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Detailed Text Notes: Chap 2- Judaism (more detailed than needed for the exam, but good summary if you didn't read the text

Course Code
Andre Maintenay
Study Guide

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Key people and facts:
Principal founders:
Abraham and his wife Sarah–1700 B.C.E.
Isaac–their son, and his wife Rebecca
JacobIsaac and Rebekahs son, [also called Israel], his two wives Leah and Rachel.
Moseslegendary prophet who received the 10 Commandments on Mount Sinai [1200
Saul, David, Solomon–semi legendary kings [1000–900 B.C.E.]
Ezra–helped build the second Temple [515 B.C.E.]
Yohana ben Zakkai- found his first rabbinic Academy 70 CE.
Judah the Prince produced the Mishnah [220 CE]
Authoritative texts:
The Hebrew Bible:
Midrash (Commentaries)
Noteworthy doctrines:
- All the righteous of the world can be saved; God has commanded the Jews to serve special laws,
including dietary and dress code.
A Ritual Institution:
Sees human history as a reflection of the desires and demands of God. Thought to be founded
at Mount Sinai more than 3200 years ago, when a divine revelation was given through Moses
to the people of Israel
The covenant [agreement] with God, sealed at Mount Sinai established a set of moral and
virtual obligations that continue to govern Judaism today.
Bar mitzvah”-Aramaic for “son of the Commandments
Sabbath- The Day of Rest for Jews, Saturday. The Day for Prayer and Public Assembly In the
Bar Mitzvah Ceremony-The Teenager Reads Two Sections from the Bible
Pentateuch–The Five Books of Moses. Constitutes the First Section of the Bible. Later Sections
Called The Prophets.
The Torah–consists of the Hebrew Bible itself and commentaries on it. The term also refers
specifically to the first five books of the Bible, hand written on parchment scrolls.
The only way in which Jews differ from anyone else is that they have been given the special
responsibility of studying and observing the Torah.
Defining Judaism
Judaism gave rise to other world religions: Christianity and Islam.
The belief in one God originated with Judaism.

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Major divisions are based more on differences in ritual and practice than in belief or doctrine–
contrasted with Christianity in which belief and doctrine are the defining issues that distinguish
one denomination from another.
Second covenant–given to Moses by God at Mount Sinai following floods.
- God promises:I shall be your God and you shall be my people
-Jews understand themselves to be Gods special people not that their preferred above others, but
that they have been elected to special responsibility: to serve as Gods priests in the world
The Biblical Period:
Jewish beliefs range from the liberal wing excepting modern historical principles, questioning the
accuracy and historical context of the Bible, more traditional Jews believe in the literal
interpretation of the texts, believing that Scripture to up and transmitted to the prophets by divine
Earliest reference to Israelites find other peoples found in Egypt dating roughly 1230 BC.
Creation in Genesis:
-First 11 chapters of Genesis describe the primeval history of the universe. It describes how God
created the heaven and the earth, with different things on each day of creation, culminating with
humanitymale and female on the sixth day.
- God rests on the seventh day- establishing tradition of the Sabbath
- Sabbath: starting at sundown Friday night, ending sundown Saturday.
-First creation story emphasizes human should never worship created objects like the Sun the moon
and the stars.
-Genesis 2- Adam and Eve naïvely innocent
Genesis 3- peace and harmony are broken, when Adam and Eve defied Gods order and eat from Tree
of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Before this Adam and Eve lack a moral sense between good and
evil. The story is about how humans learn to make moral decisions
-Jewish interpretation of Eden story largely positive, emphasizes human and moral capacity to choose
good over evil, and obeyed Gods laws. Contrast to Christian interpretation, emphasizing “original sin,
insisting on a deep and sinister relationship between sexuality evil and death
The Israelite Narrative
- Story of the flood is thought to represent Gods punishment for the evil in mankind. Kills all
inhabitants except for the few he arranges to preserve on Noah’s Ark. God establishes his covenant
survivors promising never again to destroy Earth by flood.
-Shortly after Babylonian King attempts to approach Gods level by building a tower to heaven-Gods
punishment is to confound human language.
Second covenant:
- Chapter 12: covenant made between God and Abraham
- promises that Abrahams descendents will inhabit the land of Cannan. Land already occupied
by others, must be taken over.

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- Hebrews right to possess the land not the free gift, both parties to the covenant must live
according to specific obligations.
-Hebrew’s legendary ancestors–to Abraham, his son Isaiah and grandson Jacob, as well as Moses to
the all thought of as making covenants with God’s.
- events parallel the ceremonial covenant making of historical figures: Hebrew kings-David, Solomon,
Josiah, and the scribe Ezra. Each have reenacted the covenant between themselves, their people and
-No suggestion of reward after death. Society understands ultimate rewards in concrete terms e.g. easy
death after a long comfortable life, with many descendents.
Moses and the Exodus:
Joseph narrative of Genesis 37–50: send the descendents of Abraham Egypt, from where Moses will
lead them into the promised land.
Chapter 3 of Exodus-tells of an encounter between Moses and God before Moses his people escaped
Egypt. Moses sees a vision of God as a flame in a Bush that burns without being consumed.
-God identifies himself giving his personal name. Represented in Hebrew by the lettersYHWH.
The Exodus:
Hebrews working as laborers on Egyptian construction projects in slave labor. The God instructs Moses
to request their release from Pharaoh.
-When request is refused God sends plague to the Egyptians, staring the Hebrews, who escaped across
the Red Sea. Hebrews reach the Baron Sinai Peninsula.
Jewish people came to identify with the Exodus as a metaphor for the transition from slavery to to the
status of people with the destiny and purpose.
Passover festival-commemorates their participation in that historic event.
10 Commandments-in Exodus 20:2–17. Thought to be a covenant that all people not just patriarchal
ancestors make a communal bow to obey.
-Aaron [Moses his brother] becomes the archetypal priest.
-Without the permanent Temple, worship takes place in a tent called the Tabernacle, Within which a
test called the Ark of the covenant is located, serving as the throne of Gods invisible presence.
1)You shall worship no other god but me.
2)You shall not make carvings or images of the heavens or the world below that you worship.
3)You shall not use the Lords name in vain.
4) You must keep the Sabbath day as a rest day.
5)Honor your father and mother.
6)You shall not commit murder.
7)You shall not commit adultery.
8)You shall not steal.
9)You shall not give false evidence against your neighbor.
10)You shall not covet your neighbors house or his wife, or slaves or anything that belongs to him.
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