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Chapter 2

Study Guide Chapter 2 -Judaism


Department
Religion
Course Code
RLG100Y1
Professor
Andre Maintenay
Chapter
2

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CHAPTER TWO: JUDAISM
A RITUAL INITATION
x saturday for Jews is the day of rest Æ Sabbath
o day for prayer and public assembly in the synagogue (the house of
worship and community meeting)
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o the teen reads two selections from the Bible, one from the Pentateuch (the
5 books of Moses, which constitute the first section of the Bible) and one
from a later section called the Prophets
o first time that a young person reads publicly from the Torah (the scripture
that Jews are expected to read and study throughout their lives)
o WKHQUHFLWHVDVHULHVRIVSHFLDOEOHVVLQJVWKDWUHIOHFWWKHFRPPXQLW\¶V
values and the community responds b reaffirming the blessings
o after the ceremony, the fam holds a luncheon or dinner for relatives and
friends
DEFINING JUDAISM
x number about 14 million
o more than 7 mil live in Americas (Us and Can), 3 million live in Asia
(mostly Israel)
x in 1945, approx 6 mil was put to death by the Nazis Æ Holocaust
x understand that God expects all human beings to observe a fundamental moral
code that was revealed to Noah after the primeval flood and is accessible to the
entire human race through reason
ORIGIN
THE BIBLICAL PERIOD
x the history of Israel is contained in the Torah
x the history of a people as they understand and follow a God who has chosen them
as his instrument
x some of it is well known because the first set of Jewish religious writings, the
Hebrew Bible, is the scripture for Christians and Muslims
o interpretations differ
x earliest known reference to the Israelites by another people dates to roughly 1230
bce
o found on an Egyptian stela (monumental stone) inscribed with a hymn
describing the victories of the Egyptian pharaoh
CREATION IN GENESIS
x first 11 chapters of the Genesis describe the primeval history of the universe
x ch1, god created different things on each day of creation, culminating with
humanity on the sixth day
o the seventh day, God rests, establishing the pattern of a weekly Sabbath
x Ch 2, suggests a different beginning
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o God causing a mist to rise from the ground, out of which vegetation
sprouts
o Plants a garden in Eden and populates it with animals and the primal
human couple
The Primal Couple
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o Naively innocent in genesis 2
x *HQHVLV$GDPDQGHYHGHI\*RG¶VRUGHUQRWWRHDWIURPWKH7UHHRIWKH
Knowledge of Good and Evil
o Peace and harmony of their existence is broken and they are expelled from
the garden
x There are many explanatory myths (etiological), some matters are natural,
cultural, and some are ultimate issues of human existence
x Jewish explanations are largely positive
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x Christian interpretation emphasizes inescapable original sin and insists on a deep
and sinister relationship between sexuality, evil and death
THE ISRAELITE NARRATIVES
The Covenant
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o An agreement or contract specifying exactly what human behaviour is
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laws
THE EXODUS
x The Hebrews in the Exodus story are working as labourers on Egyptian
construction projects in the eastern art of the Nile Delta
x The Ten Commandments are stipulations of a covenant that all the people make a
communal vow to obey
x In the absence of a permanent temple, worship is instituted in an elaborate tent
called the Tabernacle
o Kept in the Tabernacle is a central cult object (Ark of the Covenant),
which serves as the throQHRI*RG¶VLQYLVLEOHSUHVHQFH
THE ISRAELITE KINGS
x The book of Joshua recounts some spectacular conquests as the Israelites enter the
land of Canaan
o The following book of Judges, suggests a less triumphant view
x According to Judges, each of the leaders (Deborah, Samson, Shamgar, Jephthat,
Ehud and etc) is chosen by God to save the Israelites from a specific threat of
foreign domination
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x Shift to a centralized monarchy took place over two generations shortly after 1000
bce
x God chooses first Saul, then David, DQGWKHQ'DYLG¶VVXFFHVVRUVWRSUHVHUYHWKH
Israelites from the Philistine menace
o David is succeeded by Solomon, who builds a temple to Yahweh on a hill
called Zion
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o The Northern tribes used the name Israel until they were overrun and
dispersed by the Assyrians in 722 bce
o The Southern used the name Judah until they were defeated by Babylonian
invaders in 586 bce
THE COMPOSITION OF THE BIBLE
x For centuries, tradition attributed the composition of the first five books of the
Bible to Moses, acting under divine inspiration or dictation
o Traditional commentators resolve the seeming contradictions by asking
what God intended the text to mean
o Modern scholars approach such problems by considering the discrepancies
as clues for investigation, not challenges to faith
x Documentary hypothesis proposes that the Pentateuch is a composite text
consisting of four major blocks
o Also says that P is a late contribution to eh Pentateuchal corpus
o Criticized by traditional Jews, Christians and Muslims who reject its
humanizing assumptions
x Source materials originated with a variety of groups/institutions and in each case,
the process of composition continued in oral and written forms over generations
o Material that uses the name Yahweh is the product of an author called the
Yahwist
Referred to as J
Emphasized southern localities and the role of Abraham probably
began late in the 10th century bce
o Second source, is the work of an author termed Elohist
Referred to as E
Emphasized northern local traditions and probably started 9th
century bce
x Deuteronomy is a sermon by Moses
o 600 years earlier
THE PROPHETS
x the prophetic movement said to have influence more people than any other
religious movement in human history
x Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel
x Amos, Hosea, Micah
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