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Quiz 3 - Key Themes.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
David Perley

Key Themes – Judaism 1/19/2012 12:28:00 PM - Sacred Narrative  The Covenant and Monotheism  Reward/Punishment  Obedience/Disobedience o God will reward those who observe His commandments and o punish those who intentionally transgress them o Ex. of obedience – Abraham sacrificing his son - Ancient Israelite Religion  Rabbinical Judaism  Revision and Substitution  Revelation and Interpretation; Oral and Written Traditions Chapter 3: The Jewish Tradition - Background Content: pp. 68-72  Bar/Bat Mitzah („son/daughter of the commandments‟)  Sabbath – Saturday = the day of rest o Prayer & public assembly in the synagogue (Jewish house of worship & community meeting) o Teenagers read 2 selections from the Hebrew Bible:  1 from Pentateuch  1 from the Prophets  Torah – religious law o The scripture the Bat/Bar Mitvah reads in public for the 1 st time o Proclaimed in synagogues o Written entirely in ancient Hebrew o Transcribed by hand onto a scroll that is treated w/ the utmost respect o Candidate must have learned both the ancient script in which the text is written & the traditional melodies to which the words are chanted o Considered the ultimate repository of religious truth o Jews are expected to study + observe it throughout their lives  Defining Judaism o Jewish heritage = religious  It‟s possible to join the Jewish community thru conversion, many people have done so o Jewish heritage =/= religious  The tradition is far more commonly inherited than chosen  Judaism is frequently considered an „ethnic‟ religion o Some Jews – religion is part of their culture, but not necessarily the defining part  don‟t take part in the religious tradition o Jews today think of themselves as God‟s special people:  They are preferred above any other  Been saved from slavery & elected to fulfill a special responsibility, to serve as God‟s priests in the world - Biblical Narratives: pp. 72-82  Creation in Genesis o “Cosmic”: creation of order out of chaos o God creates heaven & earth o Chaotic & primal waters covered the earth  o God divided light from darkness & created different things on each of the 1 6 days  creation of humanity (M&F)  th o Rested on the 7 day  weekly Sabbath  The Primal Couple – Adam & Eve o Garden of Eden (Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil) o God commands Adam not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil o Adam – unwary, trusting & simple o Eve – curious, intelligent & complex o They lack ability to make moral distinction o The serpent persuades Eve to eat o Eve eats  Adam follows w/out protest o God expels them from Eden o Keeps A&E from partaking of the Tree of Life o Pain & evil = consequences of human disobedience + moral discernment  The Israelite Narratives o Noah  (Commonality of flood myth in Mesopotamia) – theme of tradition?  God floods the earth, allowing only Noah & the creatures in his ark to survive  To punish the evil that humans have perpetrated & clear the way for a fresh start  Noah saves his family (his wife, three sons, and their wives) + representatives of all animals from the flood by constructing an ark  But human judgment is no better after the flood than before it  Genesis 12: God chooses Abraham to serve a san example of a righteous life  Abraham o Covenant (circumcision)  Means „contract‟  Specifies exactly how God desires Abraham‟s descendants to behave  God promises A the land of Canaan – but not a free gift  Must live according to specific obligations o Obedience to God‟s will  Genesis 22: God calls on A to sacrifice his son Isaac as a burnt offering  A binds his son  prepares the fire  grasping his knife   An angel intervenes and tells him to spare the boy & sacrifice an animal instead  The Exodus o Chapter 3: Moses has w/ God during a visit to the wilderness before his people‟s escape from Egypt  Moses has a vision of God in the from of the “burning bush”  God identifies himself as the God of the patriarchal lineage – AbrahamIsaacJacob  & gives his personal name – YHWH (Yahweh) o God sends Moses to request the Hebrews‟ release from the Egyptian pharaoh  pharaoh refuses  o God sends plagues on the Egyptians but spares the Hebrews, enabling them to escape from Egypt o They cross the Red Sea & reach Sinai Peninsula o *A metaphor of the transition from slavery  freedom as a people under God‟s special providence, w/a destiny & a purpose o Moses meets w/ God at Mount Sinai & receives the 10 Commandments as the core of Israel‟s law, written on stone tablets „w/ the finger of God‟  Instructions to worship only God &  keep the Sabbath  Prohibitions against idolatry, blasphemy, murder, theft, & adultery o Ark of the Covenant – contains the Tablets of Stone on which the 10 Commandments were inscribed  The 5 Books of Moses (Torah) o Given @ Sinai o From the story of creation to the farewell address of Moses before he dies at the threshold of the promised land o All given by special revelation, directly from God to Moses o Therefore, Moses is portrayed as an intermediary b/w God & the people - Biblical Scholarship: be sure to review the “Documentary Hypothesis” on pp. 82-83.  Documentary Hypothesis o The 19 -century Bible scholars imagined individual people writing specific documents at specific times o J – Yahwist  Hypothetical author associated w/ the use of the name Yahweh  Thought to have worked in the southern kingdom of Judea  Probably beginning before the division of the kingdoms th in the late 10 century BCE  Emphasized southern localities & the role of Abraham  o E – Elohist  Wrote in the northern kingdom after its separation  Probably starting during the 9 thcentury BCE  Emphasized local northern traditions  Sacred mountain = Hored Sinai  People displaced by the Israelites = Amorites Canaanites  God is a more awesome & remote ent
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