuagint The Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures, made in Alexandria in Hellenistic times Tefillin Small black leather boxes, also termed phylacteries, containing words of scripture, tied to the forehead and forearm by leather thongs Christianity: Eucharist The ritual re-enactment of Jesus‘ sacrifice of himself, patterned after his sharing of bread and wine re his body and blood at the final Passover meal with his disciples. Orthodox Christians term it the liturgy, Catholics ne mass, and Protestants the Lord‘s Supper or Holy Communion Fundamentalism A twentieth-century reaction to modernity, originally among Protestants who maintained the infallibility of scripture and doctrine Charismatic Characterized by spiritual gifts such as glossolalia Glossolalia Speaking in ‗tongues‘; distinguishing feature of charismatic movements Nicene Creed Named for the Council of Nicaea in 325 but ratified in its present form in 381, specific about the Holy Spirit and more inclined to mention the Spirit along with God the father and Christ the son as part of a triadic list Puritanism A Calvinist-inspired movement (1558-1660) that sought to ‗purify‘ the Church of England of Catholic influences Transubstantiation The Catholic doctrine that in the Eucharistic service, the bread and wine are miraculously transformed into the body and blood of Christ Original sin The sinfulness, or tendency towards sin, supposedly innate in human beings as a consequence of Adam‘s Fall Islam: Dhikr ‗Remembering‘ God‘s name; chanted in Sufi devotional exercises, sometimes while devotees dance in a circle Hadith The body of texts reporting Mohammad‘s words and example, taken by Muslims as a foundation for conduct and doctrine; a hadith is an individual unit of the literature Hajj The annual pilgrimage to Mecca ‘Id al-Fitr The holiday celebrating the end of the Ramadan fast; the festival traditionally begins following the sighting of the
new moon. Ijma’ The consensus of religio-legal scholars; one of the two secondary principles used in jurisprudence; some legal schools give it more weight than others Imamis (‘Twelvers’) Shi‘is who recognize twelve imams as legitimate heirs to the Prophet‘s authority; the last, in occultation since 874, is expected to return some day as the Mahdi Qiblah The direction of prayer, marked in mosques by a niche inside the wall nearest Mecca. Shahadah The Muslim profession faith in God as the only god, and in
Muhammad as God‘s prophet Shaykh The Arabic term for a senior master, especially in the context of Sufism. Shi’is Muslims who trace succession the Prophet‘s authority through imams in the lineage of ‗Ali; the smaller of the two main divisions of Islam, accounting for about one-sixth of all Muslims today Sunnah The ‗life-example‘ of Muhammad‘s words and deeds, based mainly on the Hadith literature; the primary source of guidance for Muslims Sunnis Muslims who trace succession to the Prophet‘s authority through the caliphate, which lasted until the twentieth century; the larger of the two main divisions of Islam, accounting for about five-sixths of all Muslims today Surah A chapter of the Qur‘an; there are 114 in all, arranged mainly in decreasing order of length except for the first (the Fatihah). Ummah The Muslim community. Zahat The prescribed welfare tax; 2.5 per cent of each Muslim‘s accumulated wealth, collected by central treasuries in earlier times but now donated to charities independently of state governments; see also sadaqah. JUDAISM R EADINGS : (PAGE 72-106) Origins The Biblical Period  Liberal wing of Judaism accepts modern historical principles and reserves the right to question the historical accuracy of the biblical text. Distinguishing between myth, legend, and history  The traditional wing of Judaism believes every word in the text to be literally true. o They take the text to have been dictated to Moses and the various prophets by divine inspiration  Earliest known references to Israel in secular historical records date from thirteenth century BCE Creation in Genesis  First 11 chapters describe the primeval history of the universe  In chapter 1, God creates heaven and earth  Before creation, everything was chaotic and primal waters covered the earth  God dived light from the darkness and created different things on each of the first six ―days‖ o Creation of humanity, female and males  Seventh day, God rested, setting pattern of a weekly Sabbath  Text describes the order of time as proceeding from evening to morning, Jews celebrate the Sabbath starting at sundown on Friday night and ending at sundown on Saturday  Chapter 2, God causes a mist to rise from the ground, out of which vegetation sprouts  Creates the primal man, Adam, and plants a garden in Eden, where he places the man before creating the animals and the woman, Eve  Modern biblical scholars take a different view of these textual inconsistencies o See them as clues to the composition of the text o Suggest that three interpretations of the chaos before creation came from different sources and contradiction was allowed to stand because the complier of the biblical text was reluctant to change any of them  First chapter is now ascribed to a priestly writer known as the P narrator  Second chapter believed to be part of an ancient Hebrew epic complied by the king‘s court and commonly designed JE  Genesis 1 offers a ordered view of creation o Everything is arranged from according to the days of the week o Priestly Hierarchy  First is God, the creator, who creates means of his word  Second is Sabbath the period of rest built right into the universe  Third is humanity, male and female, created at the last moment before the Sabbath in the image and likeness of God  Earliest interpretations of the creation story within the bible itself take to mean that humanity should never worship created objects like the sun, moon, and the stars, that God created everything, and that there are not spate gods for the good and the bad The Primal Couple  ―Adam‖ is the Hebrew word for ―man‖ in sense of humanity o Has connotations similar to those of ―everyman‖ in English  Eve is derived from the word ―living‖  In Genesis 2, Adam and Eve stand naked without shame in peace and harmony o This childlike nakedness of the primal couple is contrasted with the shrewdness of the serpent who presents them with the temptation to become like God by eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil  Genesis 3 shows how easily this state can be reversed  In a play on words, the childlike nakedness (in Hebrew, ‗arom) of the primal couple is contrasted with the shrewdness (in Hebrew,‘arum) of the serpent who presents them with the temptation to become like God by eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Adam is very unwary and trusting and peaks in very simple sentences  Eve is curious and evidently intelligent, speaking in complex sentences that show her thinking through problems  Couple do not lack understanding or intelligence before they eat the forbidden fruit; lack moral sense and sense to make moral distinctions  Eve is easily tempted by the serpent; eats the fruit and Adam follows her lead without protest even though both understand disobeying direct order from God o Shame and guilt they experience afterwards are two aspects of ―knowledge of good and evil‖ acquired by forbidden fruit  Eden story explains conditions of human life through narrative rather than philosophical argument o Pain and evil are the consequences of human disobedience and lack of moral discernment  Even though Adam and Eve have been banished from the paradise that was the immediate presence of God, he continues to show his loving care while expelling them.  Stories of why snakes crawl on the ground, women having pain during childbirth, why people have to work for a living and why we die o Call these stories ―etiological‖  Explain the causes and reasons behind our present circumstances  Christian interpretation sees their disobedience as the ―original sin‖ and insists that there is a deep and sinister relationship between sexuality, sin, death, and Satan  Important to keep in mind that not all the consequences of the Adam and Eve story were negative for humans. o Among the positive benefits is the fact that humans ever since have had the moral capacity to choose the good and to keep God‘s laws. o Making the correct choices is one of the Bible‘s major themes. The Israelite Narratives  The first eleven chapters of Genesis provide the background that, ultimately, explains why God had to choose a specific people and establish a covenant with them to convey his ideas to the human race o In this series of narratives, humans repeatedly show how badly they govern themselves when left free to follow their own conscience o So foul the earth with violence and corruption that God must find a way to destroy their evil society.  Story of the flood was virtually universal in the mythologies of the ancient Near East o Hebrews adopted a theme that was probably familiar to all the people with whom they came in contact  In the dominant Mesopotamian account, gods cause the flood because were disturbed by the din of human life  In Hebrew version, motivation is moral: to punish the evil that humans have perpetrated and clear the way for a fresh start o God floods the earth allowing only Noah and the creatures on board to survive  When king of Babylon attempts to approach God‘s level by building a tower to heaven, God responds by confounding human language  Not until Genesis 12 is there any sign of hope that humanity can be redeemed o God chooses Abraham to serve as an example of a righteous life  Primeval history is a prologue to the major action of the Hebrew Bible  Word ―myth‖ has come to connote falsity, today people are more likely to apply it to the narratives of other cultures than to their own o True to Israelite culture, believed to have rejected any sort of mythology in favor of belief in the one God  Israelites maintain that there is only one God and that the forces of nature are under his control Abraham  Narratives of the patriarchs and matriarchs (tribal ancestors of the Hebrews) mark the transition from the imaginative paradigms of myth and allegory to the anecdotal detail of legend  While there is no evidence outside the Bible that Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and his wives, Joseph, Moses, and the rest ever existed, we can plausibly situate them in the culture of the ancient Near East as it is documented in archaeological records from places like Mesopotamia and Egypt.  Mesopotamian texts composed after 1800 BCE suggest that the stories of the patriarchs do contain some historically accurate threads o Names of Abraham‘s ancestors resemble place names mentioned in northern Mesopotamian records between the nineteenth and twelfth centuries BCE  Abraham is told by God to leave his home in Ur of the Chaldees (in southern Mesopotamia) and move first to Haran (northern Mesopotamia) and eventually to the land of Canaan  Hebrews of Abraham‘s time saw themselves as people newly born through the specific command of their God  By the beginning of the Common Era the Jews‘ history as a people was long and eventful enough for the Romans to recognize them of an ancient people and to respect the legitimacy of their religion. Covenant  Central organizing concept in the ancient Hebrews‘ religion  Theological term; means much the same thing that ―contract‖ does today  Purpose of life for those bound by the covenant is defined by the special contractual relationship into which first Abraham, then Jacob and Moses and the people of Israel, enter with god, since the covenant specifies exactly how God desires Abraham‘s descendants will have the land of Canaan for their own o Land is not a gift; both sides must live according to specific obligations  Abraham asks for some assurance that the divine promise will be fulfilled. God appears to him in a vision and instructs him to ―bring… a heifer three years old, a she-goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon‖ o Abraham obeys, cuts animals in two, lays each half ―over against the other‖ o After sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces o On that day, Lord made covenant with Abraham saying ‗To your descendants I give this land‖  Flaming torch, signifying presence of God, passes between the pieces of the animals to signify that God has sworn a solemn oath  Ceremony is believed to reflect the treaty-making practices of the ancient Near East  God‘s providence is expressed in the form of a treaty between two greats chiefs: Abraham (ancestor of all the people of Israel) and Yahweh (the God who promises to oversee the destiny of his descendants, provided they conform to the model of behaviour laid out in the covenant)  Theme of obedience to God‘s will later emphasized in Genesis 22; God calls Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac as a burnt offering o Binds son, prepares fire, and grasping his knife when at the last moment an angel intervenes, telling to spare the boy and sacrifice animal instead o Indicating God‘s opposition to the human sacrifice practiced by the Canaanite's, this story also helps to justify the building of the Temple at Jerusalem, which was identified as Mount Moriah (2 Chronicles 3: 1), the place where the sacrifice supposedly took place.  All great cultures of the Near East at the time of the Hebrews attributed their legal systems to various gods o Babylonian king Hammurabi was said to have been selected by the god of wisdom to establish his famous code of law o Hammurabi‘s code was also seen as his own great achievement. The Hebrews were distinctive in regarding their law as having been given to them directly by God.  Two other patriarchs—Abraham‘s son Isaac and Isaac‘s son Jacob—are similarly portrayed as making covenants with God, as is Moses, centuries later, at Sinai o These accounts of the legendary early leaders parallel the ceremonial covenant-making of the part-legendary, part- historical Hebrew kings David, Solomon, and Josiah and the scribe Ezra  Each great figures in biblical history renews the covenant between himself, his people, and his God  Nature of the rewards promised in the return for faithful adherence to the covenant reflect the values and perspectives of Hebrew society at the time when these narratives were written  Ultimate rewards are offspring and a homeland; Abraham also assured a long life and peaceful death Moses and the Exodus  Narratives of the patriarchs as national ancestor in Genesis are followed by the dramatic account of Moses as leader and lawgiver in Exodus  Stories of patriarchs are situated in a period of migration from Mesopotamia into the land of Canaan, the Moses narratives place him at the head of a migration from he other center of ancient Near Eastern civilization  These two migrations may have overlapped, some of Hebrew ancestors coming from the direction of Mesopotamia  In bible, the two migrations are described as occurring in strict chronological and historical sequence  Descendants are first sent to Egypt and then, after 400 years of oppression, are led home by Moses  The compliers emphasized the linearity of Hebrew thought and its dogged historicism, in which God is seen as the author of every consecutive event The Devine Name  Chapter 3 of Exodus relates an encounter that Moses has with God during a visit to the wilderness before his people‘s escape from Egypt  Moses has a vision of God as a flame in a bush that burns without being consumed  God identifies himself as the God of the patriarchal lineage – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—and gives his personal name, represented in Hebrew by the four letters YHWH o Scholars write this as ―Yahweh‖  Yahweh may originally have meant something like ‗he who causes to be‘ o Not unusual for gods in the ancient Near East to be named after their primary features  Over centuries, partly because of commandment not to take God‘s name in vain, it came considered blasphemous to pronounce the name at all o Judaism also forbade any tampering with the Hebrew scriptural text, in which sequence YHWH appear frequently o Jews reading aloud had to substitute with the word adonay where YHWH was written o English translations usually print the substitute term entirely in small capital letters, as lord or GOD.  Name Jehovah is variation on the same theme, formed by combining the four Hebrew consonants YHWH with the vowels from the word adonay  Jehovah only used in Christian circles; gained currency in in the sixteenth century when protestants with limited knowledge of Hebrew began turning to ancient biblical texts in their campaign against the abuses they perceived in the instructional church of Rome  Some branches of Judaism today, not all four constants are written; represented by double y or h with an apostrophe The Exodus  When story begins, Hebrews are in Egypt working on construction projects in the eastern part of the Nile Delta o Work amounts to slave labor; God tells Moses to request the Hebrews‘ release from the Egyptian pharaoh o Pharaoh refuses, God sends plagues on the Egyptians but spares the Hebrews, enabling them to escape  They cross the Red Sea which swamps their pursuers, and reach the barren Sinai Peninsula  All Jewish people would come to identify with the exodus story; understood as a metaphor of the transition from slavery to freedom as a people under God‘s special providence, with a destiny and a purpose o Commemorate their participation in the event during the Passover festival  Moses meets God at Mount Sinai and receives the ten commandments as the core of Israel‘s law, written on stone tables ‗with the finger of God‘  Ten commandments are stipulations of a covenant  In covenantal renewal ceremony that is described in Deuteronomy (means second law) there is a communal oath taking: all the people, not just the leaders, swear to obey its terms  Moses‘ brother Aaron becomes the archetypal priest  In absence of permanent Temple, Hebrew worship is instituted in an elaborate tent called the Tabernacle o Chest called Ark of the Covenant kept inside which serves as God‘s invisible presence  When Moses discovers that Aaron has capitulated to popular sentiment and erected a statue of a golden calf for the people to worship, Moses proclaims God‘s denunciation of such idolatry The Israelite Kings  Israelites proceed from nomadic to settled life in the land of Canaan under Moses‘ successors, beginning with Joshua o Book recounts some spectacular victories over the Canaanites  At first Israelites are able to gain only a few positions in the hill country for themselves and for a time they are tempted to emulate the Canaanites in their worship of a fertility god named Ba‘al  Yahweh denounces the Canaanite religious practices of ritual prostitution and child sacrifice, demands that Israelites repudiate them, promising Hebrews progeny and long life with they obey his covenant  Greatest threat in Israelites face, comes from Philistines, who arrive on the coastal plain at about the same time as the Israelites emerge from the desert and become their principle rivals  Israelites lived as a loose tribal confederation informally ruled by chieftains known as shofetim (judges)  No official process for electing or appointing the judges: leadership was charismatic, meaning that it depended entirely on popular acceptance  The accounts in the book of judges describe them as chosen by God to save the Israelites from the threats of foreign domination  Two generations coming after 1000 BCE, Israelite society experienced a shift to a centralized monarchy o Created to deal with the threats posed by the Canaanites and especially the Philistines  Story narrated in 1 and 2 Samuel, God chooses first Saul, then David, and finally David‘s successors to be kings because the Israelites need relief from the Philistine menace o First God is reluctant to appoint a king, but both the people and the times seem to demand one o God Chooses David  David, youngest son of Jesse, as an inexperienced youth fit only to look after the sheep  God strengthens David‘s hand to the point that he is able to defeat the Philistine‘s champion, Goliath, and unify the northern and southern tribes as a single Israelite people  David captures Jerusalem from the Jubusites and makes it his capital  David‘s successor is Solomon, his favorite wife  Solomon takes on many construction projects including a lavish Temple to Yahweh on the hill called Zion, a rock-outcrop ridge on the hillside of Jerusalem o Use of constrict labor have the effect of alienating the ten northern tribes  Solomon‘s death, 921 BCE, kingdom breaks up  Northern tribes follow a usurper named Jeroboam  Northern kingdom contuse for two centuries until they are overrun and dispersed by Assyrian invaders in 722 BCE, after they become known as the ―ten lost tribes‖  Southern tribes continue until 586 BCE, when the city was invaded by Babylon and its leaders were sent into exile The Five Books of Moses  Idea of a family connection to Jacob originated among the ten Hebrew tribes in the northern kingdom, and Jacob‘s alternative name, Israel, became the name of the people  Idea of a family connection to Abraham, who lived in south Jerusalem, served to bond the reaming two Hebrew tribes in the southern kingdom of Judah  When each region unified under David came to understand the other‘s stories as part of its own heritage  Eventually, scribes living in the south incorporated all the stories into a single narrative told from the perspective of the Davidic monarchy.  The kingship as an institution was able to put its imprint on many of the early traditions of Israel because it was the power behind the collection of the stories.  David, founder of the Jerusalem dynasty, was idealized for his military shrewdness o Depicted as talented in music so that the hymm collection of the Jerusalem temple came to be attributed to him  Solomon is portrayed as the paragon of wisdom, and the biblical collection of Proverbs is attributed to him  Solomon‘s son Rehoboam made the decision to impose the Jerusalem government‘s policies on the northern tribes, which led them to secede under Jeroboam o Breach was never healed  After northern tribes were dispersed by the Assyrians in 722 BCE, the southern kingdom continued as a state for another century and a half until conquered by Babylonians in 586 BCE  Priestly writers were responsible for editing the books into the form we know today  All editorial voices (northern, southern, even priestly) put their individual stamps on the biblical account of the transmission of the law at Sinai o Event defining the Israelite people, today it still gives the Jewish religion its special character  For orthodox community. It was at Sinai that the entire corpus of the five books was given, from the story of creation of the farewell address of Moses before he dies at threshold of the promised land  Ten commandments emphasize human social responsibilities, as does the Book of the Covenant, the extended law code that immediately follows the commandments  Priestly narrators, interested in the ritual and liturgical aspects of the covenant ceremony, portray Moses as an intermediary between God and the people Modern Theories of the Composition of the Bible  One of the first to suggest that the Pentateuch, the five books of Moses, might be a composite creation •vas the eighteenth- century French physician Jean Astruc, who called attention to difference s in the lames used to refer to God o Suggested that material by one author, who consistently referred to od as Yahweh, had been intermixed with that of mother, who regularly referred to God as Elohim.  In the second half of the nineteenth century a theory of four major blocks of material in the Pentateuch was articulated by he German scholar Julius Wellhausen.  Julius Wellhausens‘s (German scholar) theory, known as Documentary Hypothesis, has been vehemently criticized by traditional Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike, who reject its humanizing assumptions o It has also been criticized by many liberal and radical scholars, who may share those assumptions but who disagree on details of composition and compilation. o The broad outlines identified in the Documentary Hypothesis continue to shape much contemporary scholarship and serve as a basis for further research  Nineteenth-century Bible scholars imagined individual people writing specific documents at specific times o Now know that each source represents the perspective of a particular oral tradition, later written down by a group of scribes working under the auspices of a particular institution in the society and that in their editorial oral traditions were included in their editorial efforts, a process that continued over several generations  Hypothetical author or school associated with the use of the name Yahweh is called the Yahwist o Material of this source is identified by the letter J (name ―Yahweh‖ is spelled with J in German) the language of the scholars who first put forward the hypothesis  The Yahwist, who emphasized southern localities and role of Abraham, is thought to have worked in the southern kingdom of Judea, probably beginning before the division of the kingdoms in the late tenth century BCE  Second source is called E, or the Elohist, for its use of the generic term ―Elohim‖ to refer to God o E wrote in the northern kingdom after its reparation, probably starting during the ninth century bce, and emphasized northern local traditions o E refers to the sacred mountain as Horeb, not Sinai, and to the people displaced by the Israelites as Amorites rather than Canaanite's.  God is a nore awesome and remote entity for E than for J, and the covenant relationship is less nationalistic.  In many places, the two stands, J and E, have been woven together to create a great Hebrew epic known as JE, which can be recognized by its use of the term ―the LORD god‖ to speak of divinity o Garden of Eden story beginning in Genesis 2 is a good example of JE, whereas Genesis 1 represents a priestly prologue to the whole story  According to 2 kings 22: 8, a copy of the book of the law was found during the reign of Josiah, in 621 BCE, in the course of repairs to the Temple in Jerusalem o On authority of that book, altars elsewhere in the kingdom were supposed and worship was centralized at the Jerusalem Temple for the first time o Since the earliest known reference to the restriction of worship was to a single location comes in Deuteronomy 12: 13, it is assumed that the book that was found was Deuteronomy and that it, the D source, was a new production  Deuteronomy is a sermon by Moses which would place its composition some 600 years earlier o Vocabulary and concerns are those of Josiah‘s day, when the prophet Jeremiah was active  Moses speaks of himself as a prophet in Deuteronomy 18: 15, he suggests a set of role expectations characteristic of the prophetic movement as it is thought to have existed in the eighth and seventh centuries BCE but not earlier o Central to the D source is a rewards-and-punishments theology of national morality  In some ways the most striking aspect of the Documentary Hypothesis is its suggest ion that P, the priestly source, was a late contribution to the body of writings that make up the Pentateuch o Is another voice that had been developing independently in the society o In present form, it is thought to come from 586-539 BCE, the period after the Jerusalem Temple had been destroyed and the Judean leadership sent into exile by the Babylonians, for it contains numerous descriptions and measurements of the Temple stood, there would have been no need for these details, but with the Temple in ruins, P offers a literary blueprint for its restoration Israelite Society  When interpreters says that the Bible restricts marriage to one woman and one man, they seem to forget that the patriarchs and many Israelites took several wives and concubines, as late as the time of Jesus  Few basic respects in which the biblical accounts probably do reflect social reality, since the details are details are consistent across the centuries o Marriage: was the most universal among Hebrews; men were allowed several wives if they could afford to support them; and children were highly prized  Offspring are referred to again and again as rewards for faithful observance of the covenant with Yahweh o Tilling the land and securing it from harm were men‘s responsibilities, while raising children and running the household were women‘s  Relationship between Abraham and Sarah is depicted as cooperative and very direct  Sarah is able to affect many decisions within the household  David is portrayed as indulging his wives even in highly charged political atmosphere of his old age, when the succession to his throne was paramount in all his children‘s minds o Characters represent the elite of their society, and the power that women at that level enjoyed was conferred on them by their husband (or father, or son) to provide for her depended entirely on the protection provided by Yahweh‘s laws  Women often play a part in the exposition of important themes o Example: the military victory of the judge Deborah over the Canaanite's helps to illustrate God‘s control over history  He chooses the least likely characters as champions—Women, left-handers, lowly shepherds, inexperienced youths— precisely in order to show that it is he who determines victory and defeat o Deborah‘s gender thus functions exactly as the young David‘s weakness does, to demonstrate God‘s power  When a special birth is to be announced, the prospective mother is said to be barren  Since failure to bear children would undermine the covenant, God intervenes directly to prepare the mother‘s womb so that she can deliver the child who will benefit the people  Israelites legal system: Hebrews put more emphasis on fairness than their more civilized neighbors o Incarceration was a frequent punishment among the Israelites o Large number of Hebrew laws allow for penalties of monetary compensation rather than bodily mutation o Restitution frequently substituted for crimes that in neighboring countries punished by death  In most Mesopotamian nations, an aristocrat could make restitution for the death of a commoner, but a commoner would suffer capital punishment for the crime  Hebrew law made capital punishment for adultery on the part of wife because violation of the marriage vow represented an offence against the deity before whom it was sworn  Slavery somewhat less offensive in Hebrew society than elsewhere in some respects o Israelites forbidden to enslave their debtors for more than a fixed term; could be enslaved to work off value of debt o When debt was discharged, at puberty of young female slave, or next sabbatical year (when the fields lay fallow), Hebrew slaves had to be set free The Prophets  Hebrew prophecy appears to have grown out of ancient Near Eastern traditions of spirit possession o Such experiences are described as ―ecstatic‖ because they involve a kind of psychological displacement, so that practitioners ―stand outside‖ the bounds of normal awareness and conduct  How prophets received message is unknown. Possible they actively sought to induce visions; however, they present themselves as the intermediaries used by God to communicate with his people, and the words they deliver are understood to be God‘s not their own  Prophetic writings surviving from the period between ninth an fifth centuries BCE are notable for their rational clarity, their social criticism and their poetic intensity  Literary prophets appear in variety of contexts, sometimes speaking from within the administration of the monarchy and sometimes as social critics standing outside it o Message they deliver is always the same: that the people aren‘t living up to God‘s covenant and that they will soon be punished if they do not change their ways  Writings of prophets refer to the concept of the covenant not in the narrow technical language of treaties, but in the broader language of metaphor o Prophet Amos delivers the words of Yahweh: ―You only have I known of all the families on earth. Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities‖  Word ―know‖ in this context has specific meaning in ancient Hebrew referring to recognition of a covenant obligation  In eyes of prophets, marriage contracts are also covenants; have stipulations and are enforced by an oath  Accusations of seduction and adultery in Hosea gain their force by describing the covenant between Israel and Yahweh as a troubled marriage o Prophet present Israel as a wayward wife of Yahweh, who will win her back and even forgive her adultery o Metaphorically, prophets are describing the people‘s worship of the Canaanite fertility gods with the term ―adultery‖  If the people give up their sinful relationship with the Canaanite's‘ goddesses and gods, their sexual rituals of fertility and they abhorred child sacrifice, Yahweh will reconcile with them The Babylonian Exile  In 586 BCE the Judean kingdom fell; Solomon‘s temple was razed, to lie in ruins for three generations; and the Hebrews‘ leaders were sent into exile in Babylon  The exile marks the transitioning the Hebrew tradition from the national cult of an ancient kingdom to the religious heritage of a widely dispersed people  Heritage was no longer that of a national state but of a subject or minority population o Jews dispersed abroad, life was now more urban than agricultural, so that many of the old agriculturally based laws and rituals needed to be rethought  In absence of temple, focus shifted away from formal worship never regained its former importance even after the temple was rebuilt  Longing for restoration of Yahweh‘s sovereignty expressed itself in a variety of ways, including visions of a deliverer king (messianism) or a cosmic battle followed by judgment at the end of the age (apocalypticism)  Destruction of the Temple brought on a crisis of confidence. Problem was not that Yahweh‘s dominion was limited to the region of Judah, for he was also lord of all creation but he had been worshipped in a single place for so long  When Cyrus the Persian conquered Babylon in 538 BCE, he was seen by the Israelites living there as part od God‘s plan o In own statements Cyrus did not present himself as the bringer of a new order to the world, but as a restorer of the ancient regimes destroyed by the Babylonians, and hence the champion of all the old gods o Allowed the traditional priests of Babylonia‘s god Marduk to practice their own religion o Allowed Jews to go back to Judea to re-establish their Temple  Cyrus decision to return to Jerusalem was in keeping with his policy of patronizing the priesthoods and cults of the old order  Writer of Isaiah 45 was so impressed with Cyrus‘s rise to power that he calls him the ―messiah‖, designated by Yahweh to serve as the instrument through which Israel‘s destiny will be fulfilled The Second Commonwealth  Not all Jews wanted to return to Judah under the new Persian regime o Many artisans and aristocrats were prospering in Babylon and chose to stay there, forming the nucleus of a community that would play a major role in the composition of the Babylonian Talmud in the early centuries of the common era  A postexilic author of later chapters in Isaiah declares the theme of homecoming; maintains that God is on the verge of repeating all his past deliverances  Second temple was completed in 515 BCE  Mysterious disappearance of Davidic king stimulated legends about the future king o Idea was born that a king of David‘s line would return and bring with him a perfect order  Ezra and Nehemiah, established a stable government in Judea, arrived there as court officials of the Persian Empire; dates were not for certain, but the government they set up was based on the covenantal blueprint outlined in the first five books of Moses o In describing the ―constitutional assembly‖ convened by Ezra, Nehemiah attempts to turn the harvest festival Sukkoth into a covenant-renewal ceremony, even though he is aware that the crops are now promised to Persian overlords o Covenant renewal was at best a national day for the Jewish area called Judah under Persian rule  Former tribal territory of Judah, was known as yehudi, a Judean; was usually a territorial rather than a religious designation o Term gained modern meaning, referring to member of the Jewish religion, only in first and second centuries CE  Endogamy, marriage only within a particular group, is the most common marriage system in human society o In Hebrew case, also part of a larger symbolic system in which holiness of the people is protected by concentric circles of exclusion, culminating in the absolute purity of the high priest as he enters the inner sanctum of the Temple on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement  One reason Hebrews had prohibited intermarriage appears to have been the Canaanites‘ practice of child sacrifice, continued into the Roman times  Worshippers of Yahweh were expected to marry within Abraham‘s family, so that their numbers would grow through the gift of progeny  Notable achievement in this period was the editing of the first five books of the Bible by the priestly aristocracy o Put together in a single work consisting of five scrolls, the document came to be known as the Torah, word originally signifying a priestly ordinance and reflecting editorial contributions of the priests Hellenistic Judaism  Persian empire fell to Alexander the Great in 331 BCE; conquest marked the end of the Hellenic age—the time of the city states in classical Greece—and the beginning of the Hellenistic  Was period where Greek was adopted by many peoples of the eastern Mediterranean where it remained the most important language of trade even after the Romans arrived  Increasing trade and cultural contact fostered a cosmopolitan outlook that gradually eroded in Judeans‘ connections to the traditions of their forefathers o Especially true for Jews who lived outside ancient land of Israel throughout the Mediterranean and Mesopotamia o Reality of Diaspora meant that Judaism had to evolve new ways of understanding and explaining itself  By early third century BCE, knowledge of the Hebrew had been declined to the point that the Bible had to be translated into Greek o Edition was called Septuagint  Translation brought Bible to a community with a new set of cultural expectations  For the Jews in Alexandria, Greek Bible was less the object of mediation and literary study; the editors of the Septuagint took three divisions of the Hebrew scripture—Law, Prophets, and Writings—and rearranged them in four genres (law, history, poetry, and prophecy)  Examples of Hellenistic influence include the amphitheater and gymnasium constructed in Jerusalem in the second century BCE o Also, Several records identify women as the leaders of congregations and benefactor of buildings; these women likely benefitted from a general improvement in the status of women—at least among the upper classes—in the late Hellenistic world The Maccabean Revolt  For over a century, Judea was under the control of the Ptolemies (the Greek dynasty) that had ruled Egypt since 305 BCE  In 198 BCE, the territory passed into the hands of a rival Greek dynasty called the Seleucids, the rulers of Syria o Seleucids transformed Jerusalem‘s Temple into a cult place of Zeus in 168 BCE o Seleucid king, raided it for its riches then moved the troops into the temple area and suspended the local Torah constitution; Motives were economic and political  In 166 BCE a general revolt broke out, led by a group of resistance fighters called the Maccabees o Immediate objective was to expel the Seleucids, this action reflected a dispute within the Jewish community, between the traditionalists and those who favored assimilation to the dominant Hellenistic culture  Maccabees prevailed, recapturing Jerusalem from the Seleucids and expanding the Jewish state to its pre-exilic boundaries  The rededication of the Temple, in 164 BCE, brought the divided community together and its commemorated in the minor holiday called Hanukkah  The rebel leaders set themselves up as client kings of the Seleucids and Romans, readily adopting Hellenistic culture o Their descendants known as the Hasmonean dynasty, ruled in shaky independence for more than a century, from 165 BCE until 64 BCE, when the roman general Pompey captured Jerusalem and brought Judea under Roman occupation Dynamics of Hellenism  Greek ideas, no matter how foreign, could be incorporated into Judaism as long as conflict with Torah could be avoided First-Century Sects  Hellenistic culture encouraged opposing concepts of truth  Power was effectively balanced between two major groups—the Sadducees and Pharisees—who together ran the Sanhedrin, a communal council with juridical functions o Representing the upper and middle class, both these groups faced challenges from two smaller, more radical sects: the Essenes and the Zealots Sadducees  Represented the upper stratum of Judean society—the aristocracy that embraced Hellenization  Also the party of the priestly establishment and the custodians of the Temple, in charge of its operations  Insisted on a narrow, literal interpretation of the law Pharisees  Represented middle classes; some where landowners, skilled workers (tent-makers, carpenters, glass-blowers), and many were professional scribes serving the aristocratic Sadducees  From time to time the Pharisees also held power in the Temple, but they were more at home in the synagogues of Judea  Pharisees were disposed to interpret the scriptural text broadly, through they tried to establish principles and procedures for scriptural interpretation  Punctilious about rules of purity and tithing, which distinguished members in good standing from the general populace  Special groups called ‗havuroth‘ (brotherhoods) were even more strict about these matters, and although they did not withdraw from the general population, they tended to live near their fellowship brothers o Considered themselves to be proper custodians of the law  Christian writers of New Testament were critical of the Pharisees depicting them as hypocrites more interested in the outward forms of ritual than in the inner substance of righteousness Essenes  Essenes are widely believed to have been the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls—a collection of manuscripts from the Maccabean and early Roman period discovered in 1947 near the Dead Sea at Qumran  Were a group of rigorously observant priests under the leadership of a man they called Teacher of Righteousness, or Righteous Teacher  When a candidate they disapproved of was appointed high priest, they left Jerusalem and retired to the desert  There they established a center of priestly purity in preparation for what they believed to be coming apocalypse (they final battle between the forces of darkness and light at the end of time  Essenes produced a genre of commentary known as pesher, applying the text to the events to their own time  Thought of themselves as new children of Israel, waiting to take the promised land back from the Hellenized Jews and gentiles—the new Canaanite's—after a second forty years in the desert Zealots  Most famous of revolutionaries; came together expressly to liberate Judea from Roman control  Beginning in northern region called Glilee in 66 CE, the revolt was effectively crushed with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70, but a group of thousand rebels defended the fortress of Masada for another four years  Masada was a natural high mesa near the Dead Sea, fitted out by a Herod the Great as a self-sufficient, fortified palace, which the Zealots captured from the Romans shortly after the revolt began  After four-year siege, it too was finally conquered in 73  When Romans entered the fortress they found all the remaining defenders –men, women, and children—dead by their own hands  Emergence of the Zealots upset the balance between the Sadducees and the Pharisees  Revolt against Rome left Jerusalem and the Temple in ruins and also destroyed Qumran o Ashes from these disasters that the rabbinic movement would emerge to carry on the traditions of Pharaism Samaritans Samaritans were descendants of the northern Israelites, their ancestors are thought to have begun marrying outside the Hebrew faith around the end of the eighth century BCE Rejecting the Prophets and Writings of the Hebrew Bible, they accepted only the first five books differed significantly from the Hebrew Pentateuch in that it contained several references to a messianic figure expected to be a prophet like Moses Christians  Christian message that, with repentance, all are equal before God was typical of all sectarian apocalypticism in first-century Judea  Christian practices of public repentance, purification through baptism, and chaste communal living were likewise typical of the other contemporary apocalyptic groups  Similarities emphasize the striking difference between Christianity and Essenism o Essenism was limited to a priestly elite whose members were preoccupied with the cultic purity rules that allowed them to approach God‘s holy places o Christianity was primarily interested in reaching out to the distressed or sinful Jewish Thought in the Hellenistic Period Attitudes in the Diaspora  Philo‘s, Alexandrian Jewish philosopher, work indicates that the Torah remained fundamental, but the Diaspora thinkers were particularly interested in showing that it was in harmony with Greek philosophy on essential issues o Philo argued that the biblical narrative of the Garden of Eden was not literally true, but should be understood as an allegory of the development of the soul‘s moral virtues The Concept of God  Jewish thought has centered on the assumption of a single, all-powerful creator God who for his own reasons has chosen Israel to carry his message to the world  Most Greek philosophers had come to see the universe as dependent on a single principle—variously identified as love, or beauty, or the good—and to think of the traditional gods in allegorical rather than literal terms  Greeks understood change as a kind of imperfection—and since the idea of creation implied change, in their view the ultimate good could not be a creator o Creation had to be the work of a semi-divine intermediary power called a demiurge  Hellenistic Jewish philosophers like Philo reasoned that there must be some intermediary power to carry out Yahweh‘s work on this earth  Among the powers they envisioned was the logos: a kind of instrumental divine intelligence  Idea that God‘s essence contained a son as well as a father represented a fundamental alteration of the unitary divinity envisioned by Judaism  In the Hellenistic era, Christians presented a competing claim for the role of God‘s chosen people o Judaism emphasized the responsibilities entailed by the covenant, under which the Jews were to transmit God‘s law to all humanity, Christianity emphasized the fulfillment of the covenant‘s promises, without the obligation to obey the ordinances of Jewish law Resurrection  Doctrine concerning the end of the age us termed eschatology  Elements that make up visions represent a kind of code o Sometimes code is explained and sometimes it is not: the passages without explanations left the field wide open for reinterpretation over the centuries o By and large, the subject of these texts appears to be the fate either of Israel as a whole or of a particularly faithful subgroup  Ancient Hebrews were not preoccupied with the prospect of a continuing existence after death—perhaps in part because they made no distinction between body and soul. And therefore had no basis for thinking that something separate from the body might survive death  Original answer to the question of where personality goes after death was Sheol, an underground place similar to the Greek Hades, where the individual resides in greatly attenuated form o Not equivalent to heaven or hell; rather, it is a pit, a place of weakness and estrangement from God, to which all the dead go and from which the spirits of the dead issue on the rare occasions when they can be seen on the earth  Until late first century, idea of resurrection was still a novelty, subject to debate o Sadducees rejected it entirely, while the Pharisees accepted it as did the Christians The Messiah  Term comes from the Hebrew mashiah meaning ‗anointed one‘; anointing was a standard Hebrew inauguration ritual signifying divine sanction, usually of a new king  Idea of a messiah is a concept that emerged and developed in the context that emerged and developed in the context of Israel‘s historical experience  In Hellenistic times it came to mean an ideal future king, priest, or prophet who would leas Israel to victory, but until the collapse of the Judean monarchy in the sixth century BCE, the term was almost always referred to the current king  Before Exile, a few passages from the prophets predicted that God would raise up an idea king some time in the future  As long as Hebrew kings resigned, however, the term ‗messiah‘ was reserved for them o Thus expected king is referred to either as the son of David or the ‗branch‘, a new shoot of the Davidic family tree  Essenes expected a priestly messiah, while Philo, who refers in a veiled way to the messiah, looked forward to a future victory over evil and unjust rulers  The apocalyptic literature associated the messiah with a divine overturning of the existing order, exemplifying God‘s sovereign control of events and rewarding the piety of the faithful who trusted in God  In 2 Esdras, God‘s kingdom is to be established by the messiah and his supporters, all of whom are to live for 400 years. When all die at the end of this period, the world will return to chaos, but eventually the righteous will be resurrected  Rabbinic view was summed up in the advice of Rabbi Yochanan Zakkai that, on hearing reports of the messiah, a farmer should first finish planting his tree and only then go to see whether the reports were true o The message was clear: while one must not give up hope that the messiah will come, it would be foolhardy to give easy credence to anyone fomenting rebellion or heresy Crystallization The Rabbinic Movement  Institutions and practices associated with Temple worship—such as animal sacrifice—vanished from Jewish life (only group to continue animal sacrifices were the Samaritans), and the Sadducees, having lost both their power base and their raison d‘être, disappeared o So did the Essenes, whose base at Qumran had been razed by the Romans on their way to besiege the desert fortress of Masada after the sack of Jerusalem; Rome would tolerate the Zealots no longer  Chief custodians of the Jewish heritage would not be the priests but the teachers and legal specialists known as rabbis  The Bar Cochba revolt of 132-5, a century after Jesus‘ death, contained strong messianic overtones o When the revolt was quelled, the death of its messianic leader gave rise to a tradition that the suffering and death of the messiah are necessary for the end to come  During and after the second century, what had been one of two Jewish sect vying for power transformed itself into a legal and religious establishment that consciously sought to avoid sectarian divisions o Resulting stability was advantageous to Rome because it minimized the risk of dissent and facilitated the collection of taxes and duties  Rabbinic movement was not a hereditary priesthood o All that was required for ordination was the appropriate education, which was available to any male at the local school; as soon as the student had completed his studies to the satisfaction of the teachers, he was ordained a rabbi, though many continued to study the Torah for years afterwards  Rabbis directed a new attention to religious observance in everyday life, and in doing they provided the structure that Jewish society needed o Religious law became the principle means of fulfilling the covenant with God o Disputes over matters such as the right to decree a new month based on sightings of a new moon, which characterized the rabbinic movement, were far less serious than the sectarian issues that had divided  Temple rituals used in the past to achieve reconciliation between God and Israel were replaced by good deeds and ‗acts of loving-kindness‘  In the absence of the sacred space within the temple, the table of every Jew was made sacred though the elaboration of purity rules The Synagogue  Jews prayed three times a day, as dictated by the Bible, and to attend special services in commemoration of the special services in the Temple  Synagogues may have come into being as far back as the destruction of the first Temple in 586 BCE, but became especially important as places of assembly, study, and prayer in the Diaspora  After 70 BCE, many of the activities that used to take place at the Temple were transferred to the synagogue, along with much of the Temple liturgy (prayers, poems, and psalms written by rabbinic Jews)  In first century, synagogues often met in the homes of wealthy patrons or patronesses, some of whom exercised considerable leadership, and some even bequeathed their houses to the congregation after their death  Early synagogue buildings were evidently of two kinds: the longhouse (a long rectangular room) and the basilica (modeled on a popular style of Roman municipal architecture)  At first no special provisions were made to accommodate women o Perhaps women fulfilled their religious duties at home, or perhaps the custom of separation by gender during worship had not yet taken hold  Congregation prayed facing Israel, the sit of the Temple o Cut or painted in front of them was a niche over which the Torah was placed during the service o Most synagogues in Western countries face east  For prayer at home, Jews mark the direction with a plaque reading ‗Mizrah‘ (east in Hebrew)  At first the Torah scrolls were housed in other buildings for safekeeping and study, and were taken to the synagogues only for service  Torah niche became an elaborate piece of furniture called the holy ark, permanently housing the Torah scrolls at the front of the synagogue  Lamp above the ark, the ner tamid (eternal lamp) which is tended continuously in commemoration of the lamps in the Temple  Also part of synagogue is the bema, from which the Torah is read  Use of the seven branched menorah in both ancient and modern synagogues dates back to the days of the Temple o Victory Arch of Titus in the roman Forum depicts Roman soldiers carrying off a large seven-branched menorah as booty from the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple o At this time, menorah became a symbol of Jewish culture and sovereignty; today it is the official symbol of the state of Israel  Six-pointed star, called Magen David, was first used as a specifically Jewish symbol only in the Middle Ages o In Hellenistic period it was simply a decorative motif used in synagogues o Became more popular in Islamic period because Islamic culture, and Jews who were influenced by it, preferred geometric patterns to human or animal images that might be taken as idolatry  Three-dimensional sculpted forms were avoided, synagogue buildings in Gailee have mosaic floors depicting the zodiac and the seasons, with the sun in the center represented as a young man standing in a Roman chariot drawn by four horses o Any other context, figure would easily been identified as Apollo or Helios, god of the sun  Some evidence that when pious Jews used ordinary objects bearing depictions of human form, such as the molded figures often found on spoons and jars, they made a small symbolic cut on the object so that the figure would not be complete Scripture and Commentary  After period after 70, when the rabbinic practices and institutions were taking shape, marks the beginning of ‗classical Judaism‘  Centrality of the Law and the Prophets in the first century is clear in a famous passage from the Christian gospel of Matthew, in which Jesus identifies the love of God and the love of neighbor as the essential commandment  Another statement of the latter commandment ―do unto other as you would have them do unto you‖ is also presented as the fundamental message of the Jewish law and prophets  To be included in a collection, a text had to have been composed in Hebrew in the period before the Exile  The Bible came to consists of three sections: the Law (Torah), the Prophets (Hebrew Nevi‘im), and the sacred Writings (Hebrew Ketuvim) o Jews often relate to complete corpus as the Tanakh (based on titles; T-N-KH)  After biblical corpus had been fixed, the rabbis proceeded to collect and add to the body of Bible interpretation, known as midrash o Most midrash commentaries are line-by-line interpretations following the sequence of the biblical text, although may be ordered by the lectionary cycle  Early midrashim include three books of legal discussions from the first and second centuries, when the Pharisees made imaginative use of exegetic principles to derive rulings about contemporary customs from the written text to the Bible  These three books—the Mekhilta for Exodus, and Sifra for Leviticus, and Sifre for Numbers and Deuteronomy—contain wealth of information about the context in which the legal discussions were held o Sometimes difficult to tell what era a particular tradition comes from  Rabbinic writers of midrash took it as their task to understand the full significance of the biblical text o Part of task entailed resolving the frequent contradictions between one passage and the other o Example: inconsistency in the accounts of creation, where the first humans appear to be created twice—once in Genesis 1: 26, where the man and the woman are created together and again in Genesis2: 22, where God created Eve out of Adam‘s rib The Mishnah  Mishnah was an entirely new kind of text with its own topical arrangement in six ‗orders‘ or divisions: Seeds (agriculture), Festivals, Women, Damages, Holy Things (ritual), and Purifications  Mishnah is the oldest datable rabbinic document, produced shortly before 220 by the Rabbi Judah  Based on the notion that alongside the five books of Moses there was another body of precedent and interpretation that has been passed down orally for Moses o Doctrine of ‗oral law‘ allowed the rabbis to assert that their own interpretations were no less God-given than the doctrines written explicitly in the Torah constitution  Pharisees long ago claimed that this oral tradition had been passed only to them; that only they were entitled to determine its meaning; and that their interpretation represented the true continuation of the Prophetic tradition o Was Pharisees‘ pretext for taking over the governance of the community from the priests  Even though the Temple no longer existed, much of the oral legal tradition addressed matters directly associated with it, such as purity laws and the sacrificial system  Failure of the Bar Cochba revolt of 132-5 CE made it clear that the Temple would not be rebuilt anytime soon, the rabbinic commentary on Temple law continued, in preparation for the eventual messianic age  Not only repository of the traditions complied by the first generations of the rabbis, often called the Tannaim The Talmud  By about 220, the formerly open and growing body of interpretation that the Pharisees claimed to have received orally from Moses had, like the Bible, become a fixed, written text  With six orders subdivided into a total of 63 tractates (treatises), Mishnah became the skeleton of the collection known as the Talmud  Two different Talmuds; each of which is closer to the size of a multi-volume encyclopedia. Mishnah is no longer than a desk dictionary  Each Talmud consists of the Hebrew Mishnah of Rabbi Judah together with one of the two bodies of commentary, known as a Gemarah (Hebrew for completion)  One Gemarah comes from the Jewish community in Palestine, other from the Jewish community in Babylonia  Mishnah and the Palestinian Gemarah from the Palestinian Talmud; material also referred to as the Jerusalem Talmud  Mishnah and Gemarah produced in Babylonia form the Babylonian Talmud  Both Gemarahs are in Amamaic, a vernacular language of the time related to Hebrew  A selection from the Talmud starts with a short passage from the Mishnah followed by the text related Gemarah  Babylonian Gemarah records the discussions of more than 2000 sages arguing over specific ways to resolve issues by reference to the text of the Mishnah  Since text of the Mishnah is a law code, much of the Gemarah, which comments on it, is strictly legal in nature o Not every legal discussion produces a prescription for a specific legal procedure, but those that do form part of the body of religious law known as halakha (―the way‘ of ―procedure‘, or more specifically, the proper legal procedure for living life)  Another style of expansion that is more anecdotal; it is referred to as aggadah (narrative)  Halakha directives are explicit statements arrived at through legal analysis  Aggadah teaches moral lesson, often by telling a story or interpreting the meaning of a word  Jew regard topically arranged legal material of the Talmud as halakha and the expansion on the narratives of the Bible in midrash as aggadah The Stratus of Torah  Called a Sefer Torah, it is written by hand on parchment and mounted on wooden rollers  Pentateuch is bound as a book called a Humash (Hebrew for 5)  Torah is the entire Hebrew bible, the Tanakh, in some cases the term may even be extended to include the books of the oral law—the Midrash, Mishnah, and Talmud o Because every discussion of the holy law and procedure is considered part of the same divine revelation  Two principal rabbinic academies in Babylonia, located in the towns of Sura and Pumbeditha, were the intellectual center for Jewish world from the fourth to the ninth century and even after that o There leader of the yeshiva or Talmudic academy, known by the honorific term gaon (excellency), often enjoyed greater power and respect than the ostensible head of the Jewish community  One major threat to the primacy of the gaon was the rebellion of the Karaites (scripturalists), a group of Jews who rejected the authority of the Talmud and its interpreters and considered only the Bible the Bible to be canonical CHRISTIANITY READINGS: (PAGE 166-182) Chapter 4: Christian Traditions  To identify oneself as a Christian is to declare Jesus the lord and savior of the world Origins The Life of Jesus  Began his public life around the age of 30  Told his childhood home was in Nazareth, a tiny Jewish village on a rocky hillside in the predominantly Greek-speaking northern region called Galilee, and we assume that he learned the trade of his father  Only have one story about his youth: age of 12, after spending the High Holidays in Jerusalem with his family, he is said to have become so absorbed in discussing the subtleties of Jewish law with the teachers at the temple that his family started home without him  Public years begin with his baptism by his older cousin, John, during which he sees heavens open and the holy spirit descending like a dove o Interpreting mystical vision, he withdraws into the ‗wilderness‘ on the eastern side of the Jordan River, on a kind of spiritual retreat; Joined by Satan who offers him a series of temptations, each of which he refuses  Return from the wilderness Jesus goes to Capernaum, town on northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, where his mother, Mary, now lives with other family members o Reason leaving Nazareth is never explained, but one theory suggests that it may have had something to do with the death of his father, Joseph  Soon after return from wilderness, Jesus attends a synagogue service in Nazareth and volunteers to read a passage form the Torah; passage he is given to read speaks of a time to come when the lame shall walk and the blind shall see o Episode sets the stage for a series of miracles and at the same time underlines the idea that he has come to fulfill prophecies of the Hebrew Bible  Jesus recruits 12 male disciples, most fishermen. Also attracts a number of women, among Mary Magdalene o For the next year, Jesus travels the region around Capernaum, working miracles, teaching how to apply Jewish law to everyday life, and telling parables, many of which point to an impending apocalypse that will lead to a new era of peace and righteousness he calls kingdom of God o Main venues are synagogues or private houses but sometimes he preaches to larger crowds who gather to witness his miraculous cures, which include healing the blind and even raising the dead  When he goes to Jerusalem with disciples for holy days around Passover, causes a disturbance at the temple by accusing the money changers of cheating on the rate exchanged  Sunday before Passover, fulfills another prophecy by riding into the town on a donkey; people honor him by placing palm leaves in the road before he rides by and shouting his praises  Jesus is arrested while praying in a garden outside Jerusalem by a mixed party of Roman soldiers and servants of the temple priests whose authority he has challenged  Taken first before the Sanhedrin and then before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, Jesus is accused of perverting the people and claiming to be the king of the Jews o He is paraded through the streets of Jerusalem to a place of execution, a hill called Golgotha, where he is nailed to the cross and left to die o Two days later, on the morning following the Sabbath, some of his women followers go to the tomb where his body was placed on the Friday only to find it empty o An angel tells the women that God has raised him from the dead  Became Christian belief that he was resurrected and had gone to sit at the right hand of God in heaven, from where he would soon return to judge all persons and usher them in the kingdom of God The Gospels and Jesus  Within generation of his death, his followers decided that his message was not for the Jews alone, and that anyone could become a Christian  In the accounts of Jesus‘ life—known as gospels—he performs miracles  Commands his followers for love their enemies and their friends and emphasizes forgiveness to a degree that is probably not exceeded in any other religion  Our understanding of Jesus depends on accounts produced a generation and more after his death  Three centuries later, when Christianity became the established religion of the Roman Empire, church leaders made a list of the writings they acknowledged to be ‗scripture‘ o Known as the new testament; includes the gospels attributed to four of Jesus' disciples: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John Mark  Simplest, shortest, most straightforward, and most likely the earliest of the four canonical gospels  Starts with Jesus‘ mature ministry following his baptism by John the Baptist, who prophecies that Jesus will be far greater than John  After 40 day retreat in the wilderness, during where he wrestles with his temptations of Satan, Jesus launches his ministry in Galilee, proclaiming that the kingdom of God is at hand  Local reputation spreads as he performs healing miracles  Also violates the Sabbath law by picking grain and healing on the day of rest, and when he is challenged for doing so, he takes the notion of Jewish legal authority into his own hands, declaring that the Sabbath is made for people rather than people for the Sabbath  Jesus selects from among his male followers a group of twelve (symbolizing a complete set) as his inner circle od disciples  Accompanied by them, he continues to heal, teach, and challenge the priorities of religious authority  He goes to Jerusalem, arriving with an entourage that shouts ‗Hosanna‘ (a cry for divine deliverance in Hebrew prayer) and proclaims the coming of a king in the line of Hebrew dynastic founder, David  Over the course of a week in Jerusalem, he disputes with the religious authorities, celebrates the Passover with his disciples, is betrayed by one of them (Judas), and is arrested  Brought to trial before Pilate, the Roman governor, Jesus does not deny that he is the king of the Jews and offers no defense  Jesus is executed on the cross, crying out a quotation from one of the Hebrew psalms, ―My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?‖  As he breathes his last, Roman centurion identifies him as ―truly‖ a son of God, before the Sabbath, three women followers go to the tomb to anoint the body, only to find the stone rolled away and the body missing; a figure appears to them and informs them Jesus had risen from the dead and will meet with this disciples Luke  Luke‘s account contains two chapters of material not found in Mark, detailing events before Jesus‘ adult baptism and ministry, including visions and portents anticipating the birth of John the Baptist as well that of Jesus  Reports on Jesus‘ birth in Bethlehem and describes how shepherds in the fields, informed of the birth by the messiah by angels come pay their respects to the infant o At a newborn-purification ceremony in the temple, a devout man is inspired to proclaim the infant to be the messiah  Omens, portents, and decalcifications would have served to strengthen the case that Jesus was the long-awaited messiah o Someone only reading Mark‘s account would likely understand Jesus to have embarked on his ministry following an adult decision marked by baptism  Roman governor, Pilate, himself finds Jesus innocent of any crime, mob pressure demands execution, and Pilate yields to it  After discovering empty tomb, Jesus appears among his followers and speaks to them o Luke seems to consider signs and portents the most important evidence of Jesus‘ special role Matthew  Designed his narrative to persuade a Jewish audience of the truth of Jesus‘ claim to be the messiah  Has been suggested that his account of Jesus‘ escape from the slaughter of infants by King Herod was specifically intended to echo the Exodus account of the Israelites‘ escape from the wrath of the Egyptian pharaoh  King Herod, on hearing of the birth of a child who is to be the king of the Jews, plots to kill every Jewish infant to protect his own reign  Angel warns Jesus‘ parents to take the child and escape to Egypt  Matthew begins his account by tracing the genealogy of Jesus as the descendant of King David in a lineage that runs through Joseph, the husband of Mary  Matthew bypasses the genealogy and declares that Mary was already pregnant with Jesus before her marriage, with a child fathered by the Holy Spirit rather than Joseph  Matthew and Luke are the only sources for the doctrine of a virgin birth  Historical episode of deepest significance for Christians is the Passion and death of Jesus on the cross o Bystanders mock Jesus for have trusting in God, saying God should rescue him now o Jesus says he‘s thirsty, his hands and feet are pierced  Shares a popular expectation that the kingdom of God, which will in some way restructure society, is at hand, and he was willing to die a martyr‘s death for the cause John  Scholars refer to first three gospels as the ‗synoptic gospels o Share good deal in common  A God who can create the world through his word who can command the world through his word, and who can redeem the world through his world, is what John wants his hears to appreciate here  John declares Jesus to be the incarnation of that divine word: ‗The logos became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.‘ o Logos: a Greek term with an important range of meaning in the philosophy and religion of the Hellenistic world at the time of Jesus  Meant whole idea of divine and intelligence  John‘s Jesus is more than a teacher with an insight into human nature; he is the definitive link between God and humanity  Salvation is John‘s goal for us humans, who need to be delivered from the flaw and constrains of our condition o Especially concerned with our mortality, and he offers the hope of life  Paul is also concerned with our sinfulness, and offers the hope of justification—being right set with God  In final analysis, only God can save us from sin and death from the limitations of our human existence  Jesus‘ status as a manifestation of God was eventually spelled out in a doctrine of the Trinity, after middle of the third century, but the link between the divine and the human in Jesus continued to be a doctrinal issue well into the fifth century From Sect to Church  Small circle of disciples who were left to carry on after Jesus‘ execution bore little resemblance to the institution that within four centuries would become the state church of the Roman Empire  Disciples were peasants and fisherman from rural Galilee, a small Jewish sect whose teacher had stirred in them the hope that low-status and marginalized people had a place in God‘s plan  In Acts 2, New Testament book Acts of the Apostles, the disciples have gathered to celebrate the festival of Shavouth, seven weeks after the Passover crucifixion, when the Holy spirit appears to them as a rush of wind and fire o Suddenly they are able to speak and be understood in diverse languages; able to preach to all people  With the destruction of the city fresh in his mind, it is not surprising that Luke depicted Jesus and his followers as mild- mannered in word and deed o There are hints to the contrary in Mark 14 and Matthew 26  In their accounts of Jesus‘ arrest, Mark and Matthew say that the disciples were armed, resisted arrest, and that Peter used his sword to cut off the ear of one of the arresting men Paul  A cosmopolitan figure with a privileged status of a Roman citizen, Paul was a Pharisee from the diaspora Jewish community in Tarus who had gone to Jerusalem for religio-legal study  Did not know Jesus personally but experienced a vision of the post-resurrection Jesus that turned his life upside-down  Next quarter century, he travelled tirelessly around the Mediterranean, initially preaching to the diaspora Jewish communities, but eventually reaching out to gentiles as well, teaching that all were heirs in Christ to promises of God  His letters, written before the gospels themselves were composed, constitute the earliest Christian literature  In his letters, Paul refers to himself as the apostle to the gentiles o Rejects idea that in order to follow the Jesus one must first become a Jew and follow the various regulations of Pharisaism  For Paul, it is not through observance of ritual laws or even correct moral conduct that salvation is attained, but rather through faith in Jesus and divine grace that comes through him o Divine grace frees people from bondage to the law of Moses  Human beings are inherently self-willed and sinful, as the Church was later to spell out in its doctrine of ‗original sin‘ o In order to liberate humans from their sinful nature, Paul says, that God sent Jesus to die a self-sacrificing death  Another major theme in subsequent Christian theology that can be traced to Paul is the contrast between life ‗in the spirit‘— centered on lasting religious values such as faith, hope and love—and life ‗in the flesh‘: the pursuit of what passes away, including worldly ambition or pleasure o His rejection of ‗life in the flesh‘ was interpreted as meaning that the body must be controlled or repressed Marcion and the Canon  Marcion was a wealthy ship-owner, the son of a bishop, from the region of the Black Sea who made his way to Rome  Marcion takes Paul‘s idea to astonishing lengths; compares not just between one scripture and another but between one god and another  Hebrew scriptures must be rejected as well; In Matthew 5, Jesus says that he comes not to destroy ‗the law and the prophets‘ but to fulfill them o Marcion rejected Matthew as well as the entire Hebrew canon o Accepted as scripture only ten letters by Paul and an edited text of Luke‘s gospel and Acts  Marcion pushed the Church to ratify the Hebrew scriptures as a part of the Christian message The Gnostics  Claimed to have privileged, secret knowledge  At first were not a separate community, but rather a school of thought within the network of Christian churches  Gnostic philosophical narrative is dualistic: the divine powers of good are opposed by demonic forces of evil, and spirit is in a cosmic struggle with matter  Christian Gnostics understood Jesus as an emissary form the realm of the spirit who took on the appearance of human form for his earthly life but did not take on material existence o The their view, his purpose was to transmit to humans the saving secret knowledge of how to ride above this life to the realm of spirit o View also implied a practical agenda for religious life: if matter was evil, then physical comforts and satisfactions, even for the purpose of procreation, were to be avoided in favor of abstinence, celibacy, and asceticism  One small Gnostic community survives today o In southern Iraq, the Mandeans came to be known as ‗Christians of St. John‘ because of their reverence for John the Baptist  A separate religion of the Gnostic type arose in third-century Iran; Mani, who was raised in Gnostic circles, declared himself to be a prophet, produced scriptural writings, and organized an independent community  Mani was a synthesizer who claimed to sum up the teachings not only of Jesus but of Zoroaster and the Buddha  Manichaeism, the tradition of ‗the living Mani‘, spread through much of the Roman empire and competed with Christianity for adherents in the fourth and fifth centuries Crystallization Emerging Church Organization  Teachers providing leadership in established groups, probably on the pattern of synagogue study, and evangelists spreading the message to form new groups o Formal ordination was required to perform ritual and administrative functions  Most basic ordained position was that of deacon, and women as well as men were so designated in the early Church o During first two centuries, women performed a variety of ecclesiastical roles, but in later age even the role of deacon came to be monopolized by men  Apostle, deacon, and elder are the only leadership roles mentioned in the New Testament o Priest emerged as the person in charge of rituals and instruction in Christian congregations  Ranking priest in a particular political jurisdiction was known as a bishop o The responsibility to ordain deacons and priests, symbolized by ‗laying hands‘ on the head of the inductee  Hierarchy of priests was further developed to include the role of archbishop: the bishop chosen to supervise all the bishops in a large region  By third century, four even larger episcopal jurisdictions or ‗sees‘ had gained prominence in the Roman Empire because of the importance of their cities: Alexandria in Egypt, Jerusalem, Antioch in Syria, and Rome in Italy o Bishops of these cities came to be known as patriarchs  A fifth patriarch was added in Constantinople when the imperial capital moved there in the fourth century  Early affirmative of faith was called the Apostles‘ Creed, and the ordination of bishops was referred to as apostolic succession Saints  Paul referred to all loyal members of the Church collectively as ‗saints‘, but in time that title came to be reserved for individuals who are considered channels of divine grace, or who had distinguished themselves by displaying an unusual degree of piety  Contemporaries of Jesus, including his parents, his faithful disciples, the four gospel writers, and the early missionaries, became saints as a matter of course  Persons who accepted martyrdom—the ultimate sacrifice for the cause—were singled out, as were leading theologians and bishops in the early Christian centuries Asceticism  In the eastern Mediterranean, people wishing to retreat from society to practice contemplation or austerity moved to the margin of the desert  In India, centuries before Jesus, a Hindu man whose sons were grown and able to care for the family might embark on a new life as a forest-dwelling, contemplative ascetic o Among Buddhists and Jainas, even young men and women were encouraged to depart the householder life and follow the rules for living as monks or nuns for the rest of their lives  Several factors likely contributed to emergence of Christian asceticism  During the periods of persecution in the second and third centuries, life in the desert became an alternative to martyrdom  To give up comfort or wealth was an effective way to make a public statement repudiating the laxity and complacency of the wider community, particularly after the fourth century, when, with imperial patronage, Christianity became fashionable and even began to acquire some opulent trappings  Origins of Christian monasticism are traced to Antony, who was said to have lived 105 years in Egypt o Account for his life attributed to the Alexandrian theologian Athanasius describes the spiritual temptations and Antony sought to overcome by withdrawing to the solitude of the desert frontier  Antony and others who pursued their discipline in solitude were termed hermit o Noteworthy among them was Simeon in northern Syria  After hermit for 10 years, in his mid-20‘s Simeon built a pillar on which he would sit for the rest of his life, using a basket to haul up the supplies provided by his admirers Persecution and Martyrdom  Christians thought they were keeping faith with their heritage of exclusive Hebraic monotheism, but from the Roman perspective they were guilty of insubordination  To the technically justifiable charges of insubordination the state from time to time added false accusations of incest, cannibalism, and black magic—practices some Romans believed would provoke the gods to mete out punishment in the form of epidemics and natural disasters  In third century, the empire was in a crisis of deepening military, administrative, and economic instability o The emperor Decius, commanded public sacrifices to the Roman civic gods, with the penalty of death and imprisonment for anyone who would not comply  Thought the empire, in the years 250-1, Christians were systemically persecuted as a matter of state policy, and in 257-9 the emperor Valerian conducted another campaign of official persecution o Period that acceptance of martyrdom became the ultimate test of faith for Christians who modeled their own conduct on the self-sacrificing death of their lord, confident that they would be rewarded with eternal life in fellowship with him  Tertullian (first theologian to write in Latin) said by making martyrs of Christians, the Roman state helped build a tradition of bravery and fidelity that the Christians could be proud of  The last and fiercest of the official persecutions of the Christians came in 303 under the emperor Diocletian o For next 9 years, Christians were killed, church properties destroyed, and Christian sacred writings burned Imperial Christianity Constantine  Gradually abandoned the persecution policy, issuing an edict in 313 that gave Christians liberty to practice their religion and eventually granting them state support and patronage  According to Life of Constantine, the emperor‘s conversion to Christianity was a decisive battle in 312, in which a cross appeared in the heavens, accompanied by the words ‗conquer in this sign‘ o Following day, his troops won the battle and he gained control of the western half of the empire  Constantine was not baptized until he was on his deathbed o People in this day understood baptism as a total cleansing on sin therefore it was postponed until the last minute  Christians no longer risked losing their livelihoods, or even their lives, by associating with the Church; now Church membership was a way to get ahead  In time, became a normal practice to baptize infants and young children; parents undertook to raise their offspring in the faith, and sometimes additional baptismal sponsors, known as godparents, were recruited from outside the family Creeds and the Trinity  Creeds: statements of the content of Christian faith  As early as 150 but certainly by the early third century, a formulation known as the Apostles‘ Creed was coming into use, especially in the Latin-speaking western part of the Mediterranean  Other well-known ancient formulation is the Nicene Creed, named for the Council of Nicaea in 325 but ratified in its present form in 381 o Somewhat longer than Apostles‘ Creed, it covers many of the same topics in more detail and is a regular part of services in the Catholic tradition  Comparing two texts, we see that the Nicene Creed is more specific about the holy spirit and more inclined to mention the Spirit along with God the father and Christ the son as part of a triadic list  The emerging doctrine of the Trinity dominated discussion in the early fourth century  In a time where doctrine is still developing orthodoxy—‗right teaching‘—does not exist: it can be identified only in retrospect, once we know which view prevailed  Around year 260, Paul of Samosata was chosen bishop of Antioch, partly because of his theological acumen o Had a binitarian theology of God as a father and son o Described God as father, wisdom, and Word, and believed that the Word rested on Jesus  In early fourth century, a priest named Arius was put in charge of a major church in Alexandria, Egypt  Arius proposed that the son of God was not eternal, but was created within time by the father as part of the creation of the world  Athanasius asserted the coeternity and coequality of father and son, underlying the power of the son to be a savior  Constantine, hoping that a unified Church would promote stability in his empire, called a meeting of the bishops in Nicaea, not far from Constantinople, 325  Dispute between Arius and Athanasius was part of the agenda, and the decision went against Arius o Arian views continued to attract support, and they continued to surface in various compromise formulas for half a century before they were definitively rejected under the emperor Theodosius I at the council of Constantinople in 381  As the new orthodoxy had it, the eternal son was coequal with the father, then how did the eternal divinity of Jesus relate to his historical humanity? o Regional divisions developed around three positions on this question. The incarnate Christ could be  Two separate persons, one divine and one human (as the Nestorian churches, stretching eastward across Asia, believed);  One person, from Ethiopia and Egypt to Syria and Armenia, believed); or  One person, bu
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