Religious Studies 1B06 Textbook Notes for Premodern Western Religions

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McMaster University
Religious Studies
Carterand La Rose

Premodern Judaism The Formative EraThe Biblical Roots of JudaismRoots in story of the God who made promises to Abraham and his descendants that were fulfilled centuries later when Moses led people out of slavery in EgyptTells story of God who acts in time history to lead his people on a journey toward a day of final resurrection in which all injustice suffering and death will be overcomeTo know God of Israel look towards history of the people of Israel and their journey through timeThe Story Begins 1 Proceeds from creation of Adam and Eve 2 Moves to near annihilation of humanity with Noah and flood 3 Division of humans and languages at tower of babel 4 Gods call to Abraham to father many nations and promise to give land of Canaan to Abrahams descendants 5 Migration of Abrahams greatgrandson Joseph into Egypt during famine 6 Tribes of Israel Abrahams descendants get enslaved in Egypt 7 Moses leads them out of slavery o God sends 10 plagues down on Egyptian waters and parts the Red Sea 8 God gives Moses the Torah the formed covenant between God and his people o Israel was chosen out of all nations and set apart to be Gods people 9 Tribes of Israel wandered in desert for 40 years then enters land of promise under Joshuas leadership after Moses dies 10 Live under rule of military leaders called judges 11 Threats of conquest become frequent tribes demand king like other nations with army to protect Israel 12 Saul was chosen by God to be king o Was anointed with oil by a prophet to show God chose the first king of Israel not the people 13 Saul was a weak king lacking independent authority and depended on cooperation of the tribes 14 David the second king establishes Israel as a nation 15 Israel under David and his son Solomon becomes the greatest nation in the middle east o David was known as the king of all Israel and Judah 16 David captured city of Jebus and renamed it Jerusalem Gods Peace o Made it the capital city by bringing the Ark of the Covenant containing the 10 commandments there 17 Solomon built the first temple 18 After David and Solomon die for 200 years Israel and Judah had separate kings 19 Biblical prophets Amos and Hosea arose and were revered persons as people believed them to know Gods will 20 The prophets warned that that God would punish those who offered sacrifices in the temple while acting unjustly as citizens and neighbours The Story Continues with the Prophets 1 According to the prophets Israels God was the God of all nations and he would punish Israel for failing to keep the covenant 2 Out of prophetic experience came the SHEMA Deuteronomy 64 a This confession is completed by reminding people to love God with all their heart soul and strength to pray the SHEMA on arising and retiring and to bind the words on their hands foreheads and doorposts to ensure that the awareness of the true God will permeate in all they do 3 In 721 BCE the Assyrians conquered all of Israel and carried the inhabitants into slavery 4 621 BCE Judahs King Josiah discovered in the temple the longlost book of law Deuteronomy and initiated a reform that included a renewal of the covenant and designated the temple in Jerusalem as the only proper site for sacrifices a The reforms werent observed conscientiously and God allowed the people to be punished 5 586 BCE Babylonians conquered Assyrians and destroyed Solomons temple 6 In this time Jeremiah Ezekiel and Isaiah arose and told the people the punishments of God would be temporary 7 In 538 BCE the Israelites were allowed to return to their landThe Story Becomes One of Exile and ReturnThe leaders demanded repentance because the Israelites married people from other nations they had to rededicate themselves to the covenant and reunify themselves by separating themselves from neighboursIt is through this that Judaism adopted exile and return as the norm pattern through which its future experiences would be interpretedFor over a century the Ptolemies rule over Israel 301198 BCE to be replaced by the Seleucids 198167 BCESeleucids adopted Hellenization requiring all their conquered people to adopt Greek customs and beliefs including veneration of many gods nd In middle of 2 BCE Judas Maccabaeus and brothers lead successful revolt against Seleucid leader Antiochus Epiphanes IVHistorical Roots of DiversityAfter Alexander there were considerable diversity within Judaism leading to several movements o The Sadducees Pharisees Hellenists Samaritans Zealots Essenes and Nazarenes were engaged in ongoing debate o Debated about how one music live to be the true Israel or people of godAt the end of the first century the Tanak bible of Judaism came into existenceSadducees came from wealthy upper class associated with temple tradition that was exclusive to Jerusalem and were tasked to keep peace with Rome They accepted the 5 books of Moses and insisted on literal adherence to the written TorahPharisees were teachers associated with the synagogues houses of study and prayer they accepted the books of Moses and the historical and wisdom writings
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