chapter 3- textbook notes

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25 May 2011
Documentary Hypothesis
Sabbath restrictions pg 131
Jewish traditions- Bar Mitzvah (initiation, gives thanks to the scripture¸ in Arabic terms means
son/daughter of the commandment, coming of age ritual; adulthood begins at age 13 signifying an age of
moral responsibility) MITZVAH: A commandment, in the roman era, the rabbinic movement identified
exactly 613 commandments contained within Torah.
PASSOVER: The major spring festival of agricultural rebirth and renewal, given a historical
dimension by association with the hasty departure of the Israelites from Egypt under Moses leadership.
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Sabbath- Jews consider Saturday a day of rest, a day for prayer and public assembly in the
Minyan= the quorum of 10 necessary to begin group prayer
Torah= sacred scripture, written entirely in ancient Hebrew- in order to read from it the candidate
must have learned the ancient script and the traditional melodies to which the words are chanted,
considered the ultimate repository of religious truth
Judiasm (is more commonly inherited than chosen and considered an ethnic tradition, smallest
population of the 3 religions, roughly 6 million jews died in the holocaust, 3 major groupings= reform,
conservative, orthodox) gave rise to the now more popular Christianity and Islam
Chp. 2 of Genisis- God causes a mist to rise from the ground, out of which vegetation sprouts. He
then creates the primal man= Adam and plants a garden in Eden and creates animals and the first woman
ABRAHAM: the narratives of the Patriarchs and matriarchs- the tribal ancestors of the Hebrews
(mark the transition from the imaginative paradigms of myth and allegory to the anecdotal detail of
CONVENANT: the central organizing concept in the ancient Hebrews religion was the covenant
(in Hebrew, berith). A theological term, covenant is equivalent to the current meaning of contract. The
purpose of life for those bound by a 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 Abrahams descendants to behave. Finally, the nature of the rewards promised in
return for faithful adherence to the covenant reflects the values and perspectives of Hebrew society. The
ultimate rewards are offspring and a homeland, but in addition Abraham himself is assured of a long life
and peaceful death genesis 15:15). There is also a noticeable absence of the prospect of reward after death.
Ancient Hebrews understood ultimate rewards in concrete terms= an easy death after a long and
comfortable life, with many descendants to carry on afterward- no indication of souls after death.
MOSES AND THE EXODUS (leader + lawgiver): whereas the stories of the 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 the other centre of ancient near Eastern civilization, Egypt.
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