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religions - final exam themes

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University of Toronto St. George

THEMES 1. LANGUAGE:  oral and written texts  revelation, interpretation, and codification;  "divine" language and its perceived difference from 'human' uses of language  language and creation  the power of words, etc. -one division in Language is oral + written texts (emphasized most in Islam ) -2 more categories of language can be:  Divine Language (ie. Arabic, Hebrew) – revelation/scripture – in all 3 religions, they believe that god creates/authors language  Human Language – interpretations/commentaries that are organically added on to scripture/revelations from god 2. SACRED roles vs SOCIAL roles of importance  distinctions between social roles (rabbi, mullah, priest, Pope, Bishop, monk, caliphs, imams) versus 'sacred' roles (prophets, messiahs, Shi'a Imams)  connections between social roles and religious authority  ALSO: find examples that belong in BOTH categories – how are these roles different from purely social or purely sacred roles? EXAMPLE 1 – Messiah in sacred + social roles st  idea of Messiah develops in Judaism, but in 1 century CE, we get the rise of Apocalypticism and there’s a dream that hopefully a kingly ruler will come back and help us out  so idea of Messiah in that context is now an idealized notion, esp in Judaism b/c there’s a belief that the Messiah never showed up (Rabbinical Judaism) -HISTORICALLY, there were messiahs – they were the kings, kingly line (ie. in Hebrew bible, Cyrus was referenced as messiah) – BUT this is different from the idea of some person to come and completely save us from this disastrous life EXAMPLE 2  priests/rabbi/imam (human/social role) VS prophet/messenger (sacred role) 3. Identity Formation + concept of 'Tradition' – reflect on the idea that 'every religion has a mother' i.e., every religion both participates in the identity of other traditions while also being a different 'person'. – Try to think of the best examples of religious traditions in our course that best express the idea of tradition as both a connection to and departure from previous traditions. EXAMPLE 1 - Sunni/Shi’a split in Islam – their identities are tied together historically and each group has notions about itself and is fully aware of how the other group pres
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